Americans this year will spend over 40 billion dollars on supplements, meal replacements, and sport nutrition products, a number that will continue to rise. But do supplements really work? Studies are mixed, but supplements seem to be beneficial when there are deficiencies in one’s diet, and food quality is less than optimal. Head to any grocery store and you’ll see that it’s more difficult than ever to navigate your available choices and find the whole and wholesome foods buried among the processed, junk and fake food.
Even if you strictly follow a nutritious diet, most Americans are lacking in at least a few nutrients because we don’t eat the way our ancestors did (you know… the whole animal) and our soil is depleted of the nutrients it once had so the plants and animals we consume are less nutritious.
So take a look at the top 10 list below and decide if you should be eating more of the nutrient containing foods or if you may benefit from supplementing. One thing to keep in mind… supplements by themselves are almost never as bio-available as they are in combination with other components of whole foods. In other words, when able, eat the food rather than taking the supplement.
Best Food Source
Vitamin D3 *
safe sun exposure
1000 IU / for each 25
lbs of body weight
Of course, this is not a complete list of nutrients you need in your diet. The best way to evaluate your diet is to keep a food log for a week or two and share it with your health coach. Together, you can identify areas of deficiency and determine the best foods to add to your diet. This is particularly important if you follow any special diet such as vegan or vegetarian, gluten-free, ketogenic or are just cutting calories.
A final note on supplements… All supplements are not created equally! Always purchase good quality products (you can read product evaluations and reviews on http://www.consumerlab.com ) and read labels. Your health coach can advise you on the appropriate amount of each supplement and how you should take each to maximize bio-availability.