Are Nutritional Supplements Necessary?

by Head Health Nutter on June 23, 2009

vitamins

This blog is all about natural health. If most nutritional supplements are synthetic, why are we even discussing it on Live Lighter? Well, recently I came across two separate sources that provided the same sound reason for supplementation in today’s society. It convinced me that this topic warrants discussion.

The following is a synopsis of what I found researching this fascinating health debate:

Those against nutritional supplements say:

  • Every nutrient we need can be found in food. “If you’re generally healthy and eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats and fish, you likely don’t need dietary supplements.” (source: The Mayo Clinic)
  • Poor quality nutritional supplements are useless. Many supplements sold on the market may not be as potent as they claim to be or their bioavailability is questionable. If supplements are not in a form our bodies can  absorb, they simply pass through our system and provide no value. (source: Surefirewealth.com)
  • Will do more harm than good. Reports on poor quality nutritional supplements have found that they are full of fillers and preservatives. For example, many kids’ supplements are packed with sugar or aspartame to make them taste like candy. (source: suite101.com)
  • Are ineffective. Many nutrients depend on other nutrients in order to work in the body. They need to be available in proper proportions and at the same time. If one of these nutrients is taken without the other, severe deficiencies in the one not taken can occur. (source: surefirewealth.com)
  • There’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. It’s been well-documented that nutritional supplements, even natural ones like St. John’s Wort and Echinacea, can be fatal. Some have been found to interfere with surgery and post-op recovery as they can have negative effects when combined with particular prescription medications and other supplements. (source: homefrontonline.com)
  • Can encourage overdosing. While our bodies easily secrete water-soluable vitamins, fat-soluable vitamins can build up in our systems and become toxic. For instance, too much vitamin A can weaken your bones and stunt your growth. (source: freefitnesstips.co.uk)

Those for nutritional supplements say:

“Unless you are ready to leave the city and start growing all your own organic food, the best way to ensure you’re meeting your many vitamin and mineral requirements is through supplementation.” Dr. Natasha Turner, N.D. The Hormone Diet.

  • We now have poor quality crops. Conventional farming methods, the use of pesticides and herbicides, and the effects of pollution over the last 50 years have all contributed to lower quality crops. Consequently, even those who eat a well-balanced diet with nutrition in mind may be lacking in some of the most basic nutrients for optimal health. (source: suite101.com)
  • Supermarket food is nutrient deprived. Much of our food has been picked before the fruit or vegetable has reached it’s peak nutrient content so that it ripens before it reaches the supermarket shelves. (source: surefirewealth.com) In addition, most of the food we are provided has been frozen, cooked or processed in ways that strip much needed vitamins and minerals. (source: The Hormone Diet)
  • Our society craves nutrient-depleting food. Many of us have developed a taste for foods made from white flour, trans fats and sugar. These foods have no nutritional value while still requiring nutrients to be processed in the body. They in effect rob us of nutrients.
  • We pay to live in our pollution. Today, we ingest an abnormal amount of chemicals through our food, water and air. Like the nutrient-void food in the previous point, these chemicals require nutrients from our bodies in order to excrete them.
  • Typical lifestyles today require additional nutrients. There’s no denying that we live stressful lives. “Some sources say our vitamin C is completely sapped after 20 minutes under stress.” In addition, most of our activities to reduce our stress require additional nutrients: prescription meds, recreational drugs (like smoking and alcohol) and even exercise!
  • Other factors that deplete our nutrients: diseases and genetic disorders and pregnancy (source: freefitnesstips.co.uk); dieting and those with digestive troubles, such as food intolerances, sensitivities and allergies (source: successfulaging.ca); and those living in Northern climates lack sufficient vitamin D (source: CBC.ca).
  • Some synthetic supplements are better than the real thing. If you can believe it, several man-made nutrients are better absorbed than from food. For instance, folic acid is 50% more absorbable than it’s counterpart (folate) found in food. (source: everything.com)

What do you think of supplementation, dear Readers? Do we need nutritional supplements in this day and age? Did I miss any of the arguements from either side? Please share your thoughts below and let’s get a discussion going!

Post to Twitter

Share

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

Subscribe without commenting

Previous post:

Next post:

ADDITIONAL INFO