Should you take supplements?

Dr. Linus Pauling, the two-time Nobel Prize winner, once said “You can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.”   If you know me at all, you know that I am a big proponent of nutrition and supplements. So should you take supplements? In my opinion, yes! But you should make sure you know what is really in your supplements before taking them.

As an herbalist and nutritionist for 20 years, I’ve worked in health food stores and I’ve been to supplement manufacturer’s businesses, and I can tell you for certain that some supplements are better than others.  All supplement manufacturers have to follow the USP–the United State Pharmacopoeia law. That law says if you can produce something in a laboratory that looks like nature, you can call it natural, no matter what it’s made of–including petroleum, sawdust, or coal.  With that in mind, you can buy supplements from Wal Mart, Family Dollar, Drugstores, and convenience stores. I would say 99% of those supplements will be ineffective or could be toxic, even if they are USP-compliant. What I recommend when you take a supplement is to make sure it’s an organic, food-based supplement with veggie caps or tablets.  Other capsules are made from gelatin, which is a byproduct from factory-farmed animals that can no longer be used for food.

Our body needs 17 vitamins, 106 minerals and Omega acids 3, 6, and 9.  In order for mineral supplements to be effective, the mineral can’t be in the supplement in isolation.  For example, you might see just calcium on the label, but a good food-based supplement will contain some whole-food ingredients or herbs that also contain minerals that aid in the absorption of the main ingredient, whereas lower-quality supplements may just contain an isolated mineral compound plus tablet fillers.

If you’re interested in high-quality supplements, some brands that I use and recommend are Mega Food, Garden of Life, Dr. Christopher, Dr. Mercola, and Dr. Richard Schultz.  If you need any kind of advice about supplements or nutrition, feel free to reach out! If you found this information helpful, please share it!


Jeff Miller is a fitness trainer and corrective exercise specialist with 20 years of experience in health and fitness as an herbalist and coach. He is owner Function Fitness ( and provides in home service.  He can be reached at 518-281-3772.


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