Monday August 1, 2011 

Perhaps the single question most asked by clients is: 'Do I need to take supplements?' My answer is:

"If you are eating a completely organic diet, with grass fed meat, plants grown on well nourished, mineral and biologically rich soil, sleep nine hours out of 24, and have no stress, your need for supplements is minimal. You also need to drink pure water that has flowed over mineral rich rocks."

Obviously, there is a heavy dose of sarcasm here, as no one I have ever met comes close to this ideal, yet I still hear people with authority saying that eating a well balanced diet is enough. Might well be, if you have a chef/nutritionist on staff, but for real people, supplements are a way to get the nutrients our bodies need to operate at optimal function. We have evolved for millions of years without cars and without refined foods. Walking a few miles a day is a great help in using our caloric intake so that we can eat the large number of calories we need to fulfill the vitamin and mineral needs of our bodies, but office sitting? Not so much.

Additionally, there is the issue of our degraded food sources. The middle third of our country, when the Europeans arrived, was made of a 10-20 meter deep sponge composed of roots and hummus from millenia of prarie grasses and animal dung. It formed a wonderful balance, helping to prevent flooding in rainy weather and to hold water in droughts. In our infinite wisdom, we plowed the land, and for a finish, we slaughtered the buffalo. The mineral and biological content of those millions and millions of acres of prairie then washed with the topsoil into the rivers and away. Those same stripped acres, known colloquially as 'America's Breadbasket, are now farmed with machinery run by computers, and fed with ammonia compound sprays. No wonder bread companies claim to have 'enriched' their products! There is very little there to start with! And don't take the nutritional contents too seriously. Most of the testing was done in the 1950's and the Big Farm lobbyists have resisted reassessment for decades.

Yes, the answer is, modern people need supplements. The true purpose of Nutritional Therapy is balancing an individual's idiosyncratic chemistry, to support them in achieving optimal health. With the lack of nutrition available in our food, optimizing through supplementation is an effective short cut, as quality supplements are simply concentrated food, with all of the excipients to maximize their usefulness. 

Next up: choosing supplements

Austin Nutritional Therapy by Elaine DiRico