To Supplement Or Not To Supplement, That is The Question!

I believe that with the state of our food today, we ALL need to supplement to ensure that out bodies are getting the nutrients that they need to be able to function in the way that they are meant to.  The reality is that our soils are depleted of nutrients from modern farming practices, pesticide use destroys the organisms that help to replenish some of these nutrients, foods are picked way too early and so cannot absorb the nutrients that are in the soil, and long travel times mean that more nutrients are lost.  This means that the foods in our grocery stores are pretty much just calories with few nutrients.

Examples of this nutrient depletion can be seen from looking at how many bowls of spinach we need to eat today to obtain the same amount of iron that we would have gotten from one bowl of spinach about 50 years ago – 53!!!  Another example is that we need to eat 9 apples today to get the equivalent nutrients of one apple from about 50 years ago!  I like spinach and apples, but not that much!  Think of the number of calories that you would be consuming to get these equivalent nutrients!  This depletion can be seen in all produce.

One way that our body has to signify to us that it needs more nutrients is through hunger.  The issue is that when we continue to eat and not give our body the nutrients it needs, it will continue to indicate that it is hungry!  These days we’re consuming way more calories than we need and getting a lot less nutrients than we require.

Another way that the body lets us know that it needs nutrients is through cravings.  One common craving is chocolate.  What our body is actually looking for is magnesium.  The vast majority of the population is deficient in magnesium.  Common magnesium deficiency symptoms include fatigue, muscle spasms and cramps, dizziness, numbness, arrhythmia, anxiety and panic attacks, insomnia, high blood pressure, and type II diabetes.  Magnesium plays many important functions in the body.  One nice way to get some magnesium into your body is to have an Epsom salt bath.  Pour 2 cups of Epsom salts into a nice warm bath and soak for about 20 minutes.  Foods that contain magnesium (provided the soil did as well) include beans and nuts, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables.

Another example of a common craving is salty foods.  What our body is actually looking for is silicon or chloride.  Silicon is important for strong bones as well as hair, skin, and nail health.   You can obtain it from nuts and seeds such as flax, almonds, and peanuts; vegetables and fruits such as bell peppers, apples, oranges, grapes, cucumber, spinach, and romaine lettuce; and whole grains such as oats and millet.  Some common symptoms of potential silicon deficiency include brittle nails, hair that is weak and breaks easily, cavities, poor skin, and osteoporosis.

Chloride is important for such body functions as assisting digestion, maintaining the correct pH balance of body fluids, maintaining correct blood pressure, etc.  Symptoms may include dehydration, loss of appetite, and muscle weakness.  Salt is added to the majority of processed foods and cooking; however, it is important to use quality salt with all of the minerals still in tact.  Sea salt and Himalayan rock salt are some of the better choices.

Another common nutrient deficiency in Canada, especially during the winter, is vitamin D3.  We could stand outside with exposed skin all day long in Canada during the winter and our body cannot make vitamin D3 due to the angle of the sun.  Also, with the real risk of skin cancer, people are slathering sunscreen onto their body each day before they go outside.  The body also cannot make vitamin D3 through sunscreen.  During the summer, my family and I put our sunscreen on after we have been outside for a bit to allow our body to make some vitamin D3 first.  If we will be out in the highest UV times of the day, we put the sunscreen on just as we go out so that we can make a bit of vitamin D3 before the sunscreen is absorbed into our skin.  We also supplement with vitamin D3 all year round, taking more in the winter to account for the fact that we aren’t making any.  Common deficiency symptoms of vitamin D3 include chronic pain, muscle weakness, psoriasis, constant fatigue, depression, respiratory issues including asthma, hypertension, infections, kidney disease, diabetes, etc.  Foods that are rich in vitamin D3 include sardines, salmon, tuna, eggs, and mushrooms.  If you supplement with vitamin D3, be sure not to go over the maximum daily dose of 10,000 IU.

One way to combat some of these issues is to eat local food.  Even if the local food has been sprayed with pesticides, it will have more nutrients because it has been picked when ripe and has been off the vine for a shorter length of time.  Also, small local farmers tend to follow old time farming practices such as crop rotation to ensure that the nutrients are getting back into the soil.

The other answer to nutrient deficiencies is to supplement.  That being said, not just any old supplement will do.  Most of the supplements in drug stores and department stores are not quality supplements.  They contain ingredients such as artificial flavours and colours, hydrogenated oils, carrageenan (which is a seaweed derivative that creates inflammation in the body), talc, etc.

One way to tell if your supplement is quality and bioavailable to your body (easily and quickly useable) is to put it in a glass of water and see how long it takes to dissolve.  If you come back tomorrow and it is still in a solid state, the odds are that it is still pretty solid in your stomach the following day as well.  It is also important to consume your supplements with food so that your body can use them more effectively.

The supplements that I use and believe in are the Complete Essentials from Isagenix.  Some interesting facts about Complete Essentials include:

  • The same amount of biotin obtained from eating 8.5 cups of almonds
  • The same amount of vitamin C as from eating 8 oranges
  • The same amount of folic acid as consuming 12 cups of spinach
  • The same amount of resveratrol as having 125 glasses of red wine
  • The same amount of vitamin D3 as having 3 hard boiled eggs
  • The same amount of calcium as drinking 3 cups of milk
  • The same amount of omega 3 fatty acids as eating 6 ounces of wild caught salmon
  • And many more nutrients!

I like the fact that they are specially formulated for the individual requirements of women and men and they come in convenient am and pm packs because it is better to take your supplements at intervals over the course of the day.  The ingredients are obtained from the best possible sources and are tested for purity and content which is part of the Isagenix no-compromise quality assurance.

I hope you enjoyed this article and gained some useful information from it.  If you would like to work with me to develop your unique Path for Healing or going from Mom Mess to Goddess, I’d love to hear from you at tracy@pathsforhealing.com or 613-540-4515.  You can also follow me on Facebook at Tracy West Hodge or on Instagram @mommesstogoddess.