With avaried and balanced diet, we should be able to obtain the amount of nutrients our body needs in a natural manner. However, this ideal situation is not always the case in reality. We live in a society of abundance, yet more and more people are suffering from nutrient deficiency.
A balanced diet or nutritional supplements? The truth is that one does not exclude the other. It all depends on each individual’s needs and lifestyle.
In Neolife’s programs, nutritional supplementation is prescribed on a case-by-case basis, whenever necessary:
Calcium, iron, potassium, vitamins A and D, and folic acid are some of the nutrients that nutrition authorities say are lacking in the diets of various segments of the population.
When we suffer from a nutrient deficiency, many of the body’s physiological processes do not function properly, and deficiency diseases may appear, posing a risk to our health, as well as affecting our quality of life.
Let’s see an example to illustrate this: vitamin D deficiency. A deficiency of this vitamin, due to its strong relationship with bone metabolism, is correlated with a higher probability of suffering from osteopenia and/or osteoporosis. It is also linked, in terms of the immune system, to a higher incidence of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, among others (1,2). Furthermore, scientific studies show that low levels of vitamin D are associated with obesity and even some types of cancers (3). Epidemiological data indicate a generalized deficiency in the population. Thus, sun exposure, in general, is not sufficient and thus supplementation is necessary.
Another classic example is homocysteine. This is a sulfur-containing amino acid, whose elevation, in most cases, is due to low levels of vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid (B9); and the cause is not a mere insufficiency, but rather that aging itself causes this deficiency. Scientific studies have shown that higher levels of homocysteine are linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (arteriosclerosis) and blood clots.
By contrast, if the level of nutrients in the body is satisfactory, individuals possess a greater ability to carry out their daily activities in optimal conditions. For example, intellectual performance is enhanced, if we consume the right amount of iron, since it promotes cognitive functions. The right doses of vitamin D help maintain good muscle tone, which is very important in the elderly, in order to prevent them from becoming physically dependent on others.
It is worth noting that supplements are safe products. Prolonged intake of vitamins, at doses above the RDA and below the maximum tolerable level, has been shown to be safe in the long term.
There are numerous situations in which there is a greater demand for nutrients, the amount of these trace elements is not sufficient in our diets, due to: stress, pollution, intense physical activity, pregnancy, alcohol consumption, restrictive diets, etc., or simply the hectic pace of life today, which leads us to consume more processed foods. In addition, the aging of our body leads to, in many cases, poorer absorption of nutrients from food.
There are multiple factors that make it advisable, and even necessary, to take nutritional supplements:
BAD LIFESTYLE HABITS
In today’s world, it is easy to abuse processed foods, rich in sodium, fat, and added sugar, instead of consuming fresh products, that are richer in nutrients and have fewer calories.
THE AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION HAS REDUCED THE QUALITY OF OUR FOODS
Intensive agriculture and livestock farming have resulted in food containing fewer nutrients, that is, fewer vitamins and minerals, than was possible with traditional farming methods.
THE NUTRITIONAL CONTENT OF FOODS VARIES GEOGRAPHICALLY
Even with the same agricultural production methods, there can be big differences from one region to the next, due to environmental and weather conditions.
DIETARY NEEDS VARY FROM ONE PERSON TO THE NEXT
Each person is different, and their nutritional needs vary based on various factors, some of the biggest being their nutritional state, physical activity, age, the illnesses they suffer from and the medication they may be taking.
SOME MICRONUTRIENTS INCREASE THEIR POSITIVE EFFECTS, IF YOU TAKE MORE OF THEM
This is the case of vitamin D, in which it has been proven that individuals with higher levels (60-80 mg/dL), above what is considered normal (30 mg/dL), have longer telomeres, better bone density, and a stronger immune system.
WITH AGE, NUTRIENTS ARE HARDER TO ABSORB, SO THERE IS A GREATER DEFICIT OF NUTRIENTS
Supplementation, in addition to ensuring adequate levels of micronutrients, is one of the best options for preventing premature aging and the onset of numerous diseases. Nutritional supplementation is especially effective, when the first signs and symptoms of aging start to appear.
At Neolife, for over a decade, we have been supplementing our patients with precise dosages, that optimize their healthbiomarkers .
Our medical team knows how to identify, in each situation, which supplements are the most efficient, and at what doses, carrying out a continuous and objective medical follow-up of the evolution of each patient’s health.
In order to provide our clients with the best possible nutritional supplements, at Neolife, we have developed our own line of nutritional supplements, formulated and manufactured under the highest quality standards: Neoactives.
The knowledge accumulated by our team of professionals, together with extensive research and development work, has allowed us to create products that provide effective solutions for a variety of situations, always based on scientific evidence.
By having our own line of supplements, we do not need to use the formulas available on the market, which do not always coincide with what is recommended by scientific evidence and the experience developed in our clinics.
The assessment of the supplementation is carried out jointly by the medical (with doctors from different specialties) and nutrition teams.
Some examples of altered biomarkers, which we manage to reverse in our patients through adequate nutritional supplementation, are:
High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of cardiovascular diseases. Around 60% of the patients at Neolife present high cholesterol levels and high levels of triglycerides, and in almost all cases, we succeed in lowering these levels. We use various compounds to achieve this: red rice yeast, coenzyme Q10, garlic and olive extract, etc.
Vitamin D plays a multifactorial role, acting at the level of bone metabolism, stimulating the effective and correct action of the immune system, and contributing to slowing down the deposit of visceral fats, among other things. Its deficiency is related, in addition to other issues, to osteoporosis, obesity, cancer, or worsening of the immune system. Around 98% of our patients have suboptimal Vitamin D levels, which we correct in 100% of the cases.
Homocysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid, which is very important in cellular metabolism, and is closely linked to B vitamins. Higher levels are associated with an increase in cardiovascular disease. Around 65% of our patients have suboptimal or high homocysteine levels, and we manage to correct this in 70% of the cases, thanks to supplementation with B vitamins. El 65% de nuestros pacientes tienen la homocisteína subóptima o alta y conseguimos corregirla en el 70% de los casos gracias a suplementación de complejos de vitaminas del grupo B.
When choosing a nutritional supplement, it’s not easy to know what to look for, to ensure that it’s a good quality product. The following are the most important aspects to look for ain a nutritional supplement:
CHOOSE CLEARLY-LABELED PRODUCTS
If the label does not clearly list the ingredients (including excipients), dosage, or the amount of active nutrients provided per daily dose, we should be suspicious. Normally, poor quality products do not accurately list all this information, in order to hide their deficiencies.
CHOOSE PRODUCTS WITH GOOD NUTRIENT CONCENTRATIONS
We can take the right nutrients, but if the dose is not the right one, the effects we will notice will not be as expected. We must remember that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for various nutrients does not include the maximum amounts, but rather the minimum amounts needed to avoid getting sick. However, these are too low: the optimum levels of these nutrients should, in general, be higher.
CHOOSE CHEMICAL FORMS OF HIGH BIOAVAILABILITY
Bioavailability involves the body’s ability to absorb and utilize a nutrient. Not all chemical forms of vitamins and minerals are equivalent in this respect. And it is not only the bioavailability of the product that is important, but also the synergistic effects that exist between its compounds, which increase the potency of the formula.
WHEN IT COMES TO PLANTS LOOK FOR STANDARDIZED EXTRACTS:
In the case of plants, we can find concentrated extracts, in which the principal active ingredients are generally concentrated X times, with respect to the content of the starting plant material. Another type of plant extracts, that can be found, are standardized extracts. In these extracts, it is guaranteed that the extract provides a certain percentage of a certain marker or active ingredient (e.g., curcumin in turmeric, anthocyanidins in grape seed, etc.).
TRUST A QUALITY BRAND
The nutritional supplementation sector is not a regulated market, which leads to a proliferation of companies with low quality products, insufficient concentrations, poor labeling, etc. The best way to ensure that you are taking supplements that are beneficial to your health, is to trust in reputable brands.