Easton Bryant •

January 28, 2022

SUPPLEMENTS: POWERFUL OR POINTLESS?

I love discussing supplements with our patients. It’s a topic where the learning is never-ending and it’s exciting when you have insights that could make a real change in their day-to-day quality of living. Even better, this often involves getting to the root of the issue instead of placing a band-aid on it. There are too many band-aids out there.

On the flip side, however, supplements won’t work wonders in every situation.

I’m sure everyone would agree it would be more practical to get our adequate vitamin and mineral intake from our diets. “Supplements just make expensive urine - I’ll get what my body needs from my food!” I say that’s a good idea, but good luck as well.

Our modern food supply has major issues. How often does your food’s packaging boast health claims because it’s enriched or fortified? And have you ever given thought to why it’s been manipulated in the first place? It’s impoverished! So, they spray on vitamins to make it acceptable for our consumption. Strange to think about, but true.

Quality, nutrient-dense foods just aren’t readily available. As you consume your meals today, think about the nutrients per calorie you are ingesting. These figures are drastically different when considering broccoli versus a soft drink, for example.

Furthermore, the vegetables we consumed 100 years ago aren’t the same vegetables we are consuming today. There’s a 50% reduction in nutrients in some cases. Our soil is different, and so are the whole foods we feel good about eating. Then we have to consider the storage time, and so on. Ever wonder how old that last apple you ate was? It may surprise you.

But there’s more to this supplementation decision tree. We’re surrounded by nutrient-depleting factors in our American culture - smoking, excess drinking, consuming diets high in processed foods, and even medications rob our bodies of nutrients. Partly because of this, at least 68% of us are deficient in magnesium, 40% in zinc, 70% in folate, and 90% in omega-3 fatty acids, just to name a few. What does this mean? Those symptoms you’re experiencing may not necessarily call for yet another prescription med or a tube of the latest OTC miracle cream. Maybe you’re experiencing the result of nutrient depletion or, in many cases, multiple depletions.

(By the way, when you see the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for vitamins and minerals, that represents the amount needed to avoid harm, not the amount needed to feel good and thrive!)

So… Are supplements really a powerful tool or are they pointless? Here are some takeaways for you:

If you don’t consume the right kinds of fatty fish a couple times a week, you’d surely benefit from a high-quality omega-3 supplement.

If you take our hair, skin, and nails supplement featuring hydrolyzed collagen and a potent dose of biotin, you’ll likely notice improvements.

If you’re concerned about immunity, we have regimens that will definitely help.

But when you’re looking to tackle depletions and insufficiencies at the cellular level to allow for real healing? Most supplements are going to be pointless if your lifestyle is hyper-depleting your body. It’s too much to overcome.

Hydrate adequately. Exercise at least a few times a week. Be aware of the nutrient density in your daily diet. Clean things up and the results can be very impactful, especially when using a comprehensive approach to address your individual needs. Even conscientious vegans often need supplementation with B12, iron, zinc, omega-3’s, vitamin D, and iodine.

That’s what we do at North Century Pharmacy. We use a short questionnaire that our pharmacists review to work with you in constructing a customized regimen. You can see that questionnaire here.

And I want you to know the types of supplements we supply for you can’t be found at your neighborhood dollar store. All supplements are absolutely not created equally. The products we use to build your custom pack are bioavailable, potent, free from impurities and unnecessary fillers, and provided to you at scientifically studied doses.

For example, if you’re told you could use some magnesium, you may understandably head to the most convenient retail stop on the way home from your appointment and grab a cheap bottle that’s actually most beneficial for constipation. But when your deficiency is causing depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, twitchy eyes and muscles, restless legs, and/or headaches, that convenient magnesium isn’t going to cut it. You need a highly-absorbable, potent, magnesium chelate.

Ultimately, when approached the right way, supplements can definitely be a valuable tool for your overall health and wellness. When you’re ready to commit and take more control over your wellbeing, don’t forget about the power of meaningful supplementation. And don’t forget - we’re here for you!