Today’s question comes from Matt in Toronto, ON.
Matt asks: A lot of people I know take vitamins and supplements. I wonder if a lot of these vitamins are big waste of money. Can’t we just get everything we need from food, or do we really need to supplement?
Excellent question! So the reality of our food source today is not what it once used to be. Our soil is depleted and devoid of many essential vitamins and minerals simply because we have lost this nutritional value through the use of many pesticide, herbicides and fungicides. Crops are treated with the harmful substances and actually destroy healthy living bacteria and micro-organisms. Over time, soil that is farmed constantly and repetitively can become quite depleted of certain nutrients. Although, some nutrients are added back into the soil, not everything can necessarily be replaced completely.
The other issue and reality for most of us living in North America in the never-ending rat race, is that we simply do not eat our recommended 7-10 half servings of fruits and veggies a day. We just don’t. We live busy lives, eat on the go, choose hamburgers over salad and we “forget” to eat our precious greens.
Unless you are buying 100% organic and are maintaining this high level of fresh produce intake, you are likely not getting all the nutrition your body requires. For people living on-the-go lifestyles, supplementing can be a way to improve your overall nutritional intake and ensure more adequate vitamins and minerals. For more great information on eating organic, farming and the use of pesticides check out the Environmental Working Groups’s website.
I always try my best to work as much as possible with food for nutritional therapy with my clients. Unfortunately sometimes people are so deficient and require so much nutritional support, that food alone is simply not enough.
When we do supplement, we want to make sure we are opting for clean and pure, quality supplement s that aren’t filled with extra additives, harsh chemicals, fillers or binders. We want to make sure it is the proper dosage and most bioavailable & absorbable form of the supplement.
Be sure to do you research ahead of time before making a trip to the health food store and/or seek assistance from staff working at the health food stores. Or better yet, consult with a Nutritionist who knows what they are doing when it comes to supplementation. A lot of people these days are “self diagnosing” and over supplementing with unnecessary vitamins after watching a Dr. Oz show or reading an article in the newspaper. Certain vitamins and minerals can become toxic if taken in excess. You want to make sure you consult with someone who has experience and who knows about nutritional supplementation.
As I always tell my clients and students, we are all biologically different in our nutritional make-up. Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint. No one person is the same and we must address people individually, not as a general statistic.