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Why do we need Supplements!

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

Why Supplements Are Necessary


This is an interesting read. Long, but you will see why I have been looking for a company that has a supplement range not just for athletes but for us, the people who don’t always get all the nutrients they need from the diet. For those of us who are over a certain age who in order to lead a longer healthier life should do so. I have taken supplements of varying types over the years and have always had good energy, have been mostly healthy and injury free.

This article is from 1998 but lide has not really changed that drastically since then. Enjoy!


This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.c

From the Rodale book, Renewal: The Anti-Aging Revolution: Thanks to Mother Nature.Com for the use of this material! Why Supplements Are Necessary -- And Introducing the Optimum Daily Allowances It is often necessary to make decisions on the basis of information sufficient for action, but insufficient to satisfy the intellect. -- Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), German philosopher I hear it all the time from my patients: "Dr. Smith, I'm eating just like you told me to -- lots of grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables, nothing fatty or sugary. Now you're recommending supplements, too? Taking so many pills just doesn't seem natural. If Mother Nature felt I needed extra nutrients, wouldn't she have put them in my food?" It's a perfectly valid question, and one which you may have wondered about at one time or another. I'll tell you exactly what I tell my patients: If you want to fight disease and achieve maximum life span, you can't do it with diet alone. You need the extra nutritional boost that only supplements can provide. Lots of folks take supplements nowadays. For as many as 40 percent of American adults -- about 100 million of us -- these pills have become nutritional staples. They're also the backbone of a thriving, $10-billion-per-year industry. In many ways, supplements are to humans what fertilizer is to plants. Give a plant adequate amounts of sunlight and water, and it will survive. Add some nutrient-rich fertilizer (organic, of course), and the plant will thrive. For us humans, the same principle applies. A healthful, balanced diet supplies the body with sufficient nutrients to carry out routine tasks. Supplements such as vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, phytochemicals, and more enrich the body's internal environment to fortify cellular protection, repair, and regeneration and support the Renewal process. Mother Nature's Ulterior Motive Of course, supplements, at least as we know them, haven't been around all that long. How did our ancestors survive without them? To be painfully blunt, they didn't. You see, Mother Nature has never cared about optimum health. Nor has she concerned herself with longevity. Her main objective is survival and propagation of the species. So she programmed us humans to survive on even the crummiest diet, nutrition-wise, into our twenties, when we're old enough to reproduce. Beyond that, we're on our own. This genetic twist is a throwback to primitive times, when supermarkets and refrigerators didn't exist and food was not always plentiful. Those who could stay alive on very slim pickins had a tremendous survival advantage. Over thousands of years, one generation has passed its "survival genes" on to the next. So thanks to our ancestors, we are equipped to subsist on minuscule amounts of the essential nutrients, just in case a famine comes along. But as I said before, this insurance policy remains effective only into our twenties -- just long enough for us to reproduce. It includes no provision for aging. By the time we reach our twenties, we have established lifelong eating habits. And because our survival genes have protected us from the adverse effects of our dietary transgressions, we have no reason to believe that what we're eating (or not eating) is doing us any harm. So we continue feeding ourselves nutritionally vacant junk foods, unaware that they're quietly eroding our health. Often we don't see the effects for several decades. The point here is this: Even with a lousy diet, we can remain fairly healthy through our first 30 to 40 years of life. But if we want to achieve optimum health and maximum life span, the nutritional bare bones just won't cut it. We need to eat nutritious foods, and we need to take supplements. In the Red In part 2, I introduced you to the Anti-Aging Diet, which is designed to get your dietary habits on track for Renewal. If you're like most Americans, you haven't been eating as healthfully as you could. The standard American diet gets 45 percent of its calories from fat and another 35 percent from sugar. In other words, 80 percent of the calories we consume provide none of the nutrients that our bodies need. Incredibly, despite our dietary excesses and an epidemic of obesity, as a nation we are underfed. One interesting study examined the incidence of vitamin deficiencies in a randomly selected group of hospital patients. Using the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) as the standards, 88 percent of the 120 patients came up short in at least one vitamin. Many showed multiple deficiencies. Only 12 percent tested at "normal" levels. Diet is not the sole force behind the national plague of nutrient deficiencies. Other factors include the following:
  • Alcohol consumption (depletes B vitamins, vitamin C, most minerals, and antioxidants)

  • Allergies and infections (deplete vitamins A and C and zinc, among other nutrients)

  • Exposure to air pollutants and other toxins (depletes antioxidants)

  • Smoking (depletes antioxidants)

  • Stress (depletes all nutrients, especially B vitamins and vitamin C)

Some people simply require more of certain nutrients than the general population does. Children and older adults tend to need a bit extra, as do pregnant women. Others with increased nutritional demands include those who diet and those who exercise strenuously. Then, too, some foods that we eat because we think they're healthful have actually been stripped of their nutrients before they get to our plates. Whole wheat loses 75 percent of its B vitamins, minerals, and fiber when it is milled into flour. Likewise, rice loses most of its vitamins, minerals, and fiber when it's polished to turn it from brown to white. Even the soil that these and other plant-derived foods grow in is often nutrient-depleted. Short by Any Standard Nutrient deficiencies have become the norm in the United States. As the following statistics suggest, many of us are having a hard time fulfilling our bodies' most basic nutritional needs. The percentages in this table are based on the Recommended Dietary Allowances, which many experts now say are inadequate. Imagine how poorly we'd fare if the required nutrient intakes were higher. NUTRIENTU.S. POPULATION (%)Vitamin B690Magnesium90Calcium90Iron90Vitamin A90Thiamin90Vitamin C90Riboflavin90Vitamin B1290Niacin90 The Price of Poor Nutrition Initially, the body hints of a nutrient shortfall with any of a hodgepodge of minor symptoms: fatigue, weakness, insomnia, irritability, nervousness, depression, poor concentration, memory loss, aches and pains, recurrent infections, allergies, circulatory problems, and just not feeling good. These are the vague symptoms that drive patients to doctors, and drive doctors up a diagnostic tree. Because most conventionally trained physicians have little education or experience in nutrition, they're unable to make the connection between a patient's complaints and a nutrient deficiency. Then when the test results come back normal (as they usually do in such cases), the symptoms tend to be dismissed as "all in your head" -- or, even worse, as "a natural part of aging.&