Today’s modern diets and food sources often don’t provide the proper level of macro and micro nutrients our bodies need to remain healthy. We need these essential nutrients to sustain basic body functions, bolster our immune systems, balance our hormones and maintain our mental and sensory acuity to name a few. Without these essential nutrients our body may experience inflammation, disease, impaired body function and even life threatening situations.
Why are we no longer getting these nutrients from our foods? Should we be taking supplements? If so, which ones and how do we tell how much we need?
Before we get into which nutrients might require supplementation, you need to understand the “why” we need to consider them in the first place. We need to look at our primary source of nutrients – our food source. We also need to look at how disease is fueled, quieted and possibly cured through our food source and possible supplementation to re-establish our continued health. Let’s examine our food source first.
Getting Your Nutrients From Food
It is always best to get your daily requirement of nutrients from your food rather than supplement. However, you evaluate your food source you may find your body lacks certain minerals and vitamins, which would require supplementation. If you consistently eat a wide variety of organic whole foods you might be getting what your body needs without much, if any, supplementation.
==> The key is to consume only a variety of real whole organic non-gmo foods! <==
If you do not eat a regular range of organic foods then you need to understand the composition of the our non-organic food sources and determine if supplementation will be required to maintain a healthy body. Our food supply has drastically changed over the past 100 years, and not necessarily for the better! Let’s take a look at how our non-organic food supply has changed.
Decline in Mineral Composition
Four factors have played key roles in declining food nutrient values, with significant drops in crucial minerals like phosphorus, selenium, copper, magnesium, cobalt, calcium, zinc, and iron:
The start of mechanized farming in 1925
The introduction of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in 1946
The use of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides starting prior to 1960
The introduction of genetically engineered plants and glyphosate in the 1990s (1)
As you can see below, these eight minerals were plentiful in food before the advance of mechanized farming. By the time genetically engineered crops were introduced along with the herbicide glyphosate in the 1990s, levels had dropped to alarming levels. (1)
Changes in Soil Composition
As you can see in the chart above there has been a rapid decline in the mineral content of our food sources since the start of mechanized farming. Why? In short, the quality of the food grown is only as good as the soil in which it is grown.
Good healthy soil contains a diverse amount of microorganisms, which are responsible for the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients from the ground into the plant. Mechanized farming began the change in soil composition by decimating the amount and replenishment cycle of the microorganisms. They simply couldn’t reproduce fast enough to keep up with the demand for faster growing crop cycles.
To keep up with food supply demands, farmers supplemented with larger crop yields. This was brought about through the use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides to curb or kill non-desired vegetation. While increasing the amount of crops available for food these chemicals further damaged the microorganisms needed to supply plants with valuable nutrients. They also increased the pests that plagued high yielding crops.
To combat pests and fungi produced by the chemical additives to the soil, farmers turned to toxic pesticides (much like was used during combat times to defoliate plant overgrowth). These toxic pesticides not only rid the pest and fungi problem, but it also severely crippled the microorganisms to perform their essential job in providing nutrients for plant growth and nutrition.
Then in the mid 1990’s farmers started using genetically modified (GE) seeds in an attempt to produce greater plant yields and larger sized output. They also started using glyphosate (active ingredient in Roundup) to facilitate the growth and harvesting of the plants. It is used to quickly deaden and defoliate plant leaves of weeds competing with crops and to quicken the harvest time of crops by quickly killing off the outer parts of grain plants, known as desiccating.
We were told using glyphosate was safe to use for crop management and there was no harmful side effects. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth! Not only does glyphosate kill the necessary microorganisms in the soil we desperately need to provide nutrients to our food, but it is also carcinogenic to humans!
A Special Note About Glyphosate
Here are some sobering facts on the effects of glyphosate:
It is everywhere – when applied to crops it seeps into the soil, further contaminating water supplies, other plants, grass eating animals and those who consume the aforementioned.
It is killing off our pollinators – Monarch butterflies have rapidly declined in population (over 80%!) due to glyphosate killing their main source of food – the Milkweed plant. (2)
It destroys your gut and immune system – glyphosate is an anti-microbial agent that kills off the good bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract, namely bacillus and lactobacillus, and inhibits the growth of new protective organisms. This sets your system up for a leaky gut syndrome.
Becomes more toxic when mixed with other chemicals – studies have shown that glyphosate causes “genotoxicity” meaning it is responsible for cellular mutations. Since there have been no studies or data on the safety of this chemical it is horrifying to learn that glyphosate when mixed with other chemicals can cause a toxicity level of exponential proportion!
US levels of glyphosate are too high in food supply – acceptable daily intake (ADI) US levels currently set at 1.75 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight per day (mg/kg/bw/day) compared to 0.3 mg/kg/bw/day in the European Union. The ADI should be set at 0.025 mg/kg/bw/day, which is 12 times lower than the current ADI in Europe and 70 times lower than the U.S. This is very damaging to young children who are eating cereals with high levels of glyphosate (General Mills and Quaker). (3)
It is carcinogenic – While the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has deemed glyphosate safe for humans when used as directed, the France-based IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), who is part of the WHO (World Health Organization), has listed is a “probable human carcinogen”. California has even added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer. (See story on man awarded settlement from Bayer/Monsanto for cancer contracted from use of glyphosate.) (4)
Food For Thought
Since we are talking about the contamination of our food and water supplies, have you ever stopped to think how much non-organic food you consume? Do you know where your food comes from or how it is handled? Are you trying to eat more organically?
Have you ever wondered why we are seeing such a high prevalence of diseases and conditions over the past 20-40 years? Is it a coincidence that’s when glyphosate started being used on our crops? It is also about the same time the government told us fat was bad and using sugar substitutes was an acceptable solution, hence starting the low-fat and artificial sweetener craze.
Now let’s bundle all these together into fast food options – drive thru eateries, frozen meals, packaged meals and sugar packed products – and you have a perfect recipe for Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and dementia to name a few. Also on the rise is Celiac Disease, thyroid diseases, kidney diseases, and all sorts of gastro-intestinal diseases we haven’t seen the like of before the 1970s.
Also consider this, women who eat poorly, either through lack of good food choices or ingesting glyposate (and other chemicals), and lack the proper nutritional composition are giving birth and breastfeeding babies that are inheriting or being primed for these diseases. Then in a child’s early years of development they are being fed primarily foods known to have high levels of glyphosate (e.g. breakfast cereals and snacks). Do you wonder why we are seeing such a high rate of babies with modern day diseases and conditions, both physical and neurological?
Between contaminated food and lack of solid nutritional intake we are setting our bodies and our children’s bodies up for failure! It may not be immediate, but something is bound to develop down the road unless you change what and how you eat.
Hopefully, there is enough compelling information on how our food supply has radically changed in the past 100 years that you can see the benefits of eating real whole organic non-gmo foods! I personally suffer from Celiac Disease, leaky gut, IBS, GERD, MCAS, POTS, severe Lipedema and severe Lymphedema. (We even suspect Dercum’s Disease!) Some of these conditions could definitely be from years of consuming contaminated food, the lack of consuming required essential nutrients and the mal-absorption of those essential nutrients.
What are your thoughts? Have you noticed any changes in your body or a loved one’s body that you think might be tied to your food source or your way of eating? What changes would you make to regain or improve your health?
Where to Begin With Supplements
You should always consult your doctor prior to making any changes to your eating plan or are considering adding supplements to your eating regimen. Your doctor will evaluate your current state of health and any medications you take on a regular basis. They may even order lab work to establish current base level markers to help determine if your body requires supplementation to correct any deficiencies. Once your doctor has identified any deficiencies, they may prescribe over the counter or prescription vitamin and mineral supplements to take regularly with meals in an effort to restore your health.
For those of us with Lipedema or Lipo-Lymphedema reducing your body inflammation should be your first priority. The easiest way to begin is to significantly reduce or eliminate sugars and processed foods from your diet. (I know, easier said than done!) The next thing you can do is reduce inflammatory omega-6 oils and increase the anti-inflammatory omega-3 oils. You can learn more about what causes inflammation and how to reduce it here.
You may also want to consider a different way of eating to help reduce pain and inflammation and perhaps extra weight you may have gained over the years. We already know calorie reduction, increased exercise regimens and fad diets do not work! The most significant improvement you can make is to reduce your daily carbohydrate intake and incorporate fasting into your eating plan.
Personal note – I found the best health and weight loss benefits by reducing inflammation first, which included removing all gluten due to a Celiac Disease diagnosis, and then incorporating a Keto eating plan AND intermittent fasting into my lifestyle!
Multivitamin or Individual Supplements
Your first source of essential vitamins and minerals should be from the food you consume. However, if you need to take a supplement there are several things you need to consider before choosing one. Should you take one multivitamin per day or individual supplements? Opinions vary greatly, even amount medical professionals.
Some believe one quality multivitamin should be adequate to supplement your nutritional deficiencies. However, you need to consider if you truly need all the “extra” vitamins and minerals in the supplement or just one or two individual ones. Some vitamins and minerals can have dangerous, even toxix side effects if taken in excess. (5)
You also need to consider the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) or Daily Values (DV) seen on most product labels and in the guidelines provided by the Food and Nutrition Board. Increasingly we are finding people, either due to age, weight or health condition, require even higher levels of certain vitamins and minerals than are stated in the RDA. These should be discussed with a doctor to ensure there are no medication interactions or side effects from taking elevated levels of these supplements.
Personal note – I am very deficient in vitamin D and C. The RDA for vitamin D is 15 ug/dose (or 800 iu) and for vitamin C is 75 mg/dose. I have to take 7,000 iu of vitamin D daily just to stay in the low-mid range of my D in my blood panel. I also need to take at least 2,000 mg daily of vitamin C to keep my immune system strong enough to ward off any sniffles that come along (never mind help my faulty collagen). Do not elevate your intakes based on my supplementation! Your doctor will help determine the right levels for your needs.
All Supplements Are Not Created Equal
Here are some things to consider when choosing a vitamin or mineral supplement as not all are created equal.
Regulated – Consider supplements from highly reputable companies that employ the highest levels of quality control practices. Is the company USP certified or have GMP (good manufacturing practices) validation?
Dosage Level – Evaluate your need to exceed the RDA or DV guidelines as these are minimum recommendations.
Bio-availability – Supplements should be bio-available, meaning they need to be able to be absorbed into your system – a chelated form is best. Chelated supplements usually bind to a body compound, such as an amino acid, or are compounded with a metal agent, which allows the body to carry the needed supplemental into the system where it can be used by the body instead of being expelled.
Dosage size and type – is your daily need available in one, two or three doses? Do you need to take it at multiple times per day? Are you able to take the supplement in a gel, capsule, caplet, pill, powder, chewable, gummy or liquid form?
Single supplement choice – choice a single source supplement instead of a bundled supplement solution. Only consider combination minerals and vitamins if you need all of them. You could be doing harm by over-supplementing with one while needing the primary supplement. You could also experience negative reactions to one of the “extra” supplements in the solution.
Avoid fillers – try to choose a high quality supplement that does not contain extra fillers, binders, buffering agents and genetically modified materials. Purity of the supplement is essential. Some may even experience allergic reactions to fillers, such as corn and shellfish byproducts.
Common Supplements for Those With Lipedema and Co-Morbidities
Here are some vitamins and minerals in which we commonly see deficiencies for those of us with Lipedema. I have also included some deficiencies we also see with the co-mobordities (conditions and diseases that often accompany Lipedema).
Of course, my first recommendation is to try and get your daily dose of required vitamins and minerals from real whole organic foods and only turn to supplements, with doctor supervision, when you require more than real whole food can provide.
I am not a physician, nutritionist, therapist or medical professional and therefore cannot prescribe taking supplements. I can only report on commonly seen deficiencies and supplements that have proved beneficial for those of us suffering with Lipedema and its co-morbidities.
Common Vitamin and Mineral Supplements For Those With Lipedema
References: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/ Notes:
(b) – smokers, those with compromised immune systems and those with collagen deficiencies may need to take up to 2,000 mg per day. The human body cannot make vitamin C on its own. Note that Vitamin C is often marketed as ascorbic acid. Some people cannot easily digest ascorbic acid. You will need to search for supplements made from other sources, such as palms.
Our food supply has radically changed over the past 100 years, resulting in a serious decline in the macro and micro nutrients available to the plants we need in our diet. These changes, ranging from mechanized farming to the use of dangerous pesticides and herbicides, are threatening not only the quality of our food supply but our direct health from ingesting these chemicals. We need to opt for better food options meaning we need to choose real whole organic non-gmo foods!
Even if we choose a variety of real whole organic non-gmo foods, we may find that our bodies are still deficient in key macro or micro nutrients. We need to work with our physicians, nutritionists and therapists to identify those deficiencies and determine if supplements are necessary to bring our nutrient levels back into a range that is most beneficial to our bodies.
There are multiple factors to consider when choosing a supplement. Among those include, purity and quality levels, supplement size and type, allergies and reactions, ingredient source(s) and dosage size. Your physician will want to perform labs at some point down the road to ensure the supplements are truly meeting your needs or make adjustments to the dosage size for optimum health benefits.
Many people who struggle with Lipedema, Lipo-Lymphedema or related co-morbidities will find we are naturally deficient in some nutrients, most notably Vitamin D. It is vital to our improved health to identify and increase any deficient nutrients for us to reduce inflammation and begin our healing journey. The preferred method of getting the nutrients is through eating a variety of organic non-gmo colorful foods. However, supplements may be needed to close those nutrient deficiency gaps.