I’ve come across more than a couple of articles lately claiming there’s no reason for seniors to supplement their nutrition with vitamins or minerals.
And in a perfect world, I might agree. But the world is not perfect… and our food supply is far from it.
But they’ve gone a step further to imply supplements could be harmful.
Are supplements dangerous? Despite these claims to the contrary, I think it’s very hard to hurt your health with vitamin or mineral supplements. If anything, dosage recommendations tend to be guardedly low. Take vitamin D for instance.
I’ve written more than once about the dangers of a vitamin D deficiency, and how most daily dosage recommendations barely cover your bone health (600-800 IUs), even though the Endocrine Society Practice Guidelines says 10,000 IUs is safe for most adults.
Honestly, I’m left scratching my head as to why they’ve set their sights on the senior population, specifically. It’s important to note that seniors are especially prone to nutritional deficiencies. Our bodies work against us as we age, no longer producing certain nutrients from the foods or natural internal processes that nature intended to benefit us.
We have to work harder than someone half our age at maintaining health–but we live in exciting times, don’t we? Advancements in nutrition and supplementing seem to be on the edge of making premature aging, frailty and the diseases of aging, nothing more than distant memories of times gone by.
So before your doctor tries to take your supplements from you, there are a few things you might want to understand about the current state of nutrition…
The disappearing nutrients
A colleague of mine, Bob Livingston, put it well… He said Americans are fat but starving. But it’s not entirely our fault. The standard American diet is low in nutrition and high in calories.
Fast foods and over-processed foods are part of the problem, but we can’t place all of the blame there for our woeful state of nutrition.
What about the stuff you find in the produce section… and the fresh meats that you have to prepare and cook for yourself at home… surely they’re better at helping you get the nutrition you need, right?
Somewhat, but — and I know you’ve heard this before — the GMO and pesticide dangers are real. You could avoid those dangers by only choosing organic foods, but does that ensure you’re getting the nutrient content you need to not only thrive, but avoid disease and muscle deterioration?
Related: The best dietary supplements
Not likely and here’s why…
According to Dr. Terry Wahls, author of The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles, “Our soil is widely depleted of the nutrients it once contained, and selective breeding and genetic modification aimed at a higher number of bushels per acre (not at improving vitamin or mineral content per bushel) have certainly resulted in plants that are less nutrient-dense than they once were.”
Does that mean eating whole foods is pointless?
Far from it. Dr. Wahls suggests that even though, “We can never go back to a planet as pure as it was in the Paleolithic era, that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t eat the best foods available to us. It only means we may need to eat even more vegetables and fruits, to compensate for diminished nutrient levels.”
In a perfect world, right? Can you tell me when the last time was that you ate a big bowl of broccoli and 3 servings of fruit — in one day?
The stolen nutrients
I read another report recently on mineral and nutrient depletion in US farm and range soils. The scientist who wrote it reported that although there are procedures and tools to reduce or eliminate mineral nutrient depletion in US soils, they are not adequately used by numerous in the agriculture industry. Thusly, nutrient depletion continues in farm and range soil across the country.
Still, poor soil and lackluster eating habits are not the only ways you’re being robbed of the nutrients necessary to promote health.
Here’s a perfect example of what’s happening to most foods we eat…
The white bread most Americans eat is white because the flour is bleached. One of the things bleaching grains does is remove the vitamin E from it.
And there is no question about the relationship between vitamin E and a healthy heart. Oxygen requirements can rise 250% in humans when there is a deficiency of vitamin E. Without enough vitamin E, your blood has to carry 2 1/2 times as much oxygen and your heart has to pump 2 1/2 times as much blood to keep your brain alive. So your heart has to work harder as it starves for vitamin E.
Vitamin E is the strongest and most basic free radical breaking antioxidant we know of. It’s so strong that all other antioxidants are measured against the strength of vitamin E. This measurement is called the ORAC scale.
Stale lifeless breads and other foods with processed grains are devoid of vitamin E. Wheat germ has lots of vitamin E, but bread has none unless it’s “fortified” with synthetic vitamin E.
Notice that you’re not hearing the medical community get up in arms about you eating foods that are “fortified” with vitamins and minerals to make up for the nutritional deficiencies in the American diet… Yet, they don’t want you taking your health into your own hands and supplementing with vitamins and minerals.
Related: Save your life with supplements
Of course, vitamin E is just one example of the many nutrients that are being systematically stolen from your diet, no matter how healthy you may think you’re eating.
For these reasons, and more, I believe that supplementing, wisely, can be a very healthy practice. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. If you need a little help, read this helpful post on how to get more from your vitamins.
Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!
- How much vitamin D is needed to achieve optimal levels? — Vitamin D Council
- The evolution of how we eat and how it’s changing your health — Easy Health Options
- Mineral Nutrient Depletion in US Farm and Range Soils — Michael Karr, Ph.D.
- The heart-healing remedy for our dangerous vitamin E deficiency — Easy Health Options