Posted by Nutricentre, Dec 2010.
What I'm seeing with the information in this video, as well as some others is that taking just any supplement at any time of the day might just be a waste of money because you are not getting maximum benefit from it if any at all. It seems the most important things I've learned so far include avoiding the gigantic hard tablets, since they can incite sensitivity in the stomach, and learning what combination of nutrients best work together.
Stephen Terras comes from the US.
In the 1980's, there was a reluctance to associate health supplements with laboratories, but that view has now changed.
For any nutrient to work, countless processes in the body need to take place. The true effectiveness of supplements are therefore hard to measure, and it's difficult to claim that a supplement will have a predicted effect.
The environment in your body has many variables - genetics, age, lifestyle, stress, digestive capabilities. We have little control over genetics.
After a certain concentration, we don't necessarily see a co-relation to a nutrient working with higher effect.
There are other compounds in the body that must be present for other nutrients to be effectively absorbed. Likewise, there are nutrients in the body that compete with each other - applies particularly in the case of mineral nutrients. Technologies exist to make some supplement nutrients less able to compete with each other.
The term 'bioavailability' comes back - ie how much of the supplement is effectively converted in the body. Many B vitamins are completely useless to the body in their 'raw' state. The body has to convert them to an active form, but the body is notorious for not being able to convert nutrients efficiently.
Adding to supplements to make the supplements more conducive to working. One strategy is to add plant extracts, such as tumeric. Plant nutrients are highest when fresh picked or freeze-dried immediately after picking. Freeze drying with liquid nitrogen maintains the chemistry of the plant. It also makes the plant very brittle, and much easier to grind into a powder. The friction ordinarily used to grind plants to powder forms generates heat, and this destroys beneficial active enzymes. Other types of drying methods tend to destroy the enzymes in the plant that are the essential part for metabolic processes to take place. Therefore, a lot of supplements with plant extracts are theoretically of little use to us. 'Active ingredients' are rarely that. Mr. Terras speaks of working with a farmer in the US who grows crops very close to a supplement processing facility in order to maintain the freshest ingredients. Mr. Terras also recommends using plants that are closest in chemistry to the vitamin or mineral.
Calcium citrate - a more expensive form of calcium, cf calcium carbonate, which is cheaper. Calcium that cannot be used in the body - can increase plaque in veins and kidney stones. A magnesium deficiency can also precipitate calcium build up in the body.
Calcium uptake can be reduced from 50% to just 5% with low stomach acid. This is a problem for women looking to boost calcium intake in middle age, but who also are most likely to have lower stomach acid levels around this age. Low stomach acid generally makes it harder to break down large supplement tablets (re. my own experience of wretching shortly after ingesting a large multivitamin tablet in the morning as opposed to in the evening after dinner). Does this mean that you should therefore consider doubling your dose of supplement intake, or does it mean considering complementing calcium supplements with something like ginger, which raises stomach acidity?
The case of iron - it is a pro-oxidant, which is not a desirable property. But the body needs iron.
The case of Co-enzyme Q10, which I've come across being taken by a lot of M.E. sufferers:
CoQ10 produces a lot of peroxide radicals which can be very destructive. Thus enhance it with tocatrianols to counter the radicals. CoQ10 converts fats to energy. It is when energy is released that peroxides are produced. CoQ10 is a fat soluble nutrient - thus, it needs fats to be absorbed. Suggests therefore that CoQ10 supplements are best ingested with a main meal.
Vitamin E can also increase the stability of oil.
Briefly mentions binders and anti-caking agents added to supplements. This is in addition to issues such as using gelatine vs. plant-based ingredients in capsule coatings.