The Case for Supplementation

May 27, 2022

I take about 18 different supplements every day, many I’ve taken for years. My former nursing supervisor once laughed at me, when I told her about my supplement use and said “you must have expensive pee.” I told her, “Well, I feel amazing and never get sick, so I think I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.”  I don’t know if you are aware but, due to poor farming practices over many years, and use of toxic chemicals, most notably the “Round-up” ingredient, glyphosate, our soils are being robbed of nutrients. Therefore, supplementation is essential as we are no longer getting valuable vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables grown in these nutrient purged soils. Most nutrients are 40-70% less prevalent in our soils today than they were 50 years ago. So, I wanted to make sure that those of you who do supplement, make sure you’re getting what your body needs. And those of you who don’t supplement, should consider it.

I used to think that a vitamin was a vitamin was a vitamin, that it didn’t matter what source it came from or how much you paid, it was JUST a vitamin. I have learned differently. Sourcing your vitamins from creditable, legitimate companies is very important and the better quality DOES make a difference in how well it is absorbed by your body. Centrum, the leading multivitamin in America, is actually made by Pfizer! Do you want to take a supplement manufactured by a company that produces toxic chemical pharmaceuticals?

Speaking of absorption, your gut needs to be healthy in order to absorb any nutrient, from foods or from supplements. If you are not already eating clean, and your body is suffering from “leaky gut syndrome,” all the supplements in the world will not be of service, you will just have “expensive pee.” Supplementation is not effective unless you are eating well for your body and its organs are functioning optimally.

There are two supplements that have specific requirements, in order to be assimilated into your system properly. The first one is turmeric.

Turmeric, also known as curcumin, is the newest trendy supplement for anyone at risk of diabetes, heart disease, blood clots, depression, arthritis or a number of other diseases. Its health benefits, however, are not trendy at all, are well-researched and have been known for thousands of years. For turmeric to be effective, however, it needs black pepper to work! Yep, just plain old black pepper. If you choose a curcumin supplement (the nutritive element in turmeric), make sure it includes black pepper, unless you eat black pepper daily on your food. Many Turmeric/Curcumin supplements already have Piperine in them (the bioactive compound in black pepper) so you don’t have to worry about adding it.

Vitamin D is a necessary nutrient for everyone. It is essential for over 300 processes in our bodies and most Americans are deficient. In fact, 80% of the people who died from COVID were deficient in Vitamin D. This particular vitamin, actually a hormone, is created in our bodies from sunshine. However, unless you live in a climate where you can sunbathe at least 3 days a week, exposing 60% of your skin for 20-30 minutes, you need to supplement. And, the darker your skin, the more resistant your body is to facilitating this process from sunshine, making it absolutely necessary to take a dietary supplement.

Vitamin D3 helps your body metabolize calcium but the job requires Vitamin K2 to activate the special proteins our bodies need to deposit that calcium in the right places. Without K2 the calcium could be stored in soft tissue instead of our bones and teeth (not a good idea). Vitamin K2 also boosts the absorption of Vitamin D so should be considered essential for good health. Many compounds contain both vitamins; I take a multivitamin containing Vitamin K2 with my Vitamin D3 supplement every day.

The recommended dose for Vitamin D is 10,000 IU daily in the winter, 5000 IU in the summer (most mainstream physicians would recommend only 1000 IU daily). These high dosage levels are controversial, but the practitioners I follow recommend the higher dosages to obtain higher blood levels, with few side effects. Vitamin D levels can be measured but most mainstream physicians don’t order them routinely and are content with levels below those necessary for true health. The “normal” range for Vitamin D3 is listed between 20-40 ng/ml. Most physicians would be happy with a level of 30. However, for optimal health, bone strength and immune function, a level over 60 is required, and 80-100 ng/ml is considered optimal. So, next time your labs are due, ask your physician for a Vitamin D level! The high-dose Vitamin D, taken with Vitamin C, 2000-4000mg and zinc, 25-50 mg, is 77% effective in reducing your risk of all viral infections.

Magnesium is another element known to play a part in multiple body functions in multiple organs. And, again, most Americans are deficient. There are 11 different supplemental forms of Magnesium. This means that the Magnesium is combined with another amino acid or mineral to boost absorption. Magnesium Glycinate offers the best absorption and mood support and magnesium Oxide is NOT absorbed well, so stay away from that preparation. I take 400 mg daily. Always remember to take magnesium at night because it helps with sleep and, if you take Vitamin D, especially at the doses I suggest, you want to make sure you supplement with magnesium, as the extra Vitamin D can deplete the magnesium.

I felt the need to discuss one supplement that has had recent media coverage. And that is. . Aspirin.  For Many years, people have been told to take a baby aspirin every day to prevent heart conditions and strokes. Just a month or two ago, mainstream media announced that it was no longer considered efficacious to take aspirin, unless you already had a history of a heart attack. The funny thing is, I’ve known this for many YEARS! Research has long shown that the risk for bleeding injuries when taking aspirin, even at low doses, is far greater than the benefits of reduced heart disease. Sadly, medical practice often lags 10-15 years behind the research. Remember how we knew that smoking was dangerous to lung health almost 20 years before the Surgeon General warnings and mainstream recommendations to quit smoking? The take-away is this: Unless you have heart disease, or have had a heart attack, do not take aspirin, even the low-dose “baby” variety, on a regular basis. One more interesting fact regarding aspirin: Due to aspirins’ potent and varied characteristics, it is said that if it were discovered today, it would be a “controlled” medication.

I’m not planning to go over every common nutrient needed for a healthy body, nor even ALL the supplements I take on a regular basis; I’ll save some of that for another day. The last point I want to make is that, depending on your body’s needs and health diagnoses, you may want to consult a naturopathic physician or functional medicine practitioner who can help you narrow down the specific supplementation YOUR BODY needs for optimal health.

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