An Imperfect Diet Requires Supplements
By Dan Gleason, DC
How we are best to feed our bodies in this modern day is often up for debate. Our native ancestors thrived on a natural food diet. They certainly didn’t take supplements. Because of this, the policy of many mainstream medical professionals is that humans as omnivores should be able to subsist on a wide variety of diets, from hunter gatherer to nearly vegetarian, without supplementation.
And yet, another common diet these days is the frequent-feeding hypothesis suggested by many health professionals and weight-loss gurus. It consists of three meals a day and two to three snacks in between. Thinking back on our ancestors, this diet contradicts how they ate and it wouldn’t have been possible as food preparation and storage would have been major challenges in the days before refrigerators, convenience and fast food. Indeed, our ancestors even survived lengthy periods of fasting (famine). So, it is unlikely that we have evolved to be eating highly processed and preserved food throughout the day.
The answer is likely a combination of diet choices and supplements. Doctors who test nutrient levels in their patients frequently find significant deficiencies. This is due to diet, environmental stress and individual requirements. For example, vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is rare in food. Vitamin D is produced on the skin when ultraviolet from the sun hits the cholesterol in the sebum on our skin. It then takes many hours to absorb and can be easily washed down the drain with a soapy shower. In addition, with all the worry about skin cancer, many people avoid the sun and wear sunscreen. Our ancestors spent much of their day outside reaping the benefit of natural vitamin D. To get enough vitamin D from the sun we need to have a significant area of our skin exposed during the middle of the day during the summer months.
Another cause of nutrient deficiency is processing food, which removes many of the essential nutrients. Preservatives cause degradation of many health-promoting factors. Mixing multiple ingredients changes our ability to digest and absorb. There are many non-food items that people regularly ingest such as candy, soda pop and snack foods. These often replace healthy whole foods leading to deficiency and disease. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and autoimmune diseases all are caused by or exacerbated by these types of food choices. While drugs have their place in treatment after the fact, comprehensive nutrient testing leading to diet and supplement optimization should be included in prevention and treatment protocols.
Diet optimization is possible, but unless we can do it all, supplements will likely be necessary.
Here is what Mark Hyman, MD, says about vitamins: “I agree that you don’t need vitamins and that they are a waste of money. But that is true ONLY if you eat wild, fresh, whole, organic, local, non-genetically modified food grown in virgin mineral and nutrient rich soils, and not transported across vast distances and stored for months before eaten. It is true ONLY if you work and live outside, breathe only fresh unpolluted air, drink only pure, clean water, sleep nine hours a night, move your body every day, and are free from chronic stressors and exposures to environmental toxins.” 1
Based on that description, we can likely all agree that we all need supplements.
Dr. Dan Gleason is the owner of The Gleason Center located at 19084 North Fruitport Road in Spring Lake. For more info: go to TheGleasonCenter.com or call 616-846-5410.