I wrote a post a few months ago here about how Stearic acid, magnesium stearate and Vegetable stearine are fat bi-products and how they were in some of the supplements that I still took. Well, as of last week, I have completely managed to remove them from my diet! It was a bit more difficult than I thought it was going to be but it was possible.
The reason that I started taking supplements in the first place is because I had been reading about how important micro nutrients are to the body. Just like fat, carbohydrates, and protein are necessary to health and life, so are micro-nutrients. Most things such as Vitamins, A,B, C, and D are needed for basic bodily functions, such as making hormones, building brain cells, detoxifying the blood, and other really essential functions. I try to eat really nutritious food, but its actually a lot harder than you might think to get the right amounts of vitamins that a body needs from modern food.
There are three ways that I know of that food can pass through the body without delivering nutrients.
1) The food has no nutrients to give.
Some foods actually take more nutrients to process than they give a body. For example bleached white sugar. In order for the body to use the calories inside the sugar, the body uses chemical process that require micro nutrients. If your body can not find those nutrients in the sugar (which it won’t) it will take them from the body itself so as to be able to utilize the calories inside the sugar. This means that the body is left with less nutrition than it started with. That is what is meant by ’empty calorie’.
Unfortunately many processed foods and commercially grown foods have less nutritional food value than they otherwise might. Processing food can destroy vitamins and minerals and synthetic versions added afterwords often don’t work the same in the human body. Also commercially grown food just doesn’t have the same nutritional punch that it could. A modern tomato has much less nutrition compared to tomatoes grown 50 or 60 years ago. The exact statistics vary. People guess that this is due to the fact that farmers do not replace the nutrients that the crops take from the soil, and that they use chemicals like Glyphosate (Round-up) which actually bind up nutrients and make them unavailable to plants as a method of controlling weeds. Which leads to the next reason…
2) Food has the nutrients but it won’t give them to the body for some reason. There is some research that leads scientists to think that Glyphosate and other chemicals like it continue to bind nutrients after they have been absorbed into animals and humans that consume it.
This is not so far fetched as the natural world had many compounds that do this very thing. Called anti-nutrients, these are chemicals or substances that can bind up nutrients making them unusable to the body. Instead of feeding a person nutrients will simply be excreted like waste. Many plants contain anti-nutrients. Traditionally humans have fund ways of neutralizing these harmful toxins before consuming them but modern food processors find that those kinds of processes are time consuming, expensive, and generally make the foods shelf life unstable so they choose not to perform them.
3) The third way that nutrition is not absorbed by the body is because there is something wrong with the body’s ability to absorb nutrition from food. Digesting and adsorbing vitamins and minerals is a complex process and many things can interfere: lack of proper digestive enzymes, chemical interference, illness, malnutrition, even genetic predispositions can all lead to bad absorption. Food intolerance is often a big cause of mal-absorption of nutrition.
Seeing that there are so many ways not to absorb vitamins and minerals and how important they are I chose to supplement and continue to supplement. But I’m becoming a lot more choosy about what I put in my body. Just like with food, not all supplements are alike. I don’t just take whatever is cheapest, and I’ve found that just because I have always taken something, doesn’t mean that I will always need to take it. Often my bodies requirements for vitamins and minerals changes, and it is necessary to adjust the amounts of whatever I am taking. I find that I need to adjust my levels weekly. Sometimes, like around my period, I need to take more magnesium and B-vitamins, but the rest of the month I don’t need to take nearly as much. Also how much vitamin C I need to take varies considerably. It all depends on how my allergies are doing, which is usually dependent on how much pollen is in the air, how much stress I’m under, and that mysterious x-factor.
Eventually I’d like to get off of supplements entirely, and get all of my nutrition from food but until that happens I’m going to be taking the best and cleanest supplements that I can.