Nutrients From Food vs Supplements
Should You Get Your Nutrients From Food or From Supplements?
Supplements can SOMETIMES plug dietary gaps, but nutrients from food are MOST important. REMEMBER, supplements CANNOT replace food!
The fresh food you eat is loaded with nutrients necessary for good health, such as magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A and C. But many older adults aren’t getting enough nutrients from their diets.
The typical American diet is heavy in nutrient-poor processed foods, refined grains, and added sugars—all linked to inflammation and chronic disease. Yet even if you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, you may still fall short of needed nutrients. That’s a consequence of aging. “As we get older, our ability to absorb nutrients from food decreases. Also, our energy needs aren’t the same, and we tend to eat less,” explains Dr. Howard Sesso, an epidemiologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Can a supplement make up the difference? “It’s a touchy subject, and you need to look at your individual needs first,” says Dr. Sesso.
Evidence About Supplements
Dietary supplements would seem to be the obvious way to plug gaps in your diet. But taking too much can actually harm you. For example, you can get too much of a particular nutrient without realizing it. “Extra vitamin A supplements can lead to dangerous, toxic levels if taken too frequently,” notes Dr. Clifford Lo, an associate professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
The evidence about the benefits of multivitamins is mixed. Dr. Sesso was a lead researcher in one of the largest studies to date on multivitamins, the Physicians’ Health Study II, which found that multivitamins were associated with a small reduction in the risk of cancer and cataracts in men, but did not reduce deaths from heart disease. A study published March 1, 2015, in TheJournal of Nutrition found that a multivitamin with minerals lowered the risk of death from heart disease in women, but not in men.
However, a review of a number of studies, published in Annals of Internal Medicine in 2013, found that multivitamins showed no benefit in preventing early death. Because the findings from these and many other studies conflict, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force doesn’t support vitamin and mineral supplements to ward off disease.
What you should do
Both Dr. Sesso and Dr. Lo advise that you try to improve your diet before you use supplements.
That’s because nutrients are most potent when they come from food. “They are accompanied by many non-essential but beneficial nutrients, such as hundreds of carotenoids, flavonoids, minerals, and antioxidants that aren’t in most supplements,” says Dr. Lo.
Plus, “food tastes better and is often less expensive than adding supplements,” says Dr. Sesso. “Work with a dietitian, and try to get a sense of what’s missing from your diet and what changes might be considered.”
If you are unable to make dietary changes, or if you have a genuine deficiency in a particular nutrient, such as vitamin D, both doctors say that a supplement may be helpful. Just be careful; the manufacture of supplements isn’t monitored by the government in the way that the manufacture of pharmaceuticals is—so you can’t be sure exactly what you’re getting.
Article Source:Harvardedu; Photo credit: Thinkstock
DBM Comment: DBM do not support the indiscriminate use of supplements
The purpose of these pages is not to suggest that you select ONLY these foods to supplement your deficiency, but to show you that if you are eating a healthy balanced diet, eating from the rainbow, and excluding toxic foods, restore your gut-health, then your body will automatically receive the nutrients it needs. Whilst the list of foods that we recommend you exclude from your diet is currently on our Daily Nutrition Page – it is vital that in order to gain good health, you begin this exclusion process as soon as possible.
The Whole Food Plant based plate gives a good indication of the The Four Food Groups. For a balanced diet follow the recommended daily servings as indicated. Use this as a guide to get you started whilst eating the foods you enjoy, until you are familiar and comfortable with the quantities and volumes you need to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
The DBM Food Pyramid gives a good indication of types and volumes foods that we recommend to all DBM Patients / Clients. Please remember, you may only eat the goat cheese and other goat products as indicated on that pyramid, on the advice of your DBM Physician/Practitioner.
Ensure that when selecting fruits and vegetables you Eat from The Rainbow. Whole grains and legumes form an important part of this natural, balanced lifestyle.
By eating whole foods, a wide variety of fruit and veggies (eating from the rainbow) you will get all the nutrients your body needs. To show you how wonderful fruits and veggies are – look at the graphics on the Eat From The Rainbow page and you will clearly see that a wide range of fruit and veggies will more than provide for your needs.
Please be aware that external lists or websites we link to might include fish, meat, soya, or other foods that are restricted on all DBM programs. The links are retained as a requirement of copyright. The publishing of this list is intended as educational and certain foods that this article might be listed or linked to do not support DBMs philosophies or practices.
At all times, ensure that the foods you select are permitted by your DBM Physician for your health imbalance. Select only NON-GMO sources that are organic and/or sundried.
We are obliged to notify you that the information on this website is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Doctors Across Borders NPO t/as Doctors Beyond Medicine, the author(s) nor publisher(s) take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.