Are Expensive Nutritional Supplements Really Needed?

A few weeks ago I received a very enthusiastic phone call from a person who expressed great enthusiasm for Of course, it is always nice to hear this kind of excitement! However, it wasn’t long before he revealed the true purpose of his call. He wanted us to place a link to his website where he sold the “best nutritional supplements in the world.” His site promised health and great wealth to all who would promote these “natural God-given nutrients in a liquid.”

Fruits and vegetables.

In our conversation he told me there were “stacks of research” supporting the use of his preparations, and I asked if he could send me copies of those reports. Soon a thin package arrived containing six articles that looked like they came from reputable scientific journals, but I had never heard of these before. Upon investigation it turned out these journals were really published by the supplement industry and were not peer reviewed at all.

Over the past few years I have reviewed a considerable “stack” of similar articles purporting to support various nutritional supplements without finding much more than sophisticated marketing hype. Certainly, much good research has helped us to understand the value of some of these nutrients and dietary components, but none have demonstrated they are better than getting “these natural God-given” products from the original plant sources as put there by God.

In the Bible we find God promises “As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night” (Genesis 8:22). In other words, God is committed to feed and nourish us from the good, healthy foods He created until this earth is gone. Could it be that taking nutritional supplements (except in the case of known deficiency) is an indication of weak faith? Perhaps we are not quite sure if God will do what He has promised, so “just in case” we randomly pick and choose among the thousands of known nutrients and select a few? Oh, but isn’t the soil depleted? Much research has demonstrated that if soils are depleted in a nutrient a plant needs, it will simply either not grow or produce smaller plants and less fruit–but the products of those plants will contain the nutrients God intended them to have.

Most of the promotional materials and websites for these nutritional products are a mixture of some truth, pseudoscience, myth, misrepresentation, and outright lies–all in a very slick package with compelling testimonials–but no data. Often the fine print contains verbiage like: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration,” or “this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

Nutrition experts agree, a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and some nuts is safer than taking nutritional supplements. Biologically active preparations taken long-term cannot be assumed to be free of risk, no matter how “natural” they may seem. No long-term safety or efficacy studies have been conducted on the popular supplements–even the so-called glyconutrients (which are not newly discovered, just newly marketed).

God has provided us with a wonderful variety of fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables that will provide all we need when consumed wisely and with intelligence. These are readily available to almost all at prices far less than even the most common supplements. I am very thankful I can get all I need from good, wholesome food!