Do I need to take supplements?

We need both macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and protein) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to function. Nutrients help sustain our bodies and allow them to grow, develop and thrive – they are essential helpers in our biochemistry and metabolism.

Ideally, we would get our nutrients from our food. A diet rich in whole, fresh, unprocessed foods will supply many of these needs . . . but this is not always enough. There are many factors that can affect our ability to extract the nutrients we need from our food and lead to malnourishment: environmental challenges like mineral-depleted soils, manufacturing issues related to the storage and transportation of our food, genetic alterations that impair our ability to break down and absorb certain vitamins, and increased stress from a toxic environment (pollution, radiation, mold, etc). In addition, the standard American diet (SAD) of processed junk food and unhealthy fats impairs our ability to absorb the nutrients we need (our food ends up being calorie-dense but nutrient-deficient).

This is where supplements come in.  Most doctors are now recognizing certain nutrient deficiencies as problematic, so they are prescribing certain supplements when warranted. For example, scientifics studies have shown that B complex vitamins can be beneficial for nerve pain in diabetics, fish oil can decrease cardiovascular events in people with existing heart disease, folate can help improve depression in certain patients, vitamin D can improve immune health and calcium absorption, and probiotics can decrease inflammatory bowel disease. The right supplementation can boost metabolism, balance blood sugars, improve cholesterol, diminish inflammation, enhance mental function, increase energy, and the list goes on.

However, just because a nutrient is considered essential does not necessarily mean that more is better. With supplements, moderation is key.

Which supplements are best? Should I get a certain brand?

Prescription medications are FDA approved and regulated, meaning you know what you are getting. However, over-the-counter supplements are not monitored in the same way so there can be a wide variability between the purity and potency among different brands.  Manufacturers are known for cutting corners, which leads to a less reliable product.

The form of the nutrient may be cheaper, but not absorbed as easily by the body.

There could be additives, colors, fillers, allergens, etc. in the pill.

The dosage on the label may not accurately represent the actual dosage of the pill.

The supplements are not typically tested for toxins such as lead or mercury (and purity can vary from batch to batch).

Because of these challenges, patients at Whole Heart Family Medicine are given access to our online Fullscript account where they can order high quality supplements from companies that follow current good quality manufacturing processes. Through Fullscript, our patients are also offered a 25% discount on these supplements.

How do I know if I am nutrient deficient?

A simple blood test can identify many vitamin and mineral deficiencies; although, at times blood levels can appear optimal when the patient is still not absorbing the nutrients into their cells.  Each patient is unique, so we personalize our testing and treatment recommendations based on each individual's needs.

Do something today for a better tomorrow! 

Make an appointment now for advanced testing. We are here to help.