Very often, supplements are mistaken for medicines. Maybe because they both come in capsules or tablets, but, as a matter of fact, they are very different, as described in the video which explains how vitamins and drugs act differently on the body.
Due to this wrong assumption, people tend to take supplements only when they have a problem, like lack of energy for example, and then, when they feel better, they stop, like you usually do with medicines.
But high-quality vitamins and supplements have a very different role and function that we would like to clarify with simple words: supplements are food!
Except for a short period fasting, you would never think of giving up food, right? Every day we have breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus some occasional snacks. All these meals provide carbohydrates, fat, and proteins the body need to have more energy and generally, to function. Thus, eating well is essential in order to give the body what it needs.
The point is that nowadays food has fewer and fewer micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), therefore it is important to integrate with at least one multivitamin, as also indicated in the Harvard Healthy Eating Pyramid revisited.
Nowadays, if an apple contained all the vitamins it should contain, if a steak had the proteins it should have, if fish had the Omega 3 it should have, would we need to take any supplements? Maybe not.
The point is that today you think you are eating an apple, but instead, it’s as if you are eating something that has the shape of an apple, which contains some elements of an apple, but lacking many nutrients. Let’s call it “Apple minus”.
Then you eat something that has the shape of a steak but it’s “empty”, it lacks the proteins it should have. You think you are well fed and that you fed your body with
many proteins but, as a matter of fact, it got very few. Let’s call it “Steak minus”.
To complete your meal, you eat some vegetables. Vegetables are healthy so you have a full bowl. You eat that and now you feel full. Those vegetables were picked days ago, they just got to the supermarket, so only a small percentage of nutrients is left. Let’s call those “vegetables minus”.
To sum up, you had a full meal with a “steak minus”, some “vegetables minus” and an “apple minus”. You took some macronutrients you needed, and very few micronutrients, so your body can get by, but different elements are missing.
Let’s assume you eat well avoiding junk food, you basically have two options:
You live outside the city and breath clean air. You have your organic garden where you grow your fruits and vegetables avoiding pesticides and chemicals. Maybe you have some animals raised outdoor that will provide you with eggs and meat. Or you go to some farmers (very few left) who raise grass-fed animals and you get wild fish caught in the seas and oceans. You have access to good organic olive oil and a lot of organic dried fruits. This way you will have a great diet and your body will probably receive many nutrients, without considering soil depletion. The problem is that today, it is really hard to have this lifestyle.
Today, very few people can afford the option above. You have to deal with your daily life routine. You try to eat organic and natural food as much as possible, grass raised animals or if you’re a vegetarian, non-GMO vegetable proteins.
Even if you try to eat healthy, sometimes you eat non-natural food because you live among people. You do your best but you know that the food you eat is half empty so it needs to be integrated. At least one multivitamin/mineral should be part of your diet. It’s as if the multivitamin/mineral turned the “apples minus” into in “normal apples”. Supplementing your food means adding food.
For this reason, as indicated in the Harvard Healthy Eating Pyramid revisited, the Multivitamin has to be considered as part of your diet and maintained.
We wanted to change perspective and use different words to express the idea that high quality supplements are actually part of your diet. It’s a fact that food lacks the micronutrients. References are available clicking on the links in the article.
Surely, supplements aren’t substitutes for a diet, you can’t live off supplements only. It’s essential to eat well. Nonetheless, as we’ve seen, it’s not enough. Therefore, we need to take high quality supplements daily.
Doctor Francesca Marcon
PS: What are your thoughts? Do you agree with this article? Share your opinion in the comments below.