Supplements: Why do you need them?
When it comes to nutritional supplements, people always ask me the same questions:
1. Should I be taking supplements?
2. What supplements should I be taking?
3. Do supplements work?
The answers to these questions are not so easy, straight forward, or black and white as you might think. The fact is that the answer will be different depending on who is asking it.
In a perfect world, no one would need nutritional supplements. Everyone would eat nutrient rich food in its natural state and obtain all the nutrition their body systems need to function at optimal levels. In that world, no one would be sick and chronic disease would be non-existent.
Unfortunately, that world does not exist. Think about the daily rigors of American life. Think about the poor nutritional quality of our highly processed food supply. Think about what you ask your body to perform daily. Think about the environmental effects our systems deal with day in and day out.
Our body systems require a consistent supply of nutrients and compounds for our physiological biochemistry to function on a basic level. The truth is the majority of Americans, (men, women and children), do not receive that consistent supply of nutrients and compounds for physiological biochemistry to function on a basic level. The result bears out in our health statistics in this country. The numbers are shocking and they are not good. America has more chronic disease related to poor nutrition that anywhere on the planet. The average American man, woman and child is over-fed and under-nourished. The result is less than optimal health and performance and eventually disease.
People simply do not understand the role of nutrition in health and body function. They don’t understand the role of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, anti-oxidants and other nutrients to the normal physiological functions in the body.
It is documented that 92 percent of Americans are deficient in one or more vitamins. That means they receive less than the minimum amount necessary to prevent deficiency diseases.
A report in the journal Pediatrics found obesity and malnutrition go hand in hand. Obese, overfed, and undernourished children with cognitive disorders were found to have severe vitamin D deficiency. These deficiencies damage children’s bodies and brains. Evidence shows that the more overweight a person, the more nutritional deficiencies they have.
Even for those who are not overweight, the foods eaten daily do not necessarily contain the nutrient levels your body requires for optimal health and wellness.
So, to answer the questions:
1. YES, you should be taking supplements.
2. As far as what you should be taking, it is best to determine that through a thorough evaluation and consult with a health provider who specializes in functional wellness. It would be simple to say, take a multi-vitamin and be done with it. But you may not need a multi-vitamin. It is smarter to determine what your body really needs and get the most effective source of that supplement. A wellness evaluation, blood work or other testing can tell us exactly what your body needs. It doesn’t have to be costly when you are taking the right approach to health.
3. Finally, do supplements work? Well I will admit that with 28 years of experience using them, the answer is a resounding NOT ALL OF THEM! Not all supplements are made alike or sourced alike. Many are used with such poor ingredients that they can actually be detrimental to your health. It is also important to understand that nutrients are not medications. They do not work like drugs. Nutrients work with your physiology by supporting and enhancing normal function and reactions. Drugs alter, inhibit, stimulate or interfere with normal function. The right form of nutrients allows your body to function the way it is meant. It is very important to determine what you need and what will be the best source for your body to benefit.
Performing at a high level is possible if you are receiving the necessary and right influx of nutrition into your system and it can use it properly. Feeling and looking youthful and great is not that difficult. It is impossible if you are deficient in nutritional compounds your body requires to function. Consider finding out what your body needs and what it may be missing to run like a BOSS!