Making sense of food supplements/micronutrients: For everyday use and especially when participating in sport
Supplements are daily additions to a person's normal diet to ensure optimal health and functioning of the body-mind unit. They support and strengthen the systems of the body so that the metabolism can function optimally on a cellular level.
Supplements consist mainly of micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids and health-enhancing herbs. Micronutrients are nutrients that must be taken daily in small quantities.
The American Cancer Association recommends an intake of five (5) to nine (9) portions (a portion is equal to one medium-sized apple, one orange, etc.) of fresh fruit and vegetables every day, to provide adequate quantities for the daily requirements of micronutrients, to prevent chronic diseases and ensure optimal health. Chronic diseases (with inflammation as root cause of all) include diabetes, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, depression, arthritis, allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, atherosclerosis (thickening of the arteries), high blood pressure, eczema, psoriasis, chronic infections (such as sinusitis), high cholesterol and osteoporosis.
The 5-9 a day are the suggested portions intended for the prevention of disease. As soon as we subject the body to an increased workload, our daily need for micronutrients increases accordingly. This happens during the usual stresses of daily life, any form of exercise, even more so when participating in strenuous sports, and to prevent and help the body cope during a dis-ease process.
This becomes a vicious circle: a lack of micronutrients plays an important role in the origin of the disease process. Disease and stress increase the burden on the body, causing an increased need for more micronutrients. If these are not provided through diet or food supplements, the disease gets worse and the body's resistance to infectious organisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites) and stress is reduced. Participating in strenuous sport also depletes the body's micronutrients, leading to more injuries and slower recovery.
Eat as many fresh fruit and vegetables per day as possible, but for optimal health also take a good quality food supplement or nutriceutical (nutri = nutrition; -ceutical as in pharmaceutical = food as medicine and to promote health). Except for freshness, you also need to vary your daily intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. It is not enough eating seven apples a day. Our body requires a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, with the full rainbow spectrum included.
Every person who participates in sport, no matter how leisurely the pace, should start the day by taking a good antioxidant combination. All sports activity accelerates the metabolism and make great demands on the body. Increased metabolism requires active enzyme participation and more active support from co-enzymes and co-factors, making additional minerals and vitamins essential. Antioxidants prevent the build-up of lactic acid, which causes sore and stiff muscles.
Infections such as colds and flu are common among seriously competitive athletes. This is as a result of the additional strain on the immune system caused by the increased metabolism and enzyme activity. Antioxidants have a direct effect on the immune system. All athletes who take antioxidants will soon notice that they recover more quickly after competing, they seldom have infections and they have fewer muscle injuries. This is because of antioxidant support. Antioxidants also reduce tissue irritation, inflammation and loss of energy - all side effects of an accumulation of free radicals.
Calcium with magnesium (in the correct ratio and in amino acid chelate form, taken at the same time in one combination) and vitamin C & D, are essential for effective musculoskeletal functioning. They also decrease the risk of injuries and accelerate muscle recovery. Chromium improves the glucose consumption of muscles and ensures a constant blood sugar level for energy (fuel). A good antioxidant combination should include the following in the correct quantities per daily dose and in combination:
- Vitamins: A (4mg), E (20mg), C (200mg), B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 (40mg of each), B12 (50mcg), folic acid (400mcg), co-enzyme Q10 (40mg)
- Minerals: selenium & zinc (20mg each), manganese (10mg), chromium (300mcg), molybdenum, vanadium and copper (4mg each). All minerals have to be in an amino acid chelated form, to ensure optimal absorption in the body.
- Herbs: Ginkgo biloba (for better blood flow), green tea extract (to support the metabolism)
Our Ariani Optimal Health Box (available online and at our rooms), contains Heart Brain Body Support & Antioxidant; Calcium & Magnesium Balance and Super Omega - the basic 3 supplements that all of us need. Dr Arien van der Merwe (medical doctor specialising in natural, integrative medicine and holistic health counselling) formulated all our products to ensure optimal quantities, combinations and bio-availability of the micronutrients the body requires.