by Dr. Nicole
Dr. Nicole here, you may be asking yourself, “should I be taking supplements?” That is a popular question here. There is so much conflicting information out there about dietary supplements. It is hard to know what is right, if you should be taking them, or if the ones you are taking are good quality. The most common advice you may hear from you primary doctor is you should get your nutrients from food sources and eat a balanced diet. While I agree with that statement, it is almost impossible to get all of your nutrients from your diet alone. Think back to last week and what you ate. Were your meals a quality balance of colorful, nutrient dense, non processed foods? Did you get more veggies than junk food? Most of us do not eat the nutrient dense foods we should. That gives us gaps in nutrition, and quality supplements are a way to help fill those gaps. Another reason we all need to be taking supplements, is the food we are eating today does not have the same amount of vitamins and minerals as the same food in 1950. A study by Donald Davis and the researchers from the University of Texas in The Journal of American College of Nutrition in December 2004, found this very thing. They looked at 43 different vegetables and fruits and found they had “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (B2), and vitamin C in the last 50 years. It was originally thought that the soil had less nutrients but it is actually connected to the way we farm now. We have new breeds of crops that provide greater yields, and are great at being pest resistant and adaptable to the climate, but the problem is these plants that grow bigger and more rapidly don’t have the ability to manufacture or uptake the nutrients as they grow. So even with a perfect diet you may need to add vitamins and minerals to fill in the holes.
The next obstacle to overcome with supplements, are there is very little oversight on quality in the US. We are used to being able to look at labels and know what is in our food and most people think that is the same for supplements but sadly that isn’t true. In fact in 2015 the Attorney General of New York went after several companies for selling supplements that contained nothing that was on the label or additional substances. The companies were not “no name” either. They included Target, GNC, Walgreens, and Walmart. The worst offender being Walmart where only 4 % of the products tested showed DNA from the plants listed on the labels. Scary right!!?? Well that is why I confidently sell the products that are in our office. The brands we sell are certified GMP compliant. This means they have proven the products are consistently produced and quality controlled. They have to continually show an outside source that what is on the label is in the bottle.
Now that you see the need for filling the nutritional holes in your diet and you know which supplements you should stay away from, you may be wondering which you should take. There are 4 I recommend for most people.
- Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA-Fish oil)- they are essential for health and well-being, they aid in proper function of the heart, brain, spinal cord, and all cell tissues and organs. Our diets are dangerously deficient in EPA/DHA, and that is a factor in many preventable illness and disease.
- Probiotics- necessary for the proper function of the digestive and immune systems and for overall wellness. Humans are deficient in probiotics due to stress, sugar intake, prescription drugs, and processed foods.
- Vitamin D- As a society, it is safe to say we are severely deficient in vitamin D. Unless you get 30 min PER day, year around in a bathing suit, you are probably deficient. Studies show that being deficient in vitamin D increases your risk of nearly every disease from cancer to dementia. Supplementing vitamin D can even reduce your risk of getting the flu by more than half!
- Multivitamins-this is for anyone who doesn’t get the 10 servings of fruits and veggies they should be getting each day. Even more for the people who can’t stand the thought of eating a vegetable.
If this article left you with more questions about which supplement or combo of supplements are right for you, let's talk about it! Let me know the next time I see you, and we will find what is best for your health. This month we are running a special on any combination of our supplements you can get 20% off up to 3 bottles. That’s a deal you won’t want to miss, your body will thank you!