Hello, all. Dr. Lell here. Today a family came in for general wellness support so during the intake, I asked them about their typical diet and what kind of supplements they take. They eat the Standard American Diet (SAD) of processed meats, grains, simple sugars, and fast food. That’s pretty typical. But then they said they don’t take any vitamins because they eat a balanced diet. They figure they should get all they need from the food they eat. Makes sense, right? Well guys I’m sorry to say that it’s not that simple anymore. So today I’m going to explain why most people would benefit from a taking some sort of supplements. (if your first thought is “supplements don’t work” then I suggest you read this post)
First a technical point. The word vitamin gets thrown around interchangeably for anything that you take that isn’t considered “medicine” but it’s actually a specific organic compound. Supplements are the better term. You’re supplementing your diet with vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other micronutrients. Okay. That’s enough of the technical jargon.
First, what do these micronutrients (and vitamins specifically) do for our bodies? Everything that you allows you wake up, walk, think, bleed, and live your life is largely governed by complex biochemical pathways in your body. These micronutrients serve as the cogs and gears for those mechanisms. Without them, or without enough of them, your body is running inefficiently making you less able to adapt to life’s physical, emotional, and chemical stresses. Think about it like driving a car that hasn’t had the engine serviced in a few years. Yeah it may still run but nearly as well as it could.
So you think you get all the nutrients you need from what you eat? –WRONG!
A carrot grown today doesn’t have the same nutritional value as a carrot grown 30 years ago. It’s due to what’s called “soil depletion” and also how we’re engineering food. Modern agricultural practices leave fewer and fewer nutrients in the soil which means fewer and fewer go into the food that comes from that soil. On top of that, we’re engineering food plants to grow bigger, faster, with less water, and more hardier. But less attention has been paid to increasing how efficiently that plant uptakes and stores nutrients. In 2004, the University of Texas released a landmark study where they compared nutritional values of 43 different fruits & vegetables grown in 1950 and in 1999. What they found is that all the vegetables showed a “reliable decline” in several nutrients, especially protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin, and vitamin C.
Graphic courtesy of myhealthystyleblog
Where did that carrot come from? Across the country? The minute you pull a plant from the ground, the nutritional content starts to deplete. Within three days of picking, a vegetable will lose about 30% of its nutritional value. How much time passess between farm to table if you buy your produce at a typical grocery store?
Then there’s the cooking and processing which further lessens the nutrients. Some medications even keep the body from using and processing those of those nutrients correctly.
So what’s bottom line? The food we typically eat isn’t nearly as healthful as you think it is and whether or not you can actually take notice, your body is paying the price. This is why most americans can greatly benefit from regular supplementation of quality micronutrients. Don’t believe me? Get a quality multi (GNC makes a good one) and take them as directed for 1 month. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.