Keeping it real: Why take supplements?
Updated On: Nov 16 2012 11:22:50 AM CST
By Juliette, Pure Matters
It might be an odd question to come from a blog for a brand that makes their own line of supplements, but still, I think it’s one worth asking: really, why should you take vitamins, minerals and supplements?
Growing up with fish oil practically pumping through my veins thanks to my integrative doctor mom, I know that making supplements a part of my healthy lifestyle is just as important as making sure I eat copious amounts of leafy greens each day. But with so many supplement options on the market and contradictory nutritional information in the media, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
So I turned to Amy Fitzpatrick, MS, RD, nutrition expert and dietitian with more than a decade of experience (and Pure Matters’ own Scientific Advisory Board member) to bust some common misconceptions about supplements and get the scoop on why they matter.
Q: Can’t I get all of the nutrients I need in food?
A: Research studies consistently show that the majority of Americans, young and old, do not consume the recommended daily amount of a wide variety of essential nutrients needed for optimal health. Supplements are a convenient way to help bridge the gap between what your diet provides and what your body demands. In addition, it can be difficult to achieve the recommended amount of some nutrients through diet alone. For example, vitamin D isn’t widely available in our food supply and the amount of omega-3 fats shown in clinical studies to provide a wide range of health benefits requires supplementation.
Q: Do daily vitamins and supplements cancel out unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise?
A: No. Supplements aren’t a remedy or a cure-all for an unhealthy diet or sedentary lifestyle; they are intended to “supplement” a healthy lifestyle. In fact, the three key pillars of wellness are a healthy diet, regular physical activity and dietary supplementation. The synergism of these three facets of wellness is far superior to just choosing one or two of these components.
Q: What are the top three supplements everyone should be taking?
A: My recommendation for core foundational nutrition is a daily Multi-Vitamin, Omega-3 Fish Oil and Probiotic. Ensuring adequate nutrient intake from a daily multi is good health insurance while omega-3 fats and probiotics are two of the most studied nutrients in the nutrition world today with research consistently showing a multitude of benefits and their critical importance in promoting health and wellness. Also, if your daily multi doesn’t provide at least 600-1,000 IU of vitamin D, then an extra vitamin D supplement may be important, particularly for older adults, and during fall and winter months when sun exposure is at its lowest.
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