If you eat your fruits and vegetables, expose yourself to adequate sunlight, get plenty of sleep, and stay well hydrated, your body shouldn’t really need a supplemental source of vitamins and minerals, right? Wrong. Here are reasons that you need to take dietary supplements, no matter how healthy your lifestyle may be.
1. Nutrient depletion in the soil. Modern farming techniques utilize fertilizers that actually deplete the soil of essential nutrients. Agriculture relies on the elements in the soil for absorption of proper amounts of minerals, and when this process is interrupted, the plant does not contain essential minerals and cannot form essential vitamins. And if the plant doesn’t have it then you’re not going to get it from eating the plant!
2. Your ability to absorb nutrients from food actually decreases as you age. So while growing children should absolutely be taking a multivitamin to support healthy tissue and bone formation, supplementation becomes equally important for the older population. Sure, you could just eat more food, but this introduces a problem with caloric balance. Beware that many medications also interfere with proper nutrient absorption.
3. Commercial harvesting, shipping processes, long term food storage, processing, and addition of preservatives degrades the nutrient content of food. Therefore, unless you’re eating a very fresh plant, it is a far different species at consumption than it was when initially harvested. In addition, compounds added to the food during many of these processes, such as MSG, saccharine, nutrasweet, splenda, colorings, and flavors will increase your body’s need for nutrients to deal with these damaging synthetic derivatives.
4. Pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals found in the modern food supply are combined with chemicals in water, environmental contamination from elements such as degraded plastic, air pollution from carbon monoxide, lead and mercury. These synergistic elements vastly increase our need for extra vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to combat formation of free radicals and the attack upon our metabolism and immune system.
5. Exercise increases nutrient needs. Are you an athlete or frequent exerciser? The vast amount of extra oxygen and energy used by active individuals will necessitate nutrient consumption that far exceeds the typical RDA of the average population. Consuming just the stated RDA can limit your athletic performance.