The human body is composed of billions upon billions of molecules. Every second each of the cells in the body is undergoing a complex series of reactions that not only provide the energy needed to stay alive, but controls pain, repairs DNA, strengthens the muscles and joints and sharpens the mind. Each of these reactions requires vitamins, minerals and trace elements in order to occur. Without enough of a certain vitamin or mineral, our body is unable to perform the necessary reactions to optimize health, and may resort to undergoing processes that are less efficient and damaging to our long term health. Keep reading to find out why you should be taking daily supplements.
3 Reasons why you should take daily supplements
1. You are not getting all the essential vitamins and minerals from your regular diet.
You may be thinking. Do I really need to take a multivitamin? I eat a great diet, and I heard that it is just a waste of money?
First, a well-balanced diet is and always will be the best way to get the nutrients you need. However, most Americans do not follow the recommended dietary guidelines set forth by the Institute of Medicine on vitamins and essential minerals. According to the Journal of Nutrition, more than 93%, 61%, and 50% of adults in the U.S. do not get the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) of vitamins D and E, magnesium, and vitamin A and calcium, respectively (Fulgoni et al., 2011). This was even true of those that claimed to eat a well-balanced, nutrient dense diet with added enriched and fortified foods.
The fact is that the food we eat today is less nutrient dense than food even 50 years ago. Even a “perfect eater” that gets all their food organic, locally sourced, and eats a perfectly well-balanced diet will most likely be lacking in one or more of the nutrients named above. A quality multivitamin is the best way to make sure you are getting the nutrients you need daily to supplement clean eating.
2. You are ruining your body by taking opiates and NSAIDs to combat pain and inflammation.
Are there any natural ways to deal with pain and inflammation?
Let’s look at a typical scenario we see here at BIA. A patient comes in with pain in many joints, headaches, and inflammation that just won’t seem to go away. This type of chronic inflammation can lead to things like osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, or just a constant frustration trying to complete every-day activities. So how does this patient tend to deal with this problem? By taking opiates or NSAIDs to help with the pain and inflammation, much to the chagrin of their digestive health, their kidneys and liver, and the pain always comes back.
Natural ways to reduce inflammation include adding turmeric (paired with black pepper), ginger, cinnamon, ashwaganda, or other herbs and spices into your diet that act as inflammation inhibitors or adaptagens. There are also supplements that can help to keep inflammation down, but the most important thing before we talk about supplements is to make sure you are eating foods that are not going to sabotage your anti-inflammatory efforts. Staying away from processed foods and sugar is the easiest and quickest way to kick start the reduction of inflammation in the body. Supplements that help reduce inflammation include fish (flax, cod liver) oil, the natural compounds listed above, green tea, aloe, walnut oil, goji berries, and maitake.
3. We live in a toxic, stressful environment that wreaks havoc on the body systems.
A quality multivitamin/mineral supplement will help protect the cells of the body against the toxic environment we live in. Environmental toxins from the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the chemicals we use and the pollutants all around give your liver a lot of work to do to maintain optimal function. Add on top of that the high stress work and home environments we live in, and you have a recipe for health disaster.
Managing stress and staying clear of toxins is a great first step, and adding a quality multivitamin and mineral support can enhance those efforts. The antioxidants, robust minerals, and B-vitamins in a quality supplement can keep your liver and other organs in shape, and help facilitate enzymatic reactions needed to remove those toxins filtered by the liver out of your body. Those same B-complex vitamins, along with vitamin C, D, and magnesium can help to lower stress levels naturally, help improve sleep, and increase natural energy levels.
Where should I get my supplements?
Proceed with caution when beginning a supplement plan. Not all supplements are created equal.
Americans spend 15 billion dollars per year on vitamins and supplements which are mostly unregulated by the FDA. In other words, just because the label states the product has a specific ingredient does not mean the product actually contains this ingredient. The fact that supplements are unregulated by the FDA is the reason it’s so important to buy your supplements from a healthcare practitioner you trust.
The whole concept of “practitioner-only” dietary supplements is founded on a set of core propositions:
- the products are made with the highest quality raw materials under pharma-grade standards
- they contain higher levels of active ingredients and/or unique combinations not available in consumer retail brands
- they are more consistent, reliable, and effective than those available in retail stores or online
- optimal outcomes occur when the products are used under guidance by trained and licensed health professionals
In addition, the attorney general of NY has asked major retailers (ex. GNC, Walgreens, Target, Walmart) to halt sales of certain herbal supplements as DNA tests failed to detect plant materials listed on a majority of products tested. What this means is that you should be buying your supplements from a licensed practitioner because buying supplements from any other source (including Amazon) is just too risky.
How do I know which supplements I need?
If you are experiencing symptoms of nutrient deficiencies, which can manifest as fatigue, poor sleep, depressed mood, poor recovery from exercise, bruising easily, cramps (and the list goes on), you may need to take a closer look. Micronutrient testing is a great way to get a snapshot of your micronutrient makeup, and make a solid supplement plan to balance out the systems of your body.
Every vitamin and mineral is unique and serves a specific purpose (or many purposes, like in the case of magnesium), and being deficient in even one can cause a host of problems. Overwhelming evidence suggests that a lack of these vital nutrients has a profound impact on the body’s immune system and inadequate intake could mean the difference between a healthy life and one susceptible to disease. If you’re not sure if your current supplements are doing the trick, or if you are taking everything you think you need, but are still experiencing symptoms of nutrient deficiency, micronutrient testing is a great way to know for sure.
Here at Back In Action we offer micronutrient testing. Schedule an appointment today to get tested.
Fulgoni, V. 3., Keast, D. R., Bailey, R. L., & Dwyer, J. (2011). Foods, fortificants, and supplements: Where do Americans get their nutrients?. The Journal Of Nutrition, 141(10), 1847-1854. doi:10.3945/jn.111.142257