In a perfect world, our daily requirement of essential nutrients would come wholly from a varied diet of nutrient-rich foods. However, did you know that even the healthiest diets are not able to provide us with the full daily recommended amount of vitamins and minerals? Even if we avoid food with GMOs and eat organic produce, our food would still have fewer nutrients in it compared to in the past.
And why is that so? With the ever-increasing development in agriculture, the soil’s nutrient cycle has been thrown out of balance. Modern intensive agricultural methods (to improve crop size, growth rate, pest resistance etc.) have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. Due to soil depletion, today’s fruits and vegetables are highly deficient in nutrients as compared to forty years ago. In other words, this means we would have to eat eight oranges to get the same amount of vitamins our grandparents would have enjoyed from just one in their youth!
In addition, a little-known fact is that food would begin losing its nutrients right after it is harvested. The longer it takes for the produce to get from the farm to the supermarket shelves and then our kitchen, the more nutrients are lost.
What your recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables should look like / image credit: Faith Durand
Therefore, most researchers advocate a daily consumption of minimally five servings of vegetables and fruits each, with many encouraging up to ten servings, in light of their decreased nutritional value. Needless to say, not many of us are able to achieve this amount. This is when a high-quality food state multivitamin comes into play.
Like many smart physicians around the world, we continue to view and take multivitamins not as a replacement, but as a supplement to a healthy diet. It is without a doubt that food will always remain our best source of nutrients, but it is when paired with supplements, that we can then achieve optimal health.
What are some of the benefits?
In 2011, a placebo study conducted on fifty healthy participants found that those who took the real vitamin felt less stressed, have more energy – and are hence more productive and happier.
Another example of health benefits we can reap from multivitamins is their preventative effect on cardiovascular problems. In Sweden, the Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Program found that a low dose of multivitamins may help lower the chances of heart attack. Another 2015 study of over 8,600 people found a 35% decrease in death from heart problems among women who took a multivitamin for over three years.
What should I look out for when choosing health supplements?
Though health supplements affect the body just as prescription drugs do, they are not governed by the same set of rules and regulations. They are not assessed for their effectiveness before they hit the shelves, and likewise, the advertisements for these supplements do not have to be screened before they are published.
The United States is one of the biggest markets for dietary supplements, yet, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have the authority to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. Instead, the FDA only begins its investigation into the supplement when a consumer or physician alerts them to a negative reaction it has caused.
However, by then, it might already be too late.
In order to ban a product, there must be evidence that it had caused deaths or serious injuries. An example is the case of ephedra, which was the chief ingredient in many weight-loss and energy-enhancement products in the U.S. While it did produce modest results, this controversial ingredient was linked to serious health issues such as heart attack, stroke and seizure. While the FDA had banned its usage in 2004, it had taken them over seven years to obtain adequate evidence to allow the removal of ephedra-containing products from the shelves. During these seven years, there were 16,000 reports of injuries, 62,000 consumer complaints, and at least 155 deaths related to these products. Industry experts have estimated that prior to the ban, the substance had been used by 12 million people.
It is therefore up to the consumer to always remain wary and be informed on what we put into our bodies.
When choosing supplements, always consider the following:
1. Take your diet into consideration.
Supplements are never meant to substitute a healthy meal plan, but to fill in small nutrient gaps.
Remember to take into account your daily food and beverage consumption when choosing supplements. Ensure that they do not exceed 100% of the recommended daily value for that nutrient. You can have too much of a good thing!
2. Take extra care reading the labels.
Always know what is in that pill you are about to pop into your mouth.
If the claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It is best to avoid anything claiming to be a quick fix, as no such magic pill exists. As a general rule of thumb, the less ingredients there is, the better it is. Do not make any hasty purchases when it comes to supplements. Instead, always research every ingredient it contains and ensure its safety first.
In addition, the country of origin matters too. We recommend supplements that originate from Europe as their laws and regulations are more stringent, with the precautionary principle being one of their fundamental principles in their governing policies related to health and food safety. This principle emphasises the need to take preventative action (even in the face of scientific uncertainty), as opposed to corrective action.
European countries also have their own set of internal regulations, with France known to be one of the strictest. Regulatory provisions at the EU and French levels have established a list of ingredients authorised in food supplements, with an upper limit imposed on their allowed levels too. When supplements are first released, they must be declared to the DGCCRF (General Directorate for Consumer Affairs, Competitions Policy and Fraud Control), which will examine their composition. Nutrition claims on the product packaging are also strictly regulated, with the need to abide by a list issued by the European Commission. To date, only a limited number of health claims are authorised.
In addition, the ANSES (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety) has set in place a Nutrivigilance scheme devoted to consumer safety, a channel in which healthcare professionals are able to quickly alert the authorities to any food product that has caused an adverse reaction in an individual. Upon receiving the information, ANSES would then carry out expert assessments to evaluate the risks associated with the product, before issuing nationwide recommendations afterwards. Since 2010, the agency has published 9 recommendations on different food products, advising consumers on what to be cautious of when consuming that particular food.
3. Avoid synthetic additives.
Most supplements contain additives to preserve their appearance and effectiveness. While a majority of synthetic additives is generally harmless to most of us (except for those with food allergies), it is still best to avoid them as many have been speculated to potentially lead to health issues.
Some ingredients to be cautious of are titanium dioxide, BHT, magnesium silicate, magnesium stearate / stearic acid, sodium benzoate. Commonly used in supplements, there has been tons of controversy surrounding them as they have been linked to health issues such as liver toxicity and various forms of cancer.
To avoid these potential fillers, binders and colourings, we would recommend opting for clear gel capsule over other tablet pill formats. If you are vegan, opt for gel capsules made of 100% vegetal sources instead of gelatin made from bovine sources.
While it may be close to impossible to find supplements that contain absolutely no additives, you can look for those that contain additives from naturally-derived sources instead. Examples of safe additives include stabilisers like xanthan gum and calcium sulphate, as well as calcium chloride and magnesium sulphate, which act as firming agents.
Antioxidant vitamins like A, C and E, as well as their derivatives (e.g. citric acid) are also used as natural preservatives. An example of a perfectly natural and safe filler that is often used as a binder or coating is plant cellulose.
4. Talk with your doctor.
This is especially important for certain population groups – those who are pregnant, nursing a baby, or have a chronic medical condition such as diabetes or hypertension. As some supplements may interact with prescription and over-the-counter medicines, always consult your doctor prior to taking them in order to prevent any adverse reactions or reduction of effectiveness.
Likewise, if you are scheduled for a surgical procedure, the doctor should be informed of any supplements you are on, in order to prevent unwanted effects during surgery. You may be asked to stop the usage of these products weeks ahead of the procedure to avoid potentially dangerous supplement / drug interactions – such as changes in heart rate and increased bleeding – that could adversely affect the surgery’s outcome.
Whenever you are in doubt, always consult a medical professional first.
Our supplement range - Look, Feel & Rest
As we understand by now, a healthy outside starts from the inside. For true global health and beauty, supplemental support should always go hand in hand with quality sleep, exercise and should never be considered as substitutes for a balanced diet and lifestyle.
Crème Simon’s supplements were developed with 0% fillers, preservatives, colourings, allergens, gluten, bovine, lactose, sodium, hormones and GMOs, and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. The range includes Feel, a daily multivitamin for energy and mental alertness; Look, an antioxidant rich supplement for skin and hair; and Rest, a natural supplement for restful sleep and jet lags.
Feel – a daily multivitamin perfect for those with busy lifestyles
The quintessential complement to our fast-paced lifestyles, Feel helps enhance workplace performance, and decrease the effects of stress or lack of sleep. A combination of twelve essential vitamins and seven minerals with the botanical power of specialty ingredients such as ginseng and rhodiola, the supplement aids in boosting mood, energy, mental well-being, anti-aging and endurance.
A key ingredient in the supplement, ginseng root, has been proven to have numerous health benefits, from its anti-stress properties improving calmness and mental arithmetic, to lowering blood sugar levels. In addition, it maximises cognitive memory, brain function as well as physical and mental capacities.
Similarly, rhodiola root is another core ingredient that revitalises and alleviates stress and fatigue, helping to boost mood, mental alertness and concentration. Various studies have proven its effectiveness in strengthening the body’s response to not only these psychological stressors, but also physical stressors like exercise through the improvement in performance by decreasing one’s perceived exertion, allowing us to work out longer and harder.
In addition to these natural herbs, our multivitamins are also infused with a wide range of other essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B and D, as well as magnesium and zinc to further boost immunity, metabolism and energy levels.
Look – To achieve healthy skin and hair.
Did you know that topical skincare products only address 20% of our skin on the surface? According to world-renowned dermatologist, Dr. Howard Murad, the other 80% of our skin is affected by what you eat and drink, including dietary skin supplements. It is only by adding the right vitamins and other nutrients to our diet that we can supply our body with the much-needed building blocks for it to heal and defend itself.
Alongside a sensible diet, Look helps to achieve radiant hair and skin from the inside out, by delaying premature aging, improve skin conditions as well as promote healthy hair.
One of its key ingredients is the French maritime pine bark extract, extracted from the forests of Bordeaux, France where pesticides and herbicides are not allowed. A bioflavonoid-rich supplement, it supports healthy glowing skin by stimulating the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid to boost skin elasticity, firmness and water retention, improving microcirculation to stimulate oxygen and nutrient supply for radiant detoxed skin. Furthermore, it increases the skin cells’ natural antioxidant capabilities to shield against free radicals produced by UV rays, stress and pollution by up to two times, and also helps to reduce hyperpigmentation and inflammation!
Another essential ingredient is grapeseed extract, which has oligomeric proanthocyanidins with fifty times the antioxidant power of Vitamin C. Not only does it help to protect our skin against sun damage, soothe and heal acne as well as eczema and skin inflammation, it also aids in the strengthening of hair and promotion of hair regrowth by stimulating hair follicles.
In addition, the supplement also contains Coenzyme Q10, a naturally present antioxidant in our body that depletes with age and stress. Studies have shown that this essential nutrient helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and crow’s feet as it helps to maintain collagen, elastin production and skin cell regenerative abilities.
Other notable ingredients are bee propolis which stimulates cell regrowth while restoring, healing and soothing skin, rosemary that helps reverse premature hair loss and graying, as well as Vitamin A, C and E which combats signs of ageing and boosts skin healing, paving the way for younger-looking skin. Lastly, Look also contains organic selenium and zinc that supports a healthy immune system, skin and hair.
Rest – A natural supplement for restful sleep.
If you travel often or face sleep issues due to anxiety, over-fatigue and insomnia, give Rest a try. A natural sleep aid, the supplement promises to relax the mind and body, promoting a better quality sleep within a shorter time. It also helps to cope with jet lags, giving you the restful sleep you deserve.
A common cause of insomnia and other sleep disorders is stress and anxiety. A little-known fact is that magnesium deficiency can be linked to high levels of stress and anxiety, alongside poor sleep, which would aggravate it further. Therefore, one of the supplement’s key ingredients is magnesium, which has been naturally sourced from seawater. Playing an instrumental role in our nervous system, it activates mechanisms that quiets and calms the mind while supporting muscle relaxation, allowing us to get a good night’s rest.
Another common sleeping problem is delayed sleep phase syndrome, characterised as the attempt (and failure) to fall asleep before the body clock is ready to and / or attempting to wake up in the morning before the body clock is ready to. Most common in adolescents and young adults whose ‘night owl’ tendencies delay the onset of sleep, studies have shown that one in ten teenagers face this issue. Alongside magnesium, another essential ingredient that would curb this problem is gingko biloba, which improves sleep quality by reducing anxiety, fatigue and insomnia. By lessening symptoms of anxiety such as restlessness and racing thoughts, it helps you to relax after a long day out.
The supplement also contains melatonin, which is often recommended by physicians to patients with insomnia. A naturally occurring hormone, it eases jet lags and insomnia by regulating our body’s sleep-wake cycle, improving sleep quantity and quality. Coupled with this ingredient is tryptophan, an essential amino acid that acts as its precursor. Invoking feelings of calmness and relaxation, it helps to induce sleep and improve one’s mood and cognition.
For more information on the ingredients and their individual benefits, visit: https://creme-simon.com/category-supplements