Supplements – Friend or Foe?

Last week I was listening to a web interview with an expert on food supplementation, via a well-known longevity information provider in the USA. This gentleman was not totally impartial, since he has produced his own range of food supplements, but the information he put forward nonetheless rang completely true.

It must now be for at least 18 years that I have been advising people to avoid all synthetic and individual isolated supplements, because we can absolutely never replicate everything that is found in nature’s bounty. There are even those who go as far as to say that we should never take any supplement, whole food-based or otherwise, because we can get everything we need form our food. This is a sentiment which I do not agree with at all, knowing how nutritionally depleted our soils have become even in the last 50 years. Commercial farming has had a devastating effect on the levels of minerals in our soil; just to cite one example, only 3% of farmland in the UK contains any selenium at all, and selenium is just one of the 92 minerals that we ideally need our food to contain.

I was delighted to hear that the expert being interviewed informed us that we should only ever take supplements that are made from whole, minimally processed plants (amen to that!), and pointed out an interesting finding regarding calcium supplementation. 25 years ago, he states, it was discovered that individual isolated calcium supplements increased bone loss, the exact opposite of what we are usually trying to achieve by taking the calcium in the first place. This is in addition to the recently published studies which show that taking calcium in isolation increases the risk of heart attack by 30%.

So why is it, as I stated in my lecture in London only last week, that the current general recommendation for treatment of osteoporosis is calcium pills and biphosphonates? The medical model for this disease, like many others, is broken. The calcium pills cause further bone loss, the biphosphonates increase the risk of femoral fractures, and both come with unacceptable side effects. For my take on what we need to do for bone health, click on the link below:

… and give your individual, isolated, synthetic supplements away to someone you don’t like.

Would you like my opinion on your supplements? Leave a comment below stating what you use and I would be happy to let you know what I think.

About Max Tuck

Hippocrates Health Educator. Long term living foods vegan. Athlete, lecturer, author of four books (with the 5th coming soon) and firm advocate of healthy living.
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2 Responses to Supplements – Friend or Foe?

  1. Song Cory says:

    Bone loss can be prevented by taking calcium and magnesium supplements. Milk is also a great source of calcium and magnesium specially the fortified ones. ;,;,*

    Have a great day!

    • Max Tuck says:

      I am not sure where you are getting your information from, but from all the research I have conducted into bone health for the past 14 years, I have found the exact opposite of your statement to be true.
      Milk contains calcium, but is a poor source of bioavailable calcium, meaning that humans do not actually assimilate it, even thought it might be present. The calcium to magnesium ratio in milk is very poor; this means that magnesium levels are actually quite low in relation to calcium and this is a secondary factor in preventing assimilation of calcium from milk into the bone matrix. Milk is therefore absolutely not something that will strengthen bone density, and helps to explain why countries that have the highest consumption of dairy products also have the highest incidence of osteoporosis.
      Could you provide me with a link to studies in peer-reviewed journals to support your statement that calcium and magnesium supplements aid in bone mineralisation, without causing adverse effects such as increasing the incidence of heart attacks, that calcium supplements are known to do?
      There are more than 20 nutrients so far discovered that are essential for bone mineralisation. To focus on just calcium and magnesium is a huge mistake, but one very often repeated by pharmaceutical companies and supplement manufacturers who have, unfortunately, not differentiated between individual isolated minerals and whole foods that the body will recognise and assimilate.
      Please see my “Strong Bones for Life” lecture stream via the following link for more information on this issue:
      Although I disagree with your comments, thank you for your input and taking the time to contact me.

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