Let me start by saying that supplements are by definition meant to supplement not replace a healthy diet. If you do not work on eating healthy and eliminating toxins, there is no amount of supplements or even drugs that will make up for it. With that said, using quality nutrients in supplement form can exponentially increase your results, and drastically improve your health.
There reason I 100% believe in supplements is that today every person on the planet needs more nutrients than what people needed in the past. We live in a world today with an estimated stress 100 times greater than our grandfathers. The amount of toxins in our environment has increased exponentially in abundance and by the number of toxins out there. This means our demand for nutrients like vitamins, minerals and quality protein has increased. More toxins in the air, water, and every household product increase your daily need of amino acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants. Over the last 10-15 years the medical community has been increasing the RDA value of many nutrients, and the functional medicine community insists that the ranges of nutrients for optimal health is much, much higher in some cases. One example is vitamin D3, which started being heavily researched in 2007. The RDA of the past was 200-400 IU per day. Today proposals are being made that we may need up to 8000-10,000 IU per day. Almost no one north of Atlanta meets even the bottom of the RDA range. This is the reason that I am a huge advocate for quality nutrient supplementation to your diet.
The other edge of the sword in this argument comes from the lack of nutrients in our food. Our food has less and less nutritional value compared to what we evolved on. The average orange today has at least 60% less Vitamin C than it did 50 years ago. Commercial farming has depleted many nutrients that used to be in the soil, making it impossible to get the amount of trace minerals for optimal health from food alone. To reach the RDA for all vitamins and minerals as of 2010 would require a person eating a diet of 5500 calories of healthy foods. This is a diet of quality whole foods, not a trip down to the local pub for a burger and fries. Few people on the planet have a caloric need of 5500 calories and those people need much more than the RDA. In my opinion it is imperative that everyone take a quality multi-nutrient and minerals.
So why is obesity going up if we are all malnourished? The World Health Organization went from treating anepidemic of malnutrition to an epidemic of obesity in
just a few short years. Ironically the source of the problem may not have changed.Our metabolism, immune system, and overall health depend our ability to deal with the stress and toxins we encounter each day. Once a person’s nutrient intake does not meet the demand to deal with stress and toxicity, the body starts to get damaged. The first thing to go is usually the immune system. People start getting sicker, and they get sick more often. Then the body starts to lower the metabolic rate as a protection mechanism. This means you are burning fewer calories and producing less energy. The result is increased fatigue, and weight gain. It’s estimated that a person suffering from toxic load affecting their metabolism could become obese in 5 years even if they only ate 2000 calories per day and exercised 3 days per week.
Stages of Toxicity
- Full of energy never sick (You’re Clean!)
- Acute allergy or sickness
- Chronic allergy or sickness
- Decreased energy “tired” a lot
- Exhausted, no energy to get through the day
- Life threatening illness
So how do I prevent this?
The first step is to start taking a quality multi-nutrient every day, several times per day preferably. You can help this process along by eating fewer processed foods and more raw veggies and whole foods. Processed foods havemany negative effects, one of them being taking a lot of nutrients to digest, and more nutrients to detoxify chemicals used in processing.
The second step is to eat more protein. Your liver has several detoxification pathways, and amino acids from protein make up 80% of the phase II conjugates for detoxification. It’s estimated that the first 30 grams of protein you eat per day is used just to run the immune system, and then you start working on detoxification.
Taking Omega 3’s is a good third step. Omega 3’s decrease inflammation in the body, which decreases stress. Omega 3’s are a vital part of the brain, and detox pathways as well. If you are trying to lose weight, you should know that Omega 3’s help you turn on fat burning genes and turn off fat storing genes.
Step 4, Take more trace minerals. If you’re curious what your levels are, a quick blood test at your doctor can tell you just how well you are doing on magnesium and zinc. These are the two that people need more of and are getting less of. If you exercise, you use a lot of magnesium. Magnesium is important in over 360 chemical pathways in your body. Most importantly, magnesium helps with regulating stress and blood sugar, two very important things for anyone trying to lose weight. If you exercise or sweat, you should probably take magnesium. Two signs of magnesium deficiency are over reacting to stressful events, and poor sleep.
Number 5, Use free form amino acids. For many people having a high protein diet may not be enough to meet their needs for certain amino acids that we use a lot. The top 3 being glycine, taurine, and carnatine. Taking a few grams of these amino acids on an empty stomach will drastically increase your ability to detoxify and metabolize fat.
If you believe you are at any stage other than 1, I highly suggest you get involved with a BioSignature Practitioner, preferably one that has attended the Lab Analysis course. If you are a 3 or above, a personalized detox is definitely in order to achieve optimal health. Once toxins start to effect your energy levels you have reached the point where it becomes more difficult and more drastic interventions are needed. Never attempt any detox or supplement program without the guidance of a professional (BioSignature or Functional Medicine Practitioner or DO)
Very Important! Manufacturing is Key
When it comes to using supplements, manufacturing is the most important part. You want to use a company that has very good quality control to make sure their supplements do not contain heavy metals or solvents from manufacturing. Drawbacks of dirty supplements outweigh the benefits and can cause a lot of health problems, especially cancer and metabolic syndrome X. The brands I trust most are Poliquin, Pure Encapsulations, KTS, and Vitamin Research Products. You can purchase many of these products at HansonPerformance.com.
Tip from the Trainer
“When it comes to supplements, you get what you pay for in most respects, so don’t shop for the cheapest product, because the quality is likely so low you’re wasting your money. Spend the money to get a product that works, and you will be much happier in the end”
Knowing what’s in your supplements and where those ingredients come from will surely help you make better decisions. For instance when something has a plant extract, sometimes the active ingredient is only in the leaf of the plant, but your supplement could contain root extracts and not have to label the product any differently. This is why it is so helpful to have a BioSignature practitioner to guide you through a proper supplement program.
Here are some easy tips to get you started on choosing healthier supplements.
- If it is some fancy neon color, sure it may look new and exciting, but any company that puts colored dies in their product is only out for your money, not your health.
- Don’t shop by price or taste. When it comes to quality, how good something tastes and how cheap it is are not good indicators. Some of the most beneficial things are not pleasant tasting. If it’s cheap and it taste like something from the local smoothie shop, you’re probably just paying for low quality products covered up with a lot of unhealthy sweeteners
- Don’t buy things with fancy marketing names and labels. A good product sells itself and is labeled as itself. Super Mega Fat Burn 5000 is not an example of a quality product name.