The Case for Supplements


The Case for SupplementsIt’s true that we should be getting essential nutrients from food. An organic-based diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables should be enough to keep us healthy. But it’s not. Relying solely on food may keep you from developing vitamin deficiencies, but a dietary approach alone is not going to come close to optimizing your health. Let’s look at some of the reasons we believe supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals is absolutely necessary.

Depleted Soil

Is a tomato today the same as it was a hundred years ago? Not if you count the poor condition of our soil. U.S. soil was first surveyed during the 1920s. The results showed our soil was markedly devoid of nitrates and carbonates, important nutrients vital for the successful growth of nutrient-dense food. Since that time, not much has been done to improve the condition of our soil. In the 1930s and 40s, farmers planted soy to reinvigorate top soil. That helped to some degree but not to the extent needed. Since then, farmers have added chemicals to the soil to to improve growth potential. This might help to grow crops, but it does not really lead to healthy crops. The organically grown fruits and vegetables we are left with are just slightly better. Organic foods contain fewer pesticides, but organic soil is just as depleted of nutrients as chemically treated soil. This leaves us begging for a solution.

Today’s Toxic Deluge

We live in a toxic environment. Chemical toxins from the air, water, and soil create a destructive oxidative environment inside of us. Most of the environmental toxins are highly reactive oxygen molecules that build-up over time creating what’s called oxidative stress. As a matter of fact, oxidative stress is one of the leading causes of aging. Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress. Our bodies intrinsically synthesize some antioxidants, but most of them come from dietary sources, like dark-colored fruits and vegetables. But once again this brings us back to the poor condition of our soil. Can we rely solely on dietary sources of antioxidants given the fact that crops around the world are producing nutrient-poor foods? So, what can we do? How can we increase our intake of antioxidants? The answer is simple: supplements. A high-quality antioxidant formula can offer protection against our toxic environment — something food alone cannot provide. Some commonly known antioxidants are vitamins C and E. You can also take plant-based antioxidants such as pomegranate and blueberry. Today many formulations contain these powerful antioxidants that can help you fight against our toxic environment.

Ideal Dosing Versus RDA

The recommended daily allowance or RDA for vitamin C, for example, is 75 to 100 mg a day. That's just enough vitamin C to keep you from developing scurvy — a condition resulting from a vitamin C deficiency. But vitamin C can do much more than just prevent scurvy. At an ideal daily dose of 500 mg, vitamin C becomes a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system, supports the cardiovascular system, and optimizes overall health. Now let’s say you’re not interested in supplements. That means you need to reach the optimal dose from food only. Here are some common food sources and their amount of vitamin C per serving:
  • Papaya – 70 mg
  • Kiwi – 70 mg
  • Green peppers – 65 mg
  • Citrus fruit – 35–60 mg
  • Strawberries – 49 mg
  • Blueberries – 45 mg
  • Apples – 25 mg
That’s a lot of papaya or green peppers to reach 500 mg of vitamin C a day! Ideal dosing is just another reason why supplementation is so important.

The Verdict?

Well, in science the case is never closed. We are constantly learning and re-evaluating our beliefs and conclusions. And with that said, considering our poor soil, environmental toxins, and our desire to do more than just prevent vitamin deficiencies, supplementing our diet with ideally dosed vitamins and minerals is a necessity.

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Additional Information

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.