You may be asking, why do I need to take supplements and that’s a good question.
Dietary supplementation is one of the most hotly debated topics in nutrition, and that isn’t likely to end anytime soon.
For me personally, I believe supplementation is a must for optimal health. And this bears out in that the #1 cause of poor health is poor nutrition. The standard American Diet is one reason. You may feel this doesn’t apply to you, because you eat a healthy diet on a daily basis. So do I 😊
However, and unfortunately, our soil is depleted of nutrients compared to just 50 years ago. And we are met with the constant bombardment of toxins to our systems from various forms. To get all the nutritional benefits of an apple of 50 years ago you would have to eat 5 today! Or let me put it another way, to get all the nutrients your body needs, you would have to consume about 5,000 calories and from a wide variety of foods each day!
Nutrient deficiencies are becoming increasingly more prevalent. As much as 95 percent of American adults do not meet recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for at least one significant micronutrient, with approximately half being deficient in specific minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium.
I want to make it clear that while I strongly believe supplements are important; I need to emphasize that supplements cannot take the place of a healthy diet and lifestyle. They are to do just what they are called to do – SUPPLEMENT a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle!
Why Take Supplements?
Most of our food is depleted of essential vitamins and minerals because of depleted soil, high-yield crops (over farming, 10 times the amount of wheat is grown on the same land as was grown 100 years ago. Today's wheat contains about 6% protein whereas 100 years ago it contained 12-14%. Trace mineral levels are similarly much lower due to high-yield farming methods.).
Modern fertilizers do not supply enough trace minerals. Pesticides and herbicides kill soil microorganisms affecting the nutrition of the crop. And then we have long-distance transportation diminishing the nutrition because as soon as a food is harvested, the levels of certain nutrients begins to diminish.
Food processing often drastically reduces nutrient content. Refining of wheat to make white flour removes 80% of its magnesium, 70-80% of its zinc, 87% of its chromium, 88% of its manganese and 50% of its cobalt. Refining sugar cane to make white sugar removes 99% of its magnesium and 93% of its chromium. Polishing rice removes 75% of its zinc and chromium.
Food additives can further deplete nutrients.
Having a weakened digestive system will result in poor absorption of nutrients. A result of eating refined, low-quality food with hundreds of food additives is that most people's digestion is impaired. This further impairs nutrient absorption and increases nutritional needs. This is why in nutritional balancing program; everyone is given a digestive aid and liver detoxification supplement.
Stressful lifestyles deplete many nutrients including calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Zinc begins to be eliminated from the body within minutes of a stress. This is why many people have white spots on their fingernails, for example. Stress causes excessive sympathetic nervous system activity, which reduces digestive strength. This, in turn, reduces nutrient absorption and utilization even further. Anyone under stress will need even more nutrients than those that live a very peaceful and quite existence.
Most prescription and over-the-counter medications also deplete and/or block the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Here are just a few examples:
- Albuterol – a short-acting broncho-dilator drug used for relief and prevention of bronchospasms. It can deplete Calcium, Magnesium, phosphate, and potassium.
- Anticonvulsants – a family of drugs that depress abnormal nerve activity in the brain to block seizures along with other conditions. They can cause a depletion or interference with Biotin, Calcium, Folic Acid, B12 – B6 vitamins D, K.
- Antacids can cause a depletion of Folic Acid and Iron
- Antidepressants cause a depletion of Melatonin
- Aspirin causes a depletion of Folic Acid, Iron, B 12, C and Zinc
- Blood Pressure medications cause a depletion of Zinc, Calcium, & Magnesium
- Ibuprofen depletes Iron
- Statins deplete CoQ10 and interfere with skin ability to absorb Vitamin D from sunlight.
Fortunately, consuming high quality food-based dietary supplements can enhance your nutritional intake of vitamins and minerals. As you age you lose your ability to digest and absorb certain nutrients from foods. And this also happens if you take medication or if you drink excessive amounts of alcohol or if you smoke.
- You can use dietary supplements to prevent or reduce the risk of certain medical conditions.
- You can also use dietary supplements to treat certain medical condition.
- Supplements can help to improve mental and physical performance (i.e. supplements for weight loss, energy boost, mental focus, and others).
Supplement to Avoid
- Those supplements containing artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, and fillers.
- Any dietary supplements that openly claim to treat or cure any diseases should be avoided because these are products that are breaking the law (which states that dietary supplements cannot be promoted as treatments or cures for any diseases). Marketers of such products are clearly not trustworthy and should be avoided.
- Likewise, there are a wide range of illegal products that are wrongly marketed as "sports supplements" but which contain steroids (which are not dietary supplements) - these should be avoided.
Are There Regulations?
FDA has a great deal of regulatory oversight on the dietary supplement industry, but supplements are regulated more like foods than like drugs. The FDA can remove a product from the market and is able to apply sanctions and fines against dietary supplement manufacturers and marketers.
But, the FDA can only do so much, and we really need to educate ourselves, do our homework, remain an open-minded skeptic when it comes to product claims, and seek out specific products that have been subjected to human research trials.
Let’s face it, most of us tend to eat pretty much the same food items on a regular basis.
And on top of that even if you did vary the food to get all the nutrients that your body needs each day, you would have to consume more calories than your body could use in a day.
As with everything, not all supplements are created equal. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for.
My husband and I use these supplements We take a packet with our morning & evening meals. As a rule of thumb remember your body needs to be fed at least three times a day and that is because it will only absorb a certain amount of nutrition at each feeding, so good pure plant-based supplements need to be taken a minimum of two times a day.
I hope you found this helpful & if so, drop a comment on what jumped out at you.
Blessings for Health, Joy & Laughter,
P.S. Want to learn more about the supplements that I've been taking for over 8 years? Ones that are now highly recommended by doctors at the Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Stanford and the Phoenix Cancer Center of America.
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