An Argument Against Supplements

I am not telling you not to take supplements.  I am not a doctor.  It is possible that one may have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, and a supplement could be helpful ie. iron.  However, I am asking you to think about it and consider something more important.

What does the word supplement even mean?  It has to do with adding to, in addition to one's normal dietary intake.  Supplements of vitamins and minerals are a multi-billion dollar industry and are not the panacea of good health.  Many cause health problems.  Vitamin and mineral supplements are extracted or even synthetically produced.  Our bodies were not designed and have not evolved to consume extracted vitamins and minerals, much less those that are synthetically manufactured.  

Our bodies were designed to consume vitamins and minerals not in isolation but in a mysterious integration in food.  Science is only beginning to scratch the surface in terms of understanding how a food and the integration of all the nutrient components work.  But, we do know this: regular exercise + eating a diet full of whole foods vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, seeds and whole grains does produce health and wellness in human beings.  

Before spending your money on supplements, or falling for the claims of supplements and constantly changing media reports, think about what is truly the best medicine.  It is moving one's body in all ranges of movement and getting one's heart rate up.  It is eating whole foods, mainly vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, seeds, whole grains and occasionally animal products and dairy.  We know this works.  In Dan Buettner's study of the "blue zones" which are areas where the populace has the highest rates of centenarians in the world, the key has not been supplements.  It has been regular exercise typically common to the moving required in caring for a garden and house work + eating whole foods.  It is not the same whole foods or percentages of proteins, carbohydrates, fats or calorie counting in these blue zones, but it is simply eating whole foods in the diversity that is available in their geographic area and how that culture develops recipes around those whole foods. 

It takes time.  It takes planning.  You must be intentional.  It takes discipline to eat a diet of whole foods in a society filled with refined and processed foods and the same goes for exercise - BUT - the best medicine and the best supplement is exercise + whole foods.  Begin making it your lifestyle at some level that you know you can be successful with and build from there.