There is quite a bit to know about all natural health supplements. Because we can’t always get the nutrients we need through diet, supplements often play a vital role in ensuring health and well-being. However, not all supplements are the same -- particularly when it comes to one major difference: whether they’re synthetic or natural.
Wondering how to sort fact from fiction when it comes to which supplements are right for you? Let’s take a closer look at the many benefits of all natural health supplements, along with tips for choosing the best ones for your individual needs.
Dietary supplements can aid in addressing a breadth and depth of physical and mental health concerns, including everything from obesity to organ malfunction. However, because some supplements are derived directly from naturally occurring plant and mineral sources, they don’t introduce anything foreign or toxic to the body. Instead, they’re used by the body with ideal “functional and nutritional integrity,” according to a report from the Organic Consumers Association.
The effectiveness of all natural health supplements is further enhanced by the fact that they may also contain essential trace minerals -- compared to synthetic supplements, which force the body to deplete and replace its own nutritional reserves.
And while synthetic supplements may only have a brief history attesting to their safety and effectiveness, many naturally occurring supplements have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years.
Rather than originating from their natural sources, synthetic supplements are manufactured by scientists inside a laboratory. As a result, trusting them with your health and wellness is a very different scenario. Why? Because synthetic supplements can only mimic the way naturally occurring components work in the body. In fact, some synthetic supplements may be as much as 70 percent less biologically active than their all natural alternatives.
Not only that, but synthetic supplements are also isolated from each other, meaning they fail to add up to a complete natural benefit. The body’s innate intelligence can recognize these imposters and reject them. According to leading food and chemical allergy researcher Theron Randolph, MD, "A synthetically-derived substance may cause a reaction in a chemically susceptible person when the same material of natural origin is tolerated, despite the two substances having identical chemical structures. The point is illustrated by the frequency of clinical reactions to synthetic vitamins - especially vitamin B1 and [vitamin] C when the [same] naturally-occurring vitamins are tolerated."
In other words, synthetic supplement users aren’t just failing to receive the benefits they’d find in all natural health supplements, but they may also be compromising their immune systems and making themselves less healthy in the process.
Some quick and simple tips for identifying potentially harmful dietary supplements? Check product labels for ingredients with “dl” in the prefix, as well as words containing “ate” and “ide” -- all of which indicate the presence of synthetic ingredients.
While general knowledge once held that anything man-made bettered anything the earth could provide, we now know that natural trumps chemical when it comes to protecting the body from a host of hazards, including everything from additives and preservatives to excipients and flavorings.
However, not all products labeled as “natural” truly make good on that promise. In fact, due to the lack of regulations, some supplements can be marketed as “natural” even if they contain a mere 10 percent of naturally occurring substances. The Organic Consumers Association stands so firmly in opposition to this practice that it has proposed a new standard for nutritional supplements through which the food industry would subscribe to a more rigorous “Naturally Occurring Standard” (NOS).
So how do you find the best supplements? While word-of-mouth can be effective, there’s no substitute for conducting your own research. FDA.gov, USP.org, ConsumerReports.org, and MedlinePlus.gov are great starting points. Whey protein, choline, omega 3, and arginine are just a few of the many herbal supplements widely recognized for helping the body perform at optimal levels.
There’s no denying that a whole, plant-based diet combined with exercise is an essential part of maximizing wellness. However, sometimes a little extra help is needed on the path toward reaching your health and fitness goals. And while synthetic vitamins may actually impede your efforts, all natural health supplements offer a powerful partnership in complementing your healthy lifestyle while simultaneously playing a major role in safeguarding both your body and the environment.
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