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Supplement Q&A - Ask the right questions

Re-examining your nutritional and health issues begins by asking the right questions. As an example, here are eight questions sent to me by Kim Morrison of "Creative Wellbeing Ltd". Kim is an author along with Fleur Whelligan of "Like Chocolate for Women" and "Like An Apple A Day" and is dedicated to increasing awareness of health and vitality for women. Recently, I spoke to Kim's 100% Embody group about optimum nutrition and answered her questions using Nütressence as an example. These are great questions and can be used to evaluate any supplement.

Question 1: What are essential vitamins and minerals?

Essential nutrients are those that must be supplied in the diet to maintain health and life.
VITAMINS - Vitamins are natural substances essential for specific health promoting functions in the body. Cells cannot make them from readily available building blocks. The body can make Vitamin A and niacin if specific nutrients called pro-vitamins are provided in the diet. Friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract produce Vitamin K, biotin, folacin and B12. Upon exposure to sunlight, Vitamin D is made in the skin from a type of cholesterol, however, in winter dietary sources are required to provide adequate amounts.The term vitamin was coined in the early 1900's and means "accessory food factors essential for life" these are further classified as the fat soluble (A,D E and K) and the water soluble (B-complex and C ).

MINERALS - Minerals make up about 4 to 5% of bodyweight and are classified as macrominerals - those required in amounts over 100mg/day, and microminerals - (trace minerals) - those required in tiny amounts. Half the requirement is calcium and a quarter is phosphorus. The five other macrominerals are magnesium, sodium, chloride, potassium and sulphur. The 14 microminerals are selenium, copper, chromium, iron, zinc, iodide, manganese, fluoride, molybdenum, cobalt, tin, nickel, vanadium and silicon. All their functions have not been defined but they are essential for health. Minerals have many roles. They regulate enzyme activity, maintain acid-base balance, nerve and muscle function. They are structural components of many tissues, and are involved with growth and immune processes.

Question 2: What diseases do each of them prevent if you take the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance)?

When you understand the body is not just a machine, then regarding vitamins and minerals in a "cause and effect" fashion is too simple. Scientists discovered vitamins through chance finding of individuals with severe deficiency symptoms that were alleviated by "vital amines". The classic tale of English sailors or "limeys" who suffered from scurvy until it was found eating limes (Vitamin C) prevented the disease illustrates this point. Writing a list of the symptoms of ill health prevented by RDA intake of various vitamins and minerals can be found in the National Research Councils 273 page book "Recommended Dietary Allowances" which you can find at for about $20.00 used price, plus shipping. Further, we are seeking "optimum" levels to promote health and well-being rather than targeting dosages designed to prevent deficiency disease.

Question 3: Why have you chosen these vitamins and minerals for Nutressence?

When this project began, the idea was to formulate a supplement that closely matched the deficiencies arising from 3 main areas:

1. The way food is grown in heavily fertilised and sterile soil, then processed and stored in packages that allow air, moisture and light to enter. Any processing of foods using heat, pressure or water destroys a percentage of the antioxidant vitamins.

2. Modern eating habits:

  • Highly processed fast foods have plenty of energy as calories but are lacking in vitamin and mineral density.
  • Convenience has become as important as nutritional value in many homes and the percentage of heavily processed food grows steadily. Beware you don't sacrifice too   much nutritional value for the sake of convenience.
  • Fruit and vegetables must be free of insect damage and blemishes or people will not purchase them. Invisible herbicide and pesticide consumption is the result of being more concerned with appearance than nutritional value.

3. Stress:

  • Stress of any kind increases the need for many vitamins and minerals, especially the essential antioxidant nutrients which are stress fighters.
  • There are other vitamins and minerals we would consider adding to Nutressence. Unfortunately, some ingredients react negatively with one another and the entire supplement may suffer loss of potency and efficacy. We pay very close attention to the integrity of the mix so the full benefits are there when the consumer opens each sachet.

Question 4: What are the optimum levels for each essential vitamin and mineral?

A great deal of research still needs to be done to discover the optimum dosage for each essential vitamin and mineral. There is little incentive for companies to research and utilise optimum levels because most consumers look for the specific ingredients they want, not understanding the importance of the dose or combination. Wherever possible, we use the scientific literature to tell us the threshold and optimum levels of the ingredients in Nutressence. Threshold is reached when the body starts to eliminate any essential vitamin or mineral. (Vitamin C for example reaches dose threshold at 200 to 250mg and then is rapidly eliminated). In many cases, going beyond threshold is entering the realm of pharmacology. If these dynamics are not clearly determined, we stay well below any reported unsafe levels and research the scientific literature for a consensus on the dosages working best in human and animal studies.

Question 5: Do you recommend taking Evening Primrose oil and fish oils in combination with Nutressence so we get our Essential Fatty Acids as well?

Optimum levels of essential fatty acids can be easily achieved by altering your eating habits. If you still wish to supplement fish or Evening Primrose oils they work well with Nutressence.

Question 6: Can you double the dose of Nutressence each day if you feel a cold coming on or run down and needing a lift?

Yes, but the whole idea of supplementation is prevention, not cure. Vitamin and mineral supplements work slowly, building up optimum reserves to help achieve optimum health. Illness can come to all of us throughout life regardless of diet or lifestyle. Vitamins and minerals can help fight or prevent illness but they only "cure" deficiency diseases.

Question 7: Is it OK to take Nutressence in water, yoghurt or orange juice?

It would be splitting hairs to pick one but I would choose yoghurt because the fat content helps the antioxidants reach the bloodstream and it is such a healthy food on its own. On the other hand, the slight acidity in juice aids in mineral absorption. How about yoghurt with fruit in it! That would be just perfect and taste great too.

Question 8: What time of day should we take Nutressence for optimum effect?

Research is divided on this one, but I prefer to take it when I have a few moments to relax and meditate on doing something special for myself and for my future health. A little stretching and yoga to greet the sun and then my Nutressence with yoghurt and muesli is perfect.

Dr. Kathrine Davis

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