Dr Giles Yeo hosted a documentary on supplements on BBC2 recently and I was genuinely looking forward to watching it, even though the likelihood was, there would be some fairly negative reporting on the need for supplemental vitamins and minerals.
Facts: We spend £400million per year on supplements in the UK, with Vitabiotics (including Well Man and Well Woman) being the biggest with annual sales of £300million. Globally we spend £100billion on supplements. 50% of us have taken supplements at some point in our lives.
Five a Day: One of the biggest incentives for taking supplements is our apparent inability to consume our “5 a day”, with only 25% of us achieving this guideline!
So far so good, but despite watching it twice I was left really disappointed with 2 aspects:
1. What Are These Supplements Made From? This was a documentary by a scientist about supplements – surely they would dissect and discuss the ingredients in these supplements and make comparisons with those found in food, but not a word! 99% of supplements, including every brand referred to in the programme are made from the same synthetic/chemical materials. No wonder they were considered ineffective!
2. What About Our Farm Soils? Not once did he mention our farm soil depletion. 25 years ago we were advised that European farm soils were 72% deplete of essential nutrients (85% in the US). It is estimated that 70% of us are Zinc deficient, 80% are magnesium deficient and over 80% of us are selenium deficient. Not one of these minerals was even mentioned. We really needs these minerals for our health and we are not getting them from our diet, even those 25% of us who eat “5 a day”!
Why is This Important?
It is fundamental to making fair comparisons between the health benefits of nutrients in food and nutrients in supplements. You have to compare like for like. The considerable primary benefit of our Foodstate nutrients is that they are identical in structure to food nutrients and this distinction is fundamental when making comparisons. Our foodstate antioxidants have genuine health benefits unlike those referred to in the programme, where high dose synthetic beta-carotene (vitamin A – an antioxidant) was shown to have toxic effects in the body – no surprise there!