The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showed that more than half of American adults are taking dietary supplements, including herbal extracts, multivitamins, and minerals. It marked an 11 percent increase in less than two decades, from 42 percent in 1988 to 53 percent in 2006.
Americans spent almost 27 billion dollars on supplements in 2009. But more than taking dietary supplements, it’s a healthy lifestyle that plays a bigger role in your health.
The United States now ranks 49th in life expectancy worldwide, a far cry from fifth place in 1950. Between 1980 and 2000, American life expectancy at birth has increased five years for men and three years for women; but the U.S., despite its massive spending on healthcare and supplements, has a lower average life span compared to other industrialized nations.
An unhealthy lifestyle is one of the main factors blamed for this decline in longevity. (Link)
Supplements can’t compensate for a deficient diet or other poor lifestyle habits, Dr. Mercola stresses.
A healthy diet based on foods that are appropriate for your unique Nutritional Type and regular exercise are two pillars of optimal health. If you don’t eat right and don’t exercise, you won’t be able to fully experience the benefits of the supplements that you’re taking. Supplements are meant to support healthy habits, not replace them.
Things to Consider Before Buying Dietary Supplements
According to the CDC, multivitamins are the most popular dietary supplements and are taken by 39 percent of adults likely as a way to compensate for a poor diet.
Dr. Mercola warns that you’ll only be wasting your money if you take synthetic and megadose vitamins. Synthetic alternatives to whole foods are called isolates. Your body will only absorb and use a small percentage of an isolate form of vitamins and minerals. There are also a number of side effects, depending on the quality of the isolate.
When you take megadoses of synthetic vitamins, your small intestine forms a barrier called a biofilm, which prevents the absorption of these excessively concentrated ingredients. Studies show that your body treats isolates like xenobiotics or foreign substances. Your urine often turns into a shade of bright yellow when you take synthetic vitamins because your body is simply flushing these foreign substances out, Dr. Mercola explainsIf you want to take multivitamins, your best option would be whole food supplements. The nutrients found within these whole food supplements are highly complex structures that combine a variety of enzymes, coenzymes, antioxidants, trace elements, activators, and many other unknown or undiscovered factors that work together synergistically, effectively supporting your health.*
Take control of your health by choosing the highest quality foods possible and not by buying every available supplement you can get your hands on. If you’re already leading a healthy lifestyle and are looking for more ways to boost your health, the odds are you would likely benefit from taking some dietary supplements. Dr. Mercola found that most people will benefit from taking krill oil (a high-quality animal-based omega-3 supplement), astaxanthin (a powerful antioxidant), probiotics, and whey protein.*