While food is our best “medicine,” medical researchers have discovered that most people are not receiving the nutrition that the body requires to function optimally when dietary intake is the sole source of nutrients. Respected scientists and physicians are supporting the addition of nutritional supplements to an otherwise healthy diet and lifestyle.
There are a number of reasons why very few people are even able to meet the most basic recommended nutrient levels from foods alone. Studies show that food no longer has the same nutritional value that it had even a decade ago due to poor soil quality, chemical pollutants in the air, soil and water from industrial and agricultural practices including the application of toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides to foods, and the factory-farming of our animal-based foods. Our bodies require even more nutrients to deal with this daily bombardment of environmental pollutants.
Additionally, there is a loss of nutrients due to harvesting fruits and vegetables before they are ripe, to transporting foods hundreds, even thousands of miles, keeping foods in storage for long periods of time, and food manufacturing which involves heavily refining, processing, and removing and/or damaging valuable nutrients. Foods are often overcooked at home or in restaurants. In addition, many people are on restricted or fad diets, eating insufficient calories, skipping meals, making poor food choices, and choosing quick, cheap, junk food. Actually, nutrient needs in individuals are increased when nutrient depleting substances are consumes, such as coffee, sugar, alcohol, sodas, chemical food additives, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol. Certain medications can also cause nutrient deficiencies.
Due to less than optimal diets and individual genetics, the digestive systems of many people are highly compromised, functioning in a reduced capacity. Much nutritional content that is in foods is not bioavailable unless there is a sufficient supply of nutrients kept in the body’s reserves. The absorption of nutrients depends on the availability of these other micronutrients. This situation translates into poor absorption and malnourishment, further decreasing the available nutrients.
Many people also dealing with personal difficulties, such as a recent surgery, injury or illness, chronic, degenerative diseases, and extreme emotional or psychological stress. All of these real life situations lead to an increased need for nutrients. The body requires an abundance of nutrients in order to heal – physically, emotionally, psychologically, and mentally.
During certain periods in life, the requirement for nutrients increases, but these higher levels are often not met through diet alone. People involved in certain life stages, such as infants and babies, children during growth spurts, pregnant women, and the elderly – all require higher levels of nutrients to maintain optimum health.
It is important to remember that nutrients are not drugs. Nutrients are the vitamins and minerals and antioxidants from plant and animal sources that are needed for all of the biological processes that occur in our bodies. They support and maintain balance in all of our body’s systems. We are not just trying to avoid deficiency diseases like scurvy. We are making life choices that will lead us to radiant, optimal health, our natural birthright.
Lieberman, S., and Bruning, N. The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book. Avery, 2007.
Schmid, Ronald F. Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine. Healing Arts Press, 1997.
For more information regarding why we need to add quality nutritional supplementation even if we are eating well, please read an excellent article by Dr. Mark Hyman entitled “Do You Need Nutritional Supplements” on his website at Do You Need Supplements.