This is the second installment in my “Walking the Talk” series. Previously I answered the most common question I receive from clients (and friends): what I eat and why. Now I’ll answer the second most popular question. If we eat all the right foods, do we really need to take supplements?

In an ideal world we would be able to obtain all our nutrients from food – fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Unfortunately, we do not live in such a world. Most of the plant food we consume is grown on land that is now mineral deficient, making these valuable food sources of vitamins and minerals deficient. Minerals are particularly important as they are the catalysts behind our bodily functions. Since we do not make them in our body we must get them from food. Most of the animal food we consume is from animals that are not healthy since they are being fed the same nutrient deficient food along with antibiotics and hormones. Even if you eat as clean as possible, as I and many others try to do, I stick with my conclusion that we just are not getting everything we need from our food.

Notice that I use the word “supplement”. This means we still need to eat our healthy foods and supplement with what we are not getting from the diet. I’ll tell all my clients I can give you all the supplements in the world, but if you do not eat healthy they will have minimal effect. You may not be feeling any symptoms, but that does not mean things are not happening in your body which will one day be symptoms.

How do we know what our body needs and what we are not getting from our diet? The easiest way is to be in touch with what we are feeling in our body. Symptoms that present are often signs of underlying nutritional deficiencies. Also, there are a variety of tests that I’ll use with clients to determine nutrient levels and/or deficiencies.

When creating a supplement program I consider two aspects. I start with the baseline – the supplements I believe everyone should use. Then I address the specific nutrients that may be lacking (determined as described above through symptoms and testing) and suggests proper supplements

Here’s how that translates for me. The baseline supplements support digestion and our need for a variety of vitamins and mineral support. I’ll start with digestion. We can be eating the best foods in the world, but if we don’t digest well, we won’t get all the nutrients available to us. Constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, acid reflux, headaches, ADD/ADHD, even anxiety and depression are all signs of poor digestion. To support digestion, I recommend digestive enzymes and probiotics. I take enzymes with each meal and probiotics on an empty stomach. As we age we make less of our own digestive enzymes, so another reason for supplementation. Many of my clients report amazing results from just doing these two simple supplements.

The second component of the baseline is what I’ll call a “multivitamin”, but not as you typically find in the vitamin section of the drugstore. I’ll pull together several products to deliver these components. Currently I am taking cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil from Green Pastures along with IntraMax from Drucker Labs. The cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil deliver my fish oils and my fat soluble vitamins – A, D, E, and K. The IntraMax delivers a wide range of nutrients including: vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, more enzymes, etc. It is my super “multivitamin” and made from food.

This is another important point. I am a big believer in vitamins and supplements made from real foods, not in the laboratory. Those made in the laboratory are synthetic vitamins and often times not the full vitamin complex. Ever notice why your urine may be bright yellow after taking vitamins? That is why. Your body simply can’t process all these synthetic vitamins.

Next I look at is what I am experiencing in my body. So, as a middle aged male I am concerned about my prostate, heart, and overall energy levels. I take CoQ10 for heart health and to boost energy and I take a variety of glandular to support prostate and endocrine gland functions. I find that many of my clients also benefit from glandular products as they provide the direct nutrition that our endocrine glands require. These glands are among the first to suffer from poor nutrition. How do you know if your endocrine glands need support? If you’re tired, losing your hair in clumps, find your sex drive lacking, or for women if you suffer from PMS or any other female symptom – those are your glands asking for help!

I hope you find this information useful. If you are interested in having a supplement program designed specifically for yourself, please call my office and I’d be happy to help.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Thiensville. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at, call (262) 389-9907 or go to