Nutritional supplements aka multivitamin and mineral formulas as well as single vitamins, minerals and herbal concoctions are a massive and fairly recent player in the realm of self care and natural health. Grandma and grandpa certainly didn’t collect supplements in their kitchen cabinets. In any case, natural health products are a multi-billion dollar industry right alongside weight loss and anti-aging.
The use of supplements in dietetic practice tends to be a polarizing subject. Certainly, any nutritionist worth their weight in pounds or kilograms will teach foods above supplements as the best source for nutrients. However, with the current “law of diminishing returns” when it comes to the nutrient density of vegetables and fruits that have ripened on a truck or in storage with the aid of ethylene gas, the quality and quantity of nutrients obtained from foods becomes suspect.
Does everyone need to supplement with at least a daily multivitamin if not additional omega-3, fibre, vitamin D and calcium?
In short, yes – a quality one a day multi is a good idea, even for the most conscientious eater. Why? Because nobody is perfect and nutrient needs vary with changes in stress and activity levels. A good multivitamin and mineral formula will “fill in the gaps” though not excusing you from your leafy greens.
As for other supplements, I operate under the Hippocratic “first do no harm” principle because single nutrients in particular – like vitamin C, hormonal vitamin D, iron or herbs like St.John’s Wort -are far from harmless. Supplements, or nutraceuticals, if you will, are to nutritionists as pharmaceuticals are to physicians. The dose-response relationship is critical when recommending any supplement.
I encourage you to do some research on the indications and recommended daily allowances of supplements of interest. You can judge your nutrition practitioner by how readily they “prescribe” supps and how well they individualize the dosage to your specific health requirements.