Why I Recommend Supplements

Fruit on display at La Boqueria market in Barc...Image via Wikipedia
Key points:
1.      Processed foods deplete the food of its vital nutrients and phyto-nutrients
2.      Whole foods are better than supplements (but you might not be getting enough)
3.      Fewer nutrients in the soil means less nutrients in the food which means fewer nutrients consumed.
4.      Recommend daily intake (RDI) is a minimum not an optimal level for optimal health.
I read a web article (March 2009) that indicated that the following categories of people may need to take supplements:
  • Those who eat less than 1,600 calories per day
  • Adults and children whose diet excludes whole food groups
  • Women who are pregnant or lactating
  • Those who suffer from a digestive illness that interferes with normal digestion of food, suffer from a chronic illness or have suffered a major injury
  • Those who have a decreased appetite, especially aging adults
  • Adults who are too busy to eat well all the time  
Are you one of these?
For the majority of the population the answer is likely yes. All of these categories include people who don’t consume enough food, don’t consume adequate amounts of the right foods or can’t absorb nutrients properly. I have highlighted the two categories, which I feel, most readers are in.  We are in a society that is fast paced therefore it is “easier” to grab something and eat it than to take the time to cook up a meal.  Most of these “easier” foods are likely processed.  This means we are less likely to be eating whole foods and less likely to be eating well.
The key to a healthy diet is consuming adequate amounts of whole foods. Whole foods are exceptionally important for our health because they contain the micronutrients and phyto-nutrients that our body needs. To achieve optimal health we must first put the effort in to consuming whole foods.  But is this enough or is it possible? It may not be.
The problem with eating whole foods is that the food that we consume now does not contain the same amounts of phyto-nutrients and micronutrients than when our parents consumed the same foods.  Poor management of our soil has lead to soil that has been depleted of its important nutrients.  Our whole foods suffer because of this. Fewer nutrients in the soil means less nutrients in the food which means fewer nutrients consumed.  Despite doing our best to eat whole foods our body is still loosing out.   Supplementation may be the answer.
Most of the foods we consume today have been processed.  The problem with processed foods is that they often eliminate or reduce the amount of healthy micronutrients and phyto-nutrients in the food.  Therefore, the healthy apple that we could have eaten now has less of the good stuff when we drink it as juice or eat it as apple sauce. In addition, sugar and preservatives are often added to these processed foods which may also impact our body negatively.
Some may say that even though we get less vitamins and minerals in our food we are still able to consume enough to meet our RDI (recommended daily intake). Yes this may actually be true, but these are only minimums that are required to prevent conditions like scurvy. The important question to ask is, “Are we consuming optimal amounts?”  Optimal amounts are amounts that research has shown to have health benefits.  For example, 40 international units of vitamin E per day will help us meet the RDI, but it won’t help achieve the antioxidant protection that it would provide if it was consumed at ten times that amount (as dictated by research).  So our body works better if it achieves optimal amounts versus “just enough” amounts.
We must also be concerned with our finances.  How many fruits and vegetables do we need to consume to achieve optimal levels? How much does this cost? Does the cost of doing this and the resulting health benefits outweigh the cost of purchasing a monthly supplement? That is a question you should answer for yourself.  Take the time to do the math. If you feel you can consume all your nutrients in what you eat, then supplementation is not for you.  If you feel you can not consume enough to achieve optimal amounts then supplementation is going to be a benefit for you.
In conclusion, the reason I choose to supplement is because I feel that I live a busy life where I cannot eat well all of the time. Taking supplements gives me an increased sense of security knowing that my daily requirements are met; therefore, what I consume in whole foods will be helping me achieve optimal levels for optimal health.
For those choosing a High Potency Multi-Vitamin and Minerals, check to make sure they contain at least the following amounts:
Vitamin C – 1,000 mg
Vitamin E – 200-300 IU
Beta-carotene – 10,000 – 20,000 IU
Selenium – 100 – 200 mcg,
Lycopene – 5 – 10 mg
Lutein – 5 – 10 mg
Vitamin B-50 complex
Calcium – 500 mg
Vitamin D – 400 IU
Magnesium – 250 mg
Zinc – 15 mg
* Vitamin and Mineral amounts provided by Adeeva.com
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