The nutrition gap describes the difference between the levels of nutrients the average person, eating a reasonable Western diet, is obtaining from food, and those nutrient levels identified by research as being needed for optimal health. The nutrition gap can have a detrimental effect on health and wellness and increase the risk of many conditions.
Professor Bruce Ames, an American biochemist, has hypothesised that if you are depleted in just one micronutrient, your body will go into a triage response where it will favour survival over long term health. This may increase risk of early ageing and chronic disease but it would leave critical metabolic functions, such as energy production, intact. He states that "A multivitamin-mineral supplement is one low-cost way to ensure intake of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of micronutrients throughout life."
Unfortunately, it is difficult to obtain optimum levels of micronutrients (e.g. vitamins and minerals) from diet alone, even when eating healthily. There are a variety of reasons for this:
- Sedentary lifestyle - Our ancestors expended about 4000 calories as opposed to an average of 2000 today therefore they consumed a greater amount of food to meet their energy requirements. As we are now eating fewer calories we are also getting fewer micronutrients
- Modern farming methods - soil depletion, transport, storage and deep ploughing all affect the nutrient content of food
- Food choices - we often choose calorie dense but nutrient poor foods
- Food processing- processing of food severely depletes nutrient content i.e. milling of flour reduces calcium, magnesium, zinc and folate or damages the structure of the nutrient e.g. high temperature and pressure during food processing may create altered fats such as oxidised and trans fats.
- Lifestyle choices - smoking, alcohol, medications and stress all deplete nutrients
- Poor digestive health - this will reduce our ability to absorb nutrients
A significant factor in the nutrition gap is our food choices. Many people's diets are high in refined, processed foods that offer low nutrient density and empty calories. In addition, studies have shown that the levels of nutrients in our foods have changed. So even those who aim to eat a diet focussed on wholefoods may not be achieving optimal intakes of certain nutrients - because intensive farming and other factors have resulted in the reduced nutrient content of foods.
In order to support long term health and wellness it is therefore advisable to ensure that there is an optimum intake of all nutrients every day. The easiest and most efficient way of doing this is with a multivitamin and mineral (MVM). However not all MVMs are made equally. It is important to ensure that a multivitamin and mineral is formulated to support optimum intake and that those nutrients are in a bioavailable form.
Cytoplan specialises in Wholefood and Food State™ nutrients, these are nutrients that are presented to the body in the same form as those found in food. These forms have been demonstrated to be highly bioavailable and well-tolerated. In addition, Cytoplan's multivitamin and minerals are formulated to bridge the nutrition gap.