10 Reasons Why You Need Nutritional Supplements
In a perfect world, we’d meet all our nutritional needs from food.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.
Due to soil depletion, modern agricultural practices, pesticides, genetically modified foods and environmental toxins, it’s virtually impossible to get adequate nutrition from food alone.
Scientific American has an excellent article on a University of Texas study explaining how vegetables and fruits are less nutritious now than they were just 50 years ago.
Another strong reason for taking dietary supplements is the Standard American Diet (SAD). The diet of the typical American has shifted from nutrient dense foods years ago to empty calorie ones today. Things like soda, chips, and candy have no nutritional value, yet are staples of most diets.
Everyone can benefit from taking supplements for health.
10 Reasons Why Supplements Are Vital to Good Health
- The Standard American Diet (SAD) is low in nutrients
The SAD is full of packaged, processed or fast foods. Additionally, it consists of conventional dairy and grain products, which are low in bioavailable nutrients. The processing of dairy (homogenization and pasteurization) removes most of the essential nutrients and fat, which is why it must be fortified with synthetic ones. Grain-fed meat has consistently been found to be lower in several micronutrients and antioxidants compared to grass-fed animal products1. Foods like grains and dairy are also inflammatory and can be difficult to digest for most people.
- Non-organic foods are low in nutrients and high in chemicals
Pesticides and herbicides that are used to treat conventionally raised foods are linked to cancer, heart disease and myriad of other disorders. If they can harm bugs, then they can harm humans. Chemicals can also disrupt nutrient composition in foods. On top of containing high amounts of chemicals, conventional foods also tend to be lower in nutrients. Choose organic foods all the time.
- Environmental toxins are on the rise
You are exposed to toxins in everyday living. Household cleaning products. Personal care products. They are all loaded with toxins that attack our body. When you’re constantly exposed to toxins your body and liver are in detox overdrive. During detox mode the body is rapidly using nutrients to ensure these biochemical processes continue at the level that is needed. B vitamins and antioxidants are two key nutrients that can become depleted quickly. Cellular pathways are in great need of supplemental support.
- Nutrient depletion of soil
Soil quality has been steadily declining since the advent of modern agricultural methods. These processes are causing rapid turnover of soil and increased growth and pest-resistance of plants. This causes a significant decrease in healthy minerals, vitamins and microbes. On top of this, the animals that eat these low nutrient plants can then become undernourished.
- Increasing rates of digestive issues
Proper levels of stomach acid and digestive enzymes are needed to ensure maximal nutrient absorption. Digestive issues (such as those from food allergies, SIBO or medications) can result in decreased stomach acid and enzymes, leading to impaired nutrient absorption and utilization.
- Nutrient requirements increase with age, life status and exercise
Pregnant women and older individuals are at a higher risk for nutrient deficiencies. Pregnant women have a higher nutrient need than energy need. Elderly individuals have a decreased ability to digest, absorb and utilize nutrients. Other groups of individuals such as those who have specific medical conditions could be at risk for poor nutrient absorption.
Additionally, when you exercise often then your body uses up the stored fuel reserves it has. To create energy in the body, it will also use up some of your nutrients like B vitamins. B vitamins function as coenzymes, which are the helper molecules that help your body create and use energy.
- Stress also greatly depletes nutrients
Stress negatively affects all the body’s systems, especially the digestive system. When you’re stressed, you’re in flight or fight mode and your digestion comes to a standstill. Stress can be emotional/mental, physiological (i.e. disease) or environmental (i.e. chemicals). Chronic stress can also rapidly deplete B vitamins and cause low energy levels. One study looked at participants who consumed a mineral drink in a relaxed state versus a psychologically challenging state2. The researchers found that those in the relaxed state absorbed 100% of their minerals, while those in the challenging state absorbed significantly less2.
- Alcohol depletes nutrients
Alcohol is a toxin and so the body will give it precedence over other nutrients to ensure that it will be digested and passed through the GI tract first. Alcohol also has a diuretic effect that can cause essential nutrients to be excreted overtime. For example, B vitamins can become depleted with heavy alcohol consumption. Alcohol can deplete digestive enzymes needed for nutrition, as well.
- Certain medications can interfere with proper utilization of nutrients
A drug/ nutrient interaction is when a medication can interfere with nutrient uptake and absorption. Certain drugs can result in decreased absorption of nutrients. They can also make a nutrient less available to the body to use, which could cause a nutrient deficiency.
- Supplements support your health
There is scientific evidence that supplements can promote overall health and aid in managing specific health conditions. For example, omega 3 fatty acids can help with heart disease and probiotics improve gut health. Supplements are assistants to make sure that you are getting an adequate amount of essential micronutrients in the right forms that your body can use.
6 Common Supplements Most of Us Need
Find a science-based multi-vitamin to get all your essential micronutrients in the correct ratio. These ensure that the body can properly use and absorb the activated vitamins, minerals and bioflavonoids it needs. You want a multi-vitamin that provides vitamins A, C, D, E, K and activated B vitamins along with key minerals like magnesium, iodine, zinc, manganese and potassium. Look for chelated minerals to maximize absorption. Make sure B vitamins are activated (methylated) to ensure high absorption. Lastly, look for a multi-vitamin in easy to digest capsules to help your body utilize all the nutrients possible. A non-synthetic multi-vitamin with no toxic fillers is the way to go!
A high-quality probiotic is essential to a healthy digestive system. We have trillions of bacteria that reside in our body. Advancing age, leaky gut and certain medications can all wreak havoc on our intestinal bacteria. Replenishing the gut with healthy bacteria is imperative to overall health. It can result in improved digestion, gut health and immune function.
You aren’t necessarily what you eat. Rather, you are what you digest. Digestive enzymes are needed to aid the body in digesting and absorbing nutrients. In today’s day and age, people are not eating enough spicy and acidic foods to aid in digestion. These types of foods are stimulants that stimulate the body’s flow of saliva and gastric juices. They are also eating the SAD, which impairs absorption of nutrients and decreases enzyme function. Digestive enzymes have become crucial to ensuring that the body properly breaks down food and utilizes the nutrients within it.
These essential fatty acids are just that, essential. Our bodies cannot synthesize these therefore we must get them in the diet. They are needed for lipid formation in the brain, overall cognition and brain health. They have also been shown to be beneficial for eye health and mood. Omega-3 fatty acids can also dilate blood vessels, increase blood flow, decrease blood pressure, and normalize heart rhythms.
If you can’t eat all your essential nutrients, drink them. This drink is full of micronutrients, antioxidants, fiber and probiotics all wrapped into one. You would have to eat a large number of fruits and veggies every day to get the same amount of nutrition as from this drink. A supplement like this that delivers these nutrients in a highly bioavailable form helps to boost the immune system and promote overall health. Note that not all green drinks are created equal.
We have said it before and we’ll keep saying it again (and again)—get into the sunshine. The sun is your best source of vitamin D, which is essential to good health. Vitamin D boosts immunity, protects against chronic diseases like cancer and can benefit the heart. If you can’t get into the sun regularly, take our vitamin D supplement by The Drs. Wolfson.
Things to Look for When Selecting a Supplement
- Know that not all supplements are the same; some are better than others.
- Seek out high quality supplements sourced from high quality companies.
- Ensure the supplements are organic, gluten-free and non-GMO. Look for no artificial ingredients, flavors or fillers.
- Make sure the supplements have the right ratio of nutrients to meet daily needs—check out the supplement facts panel.
- Pay attention to the nutrient dosage, the form of the nutrient (is it absorbable?) and the time of day to take the supplement to ensure ideal absorption.
Get Your Blood Tested
What vitamins and minerals are you lacking?
The only accurate way to determine nutritional deficiencies is through comprehensive advanced blood testing.
We offer advanced intracellular and extracellular testing that tells if nutrients are actually getting into the cell. You can have plenty of vitamin C in your blood but if it’s not getting inside the cell, it’s not helping you.
You want that level of blood testing – at the cellular level.
Get details on the best testing available to get an idea of your unique nutrient requirements.
Work with your Doctor of Chiropractic or holistic physician to determine the right supplement protocol for you. And make sure to take your supplements!