An Intro to Micronutrients:
March is National Nutrition Month and we want to educate you on what we feel is a very important part of nutrition, supplementation. Before we start our discussion of the need for dietary supplements, it should first be understood that the word “supplement” means to supplement an already healthy diet and lifestyle. Using vitamins and herbs comes secondary to eating healthy and is in no way a substitute for consuming quality foods or eliminating processed foods.
The best way to get nutrition has been and always will be through diet. It is, however, almost impossible to consume the amount of nutrients that we need to not only ward off disease but also to stay healthy.
Here are a few reasons why supplementation is critical and necessary:
We can’t physically eat enough nutrients to keep up with today’s demands. It would be a full-time job!
Our foods don’t contain the same amount of nutritional value as they did in the past due to poor farming practices and soil depletion.
Our bodies are under a ton more stress than our ancestors were in the form of stress, EMF, commercial diets, stealth pathogens, lack of exercise, sleep disorders, and toxins including medication use.
Every so often, you will hear the 6:00 news pitch a story on how supplements are a scam and that they actually do more harm than good. This is partly true, but not all supplements are created equal. The less than satisfactory dietary supplement ratings pertain to the stuff being sold in grocery and drug stores and large box store chains.
Let’s try this out….have you heard the one about Vitamin E causing heart disease? How about folate causes birth defects? Folate is the generic name for a type of B vitamin. It's found naturally in foods as folate. Folic acid is the manmade version sold as supplements and added to fortified foods including baby formula and pre-natal vitamins. Folate prevents neural tube defects in the developing fetus. Over supplementation with folic acid has been linked with impaired fetal growth, increased risks of childhood diseases like asthma and autism, and promoting the growth of some cancer cells. Similarly, tocopherol is the name that the FDA associates with Vitamin E, but it is an isolate of the whole Vitamin E molecule. It is important to understand the semantic differences because they are not the same thing and they do not act the same way in the body. Synthetic vitamin E will favor the pro-inflammatory pathways while whole food vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant! The entire Vitamin E complex also includes selenium, alpha, beta, and gamma tocopherols and many powerful antioxidant rings.
Unfortunately, everything you need to know about the quality and effectiveness of a supplement extends much farther than what is printed on the label. The label is reserved for FDA requirements for minimum daily consumption (not the amount to promote optimal health, just the minimum amount to prevent chronic disease) as well as tricky marketing and false health claims. What you don’t get to see is how the product is sourced and manufactured as well as the amount of active ingredients in the final product. If you look closely you will see inactive ingredients which include all dyes, binders, preservatives, and chemicals that defeat the purpose of trying to do something healthy for yourself.
So while the news can be misleading, they have it right that the best way to get nutrients into the body is through the diet when possible. The next best way to consume nutrients is through whole food vitamin supplementation. These products contain whole-food complexes the way they exist in nature and in a form with important cofactors for absorption that the body can easily recognize and utilize.
How to Read Supplement Labels
Look for recognizable ingredients that sound like food. If it sounds like a chemical is it most likely an isolate of the whole food complex. Here is a chart….you’ll get the idea in no time!
How do you know what you need to supplement?
1. What you don’t or won’t eat: bone marrow, organ meats, beets, apple cider vinegar?
If you don’t or won’t eat foods like these, you will need plenty of trace minerals, glandular products, and digestive support in the form of HCl.
2. Restrictive diets:
Vegan/vegetarian: iron, B vitamins, healthy fats
Gluten-free: B vitamins
Keto: anti-oxidant, phytonutrients, magnesium, gall bladder support
3. What is your digestive health telling you?
Probiotics, fiber, enzymes
4. Family history might dictate the heart or thyroid, for example, are long-term support products that you should consider.
5. Aches and pains? Anti-inflammatories and proteolytic enzymes
6. Medication or antibiotic use? Probiotics, fiber, enzymes
7. Antacid use: zypan
8. Why guess? Muscle test! The best way to target exactly what supplements you need and how much to take is to get muscle tested by a Nutrition Response Testing® Practitioner! If you are in the Jacksonville, Florida area, give us a call or send us a message to make your Nutrition Response Testing® New Patient Appointment or, if you are not in our area, you can find a Nutrition Response Testing® Practitioner near you.