Are you confused about whether nutritional supplementation is necessary?
This is something I’m asked regularly.
For those of you who are familiar with my work, you’ll know I am a huge fan of getting as many nutrients as we can from our food. Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more difficult for a variety of reasons. Here are few.
The quality of the soil that conventional produce is grown in is declining and if a nutrient isn’t in the soil, it cannot be in the food. So, as the soil becomes increasingly nutrient-deficient, so too does our food. Typically in conventional farming practices, only three nutrients are fertilised back into the soil: nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. That means there are 52 missing from the foods we eat, yet we cannot fight our biological requirement for nutrients. We must obtain them from somewhere. Despite our immense technological advancements, we owe our entire existence to the quality of the topsoil in which our food is grown and the fact that it rains.
Higher nutritional needs
Nutrients are essential to life. Every second there are billions of biochemical reactions happening inside of you, and these reactions require nutrients in order to occur efficiently. Without enough nutrients, your body simply cannot function at its best.
There are also times in our lives when some nutrients may be required at levels higher than can easily be supplied by food. For example, during times of high stress, the body has to make additional units of stress hormones such as cortisol and because this process is linked to saving your life, it takes priority, and other parts of you can miss out on the ready supply of vital nutrients. Your antioxidant requirements are also increased during times of stress (which is every day for most people).
Yet when you are stressed, do you tend to eat better or worse than usual? Worse, right when you need to be eating better.
Recommended daily intakes (RDIs)
Another important consideration is the difference between the minimum intakes required to prevent nutritional deficiencies versus optimal nutrient intakes for outstanding health. The Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDIs) are set at the amounts required to prevent deficiency, not necessarily those required to obtain excellent health and energy.
It’s vital to understand, however, that nothing in the entire world can replace a highly nutritious way of eating. Supplements are designed to supplement – not replace – a nourishing diet. But not all supplements are created equally. The quality and the source of the nutrients, as well as what they are combined with, all play a role in how your body absorbs and uses them.
You don’t want to be wasting money on nutritional supplements that aren’t highly bioavailable or that contain nutrients in inappropriate amounts or ratios for your needs. Remember, when it comes to supplements—and food for that matter—quality makes all the difference.