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The Why and How of Nutritional Supplements



By Jude LaClaire, Ph.D.


Let’s explore the complex terrain of nutritional supplements. I want to walk you through the reasons we need to take nutritional supplements and give you some guidelines for the task of finding helpful supplements you can trust.

Consider this. Fifty years ago one carrot would supply the same amount of zinc found in twenty carrots today. You’d have to eat twice as many vegetables to get the same amount of calcium you got twenty years ago.

The article, The Roadmap to Supplements, published by Beyond Health, tells us, “Premature harvesting, factory processing and other practices of agribusiness have dramatically reduced the nutritional quality of our food.” When the produce arrives at the store, picked before it is ripe and shipped, it is losing as much as eighty percent of its nutritional content.

The introduction of massive use of herbicides and pesticides began in the 1940s in this country. In 1962, Rachel Carson wrote and published Silent Spring, the origin of the modern environmental movement. This groundbreaking book gave us the scientific studies warning of the degradation of our soil, air and water. Over thirty years later, Our Stolen Future (1996) by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers, further explored the continued devastating damage done to the environment; animals, plants and humans, by manmade chemicals. 

I heard Theo Colborn speak at the Beyond Pesticides Conference (2001) about the effect of herbicides and pesticides as endocrine disruptors. The health of our planet and all the living beings that inhabit it are affected negatively by the use of destructive chemicals. The Roadmap to Supplements tells us, “While our food sources are diminishing in nutrients, there is an unprecedented burden of exposure to an increasing number of environmental toxins being placed in our bodies, dramatically increasing our need for nutrients.”

Let’s look at how you can choose nutritional supplements that work. First, look for Quality Assurance. Find products that have been manufactured at a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility. These facilities must comply with high standards. To assure that the raw materials are of high quality, confirm that the manufacturer has a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for each ingredient. Check to see if the product is certified by a third-party quality assurance organization. These organizations determine if supplements meet quality standards: NSF International, US Pharmacopeia, Consumer Lab, or Informed Choice.

These standards assure that the supplements are free from contamination and are accurately labeled. The article, How to Choose Nutritional Supplements That Work by Deane Alban states, “A study of 55 brands of vitamin D supplements found they contained between 9 percent  and 146 percent of what was listed on the label! Choosing supplements that meet quality standards guarantees the efficacy of the product. Cutting cost for lack of effectiveness saves you nothing.

What supplements should you be taking? The articles Roadmap to Supplements and The Fundamental Big Three by Lisa Everett Andersen and Shana Curtis Webb tell us that a good multi-vitamin with the sufficient vitamins and minerals and Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6) are a must for a person of any age. Formulas may be different for younger children. These two supplements are the foundation for good mental and physical health. 

Vitamin C is a great addition for almost anything. Linus Pauling, a winner of two Nobel prizes, one in Chemistry and one for Peace, was an advocate for the liberal use of Vitamin C. 

CoQ10 plays an important role in fighting free radicals, is a powerful antioxidant and helps support the cells that support our heart, liver, kidneys, and immune system. There are certainly many other important supplements that could benefit you.

My life and the lives of others have been made healthier, happier and more vibrant through the informed use of nutritional supplements. Choose well! You won’t ever regret spending more for the best products. Enjoy!


Evolving Magazine

Kansas City

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Jude LaClaire, Ph.D., LCPC, is a counselor, educator and author. For counseling appointments, seminars, training, speaking engagements or information on Neurobehavioral Programs or Imago Couple therapy call 913-322-5622. For more information about Jude LaClaire or the Kansas City Holistic Centre go to


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