Supplements – do you really need them?

Supplements – do you really need them?

Monday, 17 December 2012 21:53

Are you confused/overwhelmed with the multitude of advertisements for supplements these days???

Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, shark cartilage, glucosamine, ancient traditional native american hair of a pygmie crossed with goats intestinal flora super aphrodisiac for 25 day erections etc etc? I think you get the drift!!!

What to do? Are they for real? Should you take them? Do you really need them?

We are purposely not going to go into every supplement separately here (we’d be here till Christmas!!!). But let’s just look at a few basics to hopefully simplify things and help you get on with enjoying life…and maybe save you some cash.

Ideal World – No Supplements Needed:

Basically, in an ideal world, we need very few, if any supplements.

Nature, being infinitely intelligent, has provided everything we need to stay healthy and balanced. With little or no stress, healthy balanced digestion, and a good varied diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, grains etc, you wouldn’t need any thing more in terms of
supplements (save for a few general tonics etc).

Current World: Poor Food Quality:

However, the current reality of our modern world is that,

i) most conventional farms have nutrient deficient soils

ii) animals are fed nutrient deficient plants and are often full of antibiotics/hormones etc

iii) there is considerable pollution (in the water, soil, air), chemical additives & synthetic nutrients (processed foods) etc, that affect the quality of the food we eat.

Add to this, the extended time between crops being picked and us eating them, the high use of frozen & leftover foods etc, and it’s highly possible you are getting sub-optimal nutrition…even with a so-called ‘healthy’ diet.

The Missing Factor from the Modern Scientific View – Digestion:

A further critical point usually overlooked by modern science, is that any nutrients/vitamins/minerals etc, are only of value if properly absorbed & assimilated.

If your digestion is balanced and your internal channels are clear,then your body (being infinitely intelligent), will extract, absorb & assimilate every ounce of a nutrient (e.g iron) it needs.

If however, you overeat, eat at the wrong times or have an overloaded digestion/blocked physiology, you can skull as many containers of vitamins & minerals as you like, and
you won’t get much benefit because your body is not able to extract & utilise them (money down the drain).

We actually need far less vitamins etc than people believe – it’s only because people’s digestive systems are generally so bad that they don’t fully utilise even the good nutrients they eat.

Thus we think we need all these ‘Super foods’ or ‘Super Supplements’.

It’s a bit like the foundations of your house are cracking and instead of fixing the foundations (the real problem – in this case poor lifestyle) we race around trying to fix all the subsequent problems – the creaking floorboards, the cracked walls, the misaligned door etc.

In the case of our diet, it’s supplement A for energy, supplement B for our bones, supplement C for our joints etc etc. It’s never ending. However, treat the cause and you’ll save yourself a whole lot of hassle…and cash.

Summary To Do’s:

As always, focus primarily on,

i) eating the ‘freshest’ food possible (minimising frozen foods, leftover foods etc)

ii) keeping a healthy (stress-free) balanced lifestyle. So that when you do eat, you get all the benefits from your food.

iii) realise, perfect nutrition in this day and age (unless your growing your own food), is almost impossible, so some sort of ‘supplementation’ is usually recommended. – some examples below.

Today’s Popular Supplements – A Quick Look at Some:

Synthetic Supplements (i.e chemist type vitamins & minerals):

Not ideal. Anything synthetic is not easily synthesised by your body. If you are deficient, they will give some benefit, but you are much better to get them from a more natural source – e.g. spirulina.


Best bet in my opinion for a general purpose supplement – vitamins, minerals (iron) etc. Available at most health food shops.

Goji Juice:

A good all-round supplement, but pretty expensive ongoingly.

Aloe Vera Juice:

Not often thought of as a supplement, but in my opinion, one of the best all-around additions to any diet.

High in vitamins and minerals, it’s great for your digestive system, good elimination, immune system and a whole host of other health benefits.

* Some brands are better than others. The best one in my opinion is Forever Living Products Aloe – however, it’s only sold through Network marketing. If you don’t know anyone who sells it, I think GNC have the next best (thicker & more pulpy).

Glucosamine (for joint pains etc):

Can be good. Depends on the individual, and the exact cause of the problem. * Note: it’s from fish (if vegetarian!).

Fish Oils (Omega 3 & 6 etc):

Again, can be helpful if deficient. With the current problems of getting clean, uncontaminated fresh fish, they are highly popular. A lot of good reports. If you do take them, don’t think more is better (don’t take more than recommended dose, if that),
and don’t rely on them as a ‘treatment’ for things like cholesterol / depression etc. See Note 1 below.

* Notes:

1. We are talking about general health and well-being here. In cases of serious illness/disease, you can certainly can be a bit more pro-supplementation. However, don’t rely on any supplement.

2. The root cause of any condition, from poor memory to poor libido etc, is not ‘lack of supplementation’ (lack of proper diet or excessive stress more likely).

Supplements can be useful when the proper sources & quality of food are not available/convenient, but always remember that they are ‘supplements’… a supplement to an all-round healthy diet and lifestyle.

3. Always remember, less nutrients digested & absorbed well, is far better than lots of nutrients/supplements poorly digested/absorbed.

Laughter Medicine: Speaking of (Lethal!) Supplements:

Jim was on his deathbed & his wife Tina was at his side.

Tina held his cold hand and tears silently streamed down her face. His pale lips moved.

“Tina,” he said.

“Hush,” she quickly interrupted, “Don’t talk.” But he insisted.

“Tina,” he said in his tired voice. “I have to talk. I must confess.”

“There is nothing to confess,” said the weeping Tina. “It’s all right. Everything’s all right.”

“No, no. I must die in peace. I must confess. I have been unfaithful to you.”

Tina stroked his hand.

“Now, Jim, don’t be concerned. I know all about it”, she sobbed.

“Why else would I poison you?”

Mark Bunn

Mark Bunn – is a leading natural health researcher specialising in Ayurvedic medicine, author of the three-time best-selling ‘Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health‘ and one of Australasia's most popular health and performance speakers.  Mark is also CEO of David Lynch Foundation Australia.