One of the most common questions regularly asked is, “If I eat healthily do I still need to take supplements?”. The reigning belief in recent years that eating a diet of whole foods is more than sufficient to meet nutrient needs has long since been busted. After years of reviewing nutrient deficiency tests in my own practice along with reading research papers from my peers, it is clear that nutrient deficiencies are, unfortunately, extremely common… it is also excitingly clear to see the achievements one can have when incorporating supplements! So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty…
What contributes to nutrient deficiencies?
•Increased Toxic Load
The environment we live in nowadays is more toxic than ever- the toxic load of our air, water, and food are higher than ever. Our bodies are naturally designed to detox daily with help from many vitamins and minerals. But, with the ever-increasing toxic load of our daily lives and environment paired with the declining nutrient density of our food (more on this later), those essential vitamins and minerals are hard to come by. That’s where supplements come in! We need to obtain ‘essential’ vitamins and minerals from food because our bodies cannot create them on their own (hence the term ‘essential’). If we are not obtaining or absorbing these nutrients our detoxification process is not as efficient.
-With an increased toxic load being ingested through food and water, our gut health is compromised (which is believed to be 70-80% of our immune system!), therefore decreasing our ability to absorb nutrients and potentially resulting in gastrointestinal inflammation.
-With a higher toxic load, we also need to increase antioxidant power. The majority of our antioxidants come from the fruits and vegetables we consume
• Increased Daily Stress
Stress is also considered a toxin! Emotional and physical stress increases our demand for nutrients in addition to increasing oxidation (increasing aging). Keep in mind that some ways we let ourselves relax (watching tv/movies, browsing the web, scrolling through our phone) also contribute to our overall stress.
• Decreased Nutrient Content In Our Soil
As farming techniques continue to change and advance in technology as demand for farmed produce and animal products increases, the mineral content of our soil has decreased dramatically. Therefore, the large dose of phytochemicals that we should be consuming with our fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is not as dense as it was historically. This is why a daily supplement can act as an insurance policy for daily essential nutrients.
According to the CDC, almost 74% of physician visits result in drug therapy. We are using more prescription and over-the-counter therapies than ever before. While these therapies have their place, and some may help curb symptoms, they can wreak havoc on our internal systems and more often than not decrease absorption of several essential nutrients.
•Standard American Diet (SAD Diet)
Unfortunately, the acronym for the Standard American Diet is spot-on: it’s SAD. It’s compromised of highly processed foods, foods high in sugars, refined carbohydrates, low fiber, and extremely unhealthy oils. The SAD diet is beyond low in essential vitamins and minerals in addition to heart-healthy fiber and anti-inflammatory foods. In addition to increasing servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, fiber, and high-quality proteins, a daily multivitamin and omega-3 fatty acid supplement will help support general health.
Daily Recommended Supplements:
•Multivitamin: Contains essential daily vitamins and minerals
•Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory fats (healthy fats are also essential for tip-top endocrine/hormone function!)
•Probiotic: Supports gut health which, in turn, supports immunity, mood, digestion, absorption, and bowel regularity
•Vitamin D: A very common vitamin deficiency. Doses will vary depending on individual deficiencies.
•Curcumin: The active anti-inflammatory component in turmeric.
When shopping for supplements, we do not recommend going through Amazon. The main reason is a concern for how long the supplements have been sitting on warehouse shelves. Other concerns include imitation/fake brands. To ensure your supplements are worth your money and of the highest quality, shop here: