Supplements - useful or harmful?

Would you rather eat this?

Or this?

Well, I have not been very diligent in writing articles. But here is one about supplements and whether they are necessary or a waste. Náttúrulækningarfélagið asked me to give a lecture about supplements last week, which i named "Supplements: Rocks or Nutrition?". While researching I discovered various things, for example that the majority of vitamins containing minerals or the minerals themselves are mainly produced from rocks. Imagine that.

For example:

Calcium: Calcium carbonate = Limestone

Calcium citrate: Limestone + citric acid

Magnesium citrate: Magnisite (a type of rock) + citric acid

And on and on it goes. Mineral supplements are mainly produced from stones and hardly purified. I am not stating that this is dangerous, except maybe for inorganic calcium which makes us calcify and who wants that. I see it like this; if you are already eating food that may be a bit contaminated then you can take these supplements. We are not designed to ingest rocks (inorganic), rather organic compounds along with other organic biomaterial and help mineral uptake.

Other substances such as magnesium stearate, which a lot of supplements contain, are not used by the body to make magnesium rather it is used so that the powder does not stick to the machines in production or to make it easier to swallow. This substance is a vax which can coat the digestive system and therefore interfere with nutrition uptake. If you are only ingesting one type the effect should not be drastic but ingesting a lot of different types can not be good.

Titanium dioxide is another substance which we should not ingest but is in a lot of supplements. It is used as an whitener and is completely inorganic. 

If you have a mineral deficiency it is best to use mineral rich foods. For example pumpkin seeds or fresh koriander for magnesium, using these ingredients you can make a really good seed-hummus. In a 100 grams if sesam seeds/tahini there is 1100 mg of calcium.

The conclusion is; use herbs and food which is alive and nutritious and not supplements.


Kolbrún Björnsdóttir, herbalist.


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