Nutraceuticals and Supplements

If you eat good, do you still need supplements?

I am a firm believer that we should try to get all of our nutritional needs from the foods we eat. There are so many different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, enzymes, trace elements, etc, and they often work in complex synergies that we do not fully understand. In addition, we are just now discovering the importance of the microbiome (bacteria in your intestinal track that outnumber the cells in your body 10 to 1). There are many things we eat that our body does not even use, but that are essential to our microbiome (and we would die without our microbiome).

Because of this, I’m not a big fan of supplements. But there are two or three things that are very difficult, if not impossible, to get from a strict plant-based diet and I commonly recommend supplements for these depending on the lifestyle of the patient. In addition, it’s not uncommon for people to have critical deficiencies, making nutraceuticals and/or supplements a significant component in rebuilding overall health. In these cases, the supplements are normally temporary.

There are a few common issues with taking supplements. First, taking a single supplement can throw complex ratios out of whack in the body, which may do more harm than good. Second, supplements are regulated under a much less stringent set of regulations than food and drugs. It is common for a supplement’s listed ingredients to be different than what’s actually in the bottle. In fact, some independent lab tests have found this to be true a majority of the time. So choose your supplements cautiously and your supplement-provider even more cautiously. I have done many hours of research in selecting the vendors that I use to supply supplements.