Herbal remedies have been used since the early dawn of history.   These acted as supplements in their own rights, but they were still food based and easily and safely absorbable by the human body.  Over time science discovered that lack of certain substances that the human body did not produce was detrimental to overall health. These were discovered to be the vitamins and minerals found in our food sources.   However, science marched on and early in the 20th century, vitamin producers began to isolate and synthetically produce  vitamins in larger doses than those found in nature.  Unfortunately, these synthetic ‘megadoses’ may be doing more harm than good and can actually be toxic.

Over 20 current studies now show that doses above the RDA of Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Calcium and Beta Carotene can all be toxic, have adverse effects on the immune system and may increase your risk of heart disease and cancer. Even fish oil with its much touted and proclaimed benefits does not really stand up to rigorous scientific studies. 

Most studies report, and now many doctors and other medical professionals seem to agree, that it is far better to get your total nutrition from a well-balanced diet and not rely on supplements. As for Omega 3, eat fish - oily fish is best.  For Selenium, eat a couple of Brazil nuts or use more brown rice, barley, whole-wheat and wholegrains are best.

Karen Ansel MS, RD (Registered Dietician), states in her book, Healthy in a Hurry that, “Food contains thousands of phytochemicals, fibre and more that work together to promote good health that cannot be duplicated with a pill or a cocktail of supplements.”

So in essence there is no substitute for the real thing. While there may be reasons to use supplements under certain medical situations, for 99.9% of us they are not necessary and may actually be doing more harm than good. Regular consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with reduced risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer disease, cataracts, and some of the functional declines associated with ageing.

 We really do need seriously to start to rethink the whole question of supplementation, which if every person ate the correct diet, consuming the correct and recommended daily amount of optimal and essential nutrients then the question of supplementation would not arise. Alas we do not live in such a perfect world.  Even in the West with its abundance of food, let alone parts of the planet where just getting enough essential nutrition is a challenge.

Optimal Essentials began as there was a need to make a range of natural food powders to supply the optimal amount of essential nutrients. This was seen as a form of holistic insurance, not to replace a good diet but to enhance it. To use the best that nature provided without the use of synthetic chemicals.