Balancing Supplements with Real Food
Are you taking more than 10 supplements every day? Were you muscle tested for supplements at the chiropractor’s office and now spend $200-$300, even $400 or more a month on supplements? Have you read the ingredient labels to know how much of each vitamin or mineral you are taking? Do you even know what you are taking? It’s big business selling supplements, and everyone wants a piece of that market. Let’s dive in to explore it.
The supplement industry has exploded in popularity and profit since the 1970’s. Estimates, including dietary supplements, exceeded $300B in 2021. Forty years ago, we didn’t know much about them other than multi-vitamins, vitamin C or prenatal vitamins. (Do you remember the “Tang” commercials for Vitamin C?) Then, about ten years ago, claims of the “best miracle” fruits, berries and vegetables started showing up daily in emails and social media. It was challenging to keep up with the latest super food discoveries and fads!
The supplement industry is expected to double over the next ten years!
Many chiropractors are making huge amounts of profit by muscle testing patients to sell daily vitamins and minerals. Doctors are branding personal lines of supplements to address specific health conditions. Manufacturers are ramping up the daily percentages in capsules. Could the mindset be, "more is better"?
Not so fast.
I have worked with thousands of clients over many years. Many of them are very health aware, striving to overcome personal emotional or physical issues. They want to be well without the use of pharmaceutical drugs if possible. This is a good thing. However, because the supplement industry is so huge, many doctors, nutritionists, and those associated with the health field are seduced by profit to formulate their own brand of the latest and best cure-alls.
What’s trendy today will be replaced by something new tomorrow. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing can sometimes be as problematic as too little.
The first step to determine whether your supplement regimen is balanced, is to look at what you are consuming. Read the ingredient labels. Supplements are just that, supplements TO healthy eating. They are not meant to be a replacement for a balanced diet. If you are eating properly, it should not matter if you skip a day of supplements or alternate one group of supplements from another. If you are healthy, when you consume the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals your body should function well.
Having said this, understand that your body is unique. YOUR body may not be producing or processing some essential nutrients efficiently. The only sure way to know is to have a full panel of your blood tested. Even this is a still picture of a particular moment in time. These blood tests can be expensive but can help determine areas of nutrition you should supplement.
Are you on a balanced supplement program?
With manufacturers and individual health professionals creating their own programs and recommendations, you may be over consuming some vitamins. The FDA creates and updates the normal daily quantity of each vitamin we need. This is based on a healthy body of standard weight and size. If you are dealing with health issues you may need MORE than the average daily percentage of certain vitamins and minerals. Talk with your doctor or health professional to discuss whether will benefit from a supplement, it’s time to explore a pharmaceutical solution, or you can combine both options into a healing program.
Different types of Vitamins
All vitamins are not managed by the body in the same way. There are two groups of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble. They are processed and eliminated differently.
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in fat cells and the liver. These stay in the body for longer periods of time and can pose a risk for toxicity in high numbers. The fat-soluble vitamins are Vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Water-soluble vitamins are quickly absorbed in our tissues for our benefit. Once the body has as much as it needs, the excess gets flushed out of the body through the kidneys. Since these vitamins are not stored in the body they may need to be replenished more regularly. The water-soluble vitamins are Vitamin B and C.
Foods rich in Vitamin B: grains, low sugar cereals, meat, eggs and poultry, fish, legumes, fresh vegetables.
Foods rich in Vitamin C: mangosteen, bananas, strawberries, kiwis, broccoli, peppers, citrus fruits, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, white potatoes.
· A good multi-vitamin should contain vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb and process calcium and phosphorous. Magnesium, zinc, and vitamin K help vitamin D do its job. Therefore, check that all these ingredients are in your multi-vitamin!
· Are you taking a multi-vitamin AND, also supplementing with thiamine (B1)
Riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate or folic acid (B9), or cobalamin (B12)? If so, consider a good B-Complex supplement that combines all these together so that you can eliminate the extra pills.
· If the percentage on the label of your supplement is over 1000% of the daily recommended dose you may be over consuming it. Remember these vitamins and minerals are being consumed by both the foods you eat AND the supplements you are taking. Especially look at those fat-soluble vitamins!
· You might be supplementing certain vitamins that you can easily consume eating real foods. Incorporate a few of the foods below into your daily diet instead of supplementing. Here are suggestions for several of the important minerals we need:
Magnesium - Dark chocolate, Avocado, Fish, Bananas, raisins, pumpkin seeds (also contains zinc),
Iron – The body needs vitamin C to absorb iron. Foods with both: spinach, broccoli, leafy greens
Calcium – Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese, leafy greens, seeds, canned salmon or sardines (because of the bones in them), almonds, lentils
Potassium – Bananas, peaches, apples, greens, salmon, sweet potatoes
Zinc – Pumpkin seeds, oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts
Sodium – celery, beets, milk, apples, avocado, papaya, mango, pineapple, banana, spinach, carrots
Supplements are a great way to feel confident you are receiving a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals to stay balanced and healthy. Pick a brand you trust that delivers a high-quality dosage over a high-quantity dosage. A high-quality brand will contain a full range of necessary ingredients in a reasonable percentage range. If you see percentages exceeding 1000%, ask yourself, “Why?”. Don’t worry if you miss a day taking them. They are NOT prescription drugs and never meant to replace healthy eating.
What you can consume from real foods normally will be more easily processed and utilized by the body. If you are curious to know what your body may be lacking in nutrients, order a blood workup. Explore the website: UltaLabstests.com for a variety of blood panel options at a reasonable price. What I like is that you can choose to receive the results directly or send them to your doctor. This allows YOU to be in control of the information on your health.