It is a question that keeps popping up time and again among the general populace. Opinions are as polarized as Washington politics. But do you need health supplements?
On one side, we have those who believe you don’t, as long as you eat a well-balanced diet daily. On the other side are those who believe you do need supplements, in addition to a well-balanced diet. It is the reason they are called supplements, they say; they supplement your diet. So, who is right?
Note that we said the question is typically asked by the general populace. Athletes and other physically active people such as bodybuilders are of generally on the consensus that supplements play an important role in one’s diet. They realize how challenging it can be to get or replenish all the nutrients your body needs when you are consistently putting it under heavy physical stress.
As to whether “others” who may not be as physically active really need supplements, one Canadian doctor answers the question really well:
Over time our society has become deficient in nutrients, such as vitamin D, because the food we eat now isn’t the same as what our grandparents ate decades ago, Wilkinson says.
“When you choose good foods, there isn’t as much nutrients in the food as you think there are. It’s been leached out of our soil for years and years.”
Adding supplements to a diet is a simple and inexpensive way to decrease any small or moderate deficiency of nutrients in the body. Supplements can also have big cost savings for the health-care system, he says.
“Just for taking five or six drops of vitamin D a day, that takes all of 14 seconds to do and costs five cents a day, we believe we can save the Alberta government $1 billion a year. Just from taking vitamin D,” Wilkinson says.
The benefits don’t end there. An ongoing wellness program and study has shown that taking a multivitamin, vitamin D and fish oil will decrease some of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Wilkinson says taking supplements simply helps people feel better.
And, when people feel better, they change their lifestyle and often end up exercising more and smoking and drinking less, he says. Read more
Okay, it is not necessarily true for all that those who take supplements typically follow a healthier lifestyle. But there is some grain of truth. Just as those who exercise regularly feel better about themselves and are likely to follow the path of healthful righteousness.
But there are also those who use supplements as an excuse to not eat healthy foods or to keep smoking. Like we have maintained all along, Supplements are just that; they supplement your diet not replace it.
As to what supplements you need, basically a good multivitamin, Omega-3 and vitamin D will do for most people. Consulting your doctor is always advice, hoping he/she is not on the “against supplements” side.