Beating the “Vitamin Thieves”
Every couple of years, a new study or article comes out that says nutritional supplements are a waste of money.
But these studies always seem to involve some form of creative math. Like the multivitamin study that didn’t count anyone who took supplements with over 100% of any nutrient.
The authors usually say you’re better off “if you just eat a balanced diet.” In spite of hundreds of studies showing the benefits of nutritional supplements.
Of course, we can all see the gaping hole in that theory. Nowadays, darn few folks have the time to prepare and enjoy three healthy, balanced meals a day.
Mealtime challenges aside, I’d like to share two surprising reasons I believe taking nutritional supplements is a good idea.
To begin with your food isn’t what it used to be. You’re the victim of “vitamin thieves.”
Your ancestors ate fruits and vegetables raised without pesticides and chemical fertilizers. They replenished the soil naturally. And the foods they ate were more nutritious.
In a landmark 2004 study of 43 crops, levels of 6 out of 13 nutrients sank between 1950 and 1999. Levels of protein, iron, calcium phosphorus, vitamin C and vitamin B2 were all down.1
You see, factory farms overuse their soil. And chemical fertilizers don’t replenish all the nutrients. The varieties of fruits and vegetables in stores have changed, too. Food crops are engineered for a good yield, not good nutrition.
University of California scientists also note several other ways produce can lose its nutritional value…
- Many fruits and vegetables are now picked well before they’re ripe. They may appear to ripen, but many won’t develop the same nutrient levels as produce ripened on the plant.
- Time, heat and light can lower nutrient levels, too. A lot of the produce in stores is picked weeks before it hits the shelves.
- Any preparation work can affect nutrient levels. Even a store’s cut melon has less nutrition than uncut.
- Cooking further depletes nutrients – especially boiling.2
So even if you eat a balanced diet, you could be missing important nutrients. And studies seem to show that’s happening.
Researchers compared vitamin D levels over a 10-year period. They found a big drop from 1994 to 2004. Average vitamin D levels in the U.S. had dropped 20%. By then, 23% of all Americans had sub-optimal levels of this key vitamin.3
And vitamin D isn’t the only problem. A 2012 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says we’re short on several other nutrients, too.
The report found more than one in ten Americans are seriously low on vitamin B6… many women and young children are short on iron… and many have low levels of vitamin C.4
Vitamin D is critical for strong bones, heart health and immune system function. Your body can’t make B6 and needs it to produce more than 100 enzymes. You need iron to transport life-giving oxygen to every cell in your body. Vitamin C is a key antioxidant – and you need it to build bone, skin, blood vessels and more.
In other words, running short on any of these nutrients is a big deal.
That’s why I think of nutritional supplements as inexpensive insurance. Maybe I’m getting enough of most nutrients from my food… and maybe I’m not. Until I can be certain I am, I’ll keep taking my supplements.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Davis, D.R., et al, “Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999,” J Am Coll Nutr. Dec 2004; 23(6): 669-682.
2 Barrett, D.M., “Maximizing the Nutritional Value of Fruits & Vegetables,” Food Technology. 2006; 61(4): 40-44.
3 Ginde, A.A., et al, “Demographic Differences and Trends of Vitamin D Insufficiency in the US Population, 1988-2004,” Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(6):626-632.
4 “Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition in the U.S. Population, 2012,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Environmental Health. 2012; 4.
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