Many people wonder if they need to take vitamins and dietary supplements when they eat a well-balanced diet, especially when following official guidelines from an organization like the USDA.
Should I take supplements when you eat a balanced diet? Yes, we are all unique and have specific health, fitness and nutritional needs, so even if you eat food that would be seen as a balanced diet, hitting your macronutrient needs, at the right times of the day, is virtually impossible without supplements.
Let’s also be honest, most of us know our diet isn’t perfect too, which is all the more reason to take supplements.
What makes up a healthy balanced diet?
There are a variety of opinions on this that not only depend on who you ask but also where they are from and what food bias they have.
A medical doctor will say one thing, and nutritionist will say another, somebody from the USA will also have a different definition and idea of what’s right and wrong compared to somebody from China.
And people who only eat organic foods, follow a Keto diet, or are vegan will definitively have their own definition. And don’t ask a gym goer who thinks they need to add protein to everything they eat and drink, as this seems to be the craze these days.
A healthy, balanced diet is very simply a diet that includes a variety of foods because no single food contains all the essential nutrients the body needs to stay healthy and work as it should. And following an average and over simplistic guide, food chart or pyramid will never allow you to reach your potential, which is what biohacking can do for you.
In reality, we all have specific needs and so you should eat according to your macros – these are based on your goal and nutritional needs and focus on ratios of Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats in your diet and you can find out about them and how to calculate them in this article.
Another thing to be aware of is that we will make better use of certain nutrients at certain time of the day. Some work best on an empty stomach, others are best taken before bed. There are some that help us workout and others that help us recover form a workout too.
Nutrition isn’t just about what we eat and drink, it’s about when we eat and drink it too, and doing this with just a balanced diet isn’t easy.
Good nutrition is not a new topic
In the year 400 BC, Hippocrates said: “Let food be your medicine and medicine, your food.” It is proven that good nutrition always has positive results: a body with a healthy weight, a remarkable increase in energy, better moods and a basis for longevity.
Do you know that ten common causes of death in the United States are related to the way we eat?
They include Heart disease, Cancer and Diabetes
Eat, supplement and live right
The fact is that food alone is not the basis for a long, energy filled fulfilling life.
So, if you are still asking yourself “Should I Take Supplements?” then you need to always remember this:
While it is true that good nutrition is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
So is regular physical exercise, and don’t smoke, or drink excessively.
And limit exposure to the harmful substances whether they are drugs, toxins, electromagnetic frequencies or things in nature that are not good for your body and mind.
Genetics play a part
Genetics are also key when it comes to reducing the risks of certain diseases.
This is another reason why it’s sometimes necessary to take nutritional supplements.
In order to supplement the daily requirements of our body, you can take vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.
The antioxidants present in nutritional supplements protect us from cell damage. They can prevent the development of degenerative diseases and premature ageing.
Check out this article on the best biohacking supplements to discover how to prevent and reverse medial issues as well as achieve optimal health.
What diseases can inadequate nutrition cause?
The lack of vitamins and minerals can contribute to the appearance of many diseases. This includes osteoporosis, heart attacks, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
This lack can also lead to other health problems such as insomnia, poor circulation, and acne. It can also cause gastrointestinal disorders, fatigue, and repeated infections.
Further, it can lead to alterations in the prostate, arthritis, attention deficit, episodes of vertigo, migraines, anaemia, and alterations in the function of the thyroid gland.
Combining diet with supplements
The supplements, as the name suggests, are not a substitute but a complement to a correct feeding system.
There has been a lot of debate about the benefits that nutritional supplements bring to those who want to eat a balanced diet.
According to nutritionists and certified doctors, conventional foods are irreplaceable because the digestive system of the human being is designed to digest them in a very specific way and time.
There are so many diets now as well as individual eating habits or regional food types and so when you know your macros you can eat ten food that’s right for you at the time you want if, for example, you follow something like an intermittent fasting diet, and fill in missing nutrients extremely quickly and efficiently.
It’s also likely that the cost of eating and drinking to hit your macros will be more expensive if you only eat food and don’t use supplements.
Are supplements just for bodybuilders or those trying to lose weight?
Supplements not only help people who want to build muscle or control their weight, but they are also beneficial to everybody, for example:
Strict vegetarians or vegans
Women who are breastfeeding
Women who have difficult menstrual periods
Women who have gone through menopause
People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery in order to lose weight
People who have a medical condition that does not help the way the body digests food, for example, gastrointestinal disease, lactose intolerance, or food allergies
People who have diseases of the stomach, liver, pancreas or gallbladder
Older people as they have different nutritional needs
Children and babies who need certain things to help them grow and develop
Everybody who wants to minimise the effect in seasonal factors that affect us, such as fewer daylight hours or hayfever
People suffering from stress or who are at risk of it based on their lifestyle or career
Those looking to increase their fertility levels
People with any and all medical conditions whether serious or every day things like having a cold or flu
People who’ve recently taken medication, especially things like antibiotics
People with sports specific goals and physical requirements
Those looking to improve their memory and focus
Men and women suffering from skin or hair problems
I could go on, but as you can see everybody will benefit from the right nutrition and this almost certainly means using supplements.
Are Supplements Harmful?
Too much of anything can be bad and this includes supplements and even nutrition directly from even the best natural food sources.
It all depends on the doses and the specific micronutrient as to the effect something has, good or bad.
Some nutrients, even if taken in huge amounts, can be excreted by the body and fail to cause damage.
Others, when they are excessively consumed can cause serious sickness.
But it’s impossible negative effects to occur if you taking the right doses for you and take account of things like allergies.
Ideally, and food or supplement should not, or must at least minimise the amount of lactose, gluten or any chemical additive they contain if possible.
Supplements are available in different doses and combinations and like food, they vary in quality and makeup, so, for example, there’s organic supplements, dairy free supplements and gluten-free ones too, just as examples.
However, only a certain amount of each nutrient is needed for the body to function properly, so higher amounts are not necessarily better.
In high or dose form some substances can have adverse effects and become harmful, so be aware of this.
Supplements can only be sold legally with a recommended daily dose and a warning statement not to exceed that dose, but again this varies from country to country and even regionally in some counties too, like cannabis-derived supplements in US States.
You can get around certain restrictions because of people shipping to anywhere via the internet, but I wouldn’t suggest you take a risk as there’s almost always a way to get what you need, you may just need to do a bit more research.
If you decide to take supplements, you should always seek the advice of the expert too because, as mentioned, we are all unique, not a one-size fits all individuals.
It is very important to follow a healthy and balanced diet.
You should carefully read the labels of supplements and fortified foods, but that’s just the start of making sure you eat what you should, no more, no less because when you do you can transform all areas of your health, fitness and wellbeing, not just your waistline or one rep max bench press.