To supplement or not?

What do they say? It’s all about the daily habits?

Yep.

So, I’m checkin’ my daily habits and I’m getting back into taking these.

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I mentioned in an earlier post, my dad tends to be my go-to man. This is for a lot of reasons, but for this particular subject it is because he
a) is a master at researching. He is always amassing knowledge and has found ways to be efficient at it. And,
b) My dad is fairly health conscious. He isn’t into fads or diets, but for as long as I can remember he has promoted a well-balanced healthy life for our family.

This being said, sometimes I go to him for confirmation of things I already think I know but don’t fully understand. I.E, there is knowing vitamins are good for me and then there is understanding why I should invest in quality vitamins and set alarms or create a routine where I don’t forget to take them every day.

So I asked him, “Dad, what would you say if someone were to ask you, ‘Do you think vitamins are essential to your health?’”

See his response below. (See why I ask him questions? He actually answers them. Love my dad.)

“Do I think vitamins are essential to your health? Not a silly question at all and one that many people don’t ask or understand.

You can’t live without the vitamins – so your real question; “is vitamin supplementation essential to your health?”

There are 4 basis groups of nutrients that are “essential” for health: essential fatty acids, essential amino acids, vitamins, and certain dietary minerals. You can’t live without these because these items help your body to “manufacture” all the other nutrients you need. Recently, there is also interest in the real needs of “micro-nutrients” and phytochemicals in our daily nutritional needs.

Our bodies are amazing. If you start thinking of food as fuel and do a car analogy … if we could treat our cars like we treat our bodies, we would be able to run our cars on anything liquid enough to pour in the gas tank. How ridiculous does that sound? – it is not much different than we treat ourselves sometimes.

But back to the question at hand; given that we know that our body needs certain essential items to live (not necessarily perform optimally – just live), and the government (along with scientists) have published MINIMUM guidelines, how well do you meet these on a daily basis? Many people conclude that “I’m living so I must be meeting those requirements …box checked.”

But wait a minute – is that proof enough?

1. Do you really know what you need to eat to insure coverage of this minimum?

2. Do you keep careful track on a daily basis what you eat to meet these?

3. Is minimum really enough to have your body perform above minimum?

4. What about micro-nutrients and Phytonutrients? (want to know why mom told you to eat your vegetables? read this report “America’s Phytonutrient report“)

5. What about my genetics – am I EXACTLY the same as everyone else?

6. Do I have time to manage all of this?

I think anyone that gets informed just a little bit and thinks this through, will come to the conclusion that there is no way I can insure that I get what my body needs every day.

In addition, if you dig in a little deeper, you’ll find that many of the chronic health issues that you see around you (or may have yourself) are 60-100% related to your nutrition history. Most issues are not created from eating poorly on any particular day, but not optimizing your nutrition as a lifestyle.

Now factor in the effects of your busy lifestyle and stress … on any given day, does your nutrition fuel match the intensity of your day?

I’ll end with 2 closing things to think about:

1. Supplementation is just that – it supplements an already healthy eating plan. You shouldn’t come at this like I can eat anything I want and then feel like you’re covered by combining that with a handful of supplements. This is a marathon and not a sprint. You should eat as good as you can, but then also supplement wisely. Eating well and supplementation walk perfectly hand in hand. (and of course exercise is trying to get them to walk a little faster 🙂 )

2. Supplements are not chemicals but food. Make sure the supplements you take are just that. A simple example. Vitamin C has the chemical composition of ascorbic acid. Eating a bunch of ascorbic acid is NOT the same as eating a vitamin C that is harvested and processed from a plant source of vitamin C. This just makes sense – food should come from a food source. Remember you can get total nutrition from what you eat, but we can’t eat enough of the right stuff on an everyday basis to insure that…so we eat as healthy as we can and supplement to insure the job is done correctly.

So back to the original question “is vitamin supplementation essential to your health?” …I’d have to say a resounding yes!”

So, there ya go. Food for thought and definite motivation to be better about my daily vitamins. (thanks, Dad!)


What about you? How have you found to supplement your daily nutritional intake?
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