The short answer: No, you do not need to take dietary supplements for optimal health.
The long answer: Before spending your hard-earned money on dietary supplements, it’s important to first assess your diet. There are a number of pillars of a healthy diet that you should focus on before supplementation. Are you eating…
- enough daily calories to properly fuel your level of physical activity?
- an adequate amount of protein (.7-1.1 grams per pound of body weight)?
- enough carbs and fat to make up the rest of your calories/energy needs?
- and meeting the daily recommended level of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals)?
Prioritize these four areas of nutrition first. I recommend getting bloodwork done through your doctor annually to check for deficiencies. If you are deficient in any micronutrients and cannot obtain sufficient levels through your diet, then consider looking into a supplement.
Consuming a sufficient vitamins and minerals are essential for normal growth and development, metabolism and longevity. Alternately, low levels may result in negative moods, impaired focus and attention span, tiredness and reduced ability to fight infections. Additionally, research points to an elevated risk for chronic and age-related diseases with consistent under consumption of micronutrients.
Research shows that many Americans under-consume key vitamins and minerals that support overall health including vitamins A, C, D and E, choline, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and fiber.