Understanding Vitamins and Supplements
What Are Supplements?
When you think of supplements do you think of vitamins or minerals?
If you think of supplementing your income, don't you think of adding to it? Well, the same applies to nutrition and supplements, supplements are adding to your existing diet, which in most cases is pretty bad.
Nutritional Needs For Good Health
Nutrition is a big part of good health. Of course exercise and lifestyle also play important roles in a persons health, but nutrition is at the core of overall good health.
Your body has basic nutritional needs and then each of us has our own individual nutritional needs. Food is always your primary source of nutrition, but even eating right doesn't mean you are eating good. The nutritional value of food has slowly declined over the years. Chemical companies have advanced their agenda for increasing pesticide usage in farming, and probiotics and hormones in cattle and poultry. The importing of fruits and vegetables has become a popular trade, which causes foreign growers to harvest unripened crops for shipping and who knows how long these imports sit on loading docks before they hit the grocers shelves.
There are some of the factors that has created a decline in the nutritional value of foods that were once considered staples of good nutrition. This is why the demand for supplements has increased, and rightfully so given the attack on our most basic food groups.
Supplements for Individual Needs
Each person needs certain basic supplements, but each person also has individual needs based on lifestyle, genetics, and diet.
There is no clear cut formula that applies to everyone. The government puts out guidelines for daily nutritional needs, but this too is just a guideline for the general public's use. The question is, how do you know what you need? You doctor can do a blood panel to see what deficiencies you may have, and a even more accurate test can be done with hair strands. The Internet also holds answers to these questions. You can enter your symptoms and search for which vitamins and/or minerals are associated with your particular deficiency. It would be prudent to check two or three sources to get a consensus on which supplement is needed.
One of the problems with this trial and error method is patience. People are just too quick to dismiss the ineffectiveness of supplements because they want immediate results. Supplements don't work like drugs, they require more time to metabolize and work they way into your blood stream. The healing process takes a little more time than drug treatments; this is why drugs are used to treat, not heal.
Some companies cut corners, when it comes to the manufacturing of supplements. They may also add fillers and other non-essential ingredients to preserve shelf life. To avoid buying supplements that are sold this way, you may have to do some homework to find out which manufactures don't cut corners and will benefit you the most. This time will be well spent, because you not only know that you are getting a quality supplement, but you will be getting an education that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
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Choosing The Right Supplements
We've already discussed the reasons why supplements are in such demand these days. If you are fortunate enough to be able to afford organic food, then your need for supplements might not be as great as others, but we would venture to say that most people don't have access to organic groceries or it's just to costly.
Quality is determined by ingredients and processing. At the top of the quality chain you have live food supplements. Garden of Life is one of the top manufactures in this category. Garden of Life has their own fields where they grow organic ingredients, controlling the process from start to finish.
Non-Organic or Synthetic ingredients is what most supplements are made of. The key to finding a good manufacture is the process. Supplements that are made using a cold compress is better than ones made using a hot process. Burning vitamins, as they say, depletes some of the nutrients in this process and cheats the consumer of the benefits. This is a cheaper and faster process, the customer pays less, but they also get less benefits.
Vita-Logic is one company I personally use have been for several years now. I've called the company directly to ask questions about where the ingredients come from and inquired about their quality control process. I did this for two reasons: (1) to get a feel for their operation and knowledge. (2) to check out their customer service, and of course get some free samples.
Is Vita-Logic the only good supplement manufacturer in town? Of course not, but I feel confident that they do provide a quality product at a affordable price - you can do your own research too.
Buying Supplements Online
Buying supplements online is a very good way to buy supplements at a good price. In many cases you can the supplements you want cheaper, because online companies don't have the expenses that a traditional store has. They also have a faster turnover which contributes to lower prices.
The biggest downside to buying online is the wait. It can take several days before you get your order.
There's one other thing, when buying supplements you need to check expiration dates. Some supplements don't move as fast as others and you could get shipped expired bottles. This can happen anywhere, but online stores seem to have this problem a bit more often compared to local retailers. This is frustrating because of the back and forth shipping with online orders. And don't forget, just because a product is past its expiration date doesn't mean it's not good. Many supplements can go months past their expiration date before they lose potency - this is something to consider before pulling your hair out over expired supplements.