Do We Really Need Supplements – Especially When We Grow Older?
Many people say that supplements are not needed, since we get all we need from our food.
There are studies showing that some supplements, like Calcium and Vitamin D – when taken in isolation and in the dosages studied – do not prevent bone fractures. The conclusion is often that they are a waste of money.
What is the truth?
Supplements – or nutritional supplements – are substances that get added to our food or we take separately to improve our well-being.
Ideally our food would contain all the nutrients we need. Historically this was mostly the case.
The nutrient orchestra
Our bodies need an “orchestra” of nutrients to stay well and healthy. When key players in the orchestra of nutrition are missing, the concert sounds awful; that means for our bodies that we will get sick.
As food got more and more processed, nutrient density was lost. That means that we get more calories without getting more nutrients. Over time the government was forced to add certain nutrients to certain foods to avoid deficiencies. An example is the “enrichment” of white flour with small amounts of Niacin to avoid Beri-Beri or the addition of Iodine to table salt to avoid goiter.
Often these small amounts of isolated nutrients are not enough to keep us healthy, though. In addition, some people have a genetic tendency (disposition) to need additional amounts of certain nutrients.
At the same time in our “modern” world the agricultural sector was industrialized which means that more and more artificial fertilizers were used (which are deficient by nature in trace minerals and more) and more and more toxic substances (e.g. pesticides and herbicides) were added.
What happens when we age?
On the other hand, there is a natural tendency as we get older for our enzymes to slow down somewhat, especially when it comes to metabolizing our food to necessary nutrients for the body. At the same time our bodies get exposed to often multiple pharmaceutical drugs, which often inhibit the absorption or transformation of necessary nutrients. Our gut flora (microbiomes) get damaged by toxins, antibiotics and lack of fiber and pre-biotics, which in turn causes food allergies and inflammation.
We have a perfect storm. This, together with lack of daily movement, causes the modern “degenerative diseases of aging”
In the next months, I will show you a few of the key players in the orchestra of nutrients. Please contact me for help composing your own “symphony”.