Hopefully this article title got your attention, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It is true that the supplement industry is not regulated which allows everyone and their brother to make products that will sell. So, yes, some (in fact many) of the products out there are a scam because they are made with cheap materials and may not even contain what they claim.
However, it really frustrates me when I hear my patients say that their medical doctor told them that supplements are a scam and really ‘don’t do anything.’ This is just nonsense. Especially coming from a health professional that knows little to nothing about nutrition. This is not a slam on medical doctors, it just means that they were not trained at all in the topic of nutrition during their intense medical schooling. They are extremely talented in their particular fields, but don’t have the knowledge base within the field of nutrition to make these suggestions.
Just recently I had a patient tell me that their doctor said supplements were useless and a waste of money, yet told the patient that he wanted him to continue to take his ‘prescribed’ Vitamin D and Vitamin B12. Doesn’t that seem a bit odd? In fact, since we now know how powerful supplementation can be with these two supplements, there are now prescribed versions. Another silly notion since high quality versions of these supplements are very inexpensive.
In my clinic we use a very potent Vitamin D liquid supplement that costs about $20 for a 6 month supply! Why on earth do we need a prescription for this? Strictly because there is money to be made so the insurance and pharmaceutical machines wants a piece of the profit.
The real truth is that high quality supplements can have a very powerful and potent effect on health. The trick is knowing which ones to use, at what dosage, and for what duration. The goal is not to be on endless amounts of supplements forever, but rather to use targeted supplementation to correct dysfunctions within the body and help your systems to return to normal function. If this is done correctly you can then remove these nutritional aids and keep the body healthy with proper nutrition and lifestyle alterations.
However, knowing the benefits of many supplements doesn’t mean that you should run out and just start taking the latest and greatest supplements. Just because we know the vast benefits of things like Vitamin B12, Turmeric, Omega-3, etc, doesn’t mean that everyone should just start taking all of these for the rest of their life. Some supplements can be beneficial as a daily addition to a proper diet, but many others can be eliminated as long as a proper diet is followed. Supplements are just that, a supplement to a diet that should be full of all the major macro and micro nutrients that we need for a healthy life. Sometimes our intake of proper foods fail or become inadequate and this is when supplements can be very helpful. We also must understand that the nutrient value of foods today is much less than foods even just 15-20 years ago. Many studies show that unless you buy organic foods you may be losing up to 25% of the nutrients found in food! This on top of the herbicides and pesticides that are used on non-organic products can make it difficult to reap all the health benefits from some foods.
There are a few ways that you can see what supplements may be right for you:
- See if you feel better when a supplement is added.
- Use proper lab testing to determine which supplements may improve your health.
- Understand why/when you take a certain supplement and only use it when your diet is lacking.
Just know that using supplements can be a very effective way to improve your health. I have seen many patients show significant improvements once we introduced some targeted nutrition and supplementation advice to their daily routines. So, supplements can most definitely be a scam, but only if you buy cheap versions. High-quality supplements, used with proper timing and dosage, can be very powerful additions that just might make that difference in your health!
Want to learn more? Contact us today at 949-387-0060.