1. Supplementation, yes or no?If you look up the word supplement in the dictionary, you will find the following definition "to add a complement to something to make it better, more complete, effective or perfect". Therefore, if we are clear that supplementing is not providing nutrients, that is, it is not a diet but a tool that can help us to make the nutrients we provide through food more effective, more complete or simply that we can use them. facilitate absorption capacity, its recommendation to optimize our health seems reasonable. The type of food , our lifestyle as well as factors external to us will determine if it is necessary to resort to supplementation at certain times of the year, in our day to day or if, on the contrary, we do not need it. The latter would be the most likely if our diet was perfect, our lifestyle idyllic, and the environment unbeatable. We also have to take into account where the food we eat comes from, since most of the products that we find in supermarkets come from intensive agriculture, the soil is much poorer and these foods have far fewer vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients than usual. that should. Therefore, many times it is not easy to reach the minimum required in terms of micronutrients. Micronutrients are substances that do not provide energy, as do macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) but are essential for the proper functioning of the body. Its main function is to make possible many chemical reactions that occur in the body.
1.1. HealthWhen we talk about health, we are not only talking about food, we are talking about multiple factors that can affect our well-being. I will give you an example, a job dismissal, in principle, it has nothing to do with our body but it negatively affects our health much more than we think. It can alter our hormonal system in such a way that our sleep is affected, we suffer from anxiety or it affects our digestive system, reducing its absorption and digestion capacity. Supplements can help us restore balance on many occasions, but talking about supplementing for the sake of supplementing without taking into account the basics does not make much sense, start with the essentials:
- Take care of your diet , that it be balanced and with a sufficient contribution of fruits and vegetables.
- Get enough sleep, rest . Look for daily sun exposure.
- Learn to manage stress .
- Do physical exercise constantly.
- Maintain good hydration .
2. 5 reasons why you might need itNow that we know that the modern lifestyle and industrial food can cause us nutritional deficiencies, it is time to assess whether we really need to supplement ourselves or not. Let's see some cases in which supplementation gives us a "plus" to our health, its use not being mandatory but highly recommended, and others in which its contribution is vital and essential for the proper functioning of the body.
1. StressWe live in a society where stress is the order of the day. The pace of life that we lead frequently leads us to live in an accelerated way, we demand that the body live beyond its possibilities through overexertion and worst of all, on many occasions, we are not aware of it until we the body begins to send us signals that something is wrong, that is when the symptoms appear and we feel sick. It is not necessary to get to this situation to take action on the matter, if you do not stop from the time you get up until you go to bed, if you have trouble falling asleep and you wake up tired, you can resort to supplements that reduce your stress levels and help to fall asleep. Gaba or ashwandha , for example, help you fight anxiety, while melatonin or magnesium help you fall asleep thanks to the relaxation of the nervous system.
2. ExhaustionIf you often come home exhausted but do not get enough rest and in the morning it is hard for you to get up, you feel physically and mentally tired, you need that daily caffeine hit to wake you up, supplements such as mucuna pruriens , L-carnitine or L-tyrosine will help you improve cognitive ability and energy levels. Do not forget how important a good diet is, providing the necessary nutrients to give the body that much-needed energy.
3. SunlightMany of us only see sunlight from the window. We get up and run to work. If you spend many hours in a closed space without the possibility of being in direct contact with sunlight, your vitamin D levels may not be optimal. This vitamin has a regulatory role in the homeostasis of calcium and phosphorus but also has a relevant role in modulating the response of the immune system , very important in times of COVID-19 ;). Daily exposure to the sun for 20-30 minutes is recommended, preferably in the morning, and even so, there are studies that indicate vitamin D deficiency in the Spanish population (1). Check your 1,25-OH vitamin D values in an analysis to find out if you need to supplement, probably yes.
4. Lack of Vitamin B12If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet you run the risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency due to its low intake. This vitamin is found in foods of animal origin, meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. It is generally not present in plant foods. Some fortified cereals and nutritional yeast products also contain B12. This vitamin is important for the metabolism of proteins, helps the formation of red blood cells in the blood and the maintenance of the central nervous system. People who follow this type of diet should take supplements (2).
5. Folic acidIf you are a woman and you are thinking of becoming pregnant, folic acid intake before and during pregnancy is essential for proper fetal and placental development. Its deficiency can induce fetal pathologies, such as spina bifida. The main cause of this malformation is the lack of folic acid in the mother, prior to pregnancy and during the first 3 months of gestation (3). You should start supplementing with this vitamin about 10-8 weeks before pregnancy and during it. Always consult your doctor about the indicated doses.
wake up mood1- Vitamin D deficiency in Spanish population. Importance of egg on nutritional improvement Rodríguez-Rodríguez E, Aparicio Vizuete A, Sánchez-Rodríguez P, Lorenzo Mora AM, López-Sobaler AM, Ortega RM. 2019. 2- Roman Pawlak, Scott James Parrott, Sudha Raj, Diana Cullum-Dugan, Debbie Lucus. How prevalent is vitamin B (12) deficiency among vegetarians? 2013. 3- Erika Castaño et al. Rev Chil Pediatr. Folate and Pregnancy, current concepts: It is required folic acid supplementation. 2017.