Sally Fallon Morell on Supplements


Are Supplements Necessary?

A question from a facebook fan, prompts a response from Sally.  Since I just did a blog post on a webcast on Children’s Health and Supplements today, thought you’d like to know the WAPF advice on the subject! Many people wonder, “are supplements necessary?”


OK So do you take supplements? Are supplements necessary for human health? What companies are recommended by W.Price? I can’t find like a list or anything on their website. I guess if you eat right you won’t need any but I am not there yet. I am still studying and trying and I still need to take supplements. I was taking standard process but still lacked the energy and they don’t have the amounts of anything in their supplements listed and it mostly comes from cows. I know they are supposedly great but i had to constantly be reassessed by a chiropractor to purchase them etc. I have just been taking Nature’s Way and have more energy actually. I need to know a supplement company for the common man (where you don’t have to pay for chiro. visits in order to order them) that I can trust. Also, can you recommend a site for osteoarthritis. My chiropractor says that I have this in my neck far beyond my years. I am trying to do research on it but not getting very far. Chiro. isn’t helping. I did not have any of the arthritis symptoms until I had a baby so it seems hormonal related but not according to my research findings. Hope you can point me in a good direction on these 2 issues. Thank you!!! michelle


Dear Michelle,

The Weston A. Price Foundation promotes nutrient-dense foods and hopes to see the day when supplements are not needed.  What we do recommend for everyone is cod liver oil, which is not actually a supplement but a nutrient-dense food.

Of course, many people have been helped by “supplements” such as natural vitamin C and B12 (both of which I take myself). But any heavy use of supplements should be done with the help of a holistic practitioner.

For more of interest, visit Guide to Superfoods on our Weston A. Price website.

Sincerely, Sally Fallon Morell


Sally Fallon Morell

Sally Fallon Morell is a nutrition researcher, and President of Weston A. Price Foundation a nutrition education non-profit with 11,000 members, and 400 local chapters. Local chapter leaders are volunteers who help people in their community find sources of farm fresh, locally produced food. She is the author of the bestselling cookbook, Nourishing Traditions and Publisher of Wise Traditions, Journal in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts.


  1. This response doesn’t seem very helpful.

    Living in this modern American world, there are some key issues that might be difficult to address without “supplements” (and I think Sally’s differentiation of a supplement vs a “nutrient dense food” is not how the majority of the world looks at it. I dare you to make salad dressing with fermented cod liver oil.)

    If you live in the midwest and eat locally grown food, you have a high risk of dangerous iodine deficiency. Adding kelp to your diet, or adding an iodine supplement, may be extremely beneficial for a host of health problems. See Dr. Davis’s Heart Scan Blog for a series of informative articles.

    If your work causes you to eat at restaurants more often, it is extremely difficult to avoid the excess omega-6 fats commonly in use today, and adding some omega-3 fat supplements are very effective at ameliorating the otherwise deleterious effects. See Stephan Guyenet’s brilliant Whole Health Source blog for a fantastic education on this issue.

    Unless you spend an unusual amount of time outside, you are likely vitamin D3 deficient. Not by the ridiculously low bar set by our federal nutrient standards, but by the standards of optimum health. Vitamin D3 is virtually non-existent in foods, even cod liver oil has a very small amount relative to our optimal needs. A supplement here has a huge impact on your immune system, brain and especially cancer incidence. See the Vitamin D Council’s web site for a breakdown.

    In short I think Sally’s response is unfortunately dismissive of the reality of modern life and misses an opportunity for helpful information and discussion.

  2. I have to agree with Ed. We don’t get enough of the right UV rays in most of the United States to give us enough vitamin D via sunlight anyway. And we also have no clue about the nutritional content of even natural, whole foods. Soil depletion is a very real hazard anymore.

    I just do the best I can, which is all anybody can do. Supplements do make a difference in how I feel and function. I have particularly needed to supplement vitamin A since I have yet to convince myself to eat liver and wasn’t getting enough from egg yolks and the like. But I get it sourced from fish liver oil, rather than synthesized in a lab. I have also known for years to look for vitamin E that’s labeled d-tocopherol acetate instead of dl-, which is the synthetic vitamin. And I’m still learning, always learning.

  3. I think the page that is linked out at the WAPF offers some good advice. Cod liver oil is an excellent source of both vitamin D and vitamin A. I believe the Real Food Media does link to good sources of fermented cod liver oil (which boosts the vitamin content). I used them when I purchased my Cod Liver Oil.

    It’s difficult to make broad spectrum recommendations on supplements without offering a program in nutritional health. For those who do have specific questions, a naturopath who is also schooled in traditional foods is an excellent resource. There are too many variables to try and address every issue on a blog or even online.
    .-= Bonnie´s last blog ..Maybe We’re Blaming Ourselves for Things That Aren’t Even Proven. =-.

  4. Vitamin D and A work in tandem. Chris Masterjohn has a fantastic blog where he discusses these issues as well as D’s relationship to Vitamin K (just google him). He has also written well researched pieces for Wise Traditions on the subject. The Spring 2009 issue of “Wise Traditions,” Weston Price Foundation’s premier journal, features 3 articles on cod liver oil that are really worth reading,- one by Chris – “The Science of Cod Liver Oil.”

    Excess doses of Vitamin D can result in hypercalcemia, kidney stones and when K2 is lacking, calcium deposits in soft tissue. It appears that cod liver oil is the best natural winter source of these vitamins. Chris says that the ratio should be 10 parts Vitamin A to 1 part Vitamin D.

  5. I hear you I am new to this and breastfeeding, I feel that I need a supplment to. I took new chapter prefect prenatal thinking it was good. I am now taking cod liver oil and high vitmin butter, but still feel i need a vitmin because i can’t seem to eat the recommed amount of food. Some it it is just to expensise,out of reach or just can’t stand to eat like cocunt oil. I am also confused as to why the weston a price foundtion does not use cocunt butter?

  6. Tito Farias says:

    Not an expert, but just from reading Weston A. Price’s Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, your case sounds like something he covers in his book. It may be that childbirth, or breastfeeding, depleted certain of your natural nutrient stores and that you need to replenish them, leading to arthritis symptoms. My guess is thad cod liver oil is essential for you, as well as high vitamin butter oil, which Dr. Price recommended together. Nutrient-dense foods such as raw milk (organic, grass-fed), liver, animal fats, eggs from free-range chickens, seafood, lacto-fermented vegetables would be important to eat during pregnancy, and really all the time. I know that eating these things have helped me manage my arthritis, regain my energy and a few more things. Good luck.

    Tito Farias

  7. Cool discussion! I am still studying and trying and I still need to take supplements. Thanks!

  8. JST Books says:

    All supplements have different function for our body. But iron supplement is urgent for red cell division and develop.

    • Melissa L. says:

      Iron supplementation may be necessary IF a person isn’t regularly using cast iron cooking pans/pots.

      • Juliana Sutton says:

        Wether or not the iron from a cast iron cooking pots is usable by the body is highly debatable. It isn’t in a food form, and although your serum levels may increase, you still might not be able to use the iron. 🙂 If so, then one could eat dirt, protein, and fat..and never need to worry about the actual mineral content of their food.

  9. Iron
    is a co-factor to oxygen as they work hand in hand. Iron is responsible
    for attracting oxygen to the body and carrying oxygen to all systems,
    tissues, and organs. Iron combines with other nutrients to produce
    vital blood proteins and is involved in food metabolism. Without iron
    the body cannot survive long since the metabolism would decrease and
    atrophy. Iron functions in the body: Ensures oxygenation of blood,
    Converts hematin to carry oxygen to cells, Improves circulation,
    Augments tissue oxidation, Attracts oxygen to the body. 

  10. So you attack vegan diets for their lack of B12 but take a B12 supplement yourself?

    • The thing is that although Vegan diets are often deficient in B-12, alot of people have trouble absorbing the natural B-12 found in animal products due to the state of our intestinal health (that our modernized diets have caused) It makes sense to take a supplement (most quality B-12 supplements are directly absorbed into the bloodstream because they are taken via a shot or under the tongue) and so it bypasses the intestinal issue entirely.

    • Because of the way food is raised/grown, processed, and transported today, both plant and animal foods are less nutritious than they were just 50 years ago. This means that even if someone was to eat what on paper appears to be a very nutritious meal (all fresh, whole, and organic plant and animal foods), they will likely still be nutrient deficient in several vitamins. This necessitates the use of certain vitamin and mineral supplements.

      If our food producers cared more about quality than profit, supplementation would not be necessary.

  11. I don’t take DLO and know many of you do…Instead I take the flax seed oil, because the body convert DHA ect as needed in the body…Just my take and also you don’t need that much omega 3. I take 3-1000mg of Efamol for the omega 6 and one flax oil for the omega 3..As that is about 2 to that is what the body needs…

  12. Tami harvey says:

    Be careful of taking iron supplements if your body builds up iron it can become toxic.

    • Excess iron in the body has actually been linked to the development of advanced atherosclerosis via chronic oxidative stress. (

      Excess iron isn’t usually a problem for the very young (because they are so physically active, which tends to control iron levels through micro-bleeding) or women who menstruate (who are constantly losing iron every month). However, after women reach menopause, and both men and women become much less active, iron levels in the body increase.

      Exercise and occasional blood donations can help keep iron levels in a healthy range (around 21-25 mcg/l).

  13. On top of the stated reasons above, there are many reasons that one might have to add supplements to their daily intake of real food. For me, I have the genetic mutation MTHFR (Methyltetrahydrofolatereductase) which doesn’t allow my body to properly process B-12. Because of this, I have to take my B12 in the form of methyl B-12. It is estimated that 40-47% of people have this mutation and never know it. A good micronutrient test is a good place to start or even better, genetic testing through a company like is a real eye opener.

  14. I have been drinking raw milk for over a year now and believe from what I have read that none of the nutrients have been destroyed through pasteurization and that it can supply most of our vitamin/mineral needs. With the approval of my doctor I am no longer taking calcium supplements of any kind or Vit D and my blood work continues to be excellent. The only exception is extra vit C since I work with children and am exposed to many cold germs!

  15. Without a consultation with the client, the recommendations being made on this post are complete stabs in the dark. You are all treating the symptoms without defining the causitive action. In other words, your are medicating the problem with supplements. Low energy can be the manifiestation many chemical, physical and emotional conditions. Defining this issue as a lack of one macro or micro nutrient is comparative to choosing the most intrinsically necessary component of a watch.
    In regard to D3 supplementation, realize D3 must be converted to D25 in the liver and activated in the kidney. The health of these specific organs and their metabolic functions are key to Vitamin D level. Also, many drugs, currently taken or in the past, negatively effect metabolic function. It is not what goes in your mouth but what ends up in the cells that counts. Also,elevated body fat can inhibit activation of D3 by UV light. With the % of overweight and obese americans, this is as much a factor as overall sun exposure.
    In conclusion, true health is a balancing act that is never perfect and truely individualistic.

  16. Marty McWhirter says:

    I heard Dr. Russell Blaylock speak once. He is a neurologist/ neurosurgeon/researcher. He recommended taking B12 & Melatonin daily. Protective of the brain, as I recall. (This is even if you eat a very nutrient rich diet.) I also take CLO daily. If I lived near the equator perhaps I could skip this.

  17. Connie Hartke says:

    My father had to take a B12 shot once a month after having part of his intestines removed. Just a necessary thing — there was no natural way for him to absorb the B Vitamin he needed.

  18. I try to get as much of my nutrition as possible from eating real food. Bone broth is a staple that we have every day. It is possible to get many minerals by carefully selecting your food, and eating a wide variety.

    But we have the problem of seriously depleted soils, due to factory agriculture, and their are areas, such as part of the midwest, where necessary minerals are just not in the soil. And it is very difficult to get enough magnesium from food, because so much of the soil in the US has been poisoned by chemical fertilizers which bind magnesium in the soil, so much less of it goes into the food. I think some supplements, the most natural possible, are needed for most people in the US.


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