Nutritional Supplements — Are They Necessary?
Some of us faithfully suck down our vitamin supplements every morning, while others do not believe supplementation is necessary. These people state that they do not feel a difference or improvement in their health when they do take their supplements. Why do we need to take supplements? Don’t we get all our nutrients from our food?
Declining Nutritional Value in Our Food
A landmark study, conducted by Donald Davis at the University of Texas published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition in December 2004, compared nutritional data from 1950 to 1999 that compared different fruits and vegetables. There were reliable declines in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorous, iron, riboflavin, and Vitamin C in our produce. This decline can be attributed to pesticides and efforts to breed crops to provide greater yield. There have also been declines in other nutrients, such as magnesium, Vitamin B-6, and E.
Healthier soil undoubtedly leads to healthier produce. But, to keep soil healthy, fields should be alternated between growing seasons because it gives the land time to restore. Pesticides and fertilizers are avoided in organic growing methods, and therefore, vegetables and fruits are more nutritious.
Supplements to Bridge the Gap
As much as this is preferable, it can be difficult to achieve for those of us who live in an urban setting. This is where supplementation can bridge the gap by providing essential nutrients not found in our food.
But, do supplements really work? Are they all created equal? These are the common questions that most of us need to know the answers to prior to making an informed decision.
In the US, prescription and non-prescription drugs are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Supplements are treated more like special foods, not drugs, so they are not put through the same safety and effectiveness requirements that drugs are. Supplements do not have to be proven effective before being sold.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is the minimal daily allowance of nutrients necessary to prevent disease. It isn’t necessarily the amount of that nutrient that is required for optimum performance, as we have been lead to believe.
Self-Regulated Supplement Industry
The supplement industry itself is not well regulated. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the supplement company to maintain a standard and be self-regulated. As you can imagine, this is costly, and therefore not a common practice.
There are multiple issues with supplement distributors. Most supplements do not even contain the actual supplement noted on the label or the amount claimed. Additionally, herbal suppliers may mix or substitute their crops with less expensive or more readily available plants. There is accidental contamination when one plant grows in with others or mistaken identity – when one plant looks like another.
Now, let’s take a closer look at what really happens. In 2013, researchers in Toronto sampled and analyzed 44 herbal supplements sold in the US and Canada that contained single herbs. DNA bar coding analysis was used to test the supplements and less than 48% contained any of the herb listed on the label. More than half contained substitutions, fillers, or contaminants.
In 2015, the New York Attorney General sent warning letters to major retailers selling supplements that were mislabeled after performing a DNA analysis. Some herbal supplements have even been found to contain prescription drugs or other compounds not listed on the labels.
What’s in Your Supplements?
Needless to say, once I found this information, I relocated all my supplements to the trash bin and started searching for effective and safe supplements. After months of research, I found high-quality, effective supplements good enough for my family and patients.
I strongly believe supplementation is vital to those of us who wish to thrive. Obtaining the RDA of some nutrients isn’t enough for some of us who want to live the best and healthiest life possible!
The company I chose personally sources their raw materials. Additionally, the supplements are manufactured in an FDA facility which has stricter standards. They have multiple seals from Leaping Bunny, Good Manufacturing Practices, Natural Products Association and many others. The supplements are non-GMO, gluten-free, and do not contain soy, binders, fillers, chemical slurries or artificial sweeteners. Finally, my search has ended!
Want to check out the company I trust for my supplements? Click here to view my store.