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Nutritional Supplementation


Recalling Health to the Body


Do You  Really Need Dietary Supplements in Your Diet for Health?

Nutritional supplementation in its simplest form involves adding to your diet essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals primarily for the purpose of health maintenance, disease prevention or to cure illness. In its fullest form, supplementation can also create an overall sense of well-being and mental clarity.

When we understand the root cause of disease, then we begin to comprehend why nutritional supplementation is needed. Perhaps this quote from the 1800s will shed some light:

 

“When highly skilled physicians shall fully examine this matter, thoroughly and perseveringly, it will be clearly seen that the incursion of disease is due to a disturbance in the relative amounts of the body’s component substances, and that treatment consisteth in adjusting these relative amounts, and that this can be apprehended and made possible by means of foods. It is certain that in this wonderful age the development of medical science will lead to the doctor’s healing their patients with foods.”1

If this is true, then the goal of nutritional supplementation is to bring this disturbance of the body’s component substances back to a state of equilibrium through the use of foods, in the broadest sense of the word.

We can say that a supplement—whether it be in pill, capsule, tablet, powder or liquid form, or in the form of a homeopathic remedy, concentrate, metabolite, extract or a combination thereof—has worked when it succeeds in balancing the body's elemental substances.

According to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), in addition to the forms of supplementation as outlined above, dietary supplements may include such substances as ginseng, garlic, fish oils, psyllium, enzymes, glandulars or a mixture of these. It goes on to say that supplements are not represented for use as a conventional food or as the sole item of a meal or diet. Dietary supplements must also be labeled "dietary supplements".

The DSHEA provides that retail outlets may make available materials to help inform consumers about any health-related benefits of dietary supplements. The Act also established the Office of Dietary Supplements within the National Institutes of Health to promote, among other things, the scientific study of supplements and their value in preventing chronic diseases. A database of scientific research on supplements and individual nutrients was directed to be created. Click on supplements to see which are currently under study and recruiting volunteers. Once on the page, type in "nutritional supplements" in the search field box.

 

"…Congress stated that there may be a positive relationship between sound dietary practice and good health, … there may be a connection between dietary supplement use, reduced health-care expenses, and disease prevention." –Excerpt from Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994

 

It is encouraging to learn that the government is playing a role in estimating the value of nutritional supplements in our diets. Still, our role is equally as important as we seek out knowledge on how to improve our health, vitality and general well-being using nutritional supplementation. The art of supplementation has existed throughout the ages and we now need to do our part in turning the art into a science, or if you will, turning it into a major component inherent in the science of medicine.

While our grandparents and great grandparents gathered the herbs and other plants directly from the countrysides, in some ways we stand at a considerable advantage because we will not necessarily have to go out and gather the raw ingredients ourselves; however, we are still charged with putting forth the effort required to search out the products that are of the best quality, that are most compatible with our body’s natural components, and that work in harmony and synergy to aid us in recalling our health. 

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