After all, if you are eating a varied and whole foods diet, shouldn’t you be able to get an abundant supply of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients? Theoretically yes!
Unfortunately, in reality that’s not what’s happening anymore: even with a "perfect diet" it is impossible for us to get the vitamins and minerals we need only from the foods we eat. This is due to a combination of many things:
Poor soil quality – a plant is only as nutritious as the soil it is grown in. Modern day industrialized agricultural practices cause a decrease in nutrient content.
Decline in nutrients due to storage or transport– there is a decline in nutrient levels with storage, transport, and processing/refinement.
Digestive health – many people have suboptimal digestive function which interferes with proper nutrient absorption.
Environmental toxins – we are exposed to a number of environmental toxins every day (pesticides, hormone-mimicking substances, chemicals etc.) which increase oxidative stress in the body. Our environment has changed a lot in the last 100 years and our bodies simply need more care than in the past.
Chronic stress – we’re a totally stressed out society, and chronic stress depletes your body’s stores of vitamins and minerals more rapidly.
Chemical drugs – many people take pharmaceutical and over-the-counter medications that deplete nutrients in the body (birth control or other synthetic hormones, blood sugar lowering drugs, statins, etc.)
Now you might think: what’s even the point of eating healthy?
It does not mean that we should give up on eating well. It just means that we need to nourish our body with the best quality foods AND use high quality supplements as SUPPLEMENT to achieving the nutrient-density we need as individuals. It’s basically just filling in that extra bit that our food alone can’t provide us with anymore.
And besides, adding packaged and junk foods to the list above will just further increase our toxic burden and need for extra support.
Supplement quality is key
You know what you are getting when you get a prescribed medication at your pharmacy. These kind of drugs have been thoroughly tested and are carefully monitored, the government makes sure of it.
Over-the-counter supplements are not controlled in the same way. Manufacturers often cut corners and this can become problematic for consumers. In fact, anyone could launch their supplement company and unfortunately, many are spending their budget on marketing and beautiful packaging rather than research, raw material or testing.
What’s wrong with these kind of products?
The form of the nutrient may be cheap and poorly absorbed or used by the body.
The dosage on the label may not match the dose in the pill or you might just have a very low dose of an ingredient that will make it ineffective
It may be filled with additives, colors, fillers, and allergens.
The raw materials (especially herbs) may not be tested for toxins, such as mercury or lead, or may not be consistent from batch to batch.
The factory in which it is produced may not follow good manufacturing standards (GMP), leading to inconsistent quality.
Fortunately, reputable manufacturers do exist, who impose strict standards and use only the highest quality, active and natural forms of nutrients with optimal bioavailability. Not surprisingly, these high-quality formulations are often more expensive and, in many cases, are only sold through qualified practitioners.
Want to know what to look out for when choosing supplements? Download my supplement guide overview.