To Supplement or Not To Supplement - Part 1

Many clients ask me about supplements and if they are necessary for their health.  Since dietary supplements are such a hot topic and can be controversial, today kick starts a new series titled "The Supplement or Not to Supplement".

Dietary supplements were never intended to be a food substitute or your primary source for vitamins/mineral.  Supplements cannot replicate all the nutrients and nutritional benefits of whole foods, especially produce.  Since supplements can be costly, before reaching for the bottle of supplements, make sure your intake is meeting your needs; this could save your pocketbook a lot of change!  However, if you certain medical conditions or notice that you typically do not meet your daily requirements, you may benefit from taking a daily dietary supplement.

Reach For Whole Foods First!

The human body was created to run off of natural foods.  Our system gets energy from the three macronutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and receives protective elements from vitamin/minerals found in fresh produce and whole grains.  When whole foods are consumed, you are combining high quality macronutrients for energy AND micronutrients that highly affect your quality of health.  For example, if an orange is consumed, you get approximately 60+ calories to be converted into energy IN ADDITION TO, vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium and other nutrients. A vitamin C supplement lacks the additional micronutrients that work together to promote optimal health. Only whole foods provide substances called phytochemicals and antioxidants.  Phytochemicals may help prevent against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure!  Antioxidants slow down the oxidation process that leads to cell and tissue damage.  Whole Foods also give the human body proper amounts of dietary fiber to prevent disease and manage constipation.

Who Needs Supplements?

If you typically eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats/poultry/fish, it is not pertinent that you take a daily dietary supplement.  However, the majority of Americans do not follow a balanced diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables.  In this case, a dietary supplement would be beneficial.  A dietary supplement may be recommended if:

  • Your Daily Intake is Less Than 1,500 Calories a Day.
  • Follow a Diet That Limits the Types of Foods Consumed, Such As Vegan or Vegetarian Diet.
  • A Women of child-bearing age (pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant) or Breast-Feeding.
  • Experience Heavy Bleeding During Menstrual Period or Postmenopausal woman
  • Have a Medical Condition or Surgical Procedure That Affects How Body Absorbs, Uses or Excretes Nutrients (Impaired GI Absorption, Chronic Diarrhea, Food Allergies, Food Intolerance, Disease of the Liver, Gallbladder, Intestines or Pancreas)

Dietary supplements can have side effects or interactions with certain medications so be sure to talk to your doctor or dietitian before taking supplement.

To Supplement or Not to Supplement Part 2 Will Guide You On  How To Choose A Supplement That Best Meets Your Nutritional/Dietary Needs!