The body’s health and wellness depends on the consumption of micronutrients and macronutrients—Protein, fats, complex carbohydrates, the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, trace elements, and antioxidants needed by the body. However, the amount and quality of those nutrients depends on the foods you consume and the quality of those foods. For example, if your diet is comprised mostly of processed foods, you are taking in calories in the form of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates which sometimes destroy the micronutrients you need for optimal wellness (Bonfire, 2011).
Micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and enzymes, benefit our bodies only if they co-exist in the right balance in a natural state. This means that they have to be in the presence of other key nutrients in the right balance to be activated and functional. For instance, vitamin C helps the gums and teeth, is needed by the immune system, is required to produce collagen, fights free radicals, increase the absorption of iron, increases the effectiveness of vitamins B-6, B-12, and Folic Acid, and works with vitamin E (Carlson Labs, n.d.).
No supplement manufacturer can mimic that delicate balance in a pill, capsule, drink, or powder. It is for this reason that extracted vitamins and other nutrients are either ineffective or harmful when they are not surrounded by the correct nutrients in the right balance. The vitamins and other nutritional supplements give the unsuspecting persons a false sense of security which creates the diabetic, hypertensive, demented, cancer and the stroke patients of tomorrow.
Assuming the truth of my assertions, why is the supplement business a multi-billion dollar industry, and why are consumers so gullible when it comes to their marketing schemes? According to Dr. Stef dela Cruz (2015), commercials abound on television touting the benefits of one multivitamin or another. The ads tells you the little micronutrient miracle contains “everything you need from, Vitamin A all the way to Zinc. After 30 to 60 seconds of boasting, they’ve convinced you that their product is the best thing since slice apple, even though they may not be good for you or your loved ones.
Dela Cruz explains that all those supplements have “no approved therapeutic claims” (2015). In fact, every supplement contains a disclaimer label because the companies that make them are not allowed to make therapeutic claims. “There is no evidence to justify the daily intake of a multivitamin preparation by healthy adults” or unhealthy ones, which is why medical professionals, “national health departments, or other respected health organizations” aren’t lining up to support taking supplements.
Take all the advertising hype with a grain of salt and save your money. Not only don’t supplements really do a thing to improve your health, there is also strong evidence that they could harm you. There is “no cookie-cutter answer that fits everyone; the supplements you need, will depend on your age, sex, and unique medical profile” (dela Cruz, 2015). After all, John Doe who is 6’5” in height and weighs 240 pounds won’t get much benefit from a one-size-fits-all supplement because the bottle recommends the same dosage for Jane Doe who is 5’2” tall and weighs 110 pounds. Tell me that’s logical and I’ll build you a bridge in the Sahara Desert.
The bountiful benefits of fresh produce will always crush the claims of pills and powders made in a lab or factory and those foods are needed for a balanced diet. A study conducted by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition in 2003, indicated that “the additive and synergistic effects of phytochemicals in fruit and vegetables are responsible for their potent antioxidant and anticancer activities,” (Liu, 2003). In other words, “one vitamin can amplify the effects of another if they are found together in the same fruit or vegetable” (dela Cruz, 2015).
The reality is there’s only one way to consume the nutrients you need, and that doesn’t include swallowing a handful of pills or capsules, drinking a power drink or beverages laced with synthetic vitamins. As Dela Cruz noted, “Take one look at the dietary guidelines for Americans and you’ll figure out the secret: You just might get the most benefits from micronutrients if they come from actual food” (2015).
Bonfire. (2011). Micronutrients vs. Macronutrients: The Secret to Understanding Food Breakdown. Retrieved from http://bonfirehealth.com/micronutrients-macronutrients-food-breakdown/
Carlson Labs. (n.d.). Vitamin & Mineral Facts. Retrieved from http://www.carlsonlabs.com/t-vitamin-and-mineral-facts.aspx
Dela Cruz, S., M.D. (2015). Multivitamin facts drug companies don’t want you to know. Retrieved from http://www.allvoices.com/article/100003155
Liu, R. H. (2003). Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals1,2,3,4. Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/517S.full