View Full Version : Is it really necessary to take a lot of supplements while being raw?
08-23-2005, 08:10 AM
I take some as added benefit to what I am doing, but the other day, I was in the health food store and the owner there knows that I follow mostly raw foods, and he was telling me that I also needed to start taking calcium-magnesium along with a digestive enzyme vitamin and there was some other vitamin as well. I can't remember what it was now...but is all that really necessary? I think I take enough as it is right now (A, C, E and Fennugreek) DH and I both don't know that we want to keep on increasing our vitamin intake. DH made the comment yesterday that we'd have to stop eating to take all those vitamins because it can get expensive and that's where our food money would be going (the ownder alone spends around $5000 on vitamins per year) I just thought as long as I am doing raw, I am getting a lot more of the nutrients I need than if I wasn't doing raw, and thus, I don't need to be taking 20+ vitamins a day.
If you are strictly vegan, then you ideally need to supplement with B12. Also, it is worth knowing that the trace mineral cobalt is useful in allowing the body to metabolize B12. Cobalt is often absent from commerical produce, owing to depletion of the topsoil through overuse of soil (not allowing fallow periods for the soil to regenerate, and the use of pesticides which destroy the living creatures which would ordinarily nourish the soil). Therefore, cobalt is another reason to go for organic wherever you can.
Dark green leafy vegetables are very high in assimilable calcium so, provided you are consuming a good quanitity of these on an almost daily basis (e.g. Kale, Broccoli), then calcium supplementation will be unnecessary. Magnesium may be found in various sources, including nuts and seeds.
Sea vegetables, in moderation, are a healthy addition to the diet, since they are very high in essential and trace minerals.
The enzyme issue is a very contentious one - the truth is that although raw foods are clearly extremely healthy if consumed correctly, the enzymes which are spared by not cooking do not necesarily make it through the digestive tract undamaged - science has yet to definitively unravel this mystery. Nonetheless, going raw is an excelent place to start, and it's wise to ensure a healthy amount of bacteria in the gut (also assists B12 synthesis) to make absorption of nutrients efficient. Fermented foods can be a good way of achieving this. Kefir (need not be dairy-based, if you are vegan) and sauerkraut are just two of many possible options. See the links I posted about Kefir in this post (http://www.rawfoodtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?p=52701#post52701)
..and about fermented vegetables etc. here (http://www.rawfoodtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5241&highlight=wild+fermentation).
It is not necessary to take a host of vitamin supplements, and in fact, this can be decidedly unhealthy (I say this as someone to found myself on that route when I began to alter my lifestyle in a healthier direction, only to find that they made me feel no better and that the more I read on the topic, the more evident it became as to the reasons why all those supplements were not making me feel better). I experienced kidney pains when I was regularly taking potent multivitamins and I also suspect they contributed to my calcium deficiency problems (which I am now addressing with whole foods alone!). Excessive synthetic vitamin A intake can severely affect your calcium levels, believe it or not. Natural vitamin A (beta carotene), found in whole foods, may be converted by the body to vitamin A, but you cannot realistically overdose on beta carotene because the body only converts what it needs to vitamin A and no more.
Synthetic vitamin C lacks copper and other elements which are present in natural sources of the vitamin. What this means is that the body has to draw the missing elements from the body in order to address the synthetic vitamin C. Again, this can actually lead to deficiencies! Amongst others, David Wolfe discusses this issue.
My advice is to be very discerning about what you supplement with, and to go for whole foods wherever possible. If you believe yourself to be vitamin deficient (generally-speaking, unlikely, on a wisely-structured predominantly-raw, wholefood diet, then you might try looking into 'superfoods', such as bee pollen, green algae, wheatgrass juice, seed sprouts, nut sprouts, grain sprouts etc.). Note that the green algaes and sea vegetables contain B12 analogues which fool the body's B12 receptors, while not satisfying the true B12 requirements of the body, so these are ok to consume in sensible amounts but, again, will not take care of your B12 requirements on a vegan diet, so B12 supplementation is a legitimate avenue to go down. Gabriel Cousens discusses this issue quite often. It's a very contentious one, though, so be careful not to get sucked in too deep. I supplement with B12, but only moderately. This isn't rocket science so use your common sense and remember to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, each in moderation, and predominantly raw, and you will basically be on the right track.
08-23-2005, 08:40 AM
Curious how the owner looks for spending $5000 a year on vitamins... :rolleyes:
Sharon in Colorado
08-23-2005, 08:45 AM
IMO :) - Be careful when taking the advice of health food store 'experts'. Most supplements are toxic to a body, as they are second hand nutrients and the body usually can't recognize them. Using supplementation may cause your body to build up plaque as protection, thus inhibiting absorption of the true nutrients your raw food is providing.
Some exceptions are supplements that are truly whole food in nature and are freeze dried, etc.
Supplementation is best when you are using it for true defencies, something that a blood test can determine, otherwise you could be throwing your money and possibly health down the drain. Make sure you know the facts about your own body before listening to these folks.
08-23-2005, 10:04 AM
SedonaSun, I'm not sure...but he did show me a list of the vitamins he takes on a daily basis. Holy Cow! Front and back of a sheet of paper!! I'm sure all those aren't cheap vitamins, either!
I will admit that he looks good and healthy for his age - he is 72 but doesn't look over 50. I was surprised when I found that out. You would have never guessed him to be 72 because he's so full of energy and life. I don't know if it's the vitamins or how he eats that makes him that healthy...
But I won't go overboard on taking a lot of vitamins. It's like I was telling the dh the other day 'I get a lot of my nutrients just from eating as close to 100% raw as I possibly can'.
Just to reiterate:- Wholefoods are not the poor relations of synthetic, isolated, vitamins - they are superior in virutally every way. A balanced, varied, moderate diet is infinitely more nutritious than the entire output of vitamin/mineral supplement companies the world over. Anything man produces is little more than folly, in the bigger scheme of things, no matter how good the intention.
It is also very important to understand that a healthy diet is not just about consuming healthy foods - it is equally as important to eliminate anti-nutrients which tax the body's systems, such as refined and denatured foods. Francis Pottenger and Weston Price demonstrated this with stunning clarity in their landmark studies.
Nature knows how to nourish nature. Trust in nature by learning how to nourish yourself properly with wholefoods and, provided you also address emotional and physical health with excercise and meditation etc., you will very probably live as long as the top 10 percentile of the population, and in good health.
You may or may not need supplements. It depends on your current health and diet, and whether or not there are any symptoms of disease present.
I eat 4 supplements almost every day, all from Natural Choice Products at www.1inhealth.com
I love their digestive enzymes, probiotics, green superfood, and I eat a B-12 supplement. The enzymes are important if you still eat cooked foods.
You forgot one posted by Alissa=>
You forgot one posted by Alissa=>
Darn it!! 'The one that got away...' ;) :D
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