Are dietary supplements necessary? Do I have to take supplements to improve my health? Great questions!! I know I don’t want to spend money on more”pills” in hopes that they will make me healthier. I have to weight the pros and cons of taking dietary supplements before I commit to taking them daily.
Dietary Supplements Defined
A dietary supplement increases the quantity of consumed nutrients. Supplements also provide nutrients not currently in a person’s diet. Dietary supplements come in many forms such as; tablets, soft gels, powders, liquids and capsules. Supplements can contain vitamins, minerals, herbs, fiber, enzymes, probiotics, and amino acids.
It is very interesting that the demand for dietary supplements worldwide continues to have steady growth. I would like to explore a couple myths and truths about dietary supplements. Do dietary supplements have merit?
Supplements: True and False!
Let’s look at just a couple true and false statements concerning dietary supplements.
Myth: I can eat all the nutrients my body needs to stay healthy.
Ugh! I once thought I could get all my nutrients right from the food that I eat! It makes sense, however it would be very difficult for me to consume that many different foods. Another concern is our food sources have been in question over the past decade as well. Consumers notice an increase in GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) used in farming and the over use of toxic chemicals. When we put everything together, it takes a toll on the actual nutrients left in our food.
Truth: Dietary supplements can promote healing after an illness.
My personal experience with dietary supplements has been a positive one. I first starting taking supplements when I was recovering from a serious digestive system illness. The conventional doctors tried for four years to diagnosis my digestive disorder. I took many prescriptions with the intention that it would hopefully put a stop to my symptoms. One of the first supplements that a holistic doctor recommended to me was a probiotic called acidophilus. After several years of getting sick immediately after eating a meal, I was deficient in more than a few vitamins and minerals. The probiotic and nutritional supplements provided healing for my body.
Specific herbs and minerals can also be used to promote healing after an injury to a bone or muscle. Calcium and magnesium are two minerals that are essential for repairing fractures and strained muscles.
Myth: All supplement companies desire to improve your health.
I wish this was true!! It would make shopping for supplements that much easier. The truth is dietary supplement are a huge business. Their are more faux companies selling the consumers supplements than legitimate companies. Dietary supplements are not regulated as medicine by any government program, such as the FDA. As a consumer we need to do our homework. I always like to know where the companies bio-science lab is located, and how they manufacture the supplements.
One reputable lab is Biotics Research NW Inc. This nutritional lab located in the state of Washington. The company only sells to approved health care providers. An online company that is certified to sell Biotics Research is www.pureformulas.com I do not personally sell this product or make a commission from this company.
Truth: Dietary supplements replenish my body with essential vitamins and minerals.
Our bodies are very complex! The vitamins and minerals we need to keep all our systems running smoothly is fascinating! Vitamin C is a great example.
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, meaning our bodies do not store up this vitamin. We can not eat large quantities of food rich in this vitamin and expect it to last more than a day. When we take vitamin C we ward off infection, inflammation and allow our bodies to repair tissues. The average person, weighing 125 lbs. or higher, needs approximately 5,000 mg of vitamin C every single day! (Please note: this is upon the recommendation of your doctor.) When our bodies operate on low Vitamin C we open ourselves up to high blood pressure, inflammation, frequent colds and slower healing.
Stop Taking Unnecessary Supplements
One of the most popular dietary supplements is a daily multi vitamin. The benefit of taking a multi vitamin is that it will provide you with a full spectrum of vitamins. The negative side to taking a multi vitamin is that it is assumed you have a big gap in your diet in ALL vitamins and minerals. An integrative doctor, holistic dietitian, or natural medicine doctor would be able to narrow down exactly what vitamins you are deficient in. They will recommend the correct dosage you need as well.
We might consume plenty of vitamin K but not enough B vitamins. The dosage for certain vitamins would be specific to different age groups. One example is the need for higher doses of Vitamin B12 by menstruating women. This vitamin is necessary to keep our adrenal system, nervous system and digestive system working properly. The need for more B12 is not surprising as it is quite difficult for us to consume and properly assimilate the required amount of B12 for our bodies. (Note; look for a B12 tablet that dissolves in your mouth.)
What dietary supplements are part of my daily routine?
Vitamin C and Vitamin B12 are essential supplements to keep my body healthy. I take vitamin C, also called Bio-C Plus to keep my histamine levels low and reduce overall inflammation in my body. Vitamin B12 is nutrition for my digestion system and aids in balancing my hormones.
Interestingly both of these supplements were recommended to me by my natural medicine doctor. He researches supplement companies before he makes any recommendations. Consequently, my family can trust our doctor’s recommendation on where to buy supplements.
Probiotics have been part of my life for over 30 years to keep my digestive system working properly. BioDoph-7 Plus is a probiotic that “contains viable, defined microorganisms in sufficient numbers, which alter the colonization if a compartments of the host, and by that exert beneficial health effects in this host.” Each capsule contains more than 20 billion organisms at the time of manufacture.
I have taken Garden of Life Primal Defense probiotic capsules. If you have ever taken an antibiotic, eaten refined food or contracted parasites from bad water or food, you will desire to take a daily probiotic.
Three years ago I was introduced to a supplement called EHT Brain Formula.
This supplement contains the patented EHT extract that is “a natural mixture of bioactive molecules isolated from coffee that helps strengthen neuronal connections to promote optimal brain health.”
EHT is a specific healing supplement, it is not intended to fill nutritional gaps in my diet. For instance, I take it to repair brain damage from concussions due to playing high school and college soccer as well as a car accident in my mid-twenties. It is one supplement I can see a noticeable difference within the first three months after taking it. It allows me better focus, concentration, and memory that decreases stress and anxiety in my daily life. Focus on Your Brain Health is an article that explains this particular supplement in detail.
Supplement with Caution
I encourage everyone to speak with a professional holistic dietitian or doctor of natural medicine before taking supplements. Each one of us is different, our bodies have unique dietary needs. I caution you to please not buy the cheapest or most convenient supplement. Save your money and your health! Therefore, find out reputable sources before taking any dietary supplements. Cheap supplements are synthetic vitamins or minerals that often contain corn, sugar and other unnecessary fillers. These type of supplement companies do not have your best interest in mind. People do not need corn, refined sugar, fillers or over processed dietary pills. I trust a small handful of companies with my health and my families health.
Are Dietary Supplements Necessary?
The fact is global use of dietary supplements continues to grow. More people are becoming focused on their health and food choices. In a recent survey, half of the American population takes one or more supplements on a daily basis. We can see people want to improve their health and fill in the gaps in their diet with dietary supplements.
The majority of people will not have the resources to consume all the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy. Dietary supplementation of specific vitamins and trace minerals would be necessary to achieve a healthy body.
Our ancestors have been using medicinal herbs, a form of dietary supplements, to treat illness and injuries. It’s amazing that at one time, medicinal herbs were the only form medicine. Similarly herbs are used to treat health concerns such as headaches, allergies, skin infections, fatigue and burns. Personally, our household uses raw garlic for boosting the immune system.
The use of dietary supplements is a personal choice. I strongly recommend that you consult with a doctor who is has researched supplementation and is very knowledgeable in this area. You will save money and take the exact dosage your body needs to heal and function properly.
What dietary supplements do you take on a daily basis?