Do we really need to take Supplements?

this beautiful article from my summer intern Kaslin Daniels

People assume that if they eat healthfully, there is no need for supplemental vitamins or multi-vitamins. Although this is ideal and may have been true at one time, it is naïve to believe that you can get all the nutrients you need just in your food with the way food is manufactured now. While a small percentage of people are able to grow and pick their own produce, the majority relies on processing, canning, and freezing methods to preserve food from the time it is picked to several days or weeks later when it is bought in the grocery store. These methods deplete foods of their original nutritional content. Even freshly picked food is devoid of nutrients compared to decades ago. Substantial data has shown that foods such as soybeans, corn, wheat, and tomatoes contain only a fraction of the nutrients they did 50 years ago, a result of methods used to increase crop yields.

As a consequence of this drop in nutritional value in our food, it is necessary for nearly everyone to supplement his or her diet with vitamins, but which ones? Given the complexity and overwhelming number of factors involved, it is important to be tested for various nutrient deficiencies by someone trained in nutrition, who can properly prescribe the right dosage and combination of vitamins.

Regarding a suitable dosage, a lot of a good thing isn’t always best. One example: the safe upper limit of vitamin A for children is less than half of that listed for the Daily Values on labels. An excess can lead to headaches, hair loss, and vision problems. In addition, too much elemental iron, beta-carotene, and vitamin B can be detrimental for some groups of people. Naturopathic Doctors are also familiar with the various brands on the market, and they are trained as to which forms to use (e.g., ubiquinon versus ubiquinol) and which types (powders, tablets, gel capsules, etc) work best.

The process of treating deficiencies and diseases with supplements is complicated and varied for each person. Holistic analyses of a variety of factors, in addition to esoteric knowledge of the forms, types, dosages, and labels, are incorporated into a Naturopathic Doctor?s training. Therefore, in order to ensure the best-quality treatment plan, it is important to work with a Naturopathic Doctor who can prescribe, as well as advise and educate about, proper care for each individual person.

Cynthia Bye, ND