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Vitamin and mineral supplementation

Supplementation is becoming more and more essential for people and as time progresses, I am finding myself recommending supplementation for most people. It is ultimately highly challenging to consume sufficient vitamins and minerals from one’s diet. A number of reasons explain this.

Unfortunately, humans are unable to manufacture most vitamins. They must be present in food intake as they either cannot be synthesised in the body, or are unable to be synthesised in adequate amounts to prevent deficiency. Food sources of vitamins are particularly unstable substances. They need to be handled with care during cooking and storage. You can easily destroy the vitamin content of the food you are about to eat. Boiling vegetables or fruit for example is the fastest way to literally throw your nutrients out with the water. Steaming or eating them raw is a better alternative.

Let’s consider the potential impact to the vitamin content of an orange. Firstly, how was it grown? What soil was used? Was the growth process organic? Then consider how it was stored. Was it picked unripe, frozen and then gassed to ripen? This is a common occurrence with non-organic foods. Interestingly, the Vitamin C content of an orange depends on the ripening process. If this process is interfered with, the vitamin C content drops dramatically.

Now let’s consider minerals. Minerals are naturally occurring elements found in nature as mineral salts. These mineral salts make up rock formations that, as they are eroded over time, form the basis of soil. All the food that we eat relies upon the minerals in the soil, or water, for its own mineral content. If the soils in a particular area are depleted the crops grown in these soils will also lack minerals, as will the animals that feed there. The mineral concentrations of soils can vary considerably according to geographic location. For example, in Australia our soil is notoriously low in Selenium.

Modern agriculture can be considered to be a recipe for mineral deficiencies, which is worsened by the losses caused by processing and manufacturing methods. Consider also that the pollutants and chemicals associated with modern farming techniques have changed the mineral content and ratios of both water and soils.