By Rebekah Fedrowitz, MHN, BCHN
There seems to be an on-going debate as to whether nutritional supplements are actually necessary. Some studies claim that people who take a multivitamin are not any healthier than those who don’t. Other studies have proved time and time again that supplements have played an integral part in helping promote health and wellness. So what’s the real verdict: are supplements necessary, or not?
Below are five critical reasons that strongly suggest that yes—nutritional supplements are in fact necessary.
Reason #1: Food isn’t what it used to be
Some people theorize that we get all the nutrients we need from food. While that is a nice idea, it simply is not the case anymore. At one point in time, food was grown in your neighborhood, if not if your own backyard. The chickens, cows, and goats ate what they were naturally designed to digest. Fruits and vegetables were allowed to ripen and gain the maximum level of nutrients right on the vine, where they were then pick and almost immediately consumed. The soils were rich with minerals, and chemical pesticides had yet to be introduced.
Yes, at that time, food did provide the nutrients necessary for health. Now, soil has been overused and lacks in overall nutritional value. Fruits and vegetables are picked way too early and are ripen with ethanol gas while they sit in a dark truck traveling across the country. Animals are fed processed foods that are unnatural to their digestion and making them sick. And let’s not forget about all the man-made foods that are completely unrecognizable in nature, the chemicals added to foods to preserve them, and the genetic mutations made to plants in order to mass-produce crops.
Nothing about our food is the same. Unless you raise your own meat, grow your own produce, and rotate your soils every seven years to ensure mineral replenishment, then the truth is your food does not contain the ideal nutrients anymore.
Reason #2: Most people don’t eat enough of the right foods
Do you get a minimum of five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit each day? Do you eat enough complete proteins, containing all eight essential amino acids? How about oils and fiber?
Even if our food was still nutritionally dense and unprocessed, most people do not get enough of the right foods to meet their bodies’ demands for vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, and amino acids. Additionally, certain people have conditions that demand higher levels of certain nutrients, almost to the point where it’s impossible to physically consume enough in a single setting or day.
Reason #3: New diseases are linked to nutrition deficiencies
The average life span is far greater than is used to be, thanks to the reduction of acute illnesses, such as the plague or small pox. Instead, we live a long life but suffer from chronic and long-term illness, including arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, thyroid conditions, fibromyalgia, hormonal imbalances, depression and anxiety, acid reflux disease, and so on.
While acute illnesses often require conventional medical treatment, chronic illnesses can frequently be linked back to a nutritional deficiency or digestive disorder. If the problem is lack of nutrition, then it would just make sense that the solution would be an increase in nutrition, which can be achieved with a good diet and the right supplementation.
Reason #4: Environmental toxins create a higher demand for nutrients
Cars, manufacturing plants, chemical pesticides, cell phones, radiation, household cleaners, cosmetics, birth control pill, vaccinations…this list could go on and on. Our technological advances have brought on toxic overload. Because most of us probably won’t trade in our cell phones or vehicles, we are in a position of having to combat the negative effects our body experiences because of those things. Higher exposure to toxins, even in the form of excess stress, leads to a greater need for phytonutrients, antioxidants, and other immune boosting nutrients. Once again, we’re faced with a situation where food alone may not be enough and we need supplements to assist the body in times of both chronic and critical exposure.
Reason #5: Today’s supplements were yesterday’s medicine
Many of the people who argue we do not need supplements are probably the same people prescribing pharmaceutical drugs, thus acknowledging the fact that some treatment method is necessary. What we have forgotten is that what we now call nutritional supplements used to be medicinal treatments. Years ago, when you were in pain, you weren’t given aspirin; you were given white willow bark. When you had a stomach acid, you didn’t take Tums; you drank peppermint or ginger tea.
Considering this, it seems hard to believe than anyone could ever deny the need for nutritional supplementation, given that they have been used for the treatment of disease for centuries. Today we see them in capsules, tablets, and powders rather than ground in our kitchen with a mortar and pestle, but ultimately, they are serving the same purpose.
In summary, it is obvious that nutritional supplements are an essential element in the process of achieving optimal health. That said, it is also important to remember that supplements are just that: supplements. A well-rounded, clean diet is the best foundation to any healthy or healing lifestyle; however, supplements are there to fill in the gaps and address the needs that food alone cannot meet.
*This material is meant purely for informational purposes and has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.**This blog was written by an outside source. This blog does not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Natural Partners.
Rebekah Fedrowitz, MHN, BCHN®, is a holistic nutrition consultant, author, and speaker. She is passionate about educating consumers and practitioners about the importance of healthy nutrition in any protocol. She currently works as the Events &Commutations Manager for the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, the only professional business league, wholly dedicated to furthering the cause, education and standards of the holistic nutrition industry. Learn more about Rebekah at http://www.rebekahfedrowitz.com.