‘If your diet is good why do you take all those supplements?’

I was asked a question months ago ‘if your diet is so good why do you need to take all those supplements?’ and I promised I’d answer it properly and I still haven’t, so here goes. 

The standard NHS advice: ‘Most people should get all the nutrients they need by having a varied and balanced diet’ now has a little caveat added: ‘although some people may need to take extra supplements’. Slowly but surely, one by one, supplements, the latest one being vitamin D, are being recommended to us. 

In the old days, we had the RDA (now called NRV – nutrient reference value) of vitamins and minerals, which was essentially the lowest dose of vitamins and minerals necessary to prevent nutrient deficiency diseases; diseases like rickets (vitamin D) scurvy (vitamin C) and pellagra (vitamin B3). 

But does being free of disease mean that we’re enjoying optimal health? No of course not, we want to feel as well and as vibrant as we possibly can! So what is good health, what does it mean? This is how the WHO (World Health Organization) defines it: ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’.

Wow! And great, but what’s that got to do with skin? 

The outward signs of both scurvy and pellagra involve the skin. And our skin, the skin on the outside of us, is like a mirror of the skin on the inside of us. If everything is healthy on the inside then everything also tends to look healthy on the outside, and our skin glows. Skin problems, including eczema, rashes and acne, mean that we need to work on our health from the inside out.

And that’s just what we’re all doing with HBD! 

But before HBD maybe our diet left a bit to be desired. Maybe we ate too many carbs and sugar - and depleted ourselves of B vitamins, vitamin, C, magnesium and zinc – in the process. And maybe we ate too little in the way of healthy fats and good protein. And maybe we didn’t drink enough water. And we probably didn’t sleep enough. And we might have taken antibiotics. 

And we’ve all had a year of feeling stressed out and missing our friends and worrying about the future. And all those factors, including stress, increase our need for antioxidants, vitamin and minerals. 

Whatever the official advice is, I believe that most of us could do with a little extra support in the form of supplements and that’s why, despite having a good diet, I take them every day.

Next week we’ll talk specific nutrients but meantime let’s keep drinking the water and eating the HBD way. And let’s do what we can to get enough sleep and to get better at handling stress.

Love Px


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