Question of the Week: Super Nutrients or Basic Nutrients? (Both!)

There’s an awful lot of “sexy” nutrients on the market nowadays.  Alpha lipoic acid, germanium, NAC, D-Ribose, weird fruit juices, and even raw cacao make up only a tiny number of the really cool supplements and lesser-known foods that are available to us.

As a nutrition/supplement guy, I love this!  From rocket-fuel energizers, to big-league antioxidants, to effective oral chelating agents, this is sort of a “golden age” of supplement technology.

With all of these at our disposal, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the boring, garden-variety vitamins and minerals.  When I visit with people all over the country, I find that the allure for good, basic multivitamins may be at an all time low, in favor of budgeting for more exotic nutrients.   But without a nutritional base to build upon, the extra goodies have a huge uphill climb in order to reach a minimum level of effectiveness.

Think of Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer.  I read that the suit he wore in this year’s Olympics was made from a material that NASA created!  I can’t even remember all of the crazy, high-tech benefits that an elite athlete gains from wearing this kind of material, but the list was huge.  The benefits were such that anyone wearing a typical Speedo would be left in the dust.

Now, suppose Michael Phelps never really trained that much for the Olympics, hoping that only his new super suit would do the work for him. How well do you think he would have done? 

You see, even though he wouldn’t dream of getting in the Olympic water without having every super suit advantage he could get, it would unfathomable to dare get in the water if he had not been working every single day for years on the basics of swimming. 

The basics really do qualify you for elite status, while the extras help you finish first.

Same way with nutrition.  I hear of a lot of people inadvertently doing what I intentionally did this year as an experiment with my health.  I ate poorly, but took a lot of supplements.  Really easy to do, (like wearing a high-tech swim suit), but it came with disastrous results.

You need a great diet.  Period.

Then, you need a great foundation of supplements.  Multi, fish oil, probiotics, immune modulators, antifungals, +/- stress relievers, (an often overlooked supplement category).

Only then should you graduate to the “super suit” nutrients.  If you’re taking the super duper nutrients before you hit the diet and the basic supplement regimen, you’ll have only an itsy bitsy chance of long-term health success.

This point was driven home this morning once again when I read that simple B-vitamins may help prevent cancer.  Cancer!


You should eat right, and then you should get a multi-vitamin that already has plenty of B-complex in it. (I, personally, almost never save articles like the one linked above because I don’t even think about the basic vitamins and minerals.  It’s just always there in my multi- formulas.)

I want everyone to graduate to, and take advantage of the super nutrients that are out there right now.  They really do work.  But do it only after you’ve nailed the basics.



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