Supplements are fuel for the body

Supplements are fuel for the body – nutritional supplements

Derrick Lonsdale

Supplements Are Fuel for the Body

Your body needs the proper fuel in order to function at maximum capability. You can prevent mental malnutrition with nutritional supplements.

Have you ever seen a doctor about anxiety or stress only to return home more distraught because he implied your problem was “all in your head.”?

Hundreds of thousands of people suffer symptoms classified simply as “nerves” or “stress.” Doctors routinely prescribe drugs, usually tranquilizers, for these patients. And although U.S. drug manufacturers are cashing in to the tune of billions of dollars annually, the patient, in the end, is often no better off.

Individuals who suffer from nerve-related dysfunctions rarely hear of the critical connection between body and mind. Instead, they are advised by physicians to change their lives, leave a job, take a vacation, visit a psychiatrist or pull themselves together.

These patients’ symptoms are heightened because of the loneliness, fear and isolation they inevitably experience in a society that believes mental illness is a sign of a weak character.

Think of the human body as a machine which takes in fuel that, must be burned properly to release energy and drive its component parts. When the fuel (food) is combined with oxygen, it forms oxides, and energy is released, allowing the machine to perform.

This process, called oxidation, does not happen spontaneously. It requires some form of energy to start the process in the same way an automobile needs a spark plug to start the engine.

In the human body, vitamin and mineral catalysts act as these critical “spark plugs.” We breath in oxygen and transport it through the bloodstream to the tissues. The oxygen, with the aid of these catalysts, combines with fuel (food) and releases energy.

The brain and nervous system are the most fuel-consuming tissues in the body, which is why they are so sensitive to nutrition. You may lie in bed and use more oxygen in the mental process of worry than you would digging ditches.

If the brain is marginally deprived of oxygen, headaches and other symptoms will occur.

Suppose the problem is not a lack of oxygen, but the inability of that oxygen to combine with the fuel. This is what happens when vitamin catalysts are not sufficiently concentrated in the human body. This under-dosing of the “spark plugs” is called marginal malnutrition, a condition which eventually affects the brain and triggers unbalanced responses resulting in a state of anxiety or nervousness.

Emotions are controlled by the most primitive part of the human brain, which sends messages to various organs. In a stressful situation, it is this portion of the brain which gives rise to the way we feel inside.

When we experience depression, grief, sadness or anxiety, the brain signals our body to react physically as well. We might become pale, feel the heart accelerate or break out in a cold sweat.

Receiving bad news normally elicits a temporary, unbalanced response by the brain, some of which is expressed physically, and may be visible to others, and some of which is felt emotionally. This imbalance is proportional to the stimulus and is expressed within the framework of an individual’s personality.

In marginally malnourished people, this process may go haywire. The brain’s computer — that part which is responsible for the physical and mental components of emotion — becomes “trigger happy.” That is, it becomes much more sensitive to incoming stimulus — any stimulus. The emotional response of such a person is likely to be exaggerated since the reaction is triggered too easily.

Much human behavior is governed by the lower brain, which is the most primitive part. Under normal conditions, reflex responses are modified or suppressed by the upper brain, which has evolved more recently and gives us consciousness and control. Marginal malnutrition damages this complex function of the completely integrated brain, allowing the lower brain to react spontaneously.

Ironically, malnutrition in this case has nothing to do with starvation. On the contrary, overeating often is the culprit — too much fuel and not enough power from the “spark plugs” to ignite it. High-calorie foods with little nutritional value are called empty calories.

Generally, the diets of health-conscious people contain enough vitamins and minerals only by yesterday’s standards, when foods and diets were simpler. But excessive amounts of empty calories require increased doses of vitamins to burn the body’s fuel efficiently. Alcohol, soft drinks, potato chips, doughnuts, candy and most fast foods are examples of empty calories. Our body’s reaction to them is roughly the equivalent of a choked car engine in which the mixture of gasoline is simply too rich. Most of us need to increase the vitamin catalysts which help the body burn fuel.

Today’s artificial, man-made foods are severely lacking in vitamins, making supplements necessary. Vitamins, minerals and other non-caloric nutrients in sufficient amounts, help to re-tune the human machine.

Derrick Lonsdale, M.D., is a partner at the Preventive Medicine Group in Westlake, Ohio and a prominent nutrition researcher.

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