Do I really need to take nutritional supplements?

By Steve Wood

Thursday, April 15, 2010


It seems like common sense that we should all be eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, but common sense or not, researchers want data from well-conducted studies on which to base their conclusions. This is why the findings of several recent studies are so important. One such study, known as the EPIC study (2007), followed dietary and lifestyle factors of more than 41,000 individuals. After seven years of gathering data, researchers made the conclusion: high intakes of fruit and vegetables are associated with reduced mortality. The researchers went on to explain that the benefits of fruits and vegetables are likely due to their antioxidant content.


Whether you view a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as ‘common sense’ or ‘scientific fact,’ very few people are actually eating the foods they know they should. In 2008, the Center for Disease Control reported the changes of fruit and vegetable consumption in the United States from 1994 to 2005 (BRFSS). More than 1.2 million people participated in the survey; the results showed that over the course of the nine years analyzed, fruit and vegetable consumption decreased by 0.22 servings per day. A decrease of 0.22 servings might not sound bad to you, but Americans weren’t exactly consuming copious amounts of produce to begin with. Another study based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) reported that less than 11% of the nearly 24,000 Americans surveyed achieved USDA guidelines for both fruit and vegetable consumption, which means nine out of 10 people do not consume the recommended two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables each day. In fact, two out of three people reported that they consumed less than one serving of fruit per day—and that included orange juice as a serving of fruit! A shocking 25% of participants reported that they ate no servings of vegetables per day (Casagrande 2007). Despite huge investments in government programs like the 5 a Day program, recommendations simply aren’t translating into dietary habits.


Our widespread failure to achieve optimal nutrient intake does not mean we ought to abandon all efforts to improve our diets; Pharmanex believes this trend can be changed and has instituted the Pharmanex BioPhotonic Scanner program, designed specifically to encourage people to consume more fruits and vegetables and less fat, and to encourage them to exercise regularl and to take a high quality nutritional supplement. The scanner also provides a scientifically valid measurement of overall in vivo antioxidant status, and correlates with multiple parameters associated with good health. The ability of the scanner to motivate individuals to compliance of healthy lifestyles—and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables—is truly a valuable tool.


Supplements should not replace a healthy diet; however, a properly formulated nutritional supplement delivers an important and measurable benefit to human nutrition and health. It is interesting to note that the Healthcare Professionals Impact Study (2009) found that 72% of physicians and 89% of nurses used dietary supplements regularly, and a similar 79% of physicians and 82% of nurses recommend the use of supplements to their patients.


Clearly, there is a gap between what we consume and what is optimal. So use the BioPhotonic Scanner to find out how you are doing with your personal nutrient consumption. If your score isn’t in the optimal range, take a well-formulated nutritional supplement. As a nutritionist, I frequently hear the media distort the findings of studies conducted on single nutrients. It’s important to realize that the study of one, two, or three antioxidants alone, or in combination, simply does not compare to advanced formulations like LifePak Nano―containing over 60 of the best known antioxidants in nature—delivered at levels found in a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Not only did Pharmanex scientists formulate LifePak Nano to include nutrients in amounts and varieties as you would find in a well balanced diet―we also indentified nutrients known to be poorly absorbed and then enhanced their absorption through nanotechnology. Furthermore, LifePak Nano includes impressive levels of the important omega-3 fatty acids: EPA, and DHA.


Nutrients from fruits and vegetables work synergistically in the body; therefore, a supplement should be formulated with the synergistic nutrient interactions that mimic the antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. Don’t just supplement; supplement right.