Mesonutrients seem to be something of a buzzword already and we’re only in February. From the Greek Meso meaning middle, meso nutrients are the ‘in between’ nutrients in food that we may be missing out on. So how do we make sure we’re packing enough Mesonutrients into our diet?
“Mesonutrients are the part of a compound that is the active part, or the part which provides the health effect,” says nutritionist Shona Wilkinson. One example she points to is turmeric. “The health benefits of turmeric are actually achieved from curcumin which is the active “mesonutrient” found in turmeric. Another example could be the mesonutrient anthocyanins, found in berries. It is the anthcyanin compound that is giving the health benefits. The thought process is that you get to the heart of the matter by just having the mesonutrient.”
It can also be called meso dosing and is essentially “tapping into the active ingredients in the food,” says nutritionist Gabriela Peacock. One way to get mesonutrients is through supplements, but it’s important you consider the particulars carefully. “Ensure your supplement choice includes active compounds,” says Gabriela, referring to her own GP Nutrition Gold programme, which offers the powerful benefits of curcumin.
Getting mesonutrients through supplements solves the problem of how much of one ingredient you would otherwise have to eat to really reap the rewards. Holly Dempsey is a clinical specialist dietitian at The Centre for Health and Human Performance (CHHP). “Curcumin has been hailed as a superfood for its possible role in reducing inflammation, reducing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, promoting cardiovascular health and even slowing the growth of some cancers (though it is really important to note that the evidence for its role in cancer is not greatly reliable as the studies have not been of great quality). However, turmeric root only contains small amounts of curcumin so you would need to eat large amounts to get any of the benefit. Therefore people are choosing to take supplements packed with the compound instead,” she says.
But before you start knocking back supplements, consider that several have a knock-on effect and are more powerful than we realise. Holly cites the case of berberine, the active ingredient found in a number of traditional Chinese herbs. “There’s very good evidence for its use in lowering blood glucose levels and some evidence for its anti-inflammatory effects and its possible effect of lowering blood cholesterol. However, it is known to inhibit a number of enzymes which can lead to a number of drug interactions and it may also interact with some antibiotics which could lead to cardiotoxicity. Finally a number of people have reported gastrointestinal issues with its use.”
Ultimately, supplements shouldn’t be seen as a quick fix, and deciding to get mesonutrients through a cocktail of supplements isn’t a good idea. Eat a wide-ranging, plant-fuelled, healthy diet, and you should naturally consume all the nutrients you need. That, alongside “regular exercise, good sleep and less stress can help prevent a number of chronic diseases, keep blood glucose and insulin levels stable, reduce inflammation and reduce our risk of cancer,” Holly says. If you are considering mesonutrient supplements, do speak to a GP before dosing up.
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Charlotte is a London girl through and through. She sweats through spin and puffs through Pilates to justify trying the latest restaurants and devouring copious amounts of sweet potato fries, burrata and bread – preferably on holiday. Her favourite destinations include Italy, the Maldives and anywhere where the sun’s shining and there’s a strong breakfast buffet. She’s obsessed with walking, visiting farmers’ markets and reading. She’s also learning to cook. Wish her (and her husband) luck.