Diet supplements for better health

The increasing abundance of diet supplements on the shelves of mainstreams shops, supermarkets and pharmacies is an indication of a growing awareness of health issues in our society. With many of these diet supplements being promoted as alternative medicines it can be daunting to know where to begin when looking for a ‘cure’ or a preventative measure against different health conditions and ailments.

Juicing fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs can provide your body with a great variety of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytochemicals. However there are also other compounds that are needed by the body (e.g. omega-3 oil) that cannot be obtained from juicing alone. In these Diet Supplements pages we aim to give an overview of a number of widely used supplements that can be added to the foods you normally to consume to complement a well balanced diet.

Many of the diet supplements can easily be added to your juicer or smoothie recipes and this can help the body to absorb the nutrients as the rest of the juice or smoothie helps stimulate digestion. Before adding any of the diet supplements to your diet you should consult your doctor or health professional as some of these supplements can have an effect on prescribed western medicines.

Scientific research into diet supplements

Some diet supplements such as Ginkgo Biloba and St Johns Wort have been scientifically proven to aid certain health conditions (i.e. Ginkgo’s ability to improve short term memory loss and the use of St Johns Wort to help combat depression).

There is however a limited amount of scientific research available for the wide range of complementary medicines and supplements as a whole. Why is this? Some would argue that that the lack of scientific research into the benefits of natural diet supplements is due to there being no money available to research the supplements due to the potential loss to the profits of the pharmaceutical industry. These potential loss in profits could occur if people were to use cheaply available natural products rather than more expensive synthetically produced drugs.

Many of the diet supplements listed in these pages are available in forms that are taken directly from nature (e.g. chlorella alga) or are derived from nature (e.g. plant extracts such as Bromelain that is taken from the Pineapple plant) or animal products (e.g. Royal Jelly from Bees).

The uniqueness of mother nature

In the program 'Alternative Medicine' that was shown on the BBC it was reported that the reason why many of the available supplements in their natural form were able to work was because of the ‘cocktail’ of chemicals and compounds that were naturally occurring. It was suggested that the total benefits of the different elements of the cocktail was greater than the sum of the parts – giving synergy. This means that it is the interaction of the different compounds in the natural form of the supplement that are responsible for giving the health benefits whereas if the compounds were produced in isolation in a laboratory then they would not give the same health benefits.

This ‘synergy’ effect was also said to be one of the reasons why the health benefits of some diet supplements such as Gingko Biloba which contains over 200 different compounds were impossible to replicate in a laboratory. It also may suggest why science finds it hard to explain the ‘reason’ behind the effects of some diet supplements due to the complex interactions behind the different compounds.