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Vitamin and Supplement Selection is Always A Challenge

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If you are like most of us, trying to select the correct vitamins, minerals, and supplements becomes a confusing challenge.  Many brands grace the shelves of supermarkets, pharmacies, and health food stores.  What to choose for optimal health is not easy.

Discussion for the need for supplements has always centered on the idea that by eating a good healthy diet, one receives all the nutrients necessary for health.  This is really no longer true.  Many of our foods are highly processed and contain ingredients not healthy for the body such as colorants (food dyes), flavor enhancers (MSG), emulsifiers – thickening agents (sodium lactylate, titanium dioxide), modified corn starch that comes under many names such as disodium inosinate, maltodextrin, sodium caseinate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein), and fortified ingredients like calcium, folate, and iron.  Most of these ingredients are chemical in nature, not natural, or are from poor grade sources.  Food processing uses high heat and this destroys much of the nutrients in the food, thus the need to fortify – to put back in what was processed out.

Our current generation is the first one to experience so many harsh chemicals in our environment.  Air is full of noxious fumes and gases, our water is contaminated by toxic air and polluted underground sources.  Waste management companies are finding chemicals and antibiotics in our drinking water from what we eliminate in our urine from drugs!  Our foods contain chemical additives, hormones, and antibiotics to insure super growth in both animals and crops.  These ingredients are difficult for our bodies to detoxify and eliminate, and they also require a slew of good nutrients to make the detoxification effective.  So by not ingesting enough good vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, proteins, amino acids, good fats, and complex carbohydrates that come in the form of pasture raised animal products, dark leafy greens, fresh fruits and vegetables – preferably organic, legumes, whole grains, and plenty of fresh clean water, our bodies need additional help with whole food supplements.

The best choices I believe come in gel caps.  These are cellulose containers, natural to the body and pass right on through undigested.  The ingredients should come from whole food sources and should be processed with minimal heat.  Those tablets all shaped the same are often created with high heat, so the nutritional value may be less than desirable.  Here is a test to try to see if your supplements are available to your body.  Dilute the juice of one half fresh lemon in a cup of water and place your supplements in the solution.  They should dissolve within 30-45 minutes.  If so, these are available and are absorbable by your body.  The lemon juice represents the hydrochloric acid in your stomach.

I will be providing more information on selecting supplements in future articles.  Please feel free to call me to discuss any of your supplement concerns.

Krystle Shapiro is the founder of the Sandpoint Wellness Council and owner of Touchstone Integrated Massage Therapies.  She is currently completing her Masters in Holistic Nutrition.  She may be reached at 208/290-6760. 

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