I am a strong advocate of supplements. While I am not alone in this idea, there is a strong contingency of holistic nutritionists who are very opposed to the idea of supplementals. So I will share with you the reasons why I feel strongly about this, so that you have the ability to make a more informed choice for yourself:
1) Our food quality has gone to hell – Agribusiness has cut down forests and depleted praires, allowing nutrient dense topsoil to dry out and blow away in the wind, ending up at the bottom of the ocean. This is of great ecological concern as one inch of topsoil can take 500 years to form naturally.(1) An apple today contains almost 15-40% less nutrition than it did in 1950!!! (2) The nature of how we grow food – maximum yield in minimum time – is blamed for this. Also to note – conventional produce uses fertilizer which contains 3 minerals – Carbon, Phoshorus, and Potassium. There are FAR MORE nutrients essential to good plant and human health!
2) And – you’re not absorbing as much as you think you are! Antibiotics (via prescription or polluted water/animal products), stress, lack of mindfulness, adequate chewing and low nutrition all prevent our bodies from properly absorbing nutrients, so even if your diet was perfect, your ability to ABSORB your nutrition may not be. Certain supplements can facilitate nutrient absorption by boosting the effectiveness of the digestive system.
3) Pollution taxes the system and creates additional nutrient needs – agribusiness is also a huge contributor to pollution, in addition to industry in general. Our waterways are polluted, our soil is polluted, and our air is polluted. This has been very noticeable to me, as I was raised in Alaska, which has the cleanest air and water in the country. If you live in the city and do not travel much, you may not realize how poor the environment you live in is. Pollution is poison, and it takes our cells and organs extra energy and nourishment to be able to detoxify unhealthy compounds that we are continuously exposed to. Antioxidants, phytochemicals, and key vitamins and minerals for cell, liver and lung health are key to keeping your system operating optimally!
4) You are under more stress than you think – and that means you need more nutrients! Even if you do not feel stressed, you are likely working too hard, sleeping too little, are nutrient depleted and overstimulated by lights, media, and the hullabaloo of modern living. We have ancient bodies that are coping marvelously well given the copious stimulation of modern society! Stress – be it physical, mental or emotional; conscious or unconscious – taxes the adrenals, which then need additional vitamins and minerals to produce hormones for normal functioning. Just being nutrient depleted puts stress on the body because it is trying to cope without tools it needs! You can see how this can be a powerful negative feedback loop that leads to chronic disease ten, twenty, or thirty years from now?
5) The RDAs were made to prevent gross deficiency, not achieve optimal human health – Nutrition is a very young science – we did not even know vitamins existed until about 100 years ago! The RDA’s were made to prevent extensive diseases that were becoming common at the time – rickets, beriberi, scurvy and the like. The RDA’s were created looking at DISEASE, not looking for OPTIMAL HEALTH. Since they were first created, many revisions have been made and we are discovering that most of them are likely far too low. Vitamin D is a common nutrient we are deficient in – the NEW RDA is set to 600- 800 IU, (3) but clinical treatment of low D stores is upwards of 50,000 IU. Given that over 90% of the country is low on Vitamin D, what we are getting supplementally clearly is not enough. Low Vitamin D is linked with autoimmune disorders and cancer … conditions we were not looking for in 1905.
6) Even if RDA’s were enough – you still aren’t meeting them! All that said, we are still not even meeting the RDA’s! Less than 15% of Americans are getting enough of at least one nutrient (Vitamin E). Chances are, every single one of us is consistently lacking in at least one nutrient. Supplementation is an inexpensive way to give your body an extra boost considering your health and energy is the most valuable gift you have!