The million dollar nutritional question; should I be taking a supplement or are they a waste of money? In an ideal world we shouldn’t need to take additional nutrients; we should be able to get all of our nutrients from food and we would have no health issues to contend with. Getting nutrients from food is more difficult than we think. Firstly there is the issue of cultivation, then there is storage and lastly preparation.
Here’s a video I made on: Are Supplements Bad? For my Friends at BWN
Cultivation – what environment is the food grown in? Did you know that when a tomato is picked from the vine before it is a vibrant red colour it has less of the antioxidants, lycopene and beta carotene, of a vine-ripened tomato? Ever had a tomato that tasted like water and felt like powder in your mouth? How about a tomato that your grandmother grew and picked at its prime? Sweet and velvety right? Vine ripened tomatoes have higher levels of the super powerful antioxidants lycopene and beta carotene. It isn’t just tomatoes that develop more nutrients on the vine or tree. The nutrient chemical pigments in a fruit or vegetable are also the same chemicals that give it colour. Low in colour = low in flavour = low in nutrients.
Storage – too dry, too cold, too moist, too warm, too long. Storage issues have a huge impact on food, as well as supplements.
Preparation – prepackaged food is always lower in nutritional value than fresh, cooking damages (to a certain extent) foods and as soon as we cut a vegetable or fruit it starts to oxidise.
- Evidence based formulations with clinically effective dosages ie they should have scientific references and be developed by practitioners/scientists
- High levels of commonly deficient nutrients such as vitamin D, Zinc, Iodine and Selenium
- Company should have standard formula for general use, as well as specific formulas for men, women, children and pregnancy
- High strength B vitamins so you don’t need an additional B-Complex
- Plant based phytochemical that support unique male and female health needs
- Condition or illness specific formula
- Professional strength formulas
- Ingredients that have certificates of analysis ie testing of raw materials
- Remember that quality ingredients delivered at effective dosages are not cheap
- Formulas free from binders, fillers and additives
If a company can’t tell you the following don’t buy from them! :
- Where their ingredients came from
- Why the nutrients in the formula were included
- Who developed the formula
- What the formula is for and who it is best for
- what relevant qualifications the staff have – biochemistry, nutrition, food science.
In summary have a read of the links below to make your own judgement. I know what works for me and my patients but you have to do what you feel is right for you. Multivitamin and mineral supplements are not intended to replace healthy eating recommendations; rather leading experts recommend they are used as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.