Friday, 8 June 2018

Do We Really Need Supplements?

I've been thinking a lot recently about the necessity for supplementation. You'll hear some people boast about taking dozens of tablets and powders each day and that they feel amazing for it. Others will scoff at the idea of supplementation claiming that they can get all of the nutrients needed from their food.

I must confess that I don't have the definitive answer to this multifaceted and extremely complex question. However, as I've learned more about human nutrition in relation to performance and longevity I've found myself increasingly leaning to the side in favour of supplementation.

May basic rationale behind this is essentially two fold, with a few caveats thrown in for good measure.
  1. Unfortunately, as most of us know by now, or soil is depleted which means that we don't get anywhere near as many nutrients in the whole fruit and veg produce that was once so nutritious. In some cases, it doesn't really matter how much you eat, you still will struggle to get enough of the vitamins and minerals necessary to maximise your health.
  2. In a time where we have access to more evidence-based information regarding health than ever before, we're also hindered by many man-made health barriers. From the polluted air we breathe to the chemicals pumped into our drinking water supplies, the demand for detoxification in our bodies is through the roof. It's shame to have to admit it but our need for basic nutrients such as Vitamin C and Omega-3 fatty acids far exceeds the minimum daily allowance of our ancestors. Added to this, more fringe supplements such as heavy metal binding agents like activated charcoal which can draw excess metals from our bodies are, for some people, a must.
Yes, I appreciate that the ideal scenario is to consume whole foods alone, whilst removing all pollutants and unhealthy lifestyle practices. Will those who sleep for 9 hours every night and drink bottled water with the perfect pH balance and total dissolved solids content have a lower need for supplements? Yes, of course. But can you, hand on heart, say that you're doing this and everything else possible to lead this kind of 'clean' life?

I can't.


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