As you might have read in my earlier posts, there are a few different things on the list of priorities before supplements: Nutrition, exercise, sleep, sunlight, water and good technology and social balance…
However, despite your healthiest efforts, you might still consider taking a supplement or some supplements for a number of extremely good reasons:
You are super fit or exercising frequently
You are not growing your own vegetables and fruit (only go shopping once a week)
You are getting older (who isn’t?)
You frequently exercise
The recommended daily levels of nutrients are for the average individual: not for someone who is doing more than the average amount of exercise.
With the demands that you are placing on your body, you require extra energy. Extra oxidation and stress occur as a natural part of exercise. That lack of nutrients from the extra activity (athletic demands) would actually limit your performance. This is why there are many Vitamins and minerals that are marketed for “active individuals”.
You are not growing your own vegetables:
Not everyone can have a greenhouse stacked full of pesticide free, soil-enriched fresh food to pick and consume within moments of being pulled from the vine.
Over farming means that some soils are devoid of say, selenium or other essential vitamins and minerals for example, and that has an onward effect for the plants growing in the soil. That means that some fresh produce can have more nutrients in it than others (and appear almost identical!)
Furthermore, the pesticides and chemicals found in pollutants in our food supply actually increase our need for vitamins and minerals to protect our body from free radicals, yet decrease the amount found in the plants that we are eating.
Harvesting also often occurs before a plant has reached peak ripeness, and sometimes food is stored in artificial conditions for a long time before it ever reaches our plate. After a fruit or vegetable is picked, it begins to lose the maximum vitamins minerals and antioxidants that it once had when it was still part of the plant that grew it. Therefore, for these reasons our food has fewer nutrients in it, but our requirement for these nutrients is actually larger as a result. Although one could theoretically just eat more fruit and vegetables, it also means that you would be increasing your calories (which we might not need). Adding some supplementation to our diet would assist in this.
As we get older, our bodies have a diminished ability to absorb nutrients. Using supplementation can increase the nutrients in our bodies.
There you have it:
Overall, supplements make it more likely that we will plug any gaps in our diet due to factors outside of our control, such as poor nutrients in the soil and therefore our fresh produce, an increased requirement for more nutrients such as pollutants in our environment and getting older, and increased demands on our bodies from exercise in general.
All in all, that adds up to better performance and energy levels!