Thursday, August 30, 2012

The bioavailability revolution

This month we are taking a quick look at how nutritional research is providing new and better ways to deliver essential vitamins and minerals to the body.

Many of us know that the human body, when given the right environment, foods and nutrients has an amazing ability to repair itself and return to a normal and healthy state. Some of the great advances in natural health products in recent years have been in improving how we deliver essential nutrients and minerals in an effective way so we can really make use of them. This is known as making the ingredients more Bioavailable. However this can be more difficult than you might think.

The ideal situation is to get as many of our essential nutrients as possible from our food, as food offers the best bioavailability. Unfortunately this has become more difficult over the last 100 years or so due to many factors such as the depletion of nutrients from our soils and modern farming and food processing techniques, as the following graph shows:

The following graph shows dietary deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals in the US population.

What to look for in a nutritional supplement

Here are some key things to be aware of when choosing from the bewildering array of Mineral and Vitamin supplements on the market today.

  • Solubility: Did you know that 54% of the leading Mineral and Vitamin supplements on the market today do not even dissolve in your stomach?
  • Balance: Our bodies are incredibly complex and a deficiency in one nutrient has been shown to interfere with the absorption and/or metabolism of other nutrients. A chain reaction can result in multiple deficiencies, so taking just one mineral or vitamin is not likely to bring things back to normal. Nutritional supplements are often used to compensate for lifestyles which result in a deficiency of one or two vitamins or minerals, but what is now being recognised is how much different nutrients depend on each other in order for the body to fully utilise them.
  • Completeness: 61% of vitamin and mineral supplements on the market today are single ingredient products which cannot possibly overcome multiple Vitamin / Mineral deficiencies, and 75% of the Multi Mineral – Vitamin formulations have less than 30 ingredients.
  • BioavailabilityWhereas the nutrients in your food have been prepared for you by nature’s own chelation and micronisation processes, the best Multi Mineral Vitamin companies need to devote a lot of their resources to studying and imitating Natures ways of delivering nutrients to improve the bioavailability of their products. Chelation involves wrapping minerals in organic molecules and binding them to proteins which the body finds easier to recognise and digest than the mineral on its own. Micronisation is the art of making the mineral particles small enough for the body to capture.

In the end many of the improvements in the bioavailability of natural health products are developed using nature a guide. Eating a healthy variety of food, including un-processed and organic food is your best primary source of essential nutrients. However, due to the lower nutritional density of today’s foods, supplementing your diet with a premium Multi Mineral Vitamin formula that delivers completeness, balance and bioavailability is both an effective and convenient way to ensure that your body is receiving an adequate or even an abundant supply of essential nutrients, and may also help to resolve any known or unknown nutritional deficiencies.