Some people are believers in diet supplementation and some are not. Those in the latter category often cite that they eat a balanced diet and therefore don’t need to take any supplements. The problem with this point of view is that much of our dietary fruits and vegetables are grown in compromised soils that themselves have been depleted of nutrients due to poor farming practices and reliance on pesticides and herbicides to manage the crops. We also live in a relatively hostile environment that subjects our bodies to pollution and chemicals at every turn from aerosol particles in brake linings we breathe to toxins from microwaveable plastics leeching into the food. (Hint: never microwave any plastic material, always use a glass container). Here in Victoria, the blackberry bushes beside Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus are convenient for picking but have you ever thought about how many vehicles drive by everyday belching exhaust, burning oil and brake linings? Those bushes and their berries absorb the environment they live in (just like us) and any health benefit from those particular ones will be offset by the toxins they contain. This brings me back to why I believe supplementing one’s diet is important, so I will mention a few key nutrients to consider.
One of the two supplements I will mention in this post, that are both cheap and easy to obtain, is Vitamin C which we all know helps to fight colds. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is actually low at 100 mg/day and one generally needs to supplement with a minimum of 3000mg to fight a cold. Dr. Linus Pauling, two-time winner of the Nobel Prize, did extensive research on intra-muscular injection of high dose vitamin C and found it slowed and even reversed the growth of some cancers. I also recommend to all patients who have an acute sprain/strain-type injury to increase their daily dose of vitamin C to aid the cells responsible for collagen formation since this compound is necessary for the process.
The next is folic acid (folate) which is added in the production of many of our commercially-bought breads, but deficiencies continue to be linked to heart disease and birth defects. Folic acid is particularly important for women due to its role in red blood cell formation and those who are trying to become pregnant. The folic acid requirement doubles during pregnancy due to its role in neural tube formation in the embryo. Statistics show that about 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned, so this is a good supplement that is important for all women of child-bearing age to be on.
In the next post I’ll discuss the importance of vitamin E, selenium and calcium as we continue to look into diet supplementation.
Dr. Mark Strudwick is a third-generation chiropractor in Victoria, B.C.