There’s always a new fad – even in healthcare. Every time you turn around, there’s a new “miracle” supplement, vitamin, or herb being marketed to be the “next big thing”.
Purchasing vitamins and supplements can be a daunting task and we sometimes don’t even know where to begin. Do we really need to take all of these supplements? If so, which ones do we actually need? How do we know which brand to buy? Why is my doctor recommending that I order this particular supplement when I can go down to the local drugstore and buy a bottle for $4.99? Aren’t they the same thing?
When you don’t know where to begin - begin here. Let’s briefly break down “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” behind supplementation. However, because I always try to end things on a good note, we’re going to discuss “The Bad”, then “The Ugly”, and then leave the “Good” for last.
Don’t we usually try to take the “natural route” by taking a vitamin or a supplement so that we can strengthen our bodies to be HEALTHY? Aren’t we trying to build strong cells and tissues so that we can heal better on our OWN and become LESS reliant on outside forces to temporarily suppress our symptoms, only to send us in circles traveling through a revolving cycle of sickness?
So, the bad use of supplementation lies in this: Supplementation should NOT be used to mask or cover up symptoms. Remember, symptoms are not the actual problem. Symptoms are your body’s way of signaling to you that something under the surface is wrong, and the symptom is waking you up to the fact that there is a problem, and you need to fix it. Getting rid of the “symptom”, without ever attempting to address the underlying problem itself, will never result in true health.
The next time you pick up a bottle of vitamins, herbs, or any supplement, keep these two things in mind:
1.) Just because something is labeled as “All Natural”, does NOT equate to it mean “healthy”. The word “natural” has no true value on a label. There are no regulations on the word “natural” and therefore, I can toss anything in a bottle and market it as a “healthy” supplement - as long as I write the word “natural” in big, bold letters on the label!
2.) Read the ingredient list on most of these supplements that are readily available over-the-counter before judging their value. Are they truly the pure vitamin (or herb) that the label is stating they are? Or do the true contents reveal fillers, like wheat, corn, soy, and dairy? If they’re full of toxic fillers, you’re wasting your time, your money, AND your health, because your body now has double the work to filter out all of these toxic fillers.
Sometimes – what our bodies REALLY need – is for us to CHILL OUT and let it do its thing. Our bodies are designed to be self-healing and self-regulating. Many times, however, we attempt to “control” the situation by bombarding our bodies with “things” from the outside (whether medication, supplements, creams, etc.). A lot of times, the “less is more” principle is what we really need. Get out of the way and let your body do what it’s meant to do and give it a CHANCE to filter out what it needs to filter out. Pretty simple, right?
I’m not negating the value of CERTAIN supplements. There are supplements that I do recommend for my patients and for anyone interested in achieving their best health potential. However, there are VERY specific criteria that these nutrients must meet in order to be considered something that you should actually be taking in a pill form, versus getting it from your normal diet.
I’m a fan of attempting to get as many of our nutrients from whole food sources as we possibly can. However, due to industrialized farming (both agricultural AND livestock), we’ve stripped our foods of a lot of the natural nutrients that USED to be present. This means that we may be physically EATING that same apple, or that same piece of chicken, that our great-great grandmother was eating decades ago, but we are actually receiving FAR LESS nutrients from that piece of food that we’re eating versus when they ate it.
Therefore, there are CERTAIN supplements that we SHOULD be taking on a daily basis for the simple fact that they are ESSENTIAL for our cells to properly function, but they’re no longer readily available in our diet in the QUANTITIES that we need them to be.
So what are these essential nutrients that we SHOULD be supplementing with on a regular basis?
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
2. Vitamin D3
For this post, I’m going to leave it at simply listing these essential nutrients. We do offer these nutrients as recommendations throughout our Corrective Care Plans at Pillar due to the fact that they are imperative in helping to restore proper nervous system function. I’ll be posting separate articles on each one in particular to go into more detail about WHY each of these are so important, so stay tuned for that. This article, however, is written to simply start shifting our viewpoint on supplementation and some things to consider before taking any vitamin or supplement.
We should not be relying on nutritional supplementation to treat our symptoms. We should be utilizing supplementation ONLY for those nutrients that we cannot get from our food that we NEED to be healthy. We should be utilizing these essential nutrients to build up our own STRONG, HEALTHY cells, tissues, and organs, so that we become self-sufficient and do not have to rely on OUTSIDE forces to help us “feel better”. We need to give our bodies what they need to FUNCTION better, and by default, you’ll start feeling better. If, in the instance that a vitamin or supplementation is needed, then please be sure that you do your research and that you purchase a high-quality supplement from a reputable source.
Remember, the GOAL should ALWAYS be to build yourself up well-enough so your body can function optimally ON IT’S OWN. Less is more.
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