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Let's Talk Supplements

Charles Wispert
June 21, 2019

In this newsletter I will try to answer three of the most common questions I receive regarding food supplements.

1. Do I need to take supplements?
2. Why should I take supplements?
3. How long will I have to take supplements?


The short answer to the first question is, ABSOLUTELY! Whether or not you should take supplements can be as confusing as which diet should to follow. I often receive medical articles with studies that show no benefits to taking supplements. On the other hand, many people like me recommend taking supplements. A prime example is an article I read recently in a medical journal on Vitamin D3. According to this study subjects using 800 iu of Vitamin D3 and followed for 12 months showed no improvement in bone health. Here is the problem with this study and similar studies on supplements. First, most medical studies look at supplements like a drug study. They test one drug to determine the effect of the drug. You cannot do that with a vitamin. Most vitamins don't act alone. That is why I have added Vitamin K2 in the form of MK7 with Vitamin D3. In order for D3 to benefit your bone health Vitamin K2 has to be present in your body to activate the proteins. These proteins enable Calcium to enter the bones and teeth. Second, studies often use ineffective doses. According to nutrition scientists, the amount of Vitamin D3 needed to impact bone health is ten times the amount prescribed in the above study. Third, outcomes are impacted by inadequate follow-up times. In most cases it takes years of optimal doses to achieve therapeutic effects. Fourth, some studies use the wrong form of a supplement. There are at least 4 forms of B12 and one type is not easily absorbed in the human body rendering it useless. Unfortunately, that is the most common form sold in drug store supplements. There are multiple forms of many supplements. Some beneficial and some not.

Another great example is a study that showed an association between taking vitamin E and an increased risk of cancer. That study lead to many physicians recommending against taking vitamin E. However, if you look closely, the form used in the study was the synthetic DL alpha tocopherol and not the natural alpha tocopherol. These are completely different compounds.

So why take supplements? There are several reasons. Food sources are not always reliable. In the first place, soil is depleted of nutrients. There needs to be sufficient soil concentrations of nutrients for the plants to absorb. It is estimated the soil is depleted of nutrients. Fruits and vegetables have had a 76% decrease in nutrients since the 1940's. Today it takes 53 peaches to get the same nutrients in 2 peaches grown in the early 1950's. In addition, vegetables are most nutritious when picked ripe. Yet most of the fruit and vegetables are harvested when they are unripe and therefore less nutritious. Throw in the effects the pesticides found in most fruits and vegetables which effects absorption, and you can start to see why you need supplements. Still not convinced? Most people on the standard American diet (SAD) eat a lot of processed foods which remove a lot of the natural nutrients and replace them with a cheaper synthetic version. Most people on the SAD have unhealthy gut biome which is known to cause nutritional deficiencies. Ingestion does not guarantee digestion or absorption. Industrial framing and new ways of life has left us lacking for nutrients we used to get from spending more time outside or eating wild game. Let’s look at Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2 again. We used to get most of our D3 from the sun. Now we hardly ever stay outside long enough to get the benefits from the sun. Vitamin K2 came from the meat and dairy products from wild game or pasture raised grass fed animals. CoQ10 is found in high concentrations in organ meat. Had any of that lately? Grass fed meat is higher in Omega 3 fatty acids. 90 percent of Americans have Omega 3 fatty acid deficiency. The ideal Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio is 1/1. Most Americans are in the 15/1 ratio. Starting to get the picture? A study of native diets reveals they contain 4 times more water-soluble vitamins and 10 times more fat-soluble vitamins than the standard American diet (SAD). I recommend probiotics because the SAD destroys our gut microbiome in many ways. Another destroyer of nutrients are medications. Are you aware that certain medications will deplete the body of certain nutrients? So, I hope you see, that supplements are necessary. And, not only do we need supplements we need the right supplements. That's where I come in. I make sure you get good quality supplements in the most beneficial forms. We haven't even discussed antioxidants, but the story is the same.

How long do you have to supplements? It depends. I really believe it is best to get all the nutrients from natural means. That means cleaning your diet. What that means is eating fresh harvested organic vegetables and all pasture raised grass fed meat and dairy and no processed or GMO foods. You would also have to drink filtered water. As hard as I try, I can't eat clean enough so I have resolved to take supplements for life. If you take medications that rob your body of nutrients you will need to supplement as long as you are being robbed of the nutrients. The good news is the amount and frequency can lessen. Once you get optimized and remain there for a year or so and are feeling the benefits and are eating "clean" you can cut back on some of your supplements if you wish. For instance, I now take my multivitamin 3 or 4 times a week. I take the weekends off from most my other supplements but not my prescribed medications. I take my probiotic 3 times a week and I take different ones every other time. With that being said, there are times I take more supplements than usual. If my body is under more than normal stress or inflammation, I may increase my dose until things normalize. As time goes on and most of you gain more knowledge in nutritional health and become more in tune with your body, you will be able to make those adjustments based on how you feel. Vitamins play an essential role in most metabolic processes governing human physiology. It is not as simple as stating that a particular vitamin is needed for a single function. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is the minimal dose of a vitamin needed to prevent a certain disease. It is not the optimal or most beneficial dose. Don't be fooled. Eat healthy, get plenty of sun and take your supplements. Commercial farming practices have drained the soil of essential elements resulting in fruit and vegetable crops that are significantly less nutritious than they used to be. All vitamins are not created equal and research on the supplementation can be misleading. In a perfect world, we could obtain all the nutrients we need from nature. As I explained in this article, that is hard to do even if you make a consorted effort and eat organic food and avoid man made processed foods. That is why I recommend good high-quality supplements also referred to as nutraceuticals. It can take years of supplementing to correct decades of a nutritionally depressed diet. After maximal effects are achieved, you can reduce the amount or frequency of some supplements. So, eat healthy, live healthy and take your supplements!

I would like to recommend the book, "THE GUT BALANCE REVOLUTION" by Gerard E. Mullin MD. It is a great book that details the new medical frontier of the connection between the gut and your overall health. The information is this book is revolutionary and interesting and will lead to life changes.

Health and happiness,

Charlie

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