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Juggling the facts

01 May 2013

What is in our food?

Fortification of foods has always been around. Milk, fruit juice and much of our food stuffs today are processed so adding to the nutritional content of modern foods is quite a normal practice. Two years ago, Dr Andrew Marshall, clinical leader of paediatrics at Wellington Hospital and spokesperson for the Paediatric Society of NZ (PSNZ) says that mandatory fortification would not be adding extra folate to our diet – it would just be replacing folate missing due to modern food manufacturing techniques. “The folate that we’re proposing to put into bread is actually folate that should be in our diet, and if our diets were more natural and less processed it would be there.”

Yay! Even the medics agree! Vital nutrition is being lost due to our ways of manufacture. Processed diets are requiring supplementation in order for us to remain well and indeed stave off possible disease or abnormalities. Our soil is deficient in vital minerals – fact! Which leads me to the next question, what supplements should we buy to avoid the deficit which is inevitable?

Many people grab their nutritional supplements in a supermarket. In the interests of finding the “best buy” meet Tom. Tom has a cold. So informed by best friend Sue, strongly advocated by Aunt Maddy, and backed up by Google he should take a certain Andrographis and Echinacea combination from their local supermarket located in aisle 4 so that he’s better for his next rugby game! “You will find it in between a fizzy B complex and some garlic pearls AND it’s on special this week”.

Firstly, I just want to commend Tom for going straight to aisle 4 rather than the next one along which contains “cold and flu” extra strength tablets giving symptomatic relief but will not help his immunity strengthen for next time. Well done Tom! Now let’s see if Tom really got such a good deal and lightly review the supplement suggested to him: Brand X: High-strength natural flu, fever and sore throat remedy that provides 1000mg of Echinacea (“world’s most popular cold & flu fighters…”) and 1350mg of Andrographis (“….helps to soothe sore throats and fevers”) and ginger 100mg (“…reduce fevers and inflammation…) Adults and Children over 12 years: Take 1 tablet 3 times daily with food in acute conditions.

Hmmm, that sounds quite decent. Nice words and it appears to be very high strength. Echinacea can cure most colds and this lesser known Andrographis sounds like the key to it all! Oh, and the ginger…Tom likes ginger in sushi. Sorted! However, where did this brand source the constituents from (is it free from pesticides?) and what amount of actives are there in the final product to work efficiently.

But now the cost. It costs $13.90 per bottle of 30 tablets (on special $11.90). Tom is pleased. Now compare MediHerbs Andrographis complex: “…provides support for and relief of the symptoms of colds, influenza …..aids digestion…liver tonic” Contains Echinacea (500mg) with 2 mg of alkylamides, Holy basil (500mg) and Andrographis (2000mg) with 50mg of andropholide.

Adults and Children over 12 years take: 1 tablet 2-4 times a day which can be increased to 6 tablets temporarily in acute conditions.

The second herbal formulation also tells you that it has 50mg of the active ingredient andropholide in each tablet and 2 mg of alkylamides from the Echinacea. Now I happen to know that Mediherb has a HUGE testing facility and very particular on what herbs are used in its formulations. It is created for maximum absorbability in our gut and highest purity. The research around each herbal and supplement is from the latest scientific clinical trials.

But at what cost? Yes, it will be more expensive… how could it not? $55.00 per bottle of 60 tablets. If you halve the amount to 30 tablets it becomes $27.50. OMG! thinks Tom when his lovely Herbalist presents him with it. Nearly double that of the supermarket brand (ouch!). But is it? The amount of active ingredient (certified, organic with known efficacy of therapeutic results) is also double!

I guess it depends on what you want or you get what you pay for. At DP Herbals the stock are all therapeutic brands that have been researched to bits! I would not stock them if I did not trust in their effectiveness or their safety. They have worked time and time again to the relief of those using them.

Lastly Christchurch, once more will soon be in the grip of nasty viruses with a resurgence of influenza. If you are worried about your immune system being low and need help in building it up then give me a ring or email. Don’t wait until you crash, keep yourself in running order and let DP Herbals be of “service”

Tags: Diet, Health, Supplements

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