To supplement or not to supplement?
Periodically I get a new client at my personal training gym here in Manchester who arrives with a particularly negative attitude toward supplementation.
Usually this disastrously misguided individual has been informed by the many media articles put out by misinformed (or just plain ignorant) GPs and other so called specialists.
I have nothing against GPs but nutrition training isn’t usually a strong point, as those I meet are usually happy to admit.
These individuals can be amazingly vitriolic about supplementing the human diet.
You can get all you need from your food…
Is the usual argument. It’s horse crap. Especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan (sorry folks).
The Government can’t tie their own shoelaces when it comes to nutrition advice (yes folks, the same idiots who just announced that McDonalds Fruitizz drink is one of your 5-a-day, despite the fact it contains 8 teaspoons of fruit sugar at the serving needed to be counted).
So looking to them for guidance as many health professionals and other ‘experts’ do, is a non-starter.
So how many people actually do get all they need from the food they eat?
From our independent, functional testing at our Functional Medicine clinics, where we review results daily from people who are massively nutrient deficient, we’d say not many.
At least not if you want a great body and a long, healthy, active life.
And even if you ate an unbelievably nutrient dense, organic diet, can you efficiently absorb what you’re eating?
We regularly see people with compromised digestive systems, so my feeling about that is no, most people are not capable of efficient or optimal nutrient absorption.
Plus, over farming has led to nutrient deficient soils that cannot physically yield nutrient dense food.
And that’s before you get to processing those whole foods, stripping them of the nutrients they had to begin with, and cooking the crap out them until any remaining good stuff is ruined.
Which is why you’ve been taking supplements most of your life – even if you didn’t know it
In fact, our modern diet became so nutrient deficient, that Governments worldwide are making you take them.
In fact, they made it illegal not to.
By law, white and brown bread (but not wholemeal), must be fortified with calcium, iron, thiamin (vitamin B1), and niacin (vitamin B3).
Margarine with vitamins A and D. Infant formulas, follow on formulas, and slimming foods must also be fortified by law.
And a massive number of other foods in the UK are voluntarily fortified with a huge range of vitamins and minerals.
Fortification is a minimum standard designed to stop a massive population health crisis on an unprecedented scale.
Not the level needed for a great body and a long, healthy, active life.
Supplements alone can’t solve the problem, but they can certainly help.
So the food most people eat isn’t great, what can you do?
Unless you’re going to move to a pacific island, catch your own wild meat and fish, pick wild, organically grown produce, live pretty stress free and sleep 8-10 hours daily (what we’re designed for), you need to start off by eating real, fresh food.
If the food you buy is not fresh or has a barcode on it, that’s usually a bad start.
If it’s not recognisable as the food it started out as, again, not a great start. You have to get your food right first.
Ideally, you need to see a good personal trainer or Nutritional Therapist / Functional Medicine practitioner, who can assess your needs properly and recommend the correct, high quality supplements.
The anti-supplement argument is complete nonsense in the context of the modern world.
We use supplements to rectify biochemical imbalances faster and with greater benefit in terms of body composition, performance and both short and long term health than through food alone.
Anyone who says otherwise is suffering from a severe nutrient deficiency and clearly needs our help!
To your future success,
Matt & the personal training team