Knowledge is power and we want to give you the power to make an informed decision when purchasing your health food items online.
We have provided a simple overview of the popular ingredients used in products available on ClearComparisons. This is particularly useful if you are a new consumer or someone who simply wants to be better informed.
Minerals are inorganic substances that originate naturally from the earth’s crust and are the basic elements of our body structure which allows it to function and develop properly. Minerals are important for building strong bones, teeth, blood, skin, hair, muscle, cells, metabolic processing and maintaining overall good health. Minerals are essential to our diet as they cannot be made by the body but can only enter through the consumption of food and fluid.
Calcium is the most common mineral found in our body and supports the formation of bones and teeth, and is required for blood clotting, muscle contractions and the functioning of nerves.
Magnesium plays an active role in the transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes and cellular functions, which is an important process for nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction and bone formation. Magnesium also helps breaks down and releases energy from food, helps with blood glucose control and blood pressure regulation.
Potassium helps regulates the body fluid and is crucial to the functioning of the heart and lowing blood pressure. It also supports the nervous system function, muscle contraction and is important for normal digestion.
Sodium helps support water balance within the body and helps with the digestion on food. It also has an important role in the functioning of the nervous system and muscles, and is vital in several life-sustaining processes.
Chloride works in conjunction with sodium and plays an important part of the gastric hydrochloric acid which aids in the breakdown, digestion and absorption of several nutrients in the body. Chloride is neutralized by sodium after leaving the stomach. The two minerals working in conjunction are therefore important to digestion and nutrient uptake.
Chromium is primarily involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein and enhances the action of insulin. Insulin helps cells to absorb glucose, which is the basic energy fuel of cells.
Fluoride in very small amounts provides both bone and tooth enamel hardness and helps avoid tooth decay. In larger amounts, Fluoride can be toxic and has been found to weaken the immune system and cause both kidney and liver damage.
Manganese acts as an enzyme activator that supports glucose metabolism, antioxidant activity, collagen production, and the functioning of the brain and nervous system. Manganese helps the body form connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors and sex hormones. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation.
Molybdenum supports metabolism and cellular functions and helps to facilitate the breakdown of certain amino acids in the body to produce energy. It plays an important role in bio-chemical processes such as waste processing in the kidneys, the development of the nervous system and is required for optimum health in small quantities.
Zinc supports the immune and reproductive system, muscle, nerve, and brain function. It also helps maintain healthy skin, bones and teeth, and plays an important role in our growth and development. Zinc is found in body cells and is needed for our immune system to work properly and plays a role in the production of new cells and enzymes, tissue repairing and the breakdown of carbohydrates from food.
Iron supports the production of red blood cells and is an important component of hemoglobin, which is the substance found in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to transport it throughout the body.
Iodine produces the thyroid hormones which controls the body’s metabolism. It supports the nervous and reproductive system, growth and energy production and proper bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy.
The body only requires a small amount of Selenium, which is required for normal development, growth, and to support muscle functions. Selenium primary function is to help prevent cellular damage in the body and helps support the immune system.
Copper helps the body produce red and white blood cells, and keeps our bones, immune system and nerve cells healthy. It also plays a part in forming collagen, melanin and connective tissue which acts as an antioxidant by reducing free radicals that can damage cells.
Phosphorus works closely with calcium to build strong bones and teeth; and helps with the breaking down and release of energy from food. Phosphate is also involved with the molecular structure of DNA and RNA.
Silica is an important element in rebuilding and maintaining skin tissue and providing it structural strength and flexibility. It is also present in bones, teeth, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, skin, eyes, gums, nails and hair and plays a part in the enhancing the immune system.
Vitamins are organic compounds which are essential to maintain functions such as normal growth, immunity and metabolism. Vitamins are incorporated in small quantities through the diet as they are not produced or not produced enough by the body. There are essentially two types of vitamins: Fat Soluble Vitamins store in fat cells when excess is present. As these vitamins are stored, too much can have negative effects on the body such as hypervitaminosis. Water Soluble Vitamins do not store in the body, however the body takes what nutrients is required from food and then excretes the excess, therefore needs to be replenished frequently.
Vitamin A is Fat-Soluble and helps maintain healthy teeth, skin, bone, immune system and reproduction functions. It is also critical for the promotion of good vision, especially in low light. Vitamin A also supports cell growth and plays an important role in the normal formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other body organs.
Vitamin D is Fat-Soluble and helps absorb calcium and regular phosphate in the body. Vitamin D is important for healthy bones, teeth, muscle functions and the immune system. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to soft bones in children and fragile bones in adults. We usually do not get enough vitamins through the diet, whereby the body produces this naturally when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
Vitamin E is fat-soluble and found in many foods. It acts as an antioxidant to help protect the body from free radicals which can damage tissue, cells and organs. It is also believed to play a role in aiding certain conditions related to aging. The body also needs Vitamin E to help promote a healthy immune system to fight against viruses and bacteria.
Vitamin K is fat-soluble and is naturally present in some foods. It plays an important role in helping the blood clot, building strong bones and promoting vascular health. Vitamin K holds promise in helping to prevent and manage some conditions associated with advancing age such as osteoporosis, coronary artery disease, and blood clots that can induce heart attacks or stroke.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
Vitamin B1 is water-soluble and helps the body produce energy by converting food into fuel. Vitamin B1 promotes healthy skin, hair, eyes, liver and tissue, and helps the brain, muscle and nervous system function properly. It is also known to strengthen the immune system and improve the body’s ability to withstand stressful conditions.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B2 is water-soluble and is responsible for maintaining healthy skin, eyes, blood cells, the nervous system and metabolism. It also helps break down the body to release energy from food, absorb iron and produce steroids and red blood cells.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B3 is water-soluble and is responsible for converting food into glucose, which is required for energy production and maintaining a healthy nervous and digestive system. It also facilities DNA repair and stress responses. Vitamin B3 helps maintain normal skin and mucous membranes, as well as the formation of red blood cells, sex and stress-related hormones.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Vitamin B5 is water-soluble and helps the body break down food and convert this into glucose which is used to produce energy. It aids in the production of red blood cells, sex and stress related hormones. Vitamin B5 plays a part in maintaining healthy skin and hair as well as keeping the eyes and liver functioning properly.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 is water-soluble and aids the break down and release of protein from food, and converting food into glucose for energy production. It helps the maintenance of a healthy nervous and immune system, and produces haemoglobin, hormones and red blood cells. Vitamin B6 assists the body to produce neurotransmitter chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another, which is needed for normal brain development and function.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Vitamin B7 is water-soluble and helps break down and release energy from food, and produce fatty acids and amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. It supports adrenal function, a healthy nervous system and key metabolic processes. Vitamin B7 also plays a major part in maintaining hair, skin and nails and is often referred to as the ‘beauty vitamin’.
VitaminB9 (Folic Acid / Folate)
Vitamin B9 is water-soluble and helps the body produce DNA and RNA the body’s genetic material and form blood cells in the bone marrow. It is important during rapid cell growth such as during infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy. Vitamin 9 is also crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health.
Vitamin B12 is water-soluble and helps maintain a healthy nervous system, the production of the body’s genetic material (DNA and RNA), and the break down and release of energy from food. Vitamin B12 works in conjunction with Vitamin B9, (Folate or Folic Acid) to produce red blood cells and helps improve iron in the body.
Vitamin C is water-soluble and is an antioxidant that helps neutralise free radicals which can damage the body DNA. Vitamin C plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system and building the body defence against infections. It helps the body make collagen, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels; it also helps the body absorb iron. This vitamin is needed for healing wounds, repairing bones and teeth and keeping cells and tissues healthy.
Protein shakes supplements typically consist of whey protein, casein (milk), soy, egg, hemp, rice or pea protein powders. They serve as a good after workout supplement as they deliver amino acids to muscle cells, helping them to recover after strenuous work. Proteins Shakes are typically available in three major forms: Concentrate, Isolate and Casein Hydrolysate.
Is the most common form of protein used and is derived from milk as part of the cheese making process. This protein is fast releasing and is considered superior as is contains all the nine amino acids to support muscle maintenance and is typically low in lactose content.
Contains a higher percentage of pure protein and can be virtually fat free as it has been filtered to remove lactose, making it a leaner protein. It is one of the quickest absorbing proteins. Isolates are great pre and post workout proteins as they are absorbed quickly and can supply the muscle the nutrients needed to help recover and grow.
Is made from milk and contains the same essential amino acids profile as Whey, but is absorbed differently. Casein is the protein most abundant in milk and as such, is absorbed in the digestive system slowly which means your cells receive low levels of amino acids over a longer period of time and helps your muscles achieve protein synthesis rather than protein breakdown.
Nutrition Fact Labels
The European Food Information Regulation (FIR) for food labelling came into force December 2011 and made back of pack nutrition labelling compulsory in 2016. Ingredients used in food products must be listed in order of their weight and amounts, starting with the largest ingredient and ending with the smallest.
Nutrition Fact labels have to be presented per 100g/ml or per portion and must include energy value (kJ and kCal). It should also include the amount in g (grams) of fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) provides guidelines to help you understand the content of ingredients used in food products to assist with creating a balanced diet. More information regarding Traffic Light Labelling can be found at: www.food.gov.uk