Do food supplements work? My first experience

I have a deep-seated belief that there is something available on this planet that will cure any ailment and any disease. So when answering the question:  Do food supplements work?  I have an underlying belief that nutrition or natural remedy will come up with a cure.

If our lifestyles or environments or, in my case, our diets choose to throw something at us. There are herbs, minerals, compounds, flora, lichens, mushrooms or other parts of this fabulous world that will make it better.  Where did I get this idea from? How did it develop?

Mum’s influence

Well I have written about the influence that my Mum has had on shaping how I feel about health and nutrition. It no doubt helps to have a mother who is expert enough to know how the body works and how plants work. Who can tell you about why a reducing rain forest will have an adverse effect on eco systems much further away. And why (back in the 1970s and 80s) we shouldn’t be using aerosol cans.

I grew up being taken not only to supermarkets to shop but also into not so mainstream health food shops. Warehouses, stacking food stuffs and vitamins and supplements on, what seemed to be, home-made wooden shelves. Nuts, seeds, oats all in huge bags just like any other cash and carry.

But the only difference, I was told, was that it was good for me unlike red meat and processed food such as ready meals. Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t always eat unprocessed food or were constantly being fed steamed vegetables at home.

One thing about my Mum, she very rarely preached to anyone and would only give an opinion if asked. However, if you did ask, look out because the answer came with a text book exhaustiveness and an authority that some people couldn’t handle. Particularly around the dinner tables of my folk’s dinner parties… particularly if a perfect beef wellington had just been served by the hosts.

My reaction then to Do food supplements work?

But was I bothered by all of this? Not really, as a teenager, I could give 2 hoots about what the future held. I was only interested in one thing… not that…sport (THAT came much later!). As long as I was playing one of the sports I loved and was good at, I was happy.

Fact is I was pretty good at many sports so I was enjoying the practice as much as the games. I was never a rebellious teenager (even if some might disagree) because we (that is the teams I played for) very rarely lost at anything. Rugby, football, cricket, basketball, athletics (sometimes) etc.  So no need to be angst, all was good:)

And therefore eating for England as well as dreaming about playing for England was all part of the scene. And boy did my Mum produce large amounts of grub. Mostly freshly cooked and always balanced and nutritious.

But it didn’t mean that we never saw sight of a steak & kidney pie or fish and chips because we did. However, if you have ever been the kid that was sent to school with a lunch box made up of cold baked beans, chunks of cheddar cheese and ham.

Then you will know that healthy eating (even 70s style) made you look a bit weird in most other people’s eyes.

My first real thoughts on nutrition

However, I digress. I admit that nutrition did not get very far up my agenda or priority list until something a bit traumatic happened.

Back in the day, I managed to get away with wearing no contact lenses whilst playing rugby (or gum shield). But after I ran smack into my own full-back under a high ball and broke my jaw in 3 places, this stopped.

It was a bit scary, my jaws got wired together, my face swelled to the size of a football. Wire cutters were placed at the head of my bed in case I was sick in the night!

My mother cried as soon as she saw me….everyone cried as soon as they saw me!  Only I didn’t know why until I was getting dressed on the morning that I was leaving hospital and looked in the mirror….and then I cried too!

However, I found out later that my mother was upset not only because of the way I looked but also because her brother, my Uncle John, had also broken his jaw playing rugby aged 20. He ended up losing over 2 stone in weight, had to drop out of Uni and spent several years recovering. She therefore set out to make sure that the same didn’t happen to me.

So what happened?

I ended up finding out first hand and several years ahead of schedule, how powerful turning your food into liquid can be. Add to that liquid the expertise my Mum had in nutrition and I ended up putting on weight over the 8 weeks that I spent with my jaws wired together.  Everyone was amazed.

I saw at first hand how effective adding vitamins and minerals to your diet can be. I was only able to take food through a straw and had I not had 3 teeth knocked out, my teeth would have been removed to prevent choking if I became sick or vomited.

Had I not had such help with my diet, I would have struggled to maintain weight and get the right nutrition so I could make an easy transition back to health and fitness. I was able to play in top rugby tournaments within 8-10 weeks after having my jaws unwired and never looked back.

Of course, it had nothing to do with my doctor also recommending that I have a bottle of Guinness every day, something that at 15 years old, I embraced with enthusiasm!

Who else thinks vitamins and supplements work?

Well there are quite a lot of people out there that must think that vitamins and supplements work because it’s a huge industry. In the UK it is estimated that up to £900million is spent on vitamins and supplements each year.

On a per capita basis, that isn’t a lot, because in the UK we don’t spend a huge amount per capita on these products. To find bigger per capita spends you need to look at countries that have higher cost on entry to medical advice that we have in the UK.

Because we have the NHS we are not as focused on preventative medicine or alternative medicine than countries with higher cost entry levels such as Ireland, Australia and the USA. The United States accounts for 25% of the global market for vitamins and supplements.

How big is this market?

Well currently it is estimated at US$40 billion worldwide and that is set to increase to US$90 billion within the next five years.

What other proof is there?

You need to look no further than the front of the Sense packs to see the results of several clinical trials. In order by law to put on the packet any “claims” about what each product can do, the claim needs to be approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).  EFSA will have approved one or more clinical trials relating to the specific ingredients that sense* uses. So each claim that sense* makes is backed by clinical trials approved by EFSA. Those claims are then referenced to individual ingredients and the level of those ingredients.

However, not only does sense* use ingredients backed by EFSA approved claims and clinical trials, sense* uses herbal and botanical ingredients that are renowned for many years, if not generations, to have properties relevant to the target problem in question.

We also include minerals and amino acids, so basically all the micro-nutrient groups as well as the herbals/botanicals. We take a holistic view when designing formulations so not only do you get the best quality of ingredients but also the full range of the ingredients that the body needs for the relevant issue that the product targets.

And tell me again why do we need food supplements?

There are 5 killer reasons why you should take supplements and choose sense*. For the full story on whether you should be taking food supplements, read this previous Article shown here. But here is a sneak preview of those 5 killer reasons. Plus a sixth reason for you to get your head around, the Nutrition Gap.

The 5 killer reasons why to take supplements:

1. Your food simply doesn’t give you all the nutrients you need

2. You need extra nutrients to process toxins you voluntarily take in

3. You need extra nutrients to process toxins from pesticides and the environment

4. Expertly formulated food supplements provide holistic solutions

5. Having the right food supplement will make you feel good and ultimately, look good too. In your handbag or kitchen or bathroom cabinet. Whatever lifestyle choices you make.

PLUS the 6th reason: the Nutrition Gap

No-one has really come up with why we all get ill every winter. Why niggling colds and flu cannot be shaken quickly. Why some people never take a sick day from work and others are always away.  All very relevant now in the time of COVID-19.

At sense* we believe it is due to the Nutrition Gap. The gap between the nutrition we take in and what we actually need. The “take in” from our food and supplements and what we need to optimise the performance of our body’s organs and tissues.

So we look and feel good all the time. So our immune system is working properly and we don’t constantly get sick.

If you have a zero Nutrition Gap, you will not get ill. You will have great skin, hair and nails plus your smile will reveal healthy teeth and gums.

But this doesn’t happen if you have a Nutrition Gap that is more than 10% of the total nutrients needed to optimise you and your lifestyle.

When does the Nutrition Gap get bigger?

No surprises to hear that the Nutrition Gap is biggest when you eat processed food.  And when you punish your body by introducing toxins.

The former means your nutrient count is very low compared to eating fresh fruit and vegetables. So the Nutrition Gap obviously widens.

However even if you eat the best diet for nutrients that you can get your hands on.  If you fill your body with toxins the whole time, the nutrients that you do take in get depleted faster.  Why? Because they are being used up quicker processing those toxins.

Everything from the obvious, like drinking or smoking, to breathing in toxic air living in a big city.  Or the pesticides or detergents on food, to everyday lotions or creams. If you are not taking care of what goes into your body, the Nutrition Gap will get bigger.

So get with the program, get healthy and close the Nutrition Gap. By only putting into your body the best quality food and top this up with the best quality nutritional supplements.  Read more about the Nutrition Gap here.

Sense* lifestyle product range can be seen on our website and has been in retailers such as Boots, Wholefoods Market and Revital.