Are your supplements up to snuff? You might have read recent news articles about the shockingly low standards of many supplements on the market today. Some weight loss or muscle building supplement products can even cause major damage to your health — links have been found with testicular cancer and liver damage.
Even if they are not harmful, many supplements are not easily absorbed by the body: they are in a form which cannot be effectively broken down by your digestive system. You may absorb a small percentage of the total quantity of the nutrients, but many of the contents simply end up in the toilet (literally).
So how do we know which supplements are worth spending money on? Interestingly, there is a type of supplement which is being called the “next generation.” These more effective products are taking inspiration from old-school ancestral nutrition, by reaping the benefits of fermentation!
You can now buy fermented supplements which may be more beneficial and effective than anything else on the market.
Why fermented foods are healthy
Are you wondering why you would want to buy dietary supplements made with fermented ingredients? The truth is, a few generations ago, fermented and cultured foods were a mainstay in practically every society. Using beneficial bacteria (such as lactobacillus, bifidobacteria and acidophilus) to preserve food was a great way to keep things fresh before we had refrigerators.
Following the consumer boom in the mid-twentieth century, food could be kept fresh for longer and fermented foods were largely forgotten. Yogurt is really the only one that is still popular. However, fermented and cultured foods are making a resurgence in holistic health circles. Little did we know that these foods are not just a way to preserve things without a refrigerator, but they are also amazing for our health!
Fermented foods are made by bacteria which eat sugar and starch and create a number of byproducts. These include health-promoting enzymes, omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics. Often fermented foods are easier to digest and their nutrients are preserved or even amplified.
Some of the most commonly recognized fermented foods include sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and kimchi. Natto and miso are fermented soy products that are popular in Asian cultures. Scientific research indicates that regular consumption of fermented and cultured foods can contribute to weight loss, boost your digestion and immune system, and even contribute to better moods.
How fermentation improves supplement products
Using supplements with fermented ingredients can help you gain the benefits of fermented foods in a convenient form. There are a few key ways in which supplements are improved by fermentation.
Studies show that fermented supplements are more bioavailable, meaning they are more readily used by the body. The amino acids and phytonutrients can be digested easily and provide more health benefits. For example, when organic, sprouted brown rice protein is fermented, it provides better bioavailability of B vitamins, magnesium and zinc. These nutrients are otherwise “bound up” in the rice bran and cannot be used by the human body. This offers new opportunities to gain nutrition from foods that are otherwise unimpressive.
In addition, when herbs used in supplements are fermented, they provide a bigger boost to the immune system. This shows up as greater activity in the body’s natural killer cells, which defend against infection and unhealthy cell growth.
These effects may be thanks to the novel bioactive compounds that can form during fermentation. Sometimes the fermentation process spurs the formation of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory chemicals that did not exist originally. Studies have found that some of these compounds can help fight cancer and chronic disease.
Next time you’re in the market for a good greens powder, real food-based multivitamin or herbal supplement, check the label for fermented ingredients! They deliver a lot more bang for your buck.
Finally, although supplements are great when you are having a busy day or are traveling and can’t eat properly, they shouldn’t be a staple. While there is no harm in taking good-quality supplements alongside your healthy diet, they tend to make a significant dent in your budget. Making your own cultured and fermented foods is a great way to get all of the benefits without spending a pile of money. Be sure to commit to real food first — they are called “supplements” for a reason!
—The Alternative Daily