Are Supplements Essential To Good Health?
First of all, supplements are not intended to replace a healthy diet; they merely play a support role. My foremost recommendation for better health is still to include as much wholesome, organic foods in the diet as possible. Ideally, you also want to spend some time outdoors everyday. However, for many of us, this may not be entirely feasible.
• Most of us have the habit of eating very similar foods day-in, day-out. For example we only eat boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of varying parts of the chicken, such as the organs, the tendons, the skin, and the bones, which provide different nutrients like vitamin A, iron, calcium, collagen, etc.
• We do not eat enough variety of protein foods as each contains some different nutrients. For example, red meat, egg yolks, and dark-meat poultry are rich in zinc and heme iron, whereas grass-fed beef has a high concentration of the immune-boosting conjugated linoleic acid.
• We do not consume sufficient vegetables and fruits, not to mention the ones with different colors which have vastly differing nutrients.
• Our diet consists of excess nutrient-poor and calorie-dense processed foods, GMOs, pesticides, and chemicals.
• We eat too much fast foods or restaurant foods which are frequently very high in the pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid due to the type of refined vegetable oil they use in cooking.
• We devote most of the day sitting in front of a Mellitox computer and seldom spend time outdoors.
Given these circumstances, it is inconceivable that our diet alone can provide us with all the necessary nutrients for good health. On top of that, majority of the population have some degree of leaky gut, low stomach acid and enzyme production, or other gut issues like Candida yeast overgrowth and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), all of which prevent proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
Hence, in today’s world, most people will need to take supplements of some sort. But because we are all unique individuals and biochemically different, the answer to which supplements one should take is not so black and white. That being said, there are five important supplements that are considered as staples and everyone can use for better health.
A high quality multivitamin can help fill nutritional gap and ensure that you are getting all the important vitamins and minerals. However, do not settle for inferior quality multivitamins. Choose one that is manufactured by a highly reputable company that has a long track record of providing quality products. This will ensure that utmost care has been taken in all phases of production, from growing the ingredients organically, to manufacturing, testing for potency, and quality control.
Whole food supplements vs. synthetic or isolated supplements
Whole food supplements are food-based supplements made from concentrated whole foods. They are highly complex structures that combine a variety of enzymes, coenzymes, antioxidants, trace elements, and activators to work synergistically so that your body can easily absorb the nutrients.
Synthetic or isolated supplements are not natural as these nutrients are never found by themselves in nature. They are usually manufactured in a laboratory and come in ultra-high dose formulas. Synthetic multivitamins tend to give you massive quantities of some nutrients, usually the most inexpensive ones, and insufficient quantities of others. The problem with this type of nutrients is that the body treats them as foreign substances and can only utilize a small portion of the nutrients; in the long run, they can create imbalances in the body. Also, know that potentially nasty solvents and chemicals may be used in the manufacturing process of such synthetic supplements.
A once-daily multi vs. multis with a serving size of 3 to 6 capsules or tablets a day
A once-daily multi is typically lower in minerals because the latter tend to be bulky. They seldom include essential minerals like potassium or magnesium in adequate enough amounts to really make a difference.
Multis with a daily serving size of 3 to 6 tablets have higher potencies and often have added beneficial ingredients such as vegetables, fruits, herbs, green foods, and enzymes to enhance digestion and absorption. With these multis, you can take more or less with your meals depending on the quality of your diet and your individual needs.
Only a handful of companies produce high quality, whole food multi-vitamin supplements; over 99% of the companies make the synthetic isolate version. The following are several brands of whole food supplements that you may find in health food stores