When it comes to arguing the case for synthetic versus natural supplements, the science is still divided with regard to bioavailability, efficacy and safety.
Good studies are incredibly hard to perform, because although double-blind, randomised placebo controlled clinical trials (the gold standard for determining causality) work brilliantly for comparing the effects of drugs against a placebo, it doesn’t work for nutrients.
Why? Because nutrients are already in the food chain and are required for life, so there can be no true placebo.
Despite a firm outcome either way (yet), it’s hard to argue that there are some legitimate advantages of using natural, food-based supplements – and plenty more when it comes to the homemade variety.
7 reasons to make your own homemade supplements
- Nutrients are whole and complete
Food-based nutrients are packaged as nature intended, with a range of important co-factors, such as phytochemicals, enzymes and minerals. These elements help the body recognise and utilise them effectively, whilst providing additional health benefits. Science is only just beginning to understand the complexity of all these components and how they interact.
- Food is inherently safe
As long as common sense is used, there is minimal risk of nutrient overload, or creating imbalances in the body (one of the bigger risks with taking supplements long-term).
- We’ve evolved to recognise food-based nutrients
Our bodies know exactly what to do with the nutrients found in real food. Synthetic vitamins on the other hand, are much like pharmaceutical drugs in that they are isolated chemicals. It’s hard to dispute that they can be clinically effective in treating certain conditions, however there’s still plenty more to learn about the long-term (or subtler) implications.
- They aren’t derived from GMO’s
Or coal tar, hydrogenated oils or contaminated with dangerous solvents like acetone. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for many of the supplements on the market. Supplement companies don’t have to disclose the source of their ingredients – even to health practitioners!
- No plastic packaging or air miles
If there’s something that doesn’t sit right with you about being healthy at the expense of the environment, you now have options.
- Self-empowerment and self-sufficiency
Just like growing your own food or learning other DIY life skills – it just feels good.
- They’re very inexpensive
Homemade supplements are dirt cheap, so you can save your pennies for something more worthwhile!
It’s painfully obvious that most people need far better nutrition than they’re getting. Practitioners who genuinely care have probably found themselves in the position of prescribing less than a patient needs, simply due to cost. For this reason, the information on homemade supplements in upcoming posts will be helpful for patients and practitioners alike.
So I’d love to hear from you. Have you tried making your own homemade supplements before? If not, would you like to know how?
Many supplements available direct-to-consumer are ineffective or contain suboptimal ingredients. There are also numerous contra-indications and complex interactions to be aware of when it comes to prescribing supplements. I recommend working with a knowledgeable practitioner to determine which nutrients are important for you to be taking (or not taking) – regardless of whether you’re opting for synthetic or natural products. There are some brilliant integrative Doctors, Naturopaths, Nutritionists and Dieticians out there who genuinely know what they’re doing when it comes to supplementation. Seek them out. And always remember to listen to your body.