According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, just in U.S. alone the dietary supplements are $41 billion industry. There are thousands of supplements on the market today (30,000 to be exact) ranging from sports nutrition supplements, botanicals, minerals, vitamins, weight management products and the list goes on. More than 170 million Americans take supplements annually.
Have you recently been in the supplement isle of your health food store? Very confusing indeed: thousands of colorful bottles all promising to give your body everything it needs for optimal health. As Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I always emphasize quality of anything you are taking internally, so I highly encourage you to choose your supplements carefully and consider that many of them could do more harm than good.
WHO ARE SUPPLEMENTS FOR
Short answer to that is anyone, but here are some signs and symptoms that might indicate that supplements are right for you:
- Brain fog or hair loss
- Thyroid condition
- Low energy
- High stress lifestyle
- Digestive issues
- Diagnosable disease or condition
- Weakened immune system
- Frequent viral outbreaks
- Don’t cook at home at least 80% of the time
- Don’t eat organic food at least 80% of the time
WHY MOST SHOULD CONSIDER TAKING THEM
If you know anything about me, you will know that I am the biggest advocate for whole nourishing foods, seasonal and intuitive eating. There is no doubt that the biggest focus for us should always be food: vegetables, herbs, fruits, nuts, seeds, etc. but I have a high believe in good quality targeted supplementation for so many reasons.
1. Nutrient Deficiencies and Toxicity
It doesn’t matter how healthy you eat, we come into this Earth with certain nutritional deficiencies and heavy metal + chemical toxicity of our mothers. These chemicals and toxins are easily passed from mother to child in the womb. According to Environmental Working Group, a study that was conducted in 2006 discovered up 287 industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides in 10 newborn babies, measured in umbilical cord blood collected at the moment of birth.
2. Our Soils are Depleted
With the rise of modern agricultural methods we have slowly stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. That is how we get nutrients and vitamins out of food – it absorbs all the goodness from the soil and as we consume that produce, our body absorbs and distributes it to all the body systems. Sadly, our modern day freakishly shiny, fast-growing, pest-resistant produce is a far cry from what we used to have.
A study by Donald Davis and his team of researchers from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry was published in December 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. It was conducted by comparing nutritional data from 1950 and 1999 for over 40 fruits and vegetables. The results suggested significant decline in protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C.
3. Long-distance transportation.
Modern food processing & distribution makes everything available to us year round & grocery store shelves don't change much from December to June.
Due to a long transit time of food, up to 60% or more of the nutritional value can be lost. So many foods we eat today are grown thousands of miles from where we live, some of them are coming from the other side of the world! On average, our produce is in transit for at least a week until it reaches its destination. From there, it sits at your grocery story and then at your fridge. Because of this produce is often picked way before it is fully ripe, preventing maximum nutrient potential. Consider this - the minute produce is picked, it’s nutrient levels begin to diminish.
4. Weakened Digestion
With our modern lifestyle, refined food, stress, anxiety it’s no wonder we have more digestive issues than ever before in history. Weakened digestive system further impairs nutrient absorption. On top of that, certain foods like unfermented dairy, sugar, processed white flour products, etc. further deplete your body of vitamins and minerals.
Stress depletes many nutrients including calcium, magnesium and zinc. Within minutes of stressful situation, Zinc begins to be eliminated from the body. Because stress causes excessive sympathetic nervous system activity, it reduces digestive strength and “fire” therefore compromising absorption even further.
I am just scratching the surface here... there are so many more reasons why we don't get the nutrients we need today.The goal of this article, however, is not to scare you but rather help you feel better in your body and to inspire you to do more homework and research before committing to a brand.
PROBLEMS WITH SUPPLEMENTING TODAY
1. Not a Panacea
Take good quality supplements to fill in the nutritional gaps but don’t forget that food and self-care always come first!
I‘ve met way too many people who rely on supplement alone to give them everything their bodies need. Nothing is a magic solution or bandage. I discourage people from using supplements as an excuse to not give your body nutrient-rich foods or ignore your internal signals. When nourishing food, self-care practices, and supplements are all part of the equation, they can create pure magic for your body!
Just like with anything in health: quality and source is the #1 thing you should be looking at. Most supplements today are synthetic man-made products. According to Dr. Axe, about 90% of supplements today contain ingredients that are ground up rocks or mineral salts.
The problem is your body can’t absorb or utilize those ingredients so you end up excreting them. That explains bright-orange, bizarre-looking urine that comes with taking certain supplements. Most of the times it means your money is literally going down the drain. You body is highly intelligent, it recognizes food sources so if your calcium is coming from cabbage, spinach, or raw cheese, it knows exactly how to absorb and utilize it!
3. Mega Dosing
If something is good for you, more of it is not always better. It certainly isn’t the case with supplements. Too many companies today are mega-dosing, putting too much of vitamin or mineral that our bodies don’t need and can’t use.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN LOOKING FOR SUPPLEMENTS
1. Look for vitamins from whole food sources.
When you select whole food supplements you are getting the best nutrients available short of the food itself. Choosing a whole food supplement instead of a synthetic supplement is like eating a raw, whole food as opposed to a highly processed one.
2. Look for enzymes and probiotics on the label.
They greatly enhance absorption and assimilation.
3. Consider the price.
Good quality supplements are usually more expensive. It’s quite inexpensive on the other hand to stuff capsules full of fillers like corn, soy, pulverized rocks, and mineral salts.
4. Read the testimonials of people who have taken the brand you are considering.
After all, it doesn’t matter what you are taking or what is promised on the labels if you are not noticing significant improvement in your body.
5. Look up the company, consider their mission and go with your gut feeling. Choose a company that has great reputation and ideally have been in business for at least a few years.
WHAT I PERSONALLY TAKE AND RECOMMEND
As a Health Coach I’ve tried so many supplements over the years… more than I care to admit. I had never really felt any different but always assumed they were doing something.
I finally found a treasure that makes a significant difference in the way I feel every day: more energy, better sleep, glowing skin, stronger immune system, strong nails and shinier hair. I’ve been taking Lifelong Vitality Pack from doTERRA for about a year and to say that I am impressed would be a major understatement. This supplement pack was life-changing for me, my friends, family members, and clients I work with. If you are curious to find out what makes them one of a kind, check out this short video by dr. Axe below.
If you want to try this amazing vitamin pack, you can get them form my website below:
From there, just follow my instructions on the right-hand side of the website, but instead of buying an oil kit, you will choose "Welcome Pack/Kit" that is $35. Basically, it is your wholesale membership for the entire year (similar to Costco) and you can purchase vitamins or anything else you might want at wholesale prices. Choose LLV (Lifelong Vitality Pack) and check out, super simple. Contact me if you have any questions here.
Sometimes we truly don’t know how good we can feel. For me, taking LLV was similar to putting prescription glasses on for the very first time: everything seemed better, brighter, and clearer and for years I had no idea that I even had a vision problem.
Remember – your body is your doctor! There’s no instant solution, just experimentation and tangible reactions. Give your supplements at least a month or two to do their job. Lastly, try to avoid overanalyzing scientific studies and opinion pieces and listen to your own body!