Whole Food Nutrition vs. Isolated Supplements
Definition of supplement: ‘Something added to complete a thing, or extend or strengthen the whole.’
Why I choose Whole Food Nutrition over isolated supplements
One of the first things you start looking into when switching to a natural lifestyle is supplements. You walk into a vitamin store, and see the shelves full of hundreds, thousands of products. You find ones that say “lose belly fat” or “sleep all night” and you think, “ok, well it is in a vitamin store, it must be natural, safe and healthy!”
It really stinks when you find out that it isn’t true. Most supplements are no better than pharmaceuticals. A majority of the vitamins and minerals you find on the shelves are synthetic and made in a lab. They act like drugs in the body. You will find arguments about this issue all over the internet and it seems that everyone will have a different opinion- so this is just mine. We all have to do what is best for our bodies and following our instincts is important.
My instincts say to trust nature and not a lab. I personally have had negative reactions to synthetic supplements and the more I have learned about minerals and vitamins, the more I think about the flaw of taking isolated nutrients, especially for long periods of time. Vitamins and minerals have co-factors, and these co-factors show up naturally in foods. For example, magnesium needs B6, Boron, and bicarbonate to work properly. So does that mean we should go out and take 4 separate supplements? What about the rest of the nutrients that work in sync with other nutrients? If we went by that logic, we would need to be popping pills all day!
Another example is copper. Copper needs Vitamin A and whole food vitamin C to become bio-available. So if someone where to take a plain copper supplement without having sufficient levels of A and C, they could create a copper toxicity issue. It could happen quickly or it could take years to build up this issue.
For many people, supplements work just fine. But more people are realizing that supplements are not always the best choice. The more deficiencies that you have, the worse isolated supplements could affect you because one nutrient can start a cascade of imbalances. For example: isolated zinc can lower manganese, copper, and sodium. For someone that is already low in those other 3 nutrients, this could make someone feel MUCH worse! It could also set back your healing several months while you try and fix your new imbalances.
This is why mineral balancing and a HTMA are so crucial to healing. The HTMA gives you a PERSONAL view on what is going on with your body. There is a lot less guesswork involved. Using your results, your consultant can make recommendations on what foods are best for your deficiencies, and then they can recommend some supplements. Supplements should not replace food. They should only be used when absolutely necessary.
Click here for my post on HTMA and its importance, plus how to get one done.
Putting things into perspective:
People often don’t understand why I lean towards food-based nutrition as opposed to supplements. Yesterday, I was really thinking about it, and I think I have a good answer.
I thought of my personal situation (yes, we are all DIFFERENT, but more and more people are experiencing this as well). I had a child 2 years ago and when I started having health issues after he was born, I got several blood tests and a hair tissue mineral analysis. These tests showed me that I was deficient in magnesium, zinc, bound copper, manganese, potassium, sodium, iron, molybdenum, boron, sulfur, and many trace minerals. So over 10 deficiencies! I never once thought, ” Ok I need at least 10 different supplements to help me.” Because that makes ZERO SENSE. Even then, I didn’t know much about co-factors or how nutrients truly worked in our bodies. But it still instinctively felt wrong to go on a dozen supplements.
This is why finding organic, nutrient dense food is the *ideal* way to heal.
These foods will have the correct balance of nutrients and their co-factors. Yes, some food may be depleted now. But the argument that food isn’t strong is crazy to me- if that is the case, why bother eating? We should just be able to survive off of supplements then, right? NOPE! I’m not anti-supplement. I am pro-smart supplementing. Things like herbal infusions, bone broths, and organ meats are AMAZING sources for many of the nutrients we lack, plus they are more bioavailable than anything made in a lab.
There are a few nutrients that are hard to get from food, especially with certain intolerances or you just don’t like things like organ meats or seafood. This is where whole food vitamin C, beef liver powder/capsules, and magnesium supplements come into play. Those contain nutrients that are hard for many to get from food. But I will always be cautious about high doses of isolated nutrients now that I have personally experienced the negative effect that they can have. My sole purpose is to make healing easier with less chances of creating more imbalances, which can be harder to heal from than the original deficiency to begin with (thanks, zinc!).
Make sense? I know that not everyone will agree, but we all have to do what we feel is right. In the end, whatever helps us heal is the right way. I just believe that with the level of depletion that we have, isolated nutrients are NOT the way to go for some people.