Even in the 21st century, some 80% of the population of the planet uses plant-based medicine. Indigenous people around the world rely on plants and herbs rather than drugs and surgery for coping with basic health problems. Now people everywhere are learning the value of health supplements including herbs. Animals have evolved to lose the ability to make certain nutrients because the nutrients were readily available in the local natural food sources. Leopards, for instance, eat the liver of their prey and benefit from the vitamins, especially vitamin A found there. Humans are dependent on what we ingest to give us the vital nutrients we need for our bodies.
Mild Nutritional Deficiencies are Common
Unfortunately, Westerners in particular consume lots of processed foods, hydrogenated fats, trans fats, and artificial colors and flavors. And we don’t eat enough leafy greens and fish. Add to this our lack of exercise and environmental pollution, and it’s no wonder that so many Western diets, while rich in calories, may be deficient in nutrients. As long ago as 1937 studies were done in the U.S. that found that soils in many parts of the country were deficient in several key minerals.
Supplements Help on a Cellular Level
Our overall well-being depends on a balance of nutrients, as well as the intake of antioxidants to fight harmful free radicals that are in our bodies. Illness can and does occur due to dietary deficiencies such as deficiencies of antioxidants. Health supplements are often used to make up the differences from what we don’t get in our diet. Filling the voids in our diet gives our bodies what they need to be as healthy as possible on a cellular level.
Though natural substances used to be studied in pharmacy schools, the emphasis in recent decades has shifted from natural products to synthetic drugs. While synthesized drugs have many life-saving benefits, and can be easily standardized, there can be problems with increased toxicity and unpleasant side effects. While herbal supplements can have side effects, they are usually much less pronounced than those from conventional drugs. Doctors, pharmacists, and nurse practitioners are now learning ways that supplementation can be a part of a healthy lifestyle. While drugs are available to treat most every known ailment, it is often the case that alternatives are available in the form of health supplements, and they can be used inexpensively, and with fewer and less dangerous side effects.
By Heather Hemmings Author and webmaster
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