NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS AND LABORATORY TESTING
THE NEED FOR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE
Many people find it hard to accept that eating what they perceive as “good quality” food is not enough to stay healthy. So, why do we fall sick? Why are 30% of us short of Vitamin C. 70% short of Vitamin E, 75% deficient in zinc, and 40% short of iron, to mention a few of the key nutrients?
One of the main problems today is quite simply – fresh food does not contain the same level of nutrients as it did just a few years ago. For example : you need to eat 8 oranges to get the same vitamins as found in one fruit 40 years ago. The same goes for most others.
In a perfect world none of us would need supplements. Today stress, poor quality food, genetic predisposition to poor absorption of certain nutrients, toxic burden from faulty metabolism , environmental chemicals, medication and countless others mean we need more raw materials for our body to function correctly. Once deficiency has occurred it will invariably require a therapeutic dose to correct it until the diet has stabilised things. This may take some considerable time and will vary with each individual. Follow up appointments are therefore important to monitor progress and adjust, discontinue or monitor supplements.
Self supplementation can be both dangerous and a waste of money.
Nutritional supplements are not drugs, however, they can have powerful actions which can be either healthy , or unhealthy when used inappropriately. These supplements are designed to work with enzymes and support biological functions. Medication is designed to block or interfere with disease and is composed of chemicals with potential side effects. There is no doubt medication can be life saving. However, this chemical interference can also cause nutritional deficiencies which left unchecked can cause more problems.
Another difference between a course of drugs is the duration of the treatment. Drugs are intended to target an area swiftly and ( hopefully !) one course may only last for seven days. Nutritional supplements work synergistically with the body and are more gentle. However, in the wrong hands they can unbalance the body and cause more problems, so self prescription is unwise. Deficiencies might have been going on for years, so it could take more than one bottle to correct the problem. In the case of Candida, the prescription must be followed until the spit test is clear for at least 2 weeks. Don’t forget to let me know when you need a repeat in plenty of time.
Food is the best medicine. However, we all need a little support at times and my aim is always to help the patient with dietary changes while the deficiency is corrected with supplementation. This requires complete compliance. Sadly a few patients are unwilling to change their diet sufficiently to recover and require prolonged use of supplements.
Preparing for pregnancy or supporting the immune system after a bad viral infection are other times when a course of supplements can be helpful.
Unless a targeted supplement prescription has been suggested, taking a multi vitamin and mineral, bowel flora and possibly a fish oil makes good sense for everyone. This is general health maintenance. As we age our biological systems start to slow, we make fewer enzymes and digestion is less efficient. Combine that with fewer available dietary nutrients, then supplements can make a huge difference to good health. Many of the supplements I use are “food state” which aids their rapid absorption. Studies have shown “food state” nutrients are more bio available than chemical isolates.
Not all supplements are the same. The health industry is booming and for some, profit is the main goal. Regrettably some supplement manufacturers will use cheap ingredients. As a result many tablets (including medication) go straight through and are totally unabsorbed. Others never make it passed the hydrochloric acid in the stomach where their contents are destroyed. For this reason it is vital to choose a professional product with proven bioavailability, otherwise you are wasting your money and giving your body yet another substance to get rid of. These will of course be more expensive than typical high street brands, but you “ get what you pay for “ !
Navigating your way through all the various brands is a potential minefield. There are so many different forms of minerals and nutrients. For example : organic, inorganic. Vitamin E has 4 tocpherols and 4 tocotrienols, both in either alpha, beta, gamma or delta form. Each performs a different role. Ubiquinone (Co Q10) has to be converted in the body first so ubiquinol is more useful but only used in superior supplements, and so on……. Get the picture ?
As well as being of doubtful use, most High Street brands do not contain therapeutic doses so professional advice is essential. Dose is critical for effect as is the right combination. Self medication, especially with single nutrients is not advised as imbalance can easily occur and cause other problems. Friendly bacteria (probiotics) in particular vary hugely in quality. The cheap ones fail to reach their target area in the gut and are therefore useless .
Supplements should be taken with food unless you are told otherwise.
Some people who are not used to taking supplements may find it too much to take several different types each day. Rather than give up and leave them in the bottle, try taking one type one day and another the next. Obviously this is not ideal, however, a little of each during the week is better than none and I will always try to limit the prescription to the bare necessity.
If you have been advised to take more than one type, start with one at the minimum dose, then try the next one the following day, and so forth. Increase the dose of each to the prescribed amount before taking them all on the same day. If you have a sensitive constitution, always start with the minimum dose or ¼ teaspoon of powders.
( If you are taking Juice Plus I will give you separate instructions.) Juice Plus may look like other capsules but there the similarity ends as it is made from pure fruits and vegetables. ( If you don’t know about Juice Plus please either look at my website www.nutrition-devon.net, or ask me to send you some information.)
If you have any concerns about your prescription, please contact me. It is important to inform me if you are taking medication so that I can check the compatibility.
The supplements I prescribe are offered at less than recommended retail price because I want you to be able benefit from top quality supplements and I am aware cost is a consideration. If you are taking a long course Cytoplan occasionally offers a buy 3 get one free on some products and other suppliers have special offers from time to time which I pass on. Products from Nutri Advanced are mostly only available with my prescription.
Don’t forget to let me know when you need a repeat in plenty of time.
Stay healthy !
There are some very useful tests available now which are more affordable. These include microbiology ( gut microbes) and food intolerance /allergy as well as hormones, thyroid screening and a range of others to help determine difficult health problems.