Why You May Not Need All Those Supplements
B vitamins. Digestive enzymes. Antioxidants. Anti-aging compounds like resveratrol. Prebiotics...and/or probiotics.
If this stuff sounds familiar, you’re probably a health nerd.
Nothing wrong with that; so are we! But despite what certain supplement companies might tell you, optimizing your personal health doesn’t have to be complicated. That’s because your body has a biological system that operates upstream of vitamins, minerals, cofactors, and the like. All of this supplemental stuff? It doesn't quite grasp the big picture.
And that means you may not need to take dozens of different supplements a day. Not if your inner thermostat is working right, at least.
- CBD vs. Stress
- Take CBD and Carry On Adapt Faster
- Supplementation — Does it Ensure Homeostasis?
- What About Nutrient Deficiencies?
CBD vs. Stress
“The biggest killer on the planet is stress. And I still think the best medicine is and always has been cannabis.”
- Country great Willie Nelson
If you think about it, most of the supplements us health-conscious folk take are designed to do one thing: help our bodies process energy with more efficiency and less stress. But what if there was an easier way to reduce stress? What if ol’ Willie was onto something?
Some of the available science says he is. Cannabis compounds like CBD have been correlated with less stress and more vitality since at least the 1960s.
How do we know that? While stress is measured in many different ways, one of its clearest indications can be seen by measuring cortisol levels. Cortisol is that dreaded “fight-or-flight” hormone we’ve all been under the influence of at some point in our lives — some of us more than others.
If left unchecked cortisol can lead to everything from catabolism (muscle breakdown) to insulin resistance (poor body composition) to insomnia. Good luck trying to supplement your way out of this type of situation.
Thankfully, cannabinoids could help. A 70s study revealed that THC could cut cortisol levels in half, while a much newer 2019 review affirmed that “plasma cortisol levels decreased more significantly when given oral CBD.”
Take CBD and Carry On Adapt Faster
Another reason people take supplements? So they can adapt to the rigors of their day-to-day lives.
This is especially true of all you go-getter types out there. Supplements like vitamin C, resveratrol, or even adaptogenic mushrooms are all designed to increase your body’s capacity for sports/career stuff/fun...without increasing your risk of illness/injury/burnout.
But what if there was a better way? We think there might be.
That’s because CBD has all the qualities of an adaptogen, even though it’s not technically classified as one yet. Most people who use the hemp compound attest to its ability to increase energy and make life more manageable.
Botanical experts agree. “[CBD] regulate[s] the cannabinoid system, and the cannabinoid system is a master regulating system of all other systems,” confirms botanist Chris Kilham in a fascinating interview with Sensi Magazine. In other words, CBD’s ability to activate the ECS “implies all the balancing and harmonizing activities of an adaptogen.”
CBD may also regulate the immune system, which is yet another thing traditional adaptogens are known for. In some cases (like autoimmunity) it seems to be great as quieting things down; in others, it seems to be able to speed things up. So if you’ve been prepping for COVID-19 by throwing vitamin C and echinacea and zinc at your body, there might be a simpler way.
(We’re not saying those substances aren’t helpful...we just agree more with Davinci’s view that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.)
Supplementation — Does it Ensure Homeostasis?
There’s another real problem with the conventional approach to vitamin and mineral supplementation. How do you know you’re taking enough? On the other hand, how do you know you’re not taking too much?
Unless you’re getting full nutrient panel testing done on the regular...you don’t.
Furthermore, some lab tests (like those for serum cholesterol) are notoriously inaccurate. Nutrient levels don’t stay at a constant — far from it, they’re in a constant state of flux!
A better tactic might be to try to empower your body to produce as much as it can endogenously (from within), thereby keeping nutrient levels in check. Nutrient balance is a delicate thing; we think it’s best left to your endocannabinoid system.
“The endocannabinoid system [that CBD activates] is the conductor of life’s biochemical orchestra,” attests molecular biologist Dr. Bob Melamede. “CBD plays a powerful part in health’s music by straddling the biochemical subdivision that coordinates differentiated functions with their repair and maintenance. Cannabinoids are necessary nutrients for optimizing human health.”
In other words, some people take vitamin A for their eyesight or skin health; others take calcium for their bones. But if you could take a single ‘vitamin’ for inner balance...would you? Such a substance really does exist: it’s called CBD.
CBD makes keeping your body in homeostasis simple. And with homeostasis comes all sorts of good stuff, including, in many cases, adequate vitamin and mineral levels.
What About Nutrient Deficiencies?
At this point you might be thinking, wait...are you saying I shouldn’t take vitamin D/C/E/zinc/echinacea/colostrum/whey protein/lion’s mane/my supplement of choice?
No — we’re not saying that at all!
CBD is only part of the wellness puzzle, and it does best within the context of healthy eating, healthy living, and healthy relationships.
What we are saying is that CBD might provide the rest of your lifestyle with a little more of a buffer. If you’re accidentally running low on vitamin C, well, CBD may be able to help your body produce more of its own internal antioxidants. If you’re lacking dietary calcium, well, CBD may help regulate the very system that reduces transient cellular calcium uptake by lowering intracellular pressure.
Technicalities aside...don’t stress about supplementation. The scientific verdict on most supplements is still out, anyways.
Just don’t forget your vitamin B-for-balance, also known as CBD...