What Are Nutritional Supplements and How Could They Help?

Complete Me supplements are designed to be taken as a food supplement or nutritional blend and ensure you can top up on the nutrients you need that you may not be ingesting from the foods you eat daily. 

If we all followed a perfect diet, we would receive the vitamins and nutrients we need to be healthy solely from our foods. By combining lean protein, healthful fats, and complex carbohydrates, our body would function at a peak level. But in reality, the western world that we live in typically presents us with over-processed food that offers next to no nutritional value. Many people also struggle to absorb the nutrients they need, resulting from a lack of stomach acid, conditions like Crohn’s disease, or even as an indirect result of the poor food choices that we make daily. 

Due to the current state of affairs, food supplements play a critical role in bridging the gap and ensuring we ingest many of the critical vitamins and nutrients that our bodies need to function. When you look at supplement packaging, you will note the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) or the NRV (Nutrient Reference Value), which serves as a guide of the percentage of each nutrient you require every day. In some instances, the value will exceed 100% because nutrient values are defined by the minimum amount that we require, not the maximum. When listed in excess of 100%, our body needs more of a particular nutrient to solve a complex issue and increase its store at the same time. 

You might question, then, who benefits from taking supplements, and how they could help in particular situations? 

If you follow a restrictive diet 

There are various reasons people follow restrictive diets, be it a medical condition, personal choice, or due to a food intolerance or allergy. But by restricting what you eat and depriving your body of particular food groups, replacing the lost nutrients and vitamins with a supplement is a smart move. For instance, people who are lactose intolerant don’t eat or drink dairy products, which may reduce their calcium levels. As you may be aware, calcium plays a critical role in the body, particularly in strengthening bones. But calcium also supports the functioning of our digestive enzymes, which are integral in breaking down the food that we eat and absorbing the nutrients and vitamins within. 

If you exercise 

Nutritional supplements are ideal for anyone who exercises regularly. The most helpful supplements for people who work out often are those containing vitamins B & C, which are water-soluble and excreted from the body through sweat. If you find yourself feeling weak following an intense workout, it might be the case that you need to replenish your B & C vitamins with a supplement. These nutrients are crucial because we rely on them to produce energy from the food that we consume. 

If you live in the northern hemisphere 

The further away you live from the equator, the more difficult it is to obtain the vitamin D you require directly from the sun. As you may know, vitamin D is primarily obtained from the sun’s rays, which are less frequent during the long, dark winter months in countries like the United Kingdom. During this time, it’s a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement, as it plays an integral role in the regulation and absorption of phosphorus and calcium. What’s more, it contributes to your fully functioning and healthful immune system, which helps you fight off infections and diseases. It’s possible to test your vitamin D levels to check your intake if you’re concerned that you’re deficient. It’s best to conduct a test as summer draws to a close before following it up with a test at the beginning of spring. 

If your diet consists of highly processed foods 

In countries in the western world, we’re besieged by foods that are highly processed and lacking in nutritional value. As a result, many people rely on highly processed foods for the bedrock of their diets and are nutrient deficient as a result. Because of highly processed foods, it’s estimated that more than 90% of the population don’t get the nutrients they need from their diet. Furthermore, approximately 63% of adults fail to eat their five a day! The bottom line is that consuming highly processed foods means our bodies can’t get the nutrients it requires to function properly, which in turn leads us to be nutrient deficient. 

If you follow a plant-based diet (or are thinking of going vegan)

People who follow predominantly or wholly plant-based diets (vegans or vegetarians) should look at supplementing their diet with certain healthful nutrients that are only present in animal products. B12 is the main nutrient that vegans miss out on, but they may find themselves deficient in other B vitamins, too. Lacking these vitamins can negatively impact your energy levels, brain functionality, and the metabolism of your cells. It’s also a good idea for vegetarians and vegans to regularly check both their heme and non-heme iron levels. Heme iron is a key component of red meat, which is easy for your body to absorb. Plant-based foods, on the other hand, contain mainly non-heme iron, which is not as easy for your body to absorb.

If you’re a woman 

Females tend to be more at risk of iron deficiency than males, which is a leading cause of anaemia. Women who lose a lot of blood during their monthly period are especially at risk. If this resonates with you, then it’s a good idea to take an iron supplement, which can help you increase your energy levels at the time of your period. If you find that you’re often fatigued and have a lack of energy during your period, contact your GP and ask for a blood test to ascertain if an iron supplement could help you. 

It’s important to recognise that supplements are not designed to replace a well-balanced diet. Instead, you should focus on taking in sufficient nutrients and vitamins from various food sources, including lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. That being said, supplements can effectively prevent nutrient deficiency if you’re not able to get the required levels from food consumption alone. To receive accurate information on the nutrients that could benefit your health and wellbeing, contact us If you’re currently taking medication or have any pre-existing health conditions, it’s always a good idea to speak to your GP before taking a supplement.