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It is a reasonable question to ask, as there is much discussion lately about herbs and dietary supplements.
Today, with the hectic pace of life we lead, things have changed in a way that is not conducive to our health. Hard work under unfavorable conditions, stress, poor diet, increasingly sedentary lifestyles, and, why not, a healthcare system that is often perceived as hostile to citizens, along with the ongoing economic problems faced by all countries around the world (for various reasons), all pose high-risk factors for our health. Symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, lack of concentration, loss of appetite or binge eating, migraines, constipation, erectile dysfunction, and a complete lack of sexual desire serve as warning signs. Let's pay attention because our bodies are finely tuned machines that don't complain for no reason. Each of us can feel this. Let's not ignore the impending threat to our lives. Our bodies speak to us, and we need to learn to listen.
First and foremost, let's pay attention to our diet. It is paramount for maintaining good health. Processed foods, incorrect meal preparation even at home, and the raw materials used in our food, which are not necessarily of the best quality today (for example, most flours are refined), deprive us of the complex of B vitamins that are essential for our bodies. They also deprive us of the dietary fibers found in cereal bran, which our intestines eagerly await. Furthermore, the lack of truly fresh vegetables and fruits and the increased consumption of red meat and fatty foods lead us to a different philosophy. We need to find ways to improve our diet.
So, if our plates are lacking essential ingredients, as mentioned above, we must SUPPLEMENT these nutrients as much as possible. The answer to the question is self-evident: DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS ARE ESSENTIAL!!!
However, let's not get lost in the maze of what is necessary and what is not.
Indeed, if you visit your pharmacy to look for dietary supplements, you will encounter countless products that may confuse you. What should I take among all these? Which ones are truly necessary?
Here, you have your ally in your pharmacist, who is the specialist scientist to advise you accordingly. They have the knowledge to guide you correctly, mainly because they understand Biochemistry. They understand what happens in our bodies when we ingest food and the chemistry of each food item. More than the doctor, especially for the reasons mentioned, they are the specialists.
There are three essential substances that we need to take as supplements. Not thirteen, not a hundred and three. Vitamin C, Omega-3, and vitamin D. The first two on a daily basis, and the latter periodically.
Our bodies need 1-2 grams of vitamin C daily. Since humans do not synthesize this vitamin in their bodies, they need to get it ready-made from nature or supplements. It is nearly impossible to get 1 gram of vitamin C per day from nature. This becomes understandable when we learn that a fresh orange, for example, contains about 50 micrograms of vitamin C. So, we would need to eat 20 oranges to meet our daily need. The question is, can we eat 20 oranges every day? I think not. Therefore, we take a dietary supplement that has an appropriate amount of vitamin C.
Omega-3s are also essential on a daily basis. We cannot get 2-3 grams per day, which is the necessary daily dose, simply by consuming fish, as we would need to eat 12-14 servings per week, which is impossible. Therefore, the second supplement we should purchase is Omega-3. Pay attention here because the oil from fish containing Omega-3 also contains heavy metals that can be harmful if ingested. Look for the label of the product you choose to read the phrase "MOLECULARLY DISTILLED." Molecular distillation removes heavy metals from fish oil, such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and other toxins. It is also good to prefer an Omega-3 supplement made from small fatty fish, such as sardines and anchovies, which do not go to the seabed where heavy metals accumulate.
Now, vitamin D. Strangely, if one reads any relevant study, it is easy to understand that most Greeks have a deficiency in this very important vitamin. Consult your endocrinologist to confirm this. With normal values ranging from 30-100 ng/ml, most of us will have levels between 15 and 20. The same applies to Italians and Spaniards. These are countries with ample sunlight. Why does this happen?
Because we are not eating properly!
Vitamin D does not exist in nature. There is 'pre-vitamin' D, or more precisely D3 or cholecalciferol, which is converted into vitamin D within our bodies through exposure to ultraviolet sunlight. It's not enough to simply ingest vitamin D; we need to get out in the sun. Just 3-4 twenty-minute sessions per week (even with our arms exposed) when the sun is directly overhead are sufficient for our bodies to synthesize the required amount of vitamin D. That's why we need a vitamin D supplement, especially in the autumn and winter. Be sure to choose a supplement that contains 4000-5000 units of vitamin D3, as otherwise, we won't get enough.
So, we have demonstrated that dietary supplements are ESSENTIAL for the proper functioning of our bodies.
In addition to these three essential dietary supplements, there is something else that we need. However, this 'something' requires reading and research. It's a 'companion' that takes care of us daily in terms of our endurance as human beings. It helps us withstand the challenges we face. I am referring to certain substances known as IMMUNE BOOSTERS. These are natural substances that keep our Immune System, the defense mechanism of our body, in excellent condition. This way, our bodies can effectively combat any threat to our health, whether it's a microbe, virus, toxic substance, parasite, or something else. Here, I believe it would be unfair not to mention Ganoderma. Read about it yourselves and choose this 'something' to strengthen your immune system. IT IS NECESSARY!
Alongside these ESSENTIALS that I have described above, there are many products that cater to individual healthcare needs. There are therapeutic products with very positive results. Trust them, and remember that drugs originate from herbs, which have few or minimal side effects, while drugs have many undesirable effects, cleverly hidden from us by the pharmaceutical industry!
Gerassimos Tsiolis, PhD in Biochemistry
University of Bologna, Italy