Nutritional Supplements, Part 1: The Basics

It’s time for a series of articles on what I believe to be one of the most important components to proper health and wellness. Vitamins, minerals and all other supplements now fall into a category called nutraceuticals.

First, let’s discuss why these are so important. In order for all of the cells in your body to function continuously without impairment, injury or death, it is crucial to have all the proper nutrients in the proper amounts circulating throughout your system. These nutrients also are a required element in the process of energy production, which is needed in every cellular process. One thing I hear often from patients is, "I eat healthy, so I don’t need any supplements." It is important to know that even if you have the healthiest diet in the world, your body still will be depleted of many essential nutrients. Harvard University conducted research on the nutrient content of food in 1930, as compared to 2002. Research found that:

• milk and cheese have 70 percent less magnesium and calcium than in 1930;

• beef has 55 percent less iron;

• chicken has 31 percent less calcium and 69 percent less iron;

• soil nutrient content has diminished by more than 70 percent in 70 years.

There are many documented examples of foods and soil that reveal nutritional value has been diminished over time. (Toxicities contained in fast foods and in the environment are another story.) This is why in our day and age, adding a nutritional supplement is an essential component to perfect health.

Now that we know why we need them, we’ll talk about what we need. The main problem with supplements today is that they are not FDA regulated. This means manufacturers can put whatever they want into their products without those products having to pass any inspections.

If you are not buying a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) rated supplement that is "physician grade," you are probably getting a non-quality supplement. We order "third party assays" of supplements at our clinic, which show exactly what is in the supplements, based on lab testing. We have found lead and other toxic metals in multivitamins, calcium supplements that don’t break down in the system, molds and microbes, and B vitamins without all of the Bs, to name just a few discrepancies.

It is quite discouraging, since as consumers, we are paying good money for our supplements and many times they are not even being absorbed into our bodies. I have personally done my own research on these nutraceuticals and have found a few very reputable companies. I am restricted from mentioning certain companies here, but I am available to answer your specific questions. The main point is, if you are going to spend money on what can be life-changing supplements, spend it on ones that are proven.

In the next weeks, I will be discussing nutraceuticals that can help with a variety of health issues, along with advancing your wellness potential. Keep in mind that our bodies were made to be free of sickness and disease, and also that our bodies are smart enough to maintain a healthful state. The problem is, our society is now so toxic and lacking in proper nutrients that our systems do not have the resources to adequately fight these conditions. I cannot express how important it is for your system to have the appropriate nutrients in the proper amounts in order for your cells to be able to heal themselves.

There are a few cautionary points to make before you start any nutritional regimen. Be sure you speak with someone who specializes in nutritional deficiencies or is properly certified. Nutraceuticals are very powerful and educated guidance is imperative. Also, you need to be sensitive to any medication interactions with certain supplements. Just remember, the homework to be done is worth it. Join me the next few weeks on a journey of wiping out your nutrient depletion and enhancing your overall health.

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