Are Supplements REALLY Necessary?

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Nutritionists often get asked about supplementation and whether or not supplements are necessary. Today I'll share with you our stance at Thrive Nutrition on this topic. 

Ideally, we want to get our nutrition from real food because: 

  1. Real foods will always be the most affordable way to get nutrients.
  2. Real foods contain co-factors that can compound effects, increase absorption, and increase bioavailability of nutrients.
  3. Real foods may contain nutrients we haven’t identified or isolated yet. (This one is a biggie! Did you know vitamins were still being discovered in the late 1950s and that bacteria which produce vitamins for us are still being discovered today!)
  4. Real foods contain often overlooked components essential to health that are often overlooked – like fiber, water, and phytochemicals.
  5. Real foods are less likely to contain fillers and unwanted ingredients (some of which may not be positive for your health).

When we consider these points, it's pretty clear that nutrients from food are the way to go. However, it can be pretty difficult to get all of the vitamins and minerals we need with just diet alone:

  • Between 1996 and 2005, 70 diets were computer analyzed from the menu of athletes or sedentary subjects seeking to improve the quality of micronutrient intake from food choices. Not a single one even achieved the minimum micronutrient suggested by the American Dietetic Association!
  • 75 Percent of Americans Say They Eat Healthy — Despite Evidence To The Contrary. More than 80 percent of Americans fail to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables.
  • Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA’s) do little or nothing to prevent against our epidemic of chronic degenerative diseases. RDA’s were first introduced in the 1930’s, with minor changes later, for the purpose of reducing scurvy, rickets, and pellagra. They did a very good job for what they were intended. Today, we live in a sea of pollution. Air pollution, contaminated sources of water, radiation, over-processed foods, soils that are depleted of their critical trace elements, countless new toxic chemicals every month, and more and more prescriptive drugs. Couple these factors with less than adequate lifestyles and growing levels of psychological and physical stress, and you can see why the American Medical Association report recommends supplements for virtually everyone. Check out this chart that compares RDA's vs Optimal Intake levels.
  • Fruits and vegetables are less nutritiousBecause of soil depletion, crops grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. Nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, found “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century. The scientists chalk up this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits (size, growth rate, pest resistance) other than nutrition.
  • Our meat is usually farm-raised or grain-fed, instead of wild-caught or grass-fed which reduces the fat quality. Studies show that grass-fed meat is higher in anti-inflammatory omega 3s and CLA, an essential fatty acids that help the body increase metabolic rates, boost the immune system and keep cholesterol levels in check. Grass-fed meat also has higher levels of carotenoids (antioxidants), making the fat appear yellow. Further, antibiotics in conventional meat decreases the good bacteria in our gut. Those bacteria create B vitamins and vitamin K2. 

So, as you can see, it is very easy to be lacking nutrients, even in healthy individuals. At Thrive Nutrition, we view supplementation as a "safety net." We don't want to rely on it, but it's there if you need it. For healthy persons, we recommend a pharmaceutical-grade multivitamin, a high-potency fish oil for omega 3s, magnesium, vitamin D3 and a high-quality probiotic at least 30 billion CFUs with 5-7 strains. There is also a time and place for additional supplements:

  1. When a deficiency has been identified and targeted supplementation will be the quickest and most effective way to turn things around.
  2. When digestion is not working properly.
  3. Those in a deep healing phase working with a functional medicine practitioner to troubleshoot complex issues.

Start getting 15% pharmaceutical grade supplements right now! Thrive Nutrition offers the discount to everyone, even non-clients!

Adapted from Autoimmune Wellness.

Posted on April 25, 2018 .