Do I Really Need Supplements? Why Food Isn't Always Enough
As a dietitian, I wholeheartedly believe in a “food first” approach. There is a magical synergy that happens in food with nature’s intended blend of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. In fact, 99% of bioactives that make plants so amazing for our health are still yet to be discovered. That means this magic cannot be captured and encapsulated into a pill.
However, our modern busy lifestyles aren’t always conducive to balancing our plates at every meal with nutrient-dense foods. And even if you could, it’s typically still not enough.
How likely is it that I’m not getting enough nutrients?
Even in a nation where food is so abundant, nutrient deficiencies are all-too-common.
Check out the percentages of people in the United States not meeting the RDA, or Recommended Dietary Allowance, for the following nutrients:
- 75% didn’t meet the RDA for folate
- 73% didn’t meet the RDA for calcium
- 68% didn’t meet the RDA for magnesium
- 30% didn’t meet the RDA for B12
- 35% didn’t meet the RDA for B6
- 42% didn’t meet the RDA for zinc
[United Stated States Department of Agriculture (2009)]
What’s more, the RDA is the amount needed to prevent DEFICIENCY based on age and gender, not the amount needed to support optimal health. And even if someone is meeting that RDA, they can still experience significant symptoms due to suboptimal levels. Simply put, we’re not just aiming to NOT be deficient. We want optimal levels to power the metabolic pathways that influence our hormonal health, energy, and mood.
With the Standard American Diet, it’s incredibly likely that there are nutrient gaps to fill. But what about balanced diets?
Why Even the Best Diets Fall Short
So you may be asking, what if I could eat a super balanced, nutrient-dense diet with minimal processed foods, “Isn’t that enough?” Or perhaps you’re already doing a darn good job most of the time, you may be asking “But do I really need a multivitamin?”
Let’s talk about why.
Even AMAZING diets have nutrient gaps due to:
- Modern agriculture resulting in declining amounts of nutrients in soil and thus our produce
- Food transport and storage, with nutrients dwindling with the length of time it takes from farm to plate
- Mental-emotional stress plus physical stress (including exercise!) that increase nutrient needs beyond that standard requirements
- Gut dysfunction and certain foods that impact digestion & absorption of nutrients
- Birth control & medications that deplete nutrients, creating even more nutrient gaps to fill
With all that we’re up against, a high-quality multivitamin can help provide a nutrient insurance policy, so to speak, to make sure you’re meeting your needs.
Supplements Aren't a *Magic* Pill
We already set the record straight that even as a supplement company, we believe in a “Food First” approach. But let’s be clear, we’re not talking about a magic pill either.
The hard truth is, we cannot out supplement a poor diet. Meaning, there’s no amount of supplements in the world that can undo the metabolic mayhem created by a diet filled with processed and inflammatory foods.
The good news is, you just have to eat “good enough” about 80% of the time to reap the benefits of a diet based on whole foods. We love a good 80/20 rule because life is too short not to indulge and no food is “bad.” Some foods are simply more nutrient dense, meaning they have more nutritional bang for the buck, and offer an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Start Here For Healthier Periods & Balanced Hormones
Start with these 3 simple but powerful steps to lay the foundation for menstrual health and happier, healthier periods.
- Balance your plate with whole unprocessed foods. Remember, we’re aiming for a “good enough” diet most of the time. Read more here about how to balance your plate!
- Take a high-quality multivitamin and extra magnesium. Keep it simple with Marea and make drinking your Elixir an enjoyable part of your daily routine to stay consistent.
- Get in tune with your cycle. Track your cycle and journal how each phase feels for you. Listen to these two episodes of the Flow State Podcast where we go in depth on each of the cycle phases and ways you can support yourself in each.