Our need for good nutritional supplementation is even greater than it has been in the past, for two main reasons, the vast increase of chemicals in our environment, and the significant decrease in nutrients contained in our foods:
INCREASE OF CHEMICALS - In 1940, the entire US economy produced less than 1 million tons of synthetic organic chemicals. By 1987, 125 million tons were produced -- a 12,500 percent increase. As of December 1994, there were 13,407,968 chemicals and chemical mixtures listed with the Chemical Abstract Service (GAS, 1995) (that’s over 13 million!). Yet a study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) states there is inadequate information on toxicity to evaluate public health hazards for less than 2% of these chemicals. Despite this lack of knowledge, America continues to produce more than 6410 brand new compounds each year.
DEFICIENCY OF NUTRIENTS - Even back in the 1930’s it was recognized that our soils and consequently our foods were depleted of essential minerals. This is even more of a problem today. In addition to the mineral deficiency, since 1980 there has been a 50% reduction in antioxidants in our foods. Antioxidants are substances that prevent or slow the breakdown of another substance by oxygen. In the body, nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin complexes C, E and B, DHLA, green tea and selenium have all been found to act as antioxidants. They act by scavenging free radicals, which are a normal product of metabolism. Stress, aging, and environmental sources such as the increased chemicals we eat, drink and breathe all add to the number of free radicals in the body. These highly reactive free radicals roam throughout the body, causing cellular damage by disrupting the structure of other molecules. The resulting cellular damage has been linked to changes that accompany aging and with various disease processes that lead to cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.
In the 1960s, the overall cancer incidence rate was 1 in 6 for the general U.S. population; in the 1990s, it was 1 in 3. Cancer is now the #1 killer of Americans, surpassing even heart disease. Is it possible that this enormous increase in cancer rates is due to the declining nutritional value of our foods and simultaneous exposure to vastly increased numbers of chemicals in our environment?
More and more of us suffer from health problems we often see as inevitable – cancer, heart disease, diabetes, allergies and more; however many of these are actually caused by our diets and our lifestyle. It has been shown that less than 1% of diseases have anything to do with our genes. However, even if we try to eat the best diet we can, and reduce our stress levels, we can no longer get the levels of nutrients we need from our foods.
So we have a big problem: increased chemicals, pollution and stress in our lives today demand a higher level of nutrients, but we are getting fewer vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than ever. This is why we are forced to go to supplements to enhance our diets to a level that can support optimal health and disease prevention.
Do you already take supplements or are you thinking about adding them to your diet? If so, you should be aware that there is a huge difference in quality of supplements, and most of them either contain toxins or are ineffective.