Dr. Fuhrman advocates a diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals from natural food sources. So why does he also recommend supplements?
I asked him that recently as part of an upcoming podcast, and he said there are many reasons. One, for instance, is that the vast majority of us do not get nearly enough sunshine to create the vitamin D we need. He also talked about the importance of NOT supplementing vitamin A or beta carotene, while praising caratenoids and phytochemicals (things about which I know very little).
When the podcast goes live in the next week or so, you can listen to Dr. Fuhrman's entire answer yourself. In the meantime, NBC has put the same question to Dr. Andrew Weil, who responds, in part, like this:
The main reason I take supplements is for insurance against gaps in my diet. Also, researchers are finding that some important vitamins (D and E particularly) and minerals are protective against disease in amounts that may be difficult to obtain through diet alone, no matter how conscientious you are. This is another reason I take supplements faithfully and encourage my patients to do so as well.
I recommend a comprehensive antioxidant and multivitamin for women and men as the basic foundation for nutritional insurance. My recommended daily antioxidant regimen includes 200 mg of vitamin C, 400 to 800 IU of natural vitamin E (or 80 mg of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols), 200 mcg of selenium, 15,000 to 20,000 IU of mixed carotenoids, and 30 to 100 mg of coenzyme Q10.
Dr. Fuhrman's recommendations are somewhat different. In fact, he does not endorse or recommend taking such high levels of vitamin E and some others, which, he says "have been shown to increase mortality" in high doses. For more of Dr. Fuhrman's thoughts about supplements click here.