Naturopath says supplements are unnecessary!

8 May 2013 10:43 AMChristine Barnes

The supplements that you find on our supermarket shelves aren't going to cure you of anything and most of them have little value; not because of the low dosages, or the quality of the ingredients, or because the manufacturer's claims aren't realistic, but because if you are on a healthy diet with a healthy gut and are generally healthy, you shouldn't need them.

But that's a very big IF. 


Two issues to solve :- a healthy diet and a working gut.


There seems to be so many different versions of what a "healthy diet" looks like these days. But I would suggest a healthy diet is one that gives the body all its necessary nutrition without overdosing on stuff the body doesn't need or can't cope with. For me, that means a well-balanced diet including wide variety of foods with fresh organic greens and vegetables, regular wild caught fish, occasional pasture-fed meat, fermented foods, good fats and oils et al.  It also means avoidance of foods with sugar and fructose added, starch, wheat and most grains, over-salted, over-processed, chemically, genetically, and poorly treated (e.g gassed) foods, carcinogenic preparations (BBQ and Smoked), poorly packaged (bisphenol, plastic),  and foods that have way too many additives for preservation purposes.


But even with what I call a healthy diet, if the cows that provide my meat have not been fed on pastures rich in natural nutrients and minerals, if my fresh vegetables are grown on soils without some essential mineral and trace elements, if my fish has come from polluted waters, my body may well be missing vitamins and minerals it needs to perform at its best, or it might have been compromised by heavy metals or a chemical.  Certainly, Australian soils vary from area to area, and some regions are short of various minerals and trace elements. If there are constituents missing in the soil, they won't be in the produce that grows or is raised there. In that case, appropriate supplementation might be required. But even with that in mind, the vast mount of necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs should nevertheless come from what you eat, certainly if your diet is as healthy as mine.  


The other part of the very big IF is the working gut. The digestive system of so much of our population has been compromised by our Western diet and perhaps by our genetic inheritance. To put it simply, if you treat your gut badly with an inappropriate diet, it won't do its job as well as it should and absorption could become an issue along with a host of other symptoms. And lack of absorption over the longer-term can lead to some very serious outcomes including cancer. If you suspect your gut could be working better, see a professionally qualified naturopath. There are a number of things that can be done to give your gut a bit of a helping hand, including dietary changes and yes, supplementation, but also lifestyle changes. And a good many of these changes are either free or very economical.


One thing I wouldn't do, even if you didn't get past the big IF above, is consider  buying those vitamins and supplements on the supermarket shelves. If you've got the extra money, you could spend more on the quality of your food and you'd probably be better off from a health point of view. You could also not spend your money and do a whole lots of things that cost nothing - more rest and quality sleep, drink more water, take time out to be with friends, 45 minutes of exercise a day (if you're not doing any), and again you'd probably be better off from a health point of view. But I would suggest the best and most economical approach is to try to make supplementation unnecessary by getting your body to work as best it can.  Get your diet and gut checked out by a professional naturopath or an appropriately qualified health adviser, and avoid throwing money away on vitamin/supplements that you may not need. Indeed, in the long run, It could save you a lot of money and reduce the possibility of ill-health.