Two main reasons: we are not getting enough of what we need from the food that we eat, and we are living in a world that requires more nutrients than ever before.
Would you build a house without 2x4s? Then why do we think we can build healthy cells in the body without the essential nutrients we need?
In 1936 a group of researchers presented a report to the U.S. Senate, stating that due to soil depletion, they had measured a decrease in essential minerals in the produce that Americans consume.
Way back, a long time ago, in the early books of the Old Testament, God laid out some rules for how the people of Israel should farm the land. God told them that they should rotate the crops every year (meaning that they should not grow the same crops in the same field year after year), and every 7th year they should let the field rest. In that 7th year, wild animals would graze on the resting fields, re-fertilizing the soil and restoring the essential nutrients that would make healthy crops for the next 6 years.
We don’t do that any more here in America. Yes, farmers are required to rotate crops, but if they rotate between crops that are very similar, it’s not providing the benefit that the rule intends. Wheat and corn are very similar in the nutrients that they need, so if farmers are only ever alternating between grain products, they are not seeing the benefit of crop rotation.
If they alternated between very different products, it would be more beneficial. But money drives everything, and when a farmer has invested a million dollars into buying equipment to harvest wheat, he is going to try to plant other products that are very similar to wheat so that he can use the same equipment when it comes time to harvest.
Additionally, fields are never allowed to go fallow, unless a farmer is willing to reduce his income by $50,000 or more each year. Again, money drives everything. But our produce is suffering.
In 2002 the American Medical Association released a report stating that Americans would need to eat 17-22 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to reach their basic daily requirements. Most Americans are struggling to eat the previously recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, much less seventeen!
If the nutrients are not in the soil, they will never be in the produce that comes from that soil. If we aren’t getting the nutrients we need from the food that we eat, we have to get those nutrients from supplements.
On the other side of the problem, our environment today is filled with challenging toxic chemicals that humans have never had to deal with before. Prior to 150 years ago, humans had never breathed in car exhaust before. Humans had never breathed in bleach fumes before. Humans had never been exposed to PVC products before.
Our bodies are fighting off more oxidizing chemicals every day than we even realize. We need more anti-oxidants today than ever before. The reality is that we just can’t get everything we need from the food that we eat.
We discuss supplements with our patients because it is impossible to build healthy bones, muscles, nerves, ligaments, cartilage, hormones, red blood cells, white blood cells, etc. without supplements.