To Supplement or Not to Supplement 

 June 8, 2020

By  Steve Hoffman

Vitamin D is crucial to strong immune system. No, it’s vitamin C, you must have vitamin C. Load up with zinc, that will keep you from getting sick. Iodine, selenium, magnesium...Oh My! So, which is it? The truth is you need all of them and more to maintain a strong immune system and with the Coronavirus still spreading, keeping your immune system strong is more important than ever. So why do so many articles I read seem to indicate that supplementing is unnecessary, does no good or can actually be harmful like this one. I am not sure why there seems to be a bias against supplementing, but you do have to be careful about what and how much you are taking. Getting input from a trained professional can help in this area rather than leaving your health decisions to the kid at the vitamin store or reacting to an article you read.

You Are What You Eat

My general take on supplements is that you should be getting most of what you need from the food you eat. This is the way we developed as a species. There are a few caveats to this, however. Food is not the same as it used to be. Large scale farming practices often strip the soils of vital nutrients. Foods are also grown in areas that they were not traditionally grown in and their nutritional make up is often different. So, unless what you are eating is grown on a sustainable local farm using heirloom seeds, it is possible that you are not getting what you think you are getting. The other caveat is that we no longer eat the way we used to. When our ancestors got ahold of a chicken, what did they eat. EVERYTHING! The organs, the gristle, the marrow...every last piece of nutrition they could get out of it, they simply didn’t know when they might get another one so nothing went to waste! Between these two things, many of us have “holes” in our nutritional profile that should be filled if we are to maintain optimal health and immunity.

Fill Those Holes

So how do you fill those nutritional holes? Supplement. Don’t eat fish...ever, take a fish oil supplement. Don’t get enough sun (and none of us get the full body sun we need for vitamin D production, especially in the winter), take a vitamin D supplement. Don’t eat a lot of fruits and veggies, take a fiber supplement. Vegan take a B12 supplement, your life may depend on it. Don’t get me started on iodine. None of us get enough of that in our foods and the prevalence of thyroid problems in our society is a glaring indicator of this fact. These examples are fairly easy to spot but there are others that take time and training to tease out and properly diagnose and treat. That is why it is important to work with a professional.


For some supplements, you should speak with your doctor before beginning a regimen. Blood tests can be helpful in spotting trouble areas. Be careful about overlapping supplements. If you are taking a multivitamin with vitamin D in it, that should be considered when dosing a vitamin D supplement. Therapeutic or high doses of any supplement should be done under close supervision with your doctor. This pandemic has shined a spotlight on the importance of being healthy, optimally healthy. Proper supplementation, done safely and under supervision, can go a long way to helping you achieve and maintain that level of health.

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

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