To supplement or not to supplement?

I’m linking to the Healthy Skeptic again. It’s an older post but it’s something I think about a lot. I’ve been moving in this direction for quite some time.

I am by no means opposed to all supplement use, but I am moving more and more towards the opinion that Chris Kresser shares here. Most of our nutrition should come from our food and he very beautifully spells out the reasons in this article.

What is often missed in these arguments is that most people by no means eat appropriately in order to get the array of nutrients one needs from their food. All these facts must be taken into consideration in order to get ones nutritional needs met. Also there are times when bodies are taxed or deficient that means that supplementation may be needed for a time which I think Chris would certainly agree with as well.

This is just the intro and another wee excerpt:

Throw away your multivitamins and antioxidants!

Unfortunately, modern medicine is obsessed with isolated, synthetic nutrients and has convinced itself that they have the same beneficial properties as nutrients found in whole foods.

A gigantic dietary supplement industry has arisen from this misguided belief. A 2006 National Institute of Health (NIH) conference (PDF) revealed that 20-30% of Americans use a multivitamin daily, forking over $23 billion a year to supplement manufacturers for the privilege. Many more Americans effectively take a multivitamin by eating fortified grain products, like Shredded Wheat cereal and Wonder Bread….


Okay, not all supplements are bad

Now that I’ve made my point (or at least I hope I have), I need to add a qualifier or two.

There are a few supplements that I do recommend – in certain situations. (read the rest here)

He does not exhaust all the times it’s appropriate to use supplements but spells out a few of those times.

The healing diet I’m on now that has turned my life around is extremely nutrient dense and consists of only real whole food, while also eliminating foods that I am sensitive to which are often also real whole foods. We need to be aware of all we put in our bodies if we’re as sick as I was or even if we’re sick at all and indeed, if we’re healthy that we might stay that way! Diet and nutrition can right or greatly improve most chronic western disease.

I have a life again and I’m only taking about three supplements as opposed to about twenty! And the fact is I’ve been eating real food for a long time…just not always the right real foods for my body at the time. It’s a complex thing we must all figure out for ourselves. For me healing the gut was key and doing a very rigorous elimination diet is proving astonishingly informative. If one’s gut is unhealthy even eating the right foods or taking supplements is futile as one does not properly absorb nutrients. Doing all one can do to heal the gut becomes imperative. I am still just learning how fundamental the health of the gut is.

Food for thought.

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