Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Why We Need to Supplement Our Diet
The human body manufactures about 100,000 different chemicals. There are about 90 essential nutrients that the body does not make and must be consumed. Under certain conditions such as disease states the non-essential nutrients may become essential. These essential nutrients supply the body with enzymes and co-factors which run most of our biochemical pathways in the body. These nutrients include vitamin, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids, and specific plant compounds. The following contribute to nutritionally related diseases:
Deficiency disease states result from not consuming enough of a specific nutrient to prevent a nutrient dependent disease. This would include "scurvy" from a vitamin C deficiency, "beri beri" lack of thiamine (B1), and protein/calorie malnutrition as seen in starvation we see in third world countries called "kwashiorkor".
This results in diseases not only from nutritional deficiencies, but also the opverconsumption of too much saturated fat, sugar, alcohol, and white refined products. These disorders can manifest themselves as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, hypertension, osteoporosis, arthrtitis, etc.
This refers to poor nutrition which does not meet the unique demands of our genes resulting in poor function and disease. The way our genes express themselves in health or disease is mostly influenced by our environment (lifestyle, diet, exercise, stress) according to The Human Genome Project. Research is showing that genes can be turned on and off like a switch depending on what we do to them. We are all biochemically unique and require different levels of nutirents for optimal functioning. This new field of nutrition is called Nutrigenomics which is the study of the interaction of diet and genes.