i'm a pretty curious person, however, i'm not a scientist and have no educational background in science other than pre-med bio back in college(accidentally signed up for it but pulled a B:)). since i've been doing this paleo thing i've had a myriad of health benefits eating in a way that is large on eliminating the causes of modern illnesses and trying to get the nutrients that are lacking in whole food form as much as possible. the elimination diet that kurt harris, robb wolf, sisson, kresser and all of the other major paleo guys preach makes sense to me on many levels- simplify the equation and it makes the problem that much easier to solve.
lately, I've been starting to notice(maybe it's always been there but it seems to be more prevalent than a year ago) people going further and- outside of having specific, extraordinary problems- actually starting to add specific supplementation to their dietary regimen with hopes of, well, i'm not exactly sure. i'm not talking about vitamin d3 or very moderate levels of fish oil if you're still doing grain-fed or can't get adequate amounts of fish into your diet. what i'm referring to are the extraction of specific compounds and taking them above and beyond the levels of what's found in the course of an optimal diet.(reading the post on resveratrol got me to writing, although i've seen posts on other supplementation that sparked the thinking on this).
the main attraction of the paleo diet to me is the view that based on science, this is the most conservative approach to diet that one can take and the vast majority of an individual's ailments can be rectified by pressing the reset button on what they're ingesting. another principle that i've internalized is that nutrients and other items from whole foods are far superior in doseage and natural buffering that anything extracted unnaturally and given in larger doses than found in nature in almost all cases.
I'm not a scientist or a doctor, just an observer and practicing participant who just wonders if the paleo movement starts moving past the elimination diet conservatism that is the crux of the paleo movement now, is that a good thing?
the post on resveratrol is what pushed me to write this question but that was just the most recent in a series of questions in increasing frequency about specified ingestion of compounds taken without whole foods. i'm questioning the wisdom of it since the one thing i've seen while researching is that almost every miracle antioxident or whatever compound is the life-changing serum dujour, sooner or later, it almost always come back to there being a downside.
I worked hard to get off all of my meds for blood pressure and edema. I am not interested in replacing those pills with other pills.
I feel a little less "Paleo" because I don't take Vitamin D or fish oil and can't join in on those questions. I get blood tests at least twice a year and I have not seen any deficiencies that make me want to change my stance on supplements, though. I just do my best to get everything from real food.
Plus, I'd rather spend my money on improving my food sources than spending money on supplements.
Well, it's thought that a substantial amount of the soil was washed out to sea as a result of flooding linked to the last glaciation. Certain areas that are highly goitrogenic tend to be associated with that glaciation. If iodine and selenium were lost, so too might other minerals. Add the fact that our fertilization protocols have been heavy on NPK and light on the traces, and you have a food supply that it is nutrient-depleted when compared to what our predecessors may have had access to.
You can cover most of your bases by simply eating organ meats frequently, but you're not going to get things like iodine in any substantial quantities from it. Adding in some kelp can take care of that for you. It's so much easier to eat offal than try to figure out how much chromium or vanadium we actually need in our diets. We'll likely never really know.
Personally, I supplement with 4000IU of D3 (for 3/5ths of the year), 300mg of Mg citrate and about 300mg of food-sourced vitamin C. I have a bunch of foods that I eat in particular dosages as though they're supplements, but that's kind of a gray area. The best sources of Mg also happen to have a lot of oxalates that make it less bioavailable, so I'm not sure how much of the nutrition we're actually absorbing.
There's a fellow named Tom Barr who is well-respected in aquatic plant circles who has come up with a nutrient dosing protocol called the "estimative index." In short, he advocates overshooting a bit on all of the nutrients and then doing a 50% water change every week. The rationale is that you won't have, for example, boron rate-limiting your plant growth, and you do a huge water change frequently in order to ensure that you don't get wacky algae growth or poison your fish. We don't have the luxury of water-changes, but we do have homeostatic mechanisms that purge slight excesses in minerals. Thus we can overshoot slightly without it being problematic. Fat soluble vitamins are another thing entirely and must be more carefully managed to avoid toxicity.
I do agree that highly dense extracts of novel substances such as resveratrol are likely a bad idea. It's basically a pharmaceutical approach to supplementation and the end product is at best ineffective, but possibly dangerous. None of us are walking around with a resveratrol deficiency, so supplementation doesn't really make sense. A lot of us are walking around with mineral deficiencies, however.
Whether you agree with Michael Pollan or not, there's a lot of truth in his core mantra, "Eat real food." There's definitely something to be said for the synergies between nutrients, while taking nutrients via supplementation can have different effects on a person. The min-maxing folks in the 4-Hour Body group aren't the only ones ignoring the difference between nutrients in whole foods versus in supplements, as there's an enormous amount of supplementation talk in the paleo community, particularly among crossfitters.
Even fish oil is now on the discussion table; it seems you may be better off eating fish than supplementing with fish oil, particularly if your fish oil is of the "average" variety. One of Wolf's recent podcasts discussed this in more depth, and it just hammers home the idea that supplementation is simply not ideal compared to getting the real, natural thing.
I suspect that many of us came to paleo-type diets because of longstanding health issues. I did, to be sure (celiac disease-related stuff). In my zeal to make up for past dietary abuses, and egged on by my somewhat-of-a-nutjob doctor (a complete supplement freak, especially with respect to fish oil--he himself took 24 grams of the triple strength stuff daily), I began taking megadoses of just about everything under the sun. At one point I was taking large daily doses of cinnamon (12 grams), fish oil (15 grams), vitamin E (400 IU), garlic, vitamin C (2000 mg), magnesium (2000 mg), B-100 time-release (6 tablets!), D (5,000 IU), and calcium, not to mention multivitamins. I also experimented with stuff like aloe vera, glucosamine, kelp....
It's funny reading reviews of supplements on some of the sites I used to buy my supplements from. People write about how great some multivitamin or vitamin C tablet is. I found myself thinking, "I can't tell any difference, whether it's doing anything for me or not," at least for the most part. I must say that taking 6 B-100 tablets definitely has a cause-effect relationship that can be felt (it's not good--too much niacin makes me itchy). Also, taking upwards of four 500 mg magnesium tablets can have an explosive effect on one's digestion. But mostly, there was no difference. So I phased them out, except for magnesium and vitamin C, at drastically lowered doses. And the occasional vitamin D.
There is, and shouldn't be, any sort of paleo orthodoxy on this (or any topic really). But any food or supplement choices that are so ridiculously unsustainable, as my previous habits clearly were, should be critically evaluated. I mean, really, taking a dozen pills with a meal...not just too expensive, but too wasteful, and not necessary if one's diet is truly "together" and balanced.
Any obsession is problematic. You accept two exceptions: fish oil for those who can not find or afford pastured meat, and vitamin D. I agree with your exceptions, and would add that some minerals (say magnesium, calcium, or selenium) are often not present in our diet in the amounts we need. I understand this has been caused by the soils depletion, or because we are very good at cleaning (unlike our distant ancestors). Anyway if someone supplements with any of these minerals (to reach the levels we are supposed to have, but may not receive in our diets) I would not call it obsession, either.
I've gone back and forth on the issue. I have been "obsessed" with supplements for years but feel that it wasn't good for me. I'd plan my day around making sure I got all my supplements. I take cod liver oil, triglyceride fish oil, ala/l-carnitine. Other than that, I only take a post workout protein shake (mixed with raw milk). Basically, I eat as few processed foods as possible, get plenty of pastured meat and eggs, and try to get 1-2 cups of spinach per day.
I like this question very much. I see other posts on supplementation and I feel as though my diet should cover most of what these supplements are meant for.
I do however supplement with Vitamin D - especially in the winter, as there aren't many hours of daylight - and I'm at work for most of them. And winter really kicks my immune system, so any boost I can give myself if definitely a plus.
I really don't like taking pills though, probably because I'm rubbish at it - I always forget to take them(see profile - mother of a toddler). So I figure that if I can boost my diet so that it hits all my dietary needs that is so much better for me than pills, pils, pills. Not to mention it tastes better!
It's depends on your goal. Orthrexia exists in all things. For me paleo is evolution. For me to ignore good science is un paleo. Paleo is based upon eating and living based upon how we were designed. Last time I checked brain development is pretty human paleo..... just my humble opinion
I think paleo is playing off how the "alternative medicines" groups have been playing up vitamins and various supplements. Many medical colleges are putting money into quakery like traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, reiki, healing by touch, etc as "integrative medicine" and "complementary alternative medicine". ie. University of Maryland has reiki masters on staff.....
In these groups you will see a recommendation for massive quantities of supplements. Especially the ones following Dr. Oz's (and Oprah to and extent) stylings. These sort of promotions bridged into mainstream and apparently are spreading further.
Really annoys the doctors not in on the take. http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/
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