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Use of supplements
Vitamins and Minerals & how they keep you healthy

A well-balanced diet is essential for a healthy body but, despite the knowledge that proper nutrition can help us experience good health, few of us put this theory fully into practice.

Whilst the so called "macro" nutrients, protein, carbohydrate and fat, are usually more than adequately supplied by our western diets, the "micro" nutrients, vitamins and minerals, can sometimes be in short supply due to the way food is stored, cooked or processed, or simply because we do not eat enough micro nutrient rich foods, such as fruit and vegetables.

Dietary supplements are a convenient way of safeguarding our vitamin and mineral intake, and ensuring we obtain at least the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of various micro nutrients. RDAs are set only at the level that is enough to prevent clinical deficiency, with an added margin of safety. What they do not reflect is the level needed for optimal health a concept currently of great interest to many nutritional scientists.

In fact, the idea that intakes of vitamins and minerals higher than those normally obtainable through diet, may bring particular health benefits is now widely accepted. For example, it has been established that folic acid is required at twice the level of the RDA to reduce the risk of Spina Bifida in the newborn. Many supplements on the market provide significantly more than the RDA of vitamins and minerals, as well as providing micro nutrients that are known to be important to health but which have so far not been assigned an RDA.

Supplements are not intended as a substitute for a healthy balanced diet, but an addition to it.

VITAMINS & their role in your health
MINERALS & their role in your health
But what about the safety of higher intakes? How safe are the supplements we take, and are there any dangers from taking them over long periods? Here are some important points to remember:

The above is for information only and is taken from my personal experience. It is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice.

Stan Richardson

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