Have you ever wondered if you really need all the vitamins and supplements you have taken? I mean, if you eat healthy, can't you just get everything out of your food? This question is often asked by my customers and it is also known that I ask my own naturopath the same thing! I have never liked to swallow pills and I am honest. One day I just look at my supplements and make a face. Can you understand?
At least since I went to nutrition school and studied functional medicine, I know what mine is for and why I take it. So I wanted to help you understand why you may or may not need your vitamins and supplements. Today vitamins and supplements are big business. In the United States alone, the vitamin and nutritional supplement industry grossed $ 32 billion last year! (1)
And did you know that this branch is largely unregulated? (2) This means that many vitamins and supplements on the market may contain sub-optimal ingredients or ingredients like a number of fillers and binders that basically do nothing for you and can even make you sick if you are sensitive to an ingredient. If so, do you really need to take vitamins and supplements?
What exactly is a vitamin or mineral and why may you need supplements?
Vitamin: all organic compounds that are essential for normal growth and nutrition and are required in small amounts in the diet because they cannot be synthesized by the body.
Mineral: An inorganic element that comes from the soil and water and is taken up by plants or eaten by animals. Your body needs sufficient amounts of minerals to grow and stay healthy.
This means that we have to get our vitamins and minerals from our food or water. Could you be deficient in vitamins and minerals? A shocking statistic is that more than 90% of Americans are subclinically deficient in at least one micronutrient or vitamin. (3) (4) According to research data: (5) (6) (7) (8)
- 95% of adults and 98% of adolescents have insufficient vitamin D intake
- 62% of Americans have a magnesium deficiency
- 40% of Americans are deficient in vitamin B-12
- 32% of Americans have insufficient vitamin B6 intake
- 23% of Americans have little iron
90% of Americans have a subclinical deficiency in at least one micronutrient or vitamin.
What does it mean to be subclinically poor in nutrients?
Subclinical nutrient deficiency indicates biochemical changes in an unstable state that, if left untreated, develop into clinical malnutrition.
Vitamin and mineral deficiency are often used as biomarkers to identify other health problems. So you can think of vitamin or mineral deficiency as an early warning that something is out of balance in your body. And there are several reasons for someone to have subclinical nutritional deficiencies.
For example, subclinical magnesium deficiency is a major cause of A-fib and cardiovascular diseases. Magnesium plays an important role in over 300 enzymatic processes, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood sugar control, blood pressure regulation and seizure prevention. And that's just a nutrient …
Many vitamins and minerals also work together … Calcium needs vitamins D3 and K2-7 to be absorbed in bones and teeth.
Many vitamins and minerals also work together. For example, calcium needs vitamins D3 and K2-7 to be absorbed into bones and teeth. If you are missing either of these values, it can lead to osteoporosis or osteopenia, regardless of how much calcium you take. If you take calcium supplements and contain little D3 or K2-7, calcium can actually do you more harm than good. If it doesn't contain the other nutrients needed to get it to the bones, the body stores excess calcium in your soft tissues, such as B. Your arteries, which leads to arterial clearing (hardening of the arteries).
As another example, plant foods usually contain more copper than we need. Zinc and copper compete for the same receptors, so a copper-rich diet (think vegans and vegetarians) can cause zinc deficiency (very common).
Zinc deficiency can appear as impaired immune function, hair loss and eye lesions, to name just a few symptoms. And just like magnesium, zinc is a co-factor with enzymes that cause a number of biochemical processes in our body. Without enough zinc, many other things can get mixed up. But everything has to be in perfect balance. Too much zinc can consume copper and cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea and headache. No bueno!
Symptoms of frequent nutrient deficiencies
- A ~ dermatitis, eye inflammation, poor night vision, dry or flaky or itchy skin
- B6 ~ Anxiety, depression, fatigue, trigger finger, carpal tunnel, increased homocysteine / high blood pressure, symptoms of estrogen dominance
- B12 ~ numbness and tingling in the hands and feet (neuropathy), depression, dementia and fatigue
- CoQ10 ~ heart failure, high blood pressure, angina pectoris, mitral valve prolapse, fatigue and gingivitis (and statin medications consume CoQ10!)
- Excessive sweating, low immune function, osteoporosis, poor calcium intake, bone sensitivity and thyroid problems
- Folate anemia, low immune function, low white blood count, fatigue, insomnia, hair loss, high homocysteine levels, cardiovascular diseases
- Iron anemia, fatigue / lethargy, usually cold, poor limb blood flow, poor thyroid conversion from T4 to T3
- K2-7 ~ osteoporosis, osteopenia and calcified arteries
- Magnesium ~ everywhere for tension, headache, anxiety, constipation, GERD, muscle cramps, frequent coughing, irregular heartbeat, insulin resistance and craving for chocolate
- Potassium hypertension and muscle cramps (especially "Charley horse")
So when you look at all the vitamins and minerals our body needs to function properly, and all the chemical processes that everyone is involved in, it's really amazing that we work as well as we are. Just because you may have a vitamin or mineral deficiency symptom or read the latest article about a hot new supplement doesn't mean you should start taking it. Just like Rx recipes can strain the liver, taking a ton of supplements can be tough.
"Our foods are hybridized, genetically modified, sprayed, processed, refined, irradiated, oxidized, homogenized, stripped, bleached, charred and served with fries."
—Tracy Harrison, School of Applied Functional Medicine
So why could we have a nutritional deficiency?
As you can see, there is a pretty good chance that you are missing at least one subclinical supplement. There are several reasons for this, as we will learn here.
- Our products contain less nutrients than before. In fact, today's average product (organic or not) contains 50% less nutrients than 1975! (11) This factoid amazed me, because that's the way it is in my life. I was eleven years old in 1975. This reduced nutritional value of the products is due to poor agricultural practices, including non-rotating plants that leave our soils nutrient-free and sprayed with toxins such as glyphosate that remain in our soils for many years. Today (compared to 1975):
- Apples have 41% less vitamin A.
- Paprika has 31% less vitamin C.
- Watercress has 88% less iron
- Broccoli contains 50% less vitamin C and 50% less calcium
- Collard greens have 60% less potassium and 85% less magnesium
- Cauliflower has 48% less vitamin B1 and 47% less vitamin B2
- Most Americans eat the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.), processed foods full of toxins, artificial ingredients, and minimal nutrients. In fact, 37% of American adults eat at least one junk food meal a day. Not only do we not absorb the nutrients that we need in most meals, eating toxic foods also requires more nutrients for digestion, which means that our vital nutrients are used up further.
- Many people over 50 have little stomach acid and / or digestive enzymes. This can be due to a variety of intestinal dysbiosis factors, from poor eating habits to H. pylori to leaky intestines and more. So if we cannot digest our food properly, even if we eat a perfectly healthy diet, we are unlikely to absorb and ingest the nutrients contained in our food.
- And for the reasons mentioned above, if we don't digest / absorb / assimilate nutrients from our food, we probably won't digest / absorb / assimilate them from our ether additive too, which results in very expensive urine.
Not all additions are created equal
If you've ever looked for vitamins and supplements, you've seen a variety of brands and prices. I have always wondered why my naturopath has always recommended professional high-end brands of nutritional supplements. Was it just that she could make money selling it to me? It turns out that this is not the reason at all. And now I'm grateful to know the difference.
As we learned above, many vitamins and supplements are made from inferior ingredients or contain forms of minerals and vitamins that are not easily absorbed. For example, there are several forms of magnesium. But only a few forms that we can actually absorb and use well. But guess what? Most inexpensive supplements contain the types that we cannot easily ingest.
Likewise, many types of cereals and processed foods (including milk) are fortified with vitamins. But guess what? They use vitamin D2, the form that we don't readily use, instead of D3, the type we need more of. This is because using D2 is much cheaper. And guess what else? D2 and D3 uptake in the same receptors. So if you fill your receptors with D2, the D3 cannot be absorbed and you may lack vitamin D, although you may be taking supplements.
Professional and non-professional brands
And as the old saying goes: "You get what you pay for." As with premium alcohol brands, paying for your quality through professional brands that your body actually needs and that it can easily absorb can make a big contribution to promoting your health. However, there are also some high quality non-professional brands.
I am often asked which brands I recommend. As you probably know, I always personally check everything that I recommend. Here are some of my favorite brands. And while I am only minimally compensated for the sale of some of these brands, I take them myself and can vouch for them 100%. And my readers save 20% when buying my professional online brand pharmacies.
Professional brands (save 20% on all orders):
- Thorne (no fillers / binders, which is great if you have allergies / food sensitivities)
- Microbiome Labs (great supplements for leaky gut and other bowel problems)
- Metagenics (dietary supplements, vitamins and CBD products)
- Vital nutrients (bioavailable forms of minerals)
- Jarrow (good choice for inexpensive and easy availability, but not always the best nutrient forms)
- Garden of Life (raw whole food supplements recently purchased by Nestlé, therefore not sure if their quality will change)
Recommended daily allowance (RDA)
Another thing to consider is RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance). Science has only recently begun to understand what many of these nutrients actually do in our bodies (so that vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all, but a "pre-hormone" that interacts with all of our other hormones!) The RDA was founded in 1941 and hardly updated since then. In addition, the RDA is based on an “average” 150 pound male and gives the minimum amount of nutrients needed to survive rather than thrive. How many of you are actually a 150 pound man? Yes, I would not have thought …
Reference areas for vitamins and nutritional supplements
Reference ranges are used to determine optimal biomarker values in blood laboratories. Functional medicine is usually more conservative than allopathic medicine in terms of “optimal” reference ranges (which means that FM-optimal RR usually has higher lows and lower highs). This is because research has shown that if you use more conservative areas, you will be much more likely to spot things that go wrong in your body earlier. (9)
For example, the normal reference range for allopathic medicines for vitamin D is between 25 and 80 ng / ml, but for functional medicine between 50 and 80. In general, it has been shown that a vitamin D of at least 50 ng / ml makes a major contribution to maintaining good health Your immune system (this has also been shown in some recent COVID-19 studies) (10). While values over 80 can suppress your immune system (this can actually be helpful if you have an autoimmune disorder).
As you can see, there is plenty of room here for organic individuality. Everyone is different. (That is why functional medicine focuses more on the individual with illness than on the illness that the person suffers from.) So you need to work with your doctor to find out what's best for your individual body.
“In a perfect world, nobody would need supplements. Given the stress of our modern lives, the poor quality of our food supply and the high levels of toxicity in our brain and body, most of us need a basic daily supply of the most important raw materials so that all of our enzymes and biochemistry work as designed. "
– Dr. Mark Hyman, MD
Vitamins and Supplements: Do You Need Them?
Although it would be ideal to get all of our nutrients from real whole foods, unfortunately this is practically impossible these days. So how do you really know if you need vitamins and supplements or not? And more importantly, which one do you need?
It's a good idea to work with your doctor to do a basic blood test that shows your vitamin and mineral levels. Remember that many health insurance companies do not cover this. This is unfortunate as it can cause type 2 diabetes to be stopped or reversed long before it usually occurs. I personally believe that it is worth the extra cost to be reassured about my own health.
Then you can work with your doctor from there to find out where you are low or high and which nutritional supplements are best for you given your unique body. If your doctor isn't ready to test you, visit SpectraCell.com. You can connect with a referring practitioner.
Please leave a comment to let us know your biggest "ah-ha!" Take vitamins and supplements. Thank you for reading and sharing with your friends and family, so they stay healthy!