Supplements: Do We Need Them?
This is often a question we get from our patients when reviewing labs, discussing health and most importantly – diet.
The fast and easy answer is – yes! But one size does not fit all. Follow along as we educate on the importance of a diet full of whole foods, organic options and supplements to fill in the gaps.
We would like to think if we are eating a healthy, whole foods diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables that we are free and clear of needing supplements. The biggest disclaimer? Our food is no longer created the same way. Long ago, food was simple. It was planted and farmed on the timeline it was created to do so. Farming today uses man-made chemicals to preserve foods, fight bugs, diseases and enhance crop growth. Animals were raised in pastures untouched by pesticides. They were grass fed without corn and antibiotics. Fish swam freely and were wild caught eating a diet full of algae, krill, smaller fish, small insects etc.
Bottom line: our food is no longer the same. Our soils are depleted from nutrients causing a loss in phytonutrients – nutrients needed for their antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. So here we are, present day, lacking in amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
In addition to our food being depleted from nutrients, we are on medications that strip us of essential electrolytes, minerals or vitamins. For example, we are a society that gives out proton-pump inhibitors (think Prilosec) and antacids over the counter. These medications were originally intended for short time use in relief of acid reflux. They work by inhibiting the amount of acid secreted into the stomach used to break down foods to help absorb easier in the gut; now there’s impaired absorption. We have people on statins (cholesterol lowering medications) that deplete CoQ10, diuretics enhancing loss of electrolytes and antidepressants lowering calcium and vitamin D. Of course, there is a time and a place for medication – but here lies the need to fill in the gap with specific supplements.
Finally, there’s quality. Most of us have tried the gummies or supplements off the shelves. It’s easy and convenient. It’s also 100% pointless. Research suggests most supplements off the shelves exceed the label claims to compensate for shelf life, so the actual ingredient list and quantity is unknown. In addition, most supplements off the shelves are filled with dyes, preservatives and fillers. Always remember to find your supplements from a reliable source.
This is often from a medical office, Full Script account or provider. Most of the supplements coming from these sources are effective, tested for purity and void of additives.