(Or At Least The 7 Biggest Ones)
By Al Sears, MD, CNS, is a medical doctor and one of the USA’s first board-certified anti-aging physicians.
What are the biggest lies about supplements?
Let’s start with the biggest one of all…
That there is that there’s no evidence that supplements do anything for anyone.
If you’re not aware, that’s what the “experts” have been shouting from the high towers of their Ivy League institutions for more than 50 years.
But do they have any evidence?
Let’s look at what they’re saying…
Not long ago, researchers at Johns Hopkins published a paper titled: “Vast Majority of Dietary Supplements Don’t Improve…Health or Put Off Death.”1
And the executive editor of the Harvard Heart Letter wrote a paper asking: “Are you wasting money on supplements?”
It only took him a couple of sentences before he (wrongly) answered his own question with a resounding “yes.”2
He went on to say that “the take-home message on multivitamins… remains the same: these supplements do not lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death over-all.”
And a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine declared: “Study Finds No Benefit for Dietary Supplements.”
It even went on to say that taking supplements can even be “harmful in some cases.”3
But the evidence that we need to supplement our nutrient-poor diet continues to mount. We could fill entire libraries with the evidence.
So, when people read and hear this stuff, they get confused.
They come to me as if there’s this great controversy about whether they should take a supplement or not.
I am going to tell you what I always tell them: There is no controversy.
It is virtually impossible to get optimal nutrients for optimum health from your diet.
Here’s how I’m so certain that almost everyone needs to supplement…
I measure the blood vitamin levels of most patients who come to my clinic.
When I get the results back, I have to break the bad news to them that they’re practically malnourished.
Even the most health-conscious of my patients are incredibly deficient despite eating a diverse and balanced diet.
And the problem is only getting worse. Let me explain…
Big Agra Is Robbing You of Lifesaving Nutrients
It takes 500 years for nature to build less than one inch of living soil…
But only seconds for Big Agra to destroy it.
Over the past 40 years, about 2 billion hectares of soil — that’s an area bigger than America and Mexico combined — have been stripped of lifesaving nutrients.
And thanks to Big Agra’s profit-driven modern farming techniques, 30% of the world’s cropland is now unproductive.4
It’s a stark contrast from what the very first farmers found…
While following the animals they hunted, our primal ancestors found themselves in a place where wild plants grew in abundance.
With such a rich bounty, they decided to set up camp.
Eventually, they noticed that if they threw the seeds of plants on the ground, over time they grew.
And so, around 12,000 years ago, the Agricultural Revolution began.
The first plants our ancestors harvested were packed with nutrients.
Those are the minerals, vitamins, and other plant compounds that have the power to combat today’s diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
But Big Agra’s focus is on reaping the maximum number of crops at the cheapest cost.
Nutrition has nothing to do with it.
And the result is that you are being robbed of the lifesaving nutrients you need.
Today you have to eat 10 servings of vegetables or more to equal the nutrition of one serving from 50 years ago!
Even the USDA admits nutrient levels have fallen by 80% in the last 30 years.
For example, you’d have to eat 10 servings of spinach to get the same level of minerals from just one serving about 50 years ago.5
Producers create “hybrid” forms of your fruits and vegetables — not for their ability to store nutrients — but for their colour, weight and shelve life.
Why? So, they’ll look nice and pretty when they sit under the fluorescent lights of your supermarket.
You may think they look nutritious, but “under the hood,” they contain little more than indigestible cellulose, sugar, and water.
Growers call this the “dilution effect.”
For them, more water and more pith help their produce ship well, look good, and weigh a lot.
But it virtually wipes out their vitamin and mineral content.
Congress Knew We Had a Nutrients Problem 90 Years Ago
The plunge in nutrients in your produce over the last 30 to 50 years is bad enough.
But it is rapidly getting much worse.
Genetic hybrids are pushing nutrient values even lower.
We first began to know that there was a problem back in 1936.
A group of doctors introduced Document No. 264 to the floor of the United States Senate.
It was a dire warning that the mineral content of the soil was eroding.
Vegetables were losing their power and people were at risk.
Unfortunately, Congress did nothing.
So today, we’re feeling the effects…
For instance, just look at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) nutritional values for fruits and vegetables today compared to 1975.6
Here’s the loss of vitamins and minerals:
- Apples: Vitamin A is down 41%
- Sweet peppers: Vitamin C is down 31%
- Watercress: Iron is down 88%
- Broccoli: Calcium and vitamin A are down 50%
- Cauliflower: Vitamin C is down 45%, vitamin B1 is down 48%, and vitamin B2 is down 47%
- Collard greens: Vitamin A is down 45%, potassium is down 60%, and magnesium is down 85%
According to USDA’s own numbers, the vitamin and mineral content has dramatically plummeted — in just 30 years!
Notice minerals like iron and magnesium have dropped by more than 80 percent.
That’s from commercial farming technology and powerful fertilizers that practically sterilize the soil — leaving it with little to no mineral content.
If the soil doesn’t have minerals, there’s no way for vegetables to absorb them.
I wasn’t the only one to realize your fruits and vegetables don’t pack the nutritional punch they used to.
A report from the University of Texas in Austin, also tracked the decline of nutrients in produce.
They reported findings at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in St. Louis.
They found significant drops in a wide range of produce across the board, including a 20% decline in vitamin C and a 38% plunge in vitamin B2.
It’s causing us to become nutritionally bankrupt.
This lack of nutritious foods is causing a health crisis in the U.S.
Modern diseases that never affected our ancestors — chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and dementia — are directly linked to low nutrient levels.
A 2017 study found that 90% of Americans fail to meet the most basic recommendations of plant nutrients7 — and 30% are at risk of at least one vitamin deficiency.
And a staggering 303,600,000 Americans — 92% — fail to meet their most basic nutritional needs.8
- Recent studies have found that worldwide, a lack of vegetable-based nutrients leads to almost 800,000 deaths from heart disease and 200,000 deaths from stroke each year.
- Too little fruit nutrients result in 500,000 deaths from heart disease every year and over one million stroke deaths.9
- Additional studies indicate that even a modest increase in consumption of plant nutrients could help prevent type II diabetes.10
Get More Nutrients from Your Produce In 3 Easy Steps
When it comes to getting the most nutrients out of your fruits and vegetables, this is what I do for myself and my family — and what I recommend for my patients:
- Pick locally grown organic produce from a family farm.
Food that’s grown close by has more nutrients than foods that have to be transported long distances.
Local produce is allowed to ripen naturally, while food that travels long distances is picked before it’s ripe.
Big Agra’s mega farms harvest their crops before they’ve ripened.
But allowing produce to ripen naturally — while it’s still in the dirt — allows more nutrients to develop.
And further studies have shown that vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and many other important nutrients decrease as fresh food ages.
Today, it’s easier than ever to get food fresh from a small farm delivered right to your door — within hours of being picked.
Farmers’ markets continue to grow in popularity and numbers, making it easier than ever to find and purchase locally grown foods.
If there’s none nearby, look for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in your area.
I belong to one, and I can honestly say the food that’s delivered to my house is almost as good as what I grew up eating on my grandparent’s farm.
- Add healthy fats.
If you don’t add a little healthy fat to your salad or side of broccoli, your body can’t absorb all the nutrients it would otherwise.
Researchers at Iowa State University proved this point… They had students eat greens and tomatoes with low-fat dressing, fat-free dressing, or olive oil.
Blood samples were taken before and after each meal.
The bloodwork revealed that people who ate the fat-free or low-fat dressings didn’t absorb the beneficial carotenoids from the salad.
Only when they had eaten the oil-based dressing did they get the nutrients.11
In addition to olive oil, I recommend coconut oil, walnut oil and grape seed oil.
- Don’t overcook — or undercook — your veggies.
It’s a myth that eating raw vegetables is always healthier.
It depends on the food.
Some produce is most nutritious uncooked, while other kinds need heat to bring out their nutrients.
For example, to release the antioxidant lycopene, tomatoes need to be heated.
But steaming and boiling destroys vitamins B and C in foods like collard greens and kale. Vegetables that are best cooked include asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes.
Those best eaten raw include onions, and red peppers.
Supplement To Meet — And Exceed — Your Basic Nutritional Needs
As I mentioned earlier, only 8% of Americans meet the minimum recommended daily allowances of their essential nutrients.
But… It’s important to note that the RDA is only the minimum, not the amount of a nutrient you need for your best health.
Nobel laureate Linus Pauling said, “Recommended daily allowances only give levels of vitamins and minerals that will prevent death or serious illness from vitamin deficiency.
To get real health benefits from vitamins, you need to get more than just the minimal recommended amounts.”
I have taken a multivitamin nearly every day for 30 years and you should too.
Many multivitamin manufacturers now have formulas that include a wide range of anti-oxidants, which can simplify your routine.
I have supplemented every day for 40 years.
These are the supplements I think everyone should take:
■ CoQ10. This is one of the most important supplements you can take.
Benefits of this antioxidant include treating and preventing heart failure and diabetes; protection against certain kinds of cancer; strengthening mitochondria; protecting the brain against oxidative damage; slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; and protecting lungs and increasing pulmonary function.
Take 50 to 100 mg a day of the ubiquinol form. It’s eight times more powerful.
■ DHA. This omega-3 fat can prevent or improve chronic conditions associated with aging, including: heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, depression, arthritis, and inflammation.
You need between 600 and 1,000 mg of DHA daily.
I recommend getting DHA from squid.
Sometimes called calamari oil, it contains more DHA than fish oil alone.
■ Vitamin D3. The sunshine vitamin helps prevent heart disease, autoimmune diseases like MS, depression, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic illness.
It also strengthens your bones, boosts immunity, reduces inflammation, and helps with weight loss.
I recommend at least 1,000 IUs a day, but it’s likely you will need 5,000 IUs or more.
Take the form of vitamin D3 called cholecalciferol. I
t’s the same vitamin D3 that your body produces.
■ Vitamin C. Humans used to make this nutrient, but we no longer do.
Yet it helps manage high blood pressure, protects your heart, reduces cancer risk, prevents anaemia, protects your memory, and boosts immunity.
You need at least 5,000 mg a day.
Today, we’re lucky if we get 200 mg to 300 mg.
I recommend you take liposomal-encapsulated vitamin C. Liposomal is a technique that wraps the vitamin C molecule in a thin layer of phospholipid fat to boost absorption 98%.
■ B vitamin complex. There are typically eight B vitamins in a B-vitamin complex.
These vitamins convert nutrients into energy, protect and repair DNA, produce hormones, regulate fat and carbohydrate metabolism, produce red and white blood cells, promote normal brain function and prevent Alzheimer’s, improve immunity, balance blood sugar, lower stroke and heart disease risk, and protect telomeres.
Look for a high-quality B complex.
■ Magnesium. I call this mineral the “missing link” to good health.
It’s a potent weapon that prevents — and treats — more than 20 diseases of the modern world.
Diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, Parkinson’s, fatigue, osteoporosis, migraines and thyroid disease.
I recommend taking between 600 mg and 1,000 mg a day.
■ Vitamin K2. This vitamin helps skin and bone health, improves brain function, boosts immunity, fights inflammation, and reduces your risk of heart disease.
But studies now show that K2 is a powerful stem cell regulator that supercharges mesenchymal bone marrow stem cells.
Look for vitamin K2 in the form of menaquinone-7.
It’s much more bioactive than menaquinone-4.
I recommend up to 90 mcg a day taken with your meal.
Finally, choose a quality multivitamin: I say this because there are a lot of bad multivitamins out there.
The most popular one in the world — I won’t mention the name — is the worst one I’ve ever found.
It’s pure junk. It’s just chemicals and minimal doses.
- 2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/are-you-wasting-moneyon-supplements
- Global Soil Degradation Report. GRID-Arendal
- Heinrich, Elmer. The Root of All Disease. TRC Nutritional Laboratories, Inc. 2000.
- Vegetables without Vitamins. Life Extension Magazine. March 2001.
- Lee-Kwan SH, et al. “Disparities in State-Specific Adult Fruit and Vegetable Consumption – United States, 2015.” MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017 Nov 17;66(45):1241-7.
- Bird JK, et al. Risk of deficiency in multiple concurrent micronutrients in children and adults in the United States. Nutrients. 2017;9(7):655.
- 9. Miller V, et al. “FS01-01-19 – Estimated Global, Regional, and National Cardiovascular Disease Burdens Related to Fruit and
- Vegetable Consumption: An Analysis from the Global Dietary Database.” 2019. Presented at the American Society for Nutrition in Baltimore, MD.
- “Higher fruit, vegetable…intake linked to lower risk of diabetes.” BMJ. 2020.
- 12. Iowa State University. Researcher finds further evidence that fats and oils help to unlock full nutritional benefits of veggies. https://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2017/10/09/saladvegetablesandoil. Accessed on December 13, 2018.