Most university nutrition texts recommend supplementation only for specific purposes, such as folic acid in pregnancy or vitamin D for the elderly.
The mantra is that most people can get all the nutrients they need from food alone. While the RDI (recommended daily intake) for nutrients may be sufficient to keep a healthy person healthy, they have no relevance to those who are unwell. This is even more serious when you consider many have nutrient intakes way below RDI in the first place.
Those with health problems need therapeutic doses much higher than RDI in order to help the body cope with the disease and hopefully to try and restore damaged function back to a normal state. For example, people with neurodegenerative and autoimmune disease need high levels of both vitamin D and coenzyme Q10. People with asthma and COPD need high levels of collagen and histamine-reducing antioxidants including vitamin C and grape seed extract. Every disease creates its own nutritional requirements and the only realistic way of getting these in the exact quantities is through targeted supplementation.
Additionally, many prescribed medicines create an increased need for additional nutrients. Stomach acid inhibitors (proton pump inhibitors) for problems such as reflux and indigestion can reduce vitamin and mineral absorption. Using medicines that restrict vitamin and mineral bioavailability means these people need much higher doses to maintain even basic health. Statin (cholesterol lowering) medications lower coenzyme Q10 making supplementation essential in order to prevent the fatigue and muscle pain associated with low coenzyme Q10 levels. Long term paracetamol use lowers an important antioxidant enzyme that can lead to liver damage increasing the needs for selenium and n acetylcysteine.
Add to these issues the reducing levels of minerals and vitamins in foods and generally poor diets and you have the explanation for the largely preventable cancer, cardiovascular, immune system and joint disease. The only way you can absolutely know you are getting specific, targeted levels of micro-nutrients is to use well formulated, high quality supplements. The place to start is a well formulated, high quality multi antioxidant/mineral/vitamin. If you are unwell, you should get specific nutritional advice, as your nutritional requirements are usually very different from the general population. Give me a call if you need help. To join my weekly newsletter go to www.johnarts.co.nz and visit www.abundant.co.nz
John Arts is the founder of Abundant Health. To contact John phone (local) 578 9051 or 0800 423 559.