Natural Dietary Supplements… Godsend or snake oil?
We often see statements like, “My doctors says I don’t need supplements,” or “Just eat a healthy diet and you’ll get all the vitamins and minerals you need!”
And while these sentiments are well meaning, they aren’t backed up by science. Every time I see these statements, I ask the people if they are willing to share the results of the test showing that they don’t have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies. And every time the answer is predictable… they didn’t get tested and have no evidence that they don’t have deficiencies.
Yet every testing lab in the country will tell you that all the tests show deficiencies, sometimes bad ones. So why would doctors be so careful about diagnosing everything else, yet send people with deficiencies home with the mistaken idea they had none, without running tests?
The studies proving a need for natural dietary supplements are irrefutable.
So, why don’t doctors like dietary health supplements? Well it’s a mixed bag. Of course, the world is changing and many doctors are becoming more friendly to natural solutions and general wellness and prevention protocols.
And in the end, it doesn’t REALLY matter what your doctor thinks, all that really matters is your own health and vitality, and what YOU think.
So getting your own nutritional blood work done and taking the matter into your own hands is a great idea.
But first of all, let’s explore some of the reasons why many doctors seem to have a bad attitude towards dietary supplements and the dietary supplement industry.
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First of all, realize that they’re not wrong.
You see, whether you “need” to fill in vitamin, mineral, or other deficiencies such as hormones etc, totally depends on your goals.Your doctors goal may be very different than your own health goals. If, for example, your doctors definition of health is “lack of disease,” then, Voila! They are absolutely right. If you don’t take any supplements today, or next week, will you suddenly get a chronic disease? Probably not.
If you don’t exercise for a month, will you survive? Yes! If survival is the goal, you don’t have to do much at all.
But, if your health goals involve things like:
-living a healthy, vibrant lifestyle.
–Having a strong immune system
-Having hormones balanced
Then the evidence is in. You are going to have to supplement to get all the vitamins and minerals you need.
And again, to prove this to yourself, just take a nutritional test.
Here are some great resources for that:
B12, D, Folate (3 primary ingredients in Multi
various nutrient tests, done by labcorp, the same place that likely does your doctors blood work.
Some things doctors are legitimately worried about.
The supplement industry isn’t regulated. This is a cause of concern for professionals like doctors. And let’s face it, there’s some crazy people out there and some crazy companies.Ever had somebody try to convince you that their “super juice” from a remote, special location has cured their chronic disease? Well, that stuff goes on, and it gives the supplement industry a bad name.
But true supplementation starts with the basics of vitamins and minerals, and also includes herbs, performance products like pre-workouts and post workout drinks, protein powders, and weight loss aids.
Using products like these, from reputable companies, can improve your healthy lifestyle and fill in those deficiencies.
Compensation in the health world is a real problem. It’s like this. A person thinks to themself, “self, I had my multivitamin this morning and got my vitamins, so now I can eat this pizza and beer!”
Of course, if we add a new health habit to our regimen but then use it as an excuse to not exercise or to eat worse, we haven’t done any favors.
How many people have exercised in the morning and then used that to justify a big piece of cake and ice cream with chocolate sauce that night? The problem? Maybe they burned 400 calories in the gym but ate 900 for dessert. Not helping their weight loss goal.
Quality of ingredients
When a doctor, who is at heart a scientist, sees things like gummy vitamins as health solutions, you can understand why they are anti-supplement.
“Gummies are often not certified and often do cause cavities. Yes, everyone loves them, because they’re basically candy. I do not recommend gummy vitamins for anyone, but especially not for pregnant women.”
Dr. Monique Tello, Harvard Health.
So speaking of Dr. Tello, she has written an excellent article about the subject at health.harvard.edu
In the end, she DOES favor multivitamins and other supplements such as Turmeric for inflammation and joint pain.
The industry is coming around.
But in the end, you have to take matters into your own hands. Blindly following your doctors advice about supplements, without testing, would be a mistake.
There’s a great article on the subject here.
“It’s easy to think that if you eat a healthy diet, you’re getting all the nutrients you need. But nutritional deficiencies are surprisingly common. For example, one recent scientific review paper noted that 30 to 50 percent of the U.S. population is deficient in vitamin D.”
And lastly, consider this, from the same article:
“Importantly, just because your blood work does not show that you have a nutrient deficiency does not mean you are getting enough of all the vitamins and minerals you need. Many folks who are not officially deficient in any given nutrient are still insufficient, meaning they may be getting enough to survive, but not to thrive.”
So if you are interested in thriving, not just surviving, do yourself a favor and eat well, drink lots of water, exercise, and supplement with a high quality multivitamin and mineral supplement to fill in those deficiencies you surely have.
Your body will thank you.