Supplement Use: When, Why, Which

Image by Ano Lobb.

As most people who read this blog know, I am anti-drug and anti- vaccine, and really, anti-medical-community in general. A few, though, have asked about my stance on supplements, so I thought I’d address that issue. Do we use supplements, which, and why?

Only As Needed

The answer is yes — we do, at times, use supplements. We do not, as some do, take several everyday. I know people who take a few dozen different supplements every single day, to add to their diet. I don’t believe this is necessary, since, as one reader pointed out, you should ideally get everything you need from your diet. Of course, this the IDEAL and it doesn’t always happen.

There are certain situations that I feel call for supplements. The first is in the case of illness. Many times, people lose their appetites during illness because the body is too busy fighting off the illness to worry about digestion and other normal processes (and so you can get extra sleep/rest). But this is the very time when you need a boost, so your body can fight off the illness. Vitamin C, for example, is an antioxidant that can really help to fight off colds or infections. It would be difficult to take enough food to get a large enough dose of vitamin C (not that you shouldn’t drink orange juice or tea with lemon, for example), so a supplement can help.

Another case is when diet and environment are not sufficient. For example, vitamin D in the northern climates in the winter. We make vitamin D in response to sunlight on our bare skin, but there is not much sunlight, and we don’t usually go outdoors without most of our skin covered in the winter. Vitamin D from food sources is generally not adequate, either. It is easy to become deficient, so in this case we need supplements.

A third case is if there are known deficiencies. We had Bekah tested awhile back and found she was deficient in B12, among other things. It wasn’t that she wasn’t getting adequate food sources (she eats a lot of grass-fed beef and other meat, the primary sources of B12), but that she wasn’t absorbing it well. So, supplementation was necessary.

Why Supplements Vs. Drugs

So, WHY do I think supplementation is correct in these situations, but drugs are not? It’s really quite simple. Our bodies need these nutrients to survive and thrive. Being deficient is a serious problem, and we need to correct that deficiency, whether it is something we’ve tested for or suspect based on environmental factors. On the other hand, we do not need drugs to survive. We can never be deficient in, say Lipitor. It is not a required building block for life. My goal is to provide our bodies with what we need to thrive, based on God’s design. Drugs do not fall in that category; supplements do. Supplements can be nature’s medicine to help us heal. Drugs…well, they are poison to the body. They kill something that is in the body (the illness), but they are not specific and they also kill good gut flora too. Supplements will not do this, they will support the body’s natural healing.

That said, it’s important to select supplements carefully. Man-made supplements or food fortified with man-made supplements are basically useless. Our bodies don’t absorb them well. The best supplements are based on whole foods. Cod liver oil, for example, is a great source of vitamins A and D and is absorbed well. The quality of the supplement is paramount. I can’t advise on particular supplements to buy (brands or types) really, so please do research with sources you trust before selecting your supplements.

Do you use supplements? Why or why not? If you do, what types do you use and when?


  1. says

    Nathan and I take a multi-vitamin (I have a hard time getting calcium and iron) and a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement daily (or at least as often as we remember to). We're being run ragged right now (literally – we're averaging 5 miles or so a day running) and both of us have had joint problems. I've had shoulder problems for a while (had surgery on one of them), and Nathan's had knee problems. The problem with glucosamine and chondroitin is that they aren't found in edible parts of food – I don't really want to chew on, say, the shell part of the shellfish, so we supplement it. Beyond that, we just try to eat as much fresh as we can for the most part when we're eating at home (about 3 nights a week average; between praise band rehearsal with dinner provided by the chapel, Bible study with dinner provided by the chapel, getting together with the couple that's discipling us, etc., we're not eating at home as much as I'd like, but we make do).

  2. says

    I obviously take a prenatal vitamin daily, but I also take extra calcium (I tend to have lots of joint issues when pregnant, specifically in my hips), magnesium (to help me sleep at night, not daily), vitamin C (1000 mg–midwife recommended and for immune protection), probiotics, a fish oil/DHA and vitamin E occasionally. A lot! LOL

    Cam takes a daily Flintstones, plus extra vitamins C (500mg) and D (800IU), an Omega-3 (200mg) and a calcium (200mg). Outside of flu season we will most likely discontinue use of the extra vits C & D, as he tends to stay pretty healthy and is outside (un-sunscreened) a lot.

  3. Carrie says

    @kate- In a post from probably over a year ago you linked a document with the “good” and “bad” names of various vitamins (like the good b12 as methycobalamin). I couldn’t pin it because it didn’t have an images and I couldn’t find it when I searched your site. If you have that link could you link it here too? Thanks:)

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