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Thread: If you supplement, will your body forget how to naturally pull from real sources? page

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    nbongo's Avatar
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    Question If you supplement, will your body forget how to naturally pull from real sources?

    I couldn't find a post or article here or on the web that covers this. Basically, I was researching magnesium supplements for migraine relief, and also read Dr. Eades' post on the general benefits of mag supplement, so decided to try it. My husband pointed out that maybe taking some supplements (vitamins, minerals) allows your body to forget how to pull those nutrients naturally from food or water over time. Has anyone come across a study about this? Thanks!

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    I don't know of any study of the sort. But I'd doubt it. I think if one were to take something that was naturally synthesized by the body that would be a worry, but I can't see where else minerals and (most) vitamins come from but by ingestion. And when I said "most" there I was thinking in particular of vitamin D ... which is perhaps better classified as a hormone than a vitamin anyway.

    If there's a problem with supplements I'd think it's usually that they are simpler than foods. Thus if you buy vitamin C tablets they're most likely just ascorbic acid, whereas what's referred to as "vitamin C" in foods is not just ascorbic acid but that plus a whole load of other co-factors.

    I think where nutrients can be derived from food that's best - but that's not always possible.

    So far as magnesium salts go I don't know what the alternative would be - besides moving to an area where the water supply was naturally higher in magnesium. Apparently, in the U.S. the water in a place called Deaf Smith County is particularly high in that (and some other minerals) and that locality can boast fewer bone fractures than average - and more beauty queens than one would expect given the size of the population. Good bone structure seems to require adequate magnesium, and if the local water isn't high in it, and if many years of intensive farming have tended to deplete the soil of it, so that's there's not as much in your veg as there might be, best get it however you can I guess.

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    nbongo's Avatar
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    Thank you, Lewis for the insight (and info about Deaf Smith County - ha!). Yeah, I was also reading about lower magnesium amounts in ppl because they're drinking bottled water, and it's hard (but not impossible) to get adequate amounts from foods. Thanks again!

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    Jenny's Avatar
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    There's nothing to forget; extracting various vitamins etc. from foods isn't a skill for your body that requires practice, it's a chemical reaction.

    And yeah, what Lewis says -- in and of themselves the supplements are fine, but there are all sorts of other little things out there that your body might want that we haven't conclusively identified and assigned a vitamin letter to. So the wider variety of food you eat, the better. As primal folks we're likely to get far more from veggies and fruit than most people ever encounter, which is nice.

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    I don't suppose the body 'forgets' anything, either, but I believe it does absorb some nutrients more when there's less available, less when there's more. So in theory going abruptly from lots of supplementation to none could mean an adaptation period before you're absorbing enough again. I don't have any evidence for that, though, so I'm basically making it up.

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    nbongo's Avatar
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    OK, that's good to know, and thank you all for responding, and Jenny, that's a good point about eating a wide variety to get everything you need, and more perhaps!

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