3

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Out-thinking our bodies?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 15, 2010 at 1:51 AM

There have seen similar questions, but I wanted to focus on something pretty narrow. How do we figure out when we are out-thinking our bodies, and when we aren't? We add some things to natural foods, but we also don't want to interfere with the bodies' natural process of creating the substrates it needs.

I take a lot of pills every day. Nothing shocking, but stuff that I think compensates for the neolithic lifestyle, plus "add-ons" to support the intense weight-training I do. Not steroids or anything like that, but herbal supplements for joint health, liver support (I eat a lot of protein), etc.

So... where to draw the line? Kurt and Stephan both recommend supplementing with Vitamin D3. Magnesium also seems to be "paleo approved." Right there we are already "adjusting" an eat-real-food paleo diet because of exogenous considerations. So why stop there? Especially when someone is trying to achieve above hunter-gatherer athletic performance (I'm a power lifter), how do we figure out when we are supplementing to recreate the paleo metabolic milieu that Dr. Kurt talks about, and when we are just trying outsmart our bodies... possibly to detrimental effect?

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on March 15, 2010
at 12:40 PM

Interesting Patrik. I have a friend who owns a supplement company, and he is coming out with a new joint health product. I did a fair bit of research to help him prepare his marketing campaign. A lot of the herbal ingredients (broadly defined, including whild cherry extract, boswellia, bromelain, curcumin) are backed up by sound clinical studies showing anti-arthritic, cartilage building, anti-inflammatory properties. I'm interested in hearing more about your skepticism.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 15, 2010
at 05:14 AM

I think I generally agree with your over-arching philosophy on this as you outline it here -- however, I am deeply skeptical of alleged the benefits of herbal supplements.

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on March 15, 2010
at 02:26 AM

Good point. You are a great resource on this site, Melissa!

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3 Answers

2
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 15, 2010
at 02:17 AM

When supplementing I try not to get what would be impossible or unrealistic to get as a hunter gatherer.

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on March 15, 2010
at 02:26 AM

Good point. You are a great resource on this site, Melissa!

0
33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2

(7073)

on March 15, 2010
at 07:39 AM

I personally try to stay as close to the 'real thing' as possible, whatever that is ;), but I take great care to read what I can about the possible deficiencies we may be exposing our bodies to or the other imbalances we are causing ourselves to suffer by participating in modern life. If I feel that my diet is truly lacking in some essential mineral, then I will try to add it in, but I always strive to find the natural form of supplementation rather than the chemical.

For instance, I think I lack magnesium in my diet, so I started using Celtic Sea Salt (Sel de Guerande) which is naturally high in magnesium (in a natural form) rather than take chemical supplementation. The body handles vitamin and minerals found in food much better than high-dose synthetic equivalents. So, I guess I am not out-thinking my body but trying to work with it and for it as best I can.

That's how far I take it and to answer your question, I think we try to outsmart our bodies when we start taking lots of chemical supplements but I also believe that in the long run it is actually not possible to out-think our bodies, only support them.

0
33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2

(7073)

on March 15, 2010
at 07:38 AM

Everyone's 'take' on Paleo must be different, it only stands to reason. I personally try to stay as close to the 'real thing' as possible, whatever that is, but I take great care to read up on what I can about the possible deficiencies we may be exposing our bodies to or the other imbalances we are causing to ourselves by participating in modern life.

I also think that in this day and age, the social pressure to buy supplements is huge and by taking them it can put us back in a 'comfort zone' of sorts, regardless of whether our body needs them or not, regardless of whether we think we are 'out-smarting' them.

And yes, there is also the issue of trying to fix something that our body perhaps can fix by itself or trying to achieve an ideal that maybe our body doesn't want to achieve. How do we ever know for sure that our bodies can do it, that our bodies WANT to do it? How do we know when we are telling our bodies what to do rather than letting them be? Where do we draw the line?

I believe firstly, that this is a personal question that affords a very personal answer. We all have an ideal; an image of the person we would like to be, health-wise, fitness-wise, lifestyle-wise etc. and people will have 'add-ons' in order that their body fit the ideal they are striving for, others want nothing more than to allow their bodies to find their own milieu. Where people fall between the two is a matter of choice, convenience and most importantly, idealism.

So, to answer your question, I do not think there is a definitive answer to whether we know when we are out-smarting our bodies, there are so many variables involved. I would suggest a good balance of real 'paleo' food and certain supplements that tend to draw favour to them rather than criticism in paleo circles; we then can give our bodies some extra support that the SAD diet may have derived us of, but at the same time leave give the freedom it needs to find its own ideal form.

After all, I truly believe the body knows best, given the optimum circumstances, which paleo plus a few select supplements will give it.

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