I very strongly believe that our bodies and their cells, require a plentiful supply of all the nutrients needed to grow, defend and recover, nutrients which we were designed to receive in our early existence, but which because of the stresses in today's work requiring more, and our poor dietary choices, and the quality and production of our soil and foods, we no longer receive.
Therefore it seems sensible to take a supplement as well as eating as well as we possibly can. This will provide all the nutrients we need, and any excess, if provided in a quality supplement, can be excreted.
On this page, I will review some of the supplements - which people may find confusing:
These are chemicals from plants (phyto is Greek for plant) Polyphenols, phytochemicals, flavanols, bioflavonoids etc are names which cause a lot of confusion.
The most studied class of phytochemicals are polyphenols because of their potential health benefits. There are numerous polyphenols (poly means many, phenols means benzene rings) which come from different plants and have different actions.
- Phenolic acids – blueberries, tea, cereal grains.
- Stilbenes – the best known of these as resveratrol found in red wine, it is quite poorly absorbed.
- Lignans are found in flaxseed which may have some oestrogenic properties.
- Flavonoids (also called bioflavonoids) are named for the yellow colour and are found in flowering plants and fruit and vegetables. Flavonoids cause the colour and taste of foods, and have an antioxidant effect on fat, vitamins and enzymes. Flavonoids are divided into 6 subclasses many of which have confusingly similar names:
- Flavonols – found in onions, curly kale, leeks, broccoli blueberries, red wine and tea. Its production stimulated by sunlight and so its highest concentration is in the outer parts of the plants.
- Flavones - are found in parsley and celery
- Flavanones - are found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, and plants such as mint.
- Isoflavones - these have a structure similar to oestrogen, and are often called phytoestrogens. Most are made from soy and soy products.
- Flavanols - these are found in green tea, chocolate, red wine, apricots and other fruit. Also in fruits such as grapes, peaches and berries, and also cause the bitterness of chocolate.
- Anthocyanins - . These are pigments creating the blue purple red and pink colours of 4 hours fruits and vegetables.
Many variables affect the amount of polyphenols found in food, including the degree or ripeness at harvest, the rainfall, the sun exposure, how they are stored and how they are cooked.The polyphenols are designed to protect plants from oxidation, toxins and damage, and by consuming them, we can achieve some of these benefits.
The still is quite a lot of scepticism in conventional medicine on their value when taken the supplements, although there is no debate that we should all be eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables on a regular basis. The difficulty is to obtain polyphenols that have been growing correctly, picked at the right time, not over processed or over cooked and are available all year round. For this reason a quality supplement which is well absorbed containing these products should also be beneficial, but does not replace the need for fresh fruit and vegetables as well.