I believe that, for optimal health, it is important to eat a variety of real food every day. When meals are incomplete or inadequate, supplementation can be beneficial. Smart supplementation is meant to fill in the gaps where people have dietary deficiencies. Supplements are extensions of food. While it is unnecessary to take every vitamin and mineral on a daily basis, some key nutrients that are missing from the standard western diet can greatly enhance a person’s well-being.
At first, I created my online shop GoodieVibes.com for myself because I wanted to have a more economical way to buy my favourite supplements in bulk. I had scoured the internet for over a decade to find the highest quality and most crucial supplements to take on a daily basis. What I discovered was it is difficult to find food-grade supplements that are also high quality where I live, in Canada. I finally found brands I trust and was able to order some great quality products from international sources. Prior to launching GoodieVibes.com, I was ordering single unit products through other websites and was paying almost as much for shipping and tariffs as the product itself. Once I discovered that others who are like-minded about the supplements they take are interested in the same hard-to-find products as I am, I became thrilled about the idea of offering these products to my clients, family and friends.
“On the first day of medical school, I heard one of my professors make a statement that has informed my approach to medicine ever since: Always remember, the dumbest kidney is smarter than the smartest nephrologist. In other words, we have a lot to learn about the human body, and its inherent wisdom is the ultimate teacher. I apply that same thinking to food: The dumbest plant is smarter than the smartest chemist. In other words, the nutrients in, for example, kale, work together in a way too complex for us to isolate and put into a pill.” -Dr. Tom Cowan
Food-grade supplements can be beneficial for health improvement, maintenance and illness prevention. Regardless of where you live or what you eat, everyone can improve their health by getting more nutrients into their diet. Having access to nutrient dense foods from the store shelf is difficult. Where our ancestors were able to get trace minerals from plants, fruits and animals, doing so today is a challenge. Modern agricultural practices have led to the depletion of nutrient rich soils, making it challenging for many people to get adequate vitamins and minerals. Proper supplementation can offer a convenient and easy solution that allows us to stock up on vital vitamins and minerals that are otherwise difficult to find in common foods.
What about synthetic vitamins?
There are several factors to consider when opting for an isolated, synthetic vitamins, versus real food or food grade supplements. First, the human body absorbs, digests and metabolizes synthetics differently than whole foods. For example, ascorbic acid which is synthetic vitamin C (typically derived from GMO corn), can be destructive to the arteries (Los Angeles Times, March 3, 2000).
Some synthetic vitamins can actually act as drugs with similar damaging effects within the body, can be easily overdosed, and can cause imbalances.
Some synthetic vitamins can be dangerous
Chris Kresser, (M.S., L.Ac., a renowned expert, leading clinician, and top educator in the fields of Functional Medicine and ancestral health, and the New York Times-bestselling author of The Paleo Cure) talks about the dangers of synthetic vitamins, particularly multivitamins.
“Most studies show that multivitamins either provide no benefit or may even cause harm. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that multivitamins have little to no influence on the risk of common cancers, CVD (cardiovascular disease) or total mortality in postmenopausal women. A now infamous meta-analysis in the Journal of American Medical Association, which looked at over 68 trials with 230,000 pooled participants, found that treatment with synthetic beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E may increase mortality.”
The advice I give to my clients is to consider covering their nutritional bases with supplements that will work in harmony with their body. A simple and effective way to do this is to consume whole foods and food-based supplements and to ensure that supplements come from a trusted source and are free of toxins, fillers, additives and synthetics.
According to Kresser, the problem with multivitamins is that they contain too little of beneficial nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K2, and too much of potentially toxic nutrients like folic acid, calcium, iron and vitamin E. This means that multivitamins can actually cause nutrient imbalances that contribute to disease. Another problem is that multivitamin manufacturers often use the cheapest possible ingredients.
Which vitamins are most important?
While certain vitamins can be easily obtained from food alone such as B12 (eggs, animal protein, cheese), others are scarce or completely absent from meals. The most important vitamins and the ones I emphasize on my shop, are vitamin A, vitamin K2 and zinc. In the future, I will also be including natural sources of vitamin D3, another critical fat-soluble vitamin that people are often deficient in.
For more information about healthy supplementation, please visit my shop and sign up to my GoodieVibes.com newsletter. I will be posting more information about my food-grade supplements in the weeks ahead!
Wishing you excellent health, well-being and vitality:)