As we are first-hand witnesses to the deplorable state of health the people of this great nation is in, more and more health conscious consumers are turning towards alternatives. One of those alternatives is supplements. Vitamins, minerals, herbs and more, comprise a multi-billion dollar industry, as we search for solutions to our decaying health. Unfortunately, most are using supplements with a drug-like approach. This undermines the power that supplements can really be.
The primary purpose for taking vitamins and other supplements is to replace the nutrients that are not present in our diets. Even with the best, “cleanest” diet, our soils are so depleted that the nutrient density in our foods just isn’t what it used to be. Still, a diet consisting primarily of fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins is of utmost importance as nothing that comes in a box, a can or a bottle will ever compare with fresh (especially home-grown) foods.
If the principle aim of supplements is to replace food nutrients, then our vitamins should be made from foods. Many of the supplements today are made up of synthetic, chemical, faux vitamins. The tracer that identifies the vitamin complex in nature (such as d-alpha-tocopherol or ascorbic acid) is generally isolated from the food, and you are given just that marker, not the food complex. Because they don’t work like the whole vitamin complex does, mega dosing has become the norm, with the “if you throw enough mud against the wall, some of it will stick” premise.
Despite the fact that the vitamin industry is growing in leaps and bounds, we are getting sicker, not healthier. There are many reasons for that. Vitamins that are synthetically made, with high doses of these fake vitamins, used like a drug, doesn’t make us healthier, it can make us sicker. In addition, our foods are made for convenience, sacrificing real nutrients in the process. We have more flavor enhancers, more colorants, more hydrogenated fats, more preservatives, dough conditioners, flowing agents, bleaches and the like, put into our foods than ever before in our history. Many of them are carcinogenic.
The proper use of supplements is simple. First, buy supplements made from edible things – real foods, plants, animal products such as liver, and sea plants. They should have real names like carrot powder, kelp powder, liver powder, acerola cherries, peas, broccoli, etc. Not chemical names like d-alpha-tocopherol, vitamin A palmitate, or ascorbic acid.
Secondly, they should be used to build and strengthen the body. To provide the raw materials the body needs to assist in function and repair of all systems on a daily basis. To use supplements to chase symptoms, rather than to support the body in the healing process, misses the incredible power that supplements can be to our health. Our body knows how to heal any ailment. It simply needs the proper nutrients to do it. That is the power of vitamin supplements!
©2011 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.