The Case for Supplements

Michael A. Smith, MD

It’s true that we should be getting essential nutrients from food. An organic-based diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables should be enough to keep us healthy. But it’s not.

Relying solely on food may keep you from developing vitamin deficiencies, but a dietary approach alone is not going to come close to optimizing your health.

Let’s look at some of the reasons we believe supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals is absolutely necessary in this day and age.

Poor Soil Conditions

Dr. Bernard Jensenwas a world renowned clinical nutritionist once said that a tomato today is not the same tomato a hundred years ago. He was referring to the poor conditions of our soils.

The first US soil surveys were completed in the 1920s and concluded that our soils were depleted of key nutrients like nitrates and carbonates.

These soil nutrients are necessary for the growth of healthy crops and ultimately nutrient dense food. That was in the 1920s!

You might wonder what’s been done since then to improve the conditions of our soils. Well, not much. In the 1930s and 40s, following the Great Dust Bowl, farmers planted soy to reinvigorate top soil. That helped to some degree, but not to the degree needed.

Since then, farmers have had to incorporate chemicals into the soil to rapidly improve growth potential. This might help to grow crops, but not necessarily healthy crops. So now you’re left thinking that eating only organically grown fruits and vegetables is the way to go.

Although we believe that would be a healthier choice in terms of pesticides, it doesn’t ensure that you’re eating nutrient rich food.

Keep in mind…organic soil is just as depleted of nutrients as chemically treated soil. Bottom line: poor soils produce poor crops and poor crops produce nutrient depleted food.

Today’s Toxic Deluge

We live in a toxic environment. Chemical toxins from the air, water and soil create a destructive oxidative environment inside of us.

Most of the environmental toxins are highly reactive oxygen molecules that build-up overtime creating what’s called oxidative stress.

As a matter of fact, oxidative stress is one of the leading theories of aging. Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress.

Our bodies intrinsically synthesize some antioxidants, but most of them come from dietary sources, like dark colored fruits and vegetables. But once again, this brings us back to the conditions of our soils.

Can we rely solely on dietary sources of antioxidants given the fact that crops around the world are producing nutrient poor foods? So, what can we do? How can we increase our intake of antioxidants?

The answer is simple: supplements. A high quality antioxidant formula can offer protection against our toxic environment – something food alone cannot provide.

Ideal Nutrient Dosing

The recommended daily allowance or RDA for vitamin C is 75 to 100 mg a day. This is just enough vitamin C to keep you from developing scurvy – a skin condition resulting from a vitamin C deficiency.

But here’s our point: Vitamin C can do so much more than just prevent scurvy. By reaching an ideal daily dose of 500 mg, vitamin C becomes a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system, supports the cardiovascular system and optimizes overall health.

Now let’s say you’re not interested in supplements. That means you need to reach the optimal dose from food only. Here are some common food sources and the amount of vitamin C per serving:

  • Papaya – 70 mg
  • Kiwi – 70 mg
  • Green peppers – 65 mg
  • Citrus Fruit – 35-60 mg
  • Strawberries – 49 mg
  • Blueberries – 45 mg
  • Apples – 25 mg
That’s a lot of papaya or green peppers to reach 500 mg of vitamin C a day! Ideal dosing is just another reason why supplementation is so important.

The Verdict?

Well, in science the case is never closed. We are constantly learning and reevaluating our beliefs and conclusions. And with that said, considering our poor soils, environmental toxins and our desire to do more than just prevent vitamin deficiencies, supplementing our diets with ideally dosed vitamins and minerals is a necessity.


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