Vitamin and Mineral supplements are widely advocated by the Naturopathic and Chiropractic professions while “mainstream” medicine continues to argue that we get all necessary nutrients from our diet and do not require supplementation. The American Cancer Society recommends 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily in order to minimize cancer risk as it is well accepted that a diet rich in micronutrients has a profound influence on our health; but even an optimal diet cannot make up for the ravages of the environmental, genetic and metabolic forces that lead to degenerative diseases and aging. Our dietary indiscretions are only a part of the problem. The nutrient content of fruits and vegetables has measurably changed (reduced by 40 – 70% over the last several decades) as the nutrient content of our soil has deteriorated due to current agricultural practices and the widespread use of Roundup (glyphosate).
I recommend an approach to nutritional supplementation that takes into consideration each individual’s current metabolic and nutritional state. A poor diet will likely require a greater degree of supplementation. The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) represents the amount of nutrient required to prevent a deficiency disease. It DOES NOT represent an optimal intake level. Nutrients should not only be used to prevent deficiency disease states (e.g. rickets, pellagra, beriberi, scurvy), but to optimize health, prevent degenerative diseases, and to forestall the degeneration associated with the aging process so that you may grow older while maintaining health. For example, the RDA of vitamin B1 may be adequate to prevent beriberi, but is it enough to prevent a learning disability or cardiomyopathy? Unfortunately, the optimal intake for each nutrient for each individual is different as each of us is biochemically unique. Adverse consequences of excessive intake also need to be considered, as well as interactions with medications.
PLEASE NOTE: Nutritional supplements, as opposed to pharmaceutical drugs, are not as tightly regulated by the FDA. Published surveys analyzing the contents of multiple OTC (over the counter) supplements have shown varying amounts of the “active ingredients” to be actually present. Sometimes minimal and occasionally no detectable amount of the ingredient was found. There are a number of industry standards in place and it is important to use products made by manufacturers that follow the most rigorous guidelines. QUALITY MATTERS! If it is cheaper, but doesn’t work, you have not saved any money.