NUTRITION IN HEALTH AND WELLNESS - MEETING OPTMUM INTAKES

Can we improve nutrient intake to adequate levels for health protection and health promotion?
The answer to this question is, yes we can, but not through the food we eat alone. There is a need for a better understanding of the possibility of nutritional supplements as a potential and most viable option to met  our nutrient requirements for health protection, health promotion and wellness.

Adequate Nutrient Intake: The Argument

From the previous section, we noted that there is a link between certain nutrients contained in the food we eat and some chronic noncommunicable  diseases and that nutrient adequacy, deficiency or imbalance plays a role to that effect, and current challenge is mainly with nutrient deficiencies. Addressing this challenge requires interventions by way of the three intervention approaches mentioned above.
​Considering the intake of appropriate and adequate dietary food groups, to meet the nutrient requirements is likely to be a big challenge and unachievable as noted from the previous sections that the current food sources grown from agricultural lands with depleted nutrients especially micronutrients also lack the micronutrients necessary for health protection and health promotion. This view is well articulated by Worldwatch Institute (2016), pointing out that research scientists have indicated that "Today’s food produces 10 to 25 percent less iron, zinc, protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other nutrients, the studies show", and noting that "researchers from Washington State University who analyzed 63 spring wheat cultivars grown between 1842 and 2003 found an 11 percent decline in iron content, a 16 percent decline in copper, a 25 percent decline in zinc, and a 50 percent decline in selenium".
Turning on to food fortification as an option, economically, producers are likely to increase food prices thus making it unaffordable and creating more nutrient inadequacies; fortified foods may not reach all markets or all people who need them; their may be issues of legislative challenges, and there might be safety and technological challenges - how much of the nutrients do we add into the feed whereby the challenge could be that of excess to groups who do not need additional micronutrients, and also the issue of which fortificant(s)  are most appropriate for specified foods? etc. (Klarke, 1995) .
Finally, considering nutritional supplements option, it appears a more viable intervention approach compared to the other two options already described based on a couple of reasons. The most important strength of use of nutritional supplements for combating noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) is that, based on the health status or nutrients needs of an individual, it is possible to reasonably consider which target nutrients to take and also the desired quantities as well as the choice of the regiment, which is not quite feasible with the other two options. In support of the view point of nutritional supplements as the most viable option for combating NCDs, I draw upon compelling facts raised by Strand (2002), indicating that with regards to oxidative stress - an imbalance between free radicals and neutralizing antioxidants, a state associated with degenerative pathophysiological condition of the body leading to NCDs - use of the so-called recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) or dietary reference intakes (DRIs) is ineffective against NCDs as our bodies require much higher levels of most nutrients than the specified RDAs or DRIs before realization of the health benefits. To clarify that further, Strand (2002), notes that considering food patterns or intake of nutrients through ingestion of various food groups, or even fortified foods, we would need to consume the quantities specified in the examples provided in table 1 below, to achieve optimum levels of nutrients in our body. From the table below, it is quite clear that it is no doubt a great challenge if not practically impossible to achieve the optimum nutrient levels through food consumption, and therefore the need for nutrient supplements. For more, on health protection, health promotion and wellness nutritional supplements, the  most frequently asked questions include the following: Do I really need supplements? Where can I find sound information about nutritional supplements and natural health protection, promotion and wellness products? Where can I get quality nutritional supplements, natural health protection, promotion and wellness products? etc., and these issues will be dealt with on my blog and the next pages on this website.





References

Klarke, R. (1995). Annex 4 – Micronutrient fortification of food: Technology and quality control. FAO Technical consultation on food fortification technology and quality control. Available from: http://www.fao.org/docrep/W2840E/w2840e0b.htm

Strand, R.D. (2002) What your doctor doesn't know about nutritional medicine may be killing you. Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville

WorldWatch Institute (2016). Crop Yields Expand but Nutrition is Left Behind. WWI - Vision for Sustainable World. Available from: http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5339 .


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