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Can a human thrive on just food alone? Or does he/she need supplements?

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  • Can a human thrive on just food alone? Or does he/she need supplements?

    I'd like to find out if one can really get all the nutrients the body requires, in the proper quantities, with a comprehensive nutrient-dense diet without having to relay on taking any supplements. I think that this would have to be determined from a scientific basis, through testing.

    I think that there is a lot of false data and confusion in existence regarding this subject due to supplement manufacturers, food manufacturers and providers, health food and supplement stores, etc.

    My plan will be to suspend all supplements (except for my digestive enzymes and HCL) for 3+ months... eat a well-balanced, nutrient-rich Paleo diet during this period... then go in for full quality testing (blood, urine, hair, hormone, etc.) to get a picture of the body's condition: mineral levels and ratios, vitamin levels, hormone levels, EFA levels (especially Omega 3) and ratios, and all the other blood metrics. That should let me know.

    Has anyone ever done anything like this? (I'd be very interested to know the results.)

    (By the way, my diet is composed of: meat, cold water selenium rich fish, oysters (zinc), poultry, offal, steamed vegetables, fermented vegetables, fruit, seaweed, non-nut/seed herbs and spices, water, coconut milk, coffee. All organic, pasture raised, non-GMO, no processed or packaged food, very rare any restaurant food. No grains, no dairy, no nuts, no seeds, no legumes.) So far, this is what I've worked out to be the best diet for a human body. Percentages of fat, protein and carbs vary per metabolic type, activity and weather.

  • #2
    Magnesium and D3 are he ones most often required through supplementation. Magnesium because of depleted soils for growing vegetables and D3 due to insufficient sun exposure or trouble producing D3. The others should be pretty easy to get with your diet described above.

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    • #3
      A worthy experiment. I'm mostly a supplement skeptic*, on the notion food contains molecules of yet-to-be discovered significance that are not replicated by manufacturers. I believe the Jaminet diet encourages suspending all supplements for a few weeks each year to establish a baseline.

      However, I'm also a skeptic of the indicated nutrient tests. Many of them have disputable accuracy & relevance due to the method and body location being measured. And, reference ranges carry a risk of false anxiety for some folks.

      It's possible a human functions "better" with a historically unprecedented intake of a given nutrient, though I'm wary of double edges. Using livestock as an example, modern specimens are "superior" with supplementation but also short-lived and impaired in other ways.

      *exceptions for Mg and winter D3 after experiencing direct benefit
      37//6'3"/185

      My peculiar nutrition glossary and shopping list

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      • #4
        Yes, it seems logical to me that even the highest quality supplement (meaning one that is whole organic non-GMO food based, no additives, etc.) may not be able to duplicate the actual vitamin, because it wouldn't have all the co-factors, synergistic elements, ratios and proportions of elements, etc. or other unknowns and "magic" that exists that we aren't, and may never be, aware of. (Example: let's say for Vit C -- actually eating acerola cherries, camu camu, green peppers and lemons versus taking a "whole food based and natural" supplement of concentrated acerola cherries).

        I also wonder if the MDR data (minimum daily requirement) is even accurate. A hypothetical example might be something like there being a published statement that "one needs at least 1,000 mg of Vit C per day, and needs to supplement in order to ensure that", when maybe just eating a green pepper that might only be "measured" to contain 150 mg of Vit C, actually and truly gives you MORE Vit C than you'd get from the supplement form because it is real Vit C and has all the necessary and magical cofactors and ingredients required for your body to truly absorb and assimilate it for true benefit and health. I know that some really high quality supplements work because I've witnessed alternative medicine doctors using them to help cure people of certain health conditions. And they are obviously a much better approach than using synthetic, Big Pharma medications. So they do play a valid role. Determining what that actual role is for oneself is an important point to accomplish. We need more neutral third party science, research and testing for more clarification and understanding of supplementation so we can determine its role. Also, I'm of the opinion that probably 75%+ of the supplements on the market are bogus, unhealthy, toxic (due to fillers, binders, excipients, etc.), contain false claims, unassimilable, etc. Only the super high quality, whole food based, minimally processed, non-excipient type supplements are safe to take (Premier Research Labs, Garden of Life, etc.).

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        • #5
          i supplement with d3 and magnesium citrate and am firmly in the camp of getting vitamins and minerals from whole foods. the bit about synergy and bioavailabity is what draws me. the ratio of minerals in a dozen oysters presents in just the way my body needs it. if i just start randomly taking zinc it can whack out everything else.

          as for testing? on what do they base "optimal" levels"? usrda's are guesses at best and insufficient at worst. a few years back i got a battery of blood work done. results from a ferritin test consider 12 to 150 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL) for females to be "normal". that's a wide range, no? my number was 15. the np insisted i was fine and *not* anemic because "look at the number", even though my body felt very much otherwise. (i had been anemic numerous times over the years as a vegetarian, but this was all from peri-menopause.) maybe an older woman would have felt fine at 15? i don't know, but i started doubling down on foods like liver and oysters.

          i think far more important is eliminating more "modern" demons from our diet -- like seed oils and highly processed grains. it sounds like your diet is truly dialed in at primal. if you have the money to throw at all these tests, i will happily read about your journey and n~1!
          Last edited by noodletoy; 05-01-2016, 10:14 AM.
          As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

          – Ernest Hemingway

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          • #6
            I studied minerals and vitamins and biochemistry of my own accord and through understanding subtle symptoms and what certain things do or should do if they are working right in your body...i started supplimenting a vitB complex50 and 3000ui to 5000ui of vitd3 (seasonal changes to dose due to latitude and sun angle for my seasonal depression) and a magnesium with potassium...i was able to go off all antidepressants and anxiety medications I relied on and didn't do well on 8 years ago.

            I think with good research, understanding your own needs and biochemistry functions. Supplimenting is beneficial to reach personal optimal health

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            • #7
              "Testing" can be difficult. It could take a long time for deficiency symptoms to surface. The human body has evolved to be very good at moving minerals and other nutrients around to optimize survival. In the process, the body may be cannibalizing one organ or function to optimize another that is more important for immediate survival. You may think all is fine, but you are sitting on a time bomb.

              That is why so many of the problems people have don't surface symptoms until later in life -- and why we call these "chronic conditions. "Metabolic syndrome is the classic case.

              The science here is very, very complicated and I think this is why we know a lot less than we think about human or any animal metabolism.

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              • #8
                Right. Tests are just "snapshots" of present time. And you have to use the most prestigious and dependable labs. To be more certain you should get your testing done simultaneously with the 3 top labs for a better chance of catching everything, etc. Regular testing every 6 months or every year would then give you a trend so that you can get a better idea of how you are doing and where you are heading. Expensive but, if 1) testing, 2) monitoring the body and 3) adjusting diet and supplements really aids in having a long healthy disease free life... the expense would be quite worth it in my estimation.

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                • #9
                  To say in a nutshell, considering the sad state of the world's unhealthy soils and population, proper supplementation can lead to a healthier life now and in the future.

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                  • #10
                    Well considering that we can be considered "soft" today compared to our ancestors of past. Our ancestors had no supplements, but then again, they probably weren't dealing with depleted soil, pesticides, and plastics everywhere.

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                    • #11
                      Our ancestors probably didn't live as long as we do either. Written history shows that, 3-4 centuries ago, man wasn't living on average past 35. I think written history goes back about 14,000 years (The Hindu Vedic Hymns). So who knows, maybe earlier in time, before recorded history, man was living less than 35 years... or maybe past 100 years. Civilization, law and order, sanitation, medical breakthroughs, supplementation and other key components might be what is responsible for our longer lives today.

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                      • #12
                        I agree that trying to obtain vitamin D and magnesium from food, alone, is futile. Unless you spend a lot of time in the ocean, absorbing magnesium chloride and in the sun stimulating D, supplementation may be your only options. However, I am skeptical of D3 supplementation so I try to get my sunshine. I'm too far from the ocean so I use magnesium chloride (magnesium oil) as my deodorant and for transdermal supplementation.
                        Stop by to visit at http://primalways.net
                        Old Paths ... New Journeys

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by hillbilly1212 View Post
                          Our ancestors probably didn't live as long as we do either. Written history shows that, 3-4 centuries ago, man wasn't living on average past 35. I think written history goes back about 14,000 years (The Hindu Vedic Hymns). So who knows, maybe earlier in time, before recorded history, man was living less than 35 years... or maybe past 100 years. Civilization, law and order, sanitation, medical breakthroughs, supplementation and other key components might be what is responsible for our longer lives today.
                          "not living past 35" includes infant mortality rates as nearly 1/2 children born did not live past age 5, thus badly skewing the average. if a person made it past that perilous age,life expectancy for grok was about the same as modern man.

                          http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-...ed-long-077889


                          Originally posted by John Caton View Post
                          I agree that trying to obtain vitamin D and magnesium from food, alone, is futile. Unless you spend a lot of time in the ocean, absorbing magnesium chloride and in the sun stimulating D, supplementation may be your only options. However, I am skeptical of D3 supplementation so I try to get my sunshine. I'm too far from the ocean so I use magnesium chloride (magnesium oil) as my deodorant and for transdermal supplementation.
                          i live in new england, so long, gloomy winters and short summers. even though it's now may? weather forecast is rain, fog and cloudy all week. i noticed a distinct health improvement when i began supplementing with d3. as always, ymmv.
                          As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

                          – Ernest Hemingway

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                          • #14
                            "One" may get all they need from food alone without supplementation.....but another "one" may not.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by noodletoy View Post
                              "not living past 35" includes infant mortality rates as nearly 1/2 children born did not live past age 5, thus badly skewing the average. if a person made it past that perilous age,life expectancy for grok was about the same as modern man.

                              http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-...ed-long-077889




                              i live in new england, so long, gloomy winters and short summers. even though it's now may? weather forecast is rain, fog and cloudy all week. i noticed a distinct health improvement when i began supplementing with d3. as always, ymmv.
                              On the otherhand, Grok had predators to contend with. We, however, have automobiles to watch for so maybe the risks are similar.

                              I have mixed thoughts regarding D3 at higher latitudes. It is certainly a reason to keep those cold water fish in the diet, as I know you do.
                              Stop by to visit at http://primalways.net
                              Old Paths ... New Journeys

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