Why do I need to take supplements?
Doesn't our food contain all the vitamins I need?
Do they really work?
My Medical Doctor says that vitamins are a waste of money.
By Dr. Richard Bisceglie, DN, CNS
I have been asked these questions many times before. There is a lot of information and misinformation out there regarding our nutritional health. This becomes apparent when it come to supplementation. I would like to address a few of the key issues related to this.
We need supplements for a variety of reasons under varying circumstances. The foods we eat have been processed, sprayed with chemicals, given growth hormones and antibiotics and if that is not enough, pickup up environmental pollutants along the way. Many individuals have extra demands placed on their bodies because of specific conditions (i.e., pain syndromes, degenerative joint disease, cardiovascular, auto immune conditions, allergies, obesity). Even our water may contain several substances that we do not want to ingest; chlorine, estrogen, and other long chemical names. Are you beginning to see why our nutritional needs may not be met simply through our food?
Patients often come in and tell me that their doctor told them that they didn’t need vitamins. Please remember most medical doctors get very little in the form of supplemental training and how they may apply it to medical conditions. Specialized training is needed to fully appreciate the complexities of nutritional medicine. Even the medicines we are taking have side effects. Medication in many cases is life saving. However, supplementation may be indicated to help with the side effects. Many compromise our liver function. Some increase muscle and joint pain, even more effect our digestion. If we are not digesting and absorbing the foods we do eat, we further leave our bodies vulnerable to disease and dysfunction and yes…even weight gain.
To complicate matters even more, the supplement industry is unregulated or self regulated. That is a double edge sword. It leaves the door open for unscrupulous manufactures to distribute inferior product. They may not even be aware of key factors like where the batch material is obtained and the quality control procedures. Does the company do clinical trials, research? However, this self regulation gives us more freedom when recommending a supplementation protocol. We cannot make claims that any supplement “cures” anything. We can however, say that certain compounds have been shown to help with particular conditions.
Health care professionals have the serious responsibility to evaluate products and apply our rigid standards to ensure efficacy and not allow the patient to waste their money on products that do not work! To fully understand how these nutrients effect the body, one needs to understand disease processes and the additional demand that is placed on systems to help repair and restore to health. Beware of individuals who claim to be this or that kind of specialist and not licensed to dispense medical or nutritional information and how it may apply to any conditions.
Don’t settle for less!
Dr. Bisceglie is a state licensed board certified doctor of Naprapathic Medicine and a national board certified nutritional specialist. He has conducted many seminars on nutrition and physical medicine.
Dr. Bisceglie has also published peer-reviewed clinical articles in Journal of the American Naprapathic Association, and the Alternative Network directory.
If you have any further questions or would like to speak with the doctor, please contact Dr. Bisceglie at the Center for Holistic Medicine in Riverwoods at 847-236-1701.