Supplements have had a hard time of it in the press lately, haven’t they? Added to the confusion of choosing which one to take is now the question of whether to supplement at all thanks to the vociferous anti-supplement brigade denouncing the potential health benefits.
To get some sensible advice on how (and whether) to take supplements, I turned to Lorraine Perretta. A nutritional therapist working for the likes of the Brain Bio Centre, IIAA and the Healthy Holiday Company, Lorraine takes a multi-faceted approach to nutritional needs and her opinions, like her dietary advice, are balanced. Here’s what she had to say:
“Supplements cannot replace food. You need to eat as well as you can to get the best from your health. Having said that, nobody gets their RDA every day anymore as food simply isn’t as nutrition-rich as it was. In order to reach your RDA now without supplements you’d need to consume a huge number of calories.
The drop is due to a number of factors. The poorer quality of soil and process of storage/shipment and cooking all deplete nutrients. If you’d like to see the figures, the Food Standards Agency maintains a UK Nutrient Database to monitor the net quality of food. A lot has changed between the first record made in 1940 and today – the selenium content of fruit and vegetables, for example, has dropped by 50%.
Alcohol, smoking and caffeine inhibit making good decisions when it comes to nutrition. Before eating, try to consider if something is good for you, as well as whether you fancy it. Eating well doesn’t mean going hungry or putting on weight – I advise people to pile their plate only with healthy food and to eat as often as they’re hungry. They often lose weight. Weight issues generally come from eating too many small doses of high calories.
When deciding which supplements to take, bear in mind that vitamins all work together. It therefore makes sense to start your programme with a multivitamin and go from there. Don’t worry too much about doubling up on vitamins contained in the multivitamin as they generally just touch the surface.
I would suggest taking a multivitamin, omega oils, vitamin C, vitamin A and an antioxidant. Omega oils cannot be produced within the body and are not present in multivitamins. Vitamin C is a common deficiency and antioxidants prevent free radical damage (both zinc and selenium are excellent antioxidants). Vitamin A normalises cells from inside and is therefore vital to cellular health”
Vitamin Guide by Problem //
Dry skin / Take Omegas to hydrate from the inside.
Spots on fingernails/weak nails / Zinc and Biotin Complex plus Horsetail for strength.
Bruising easy / Vitamin C with Hesperidin (extracted from the white pith of an orange) and Rutin (found in asparagus).
Lethargy / B Vitamins.
Thinning skin / Grape Seed Extract to inhibit collagenaise (the negative effect of slower collagen synthesis due to ageing while collagen break down continues at the same rate).
Pale, sun-sensitive skin / Lycopene (skin defender) and Betacarotene (eating carrots and tomatoes which are rich in betacarotenes when cooked will also help as cooking makes the nutrients more bioavailable).
Anxiety / Serotonin, b6 and Zinc. Also address imbalance in blood sugars as anxiety from a biological perspective is usually a few combined factors.
General advice on supplementing //
– Take supplements with food as this is when the body thinks it will get nourishment and absorb maximum nutrients.
– Try to buy from independent health shops or skincare centres – in general, the cheaper the supplement, the smaller the amount of vitamin contained within and the lower the quality of ingredients.
– Look for a purified stamp on the bottle of your omega oils. If it doesn’t have this there’s every chance the omegas will come from polluted ocean fish.
– Avoid sugar, gluten, lactose, artificial colours and flavourings.
My Top Supplements //
– Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Omegas, £22 here – I take these daily to keep my skin, hair and nails soft.
– Silidyn Rejuvenate, £19.95 here – This is a good supplement during times of stress thanks to the MSM, zinc and selenium.
– Q Silica Pro Collagen, £29.95 here – A powerful collagen-promoting, wrinkle-diminishing pill that’s vegan-friendly.
– Archeia Minerals, £67.99 here – A lot of research has gone into these pills to find the exact formula that will enhance health and vitality. After a month on them I felt more energetic and my skin glowed.
– Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Vit C, £11.70 here – Good quality vitamin C that also contains other vitamins to support collagen and strengthen skin