Supplements are a Tricky Business

So many of my first-time clients come for an appointment with a bag full of supplements, most of which they can't remember why they are taking.  "I read somewhere..."

The decision to take nutritional supplements is a complex and often pricey one.  Mainly because most people don't know what they're getting and if it is doing any good.

The voyage of supplements from the mouth to the small intestines, the liver, back out into the bloodstream is a long and complicated one.  Just putting something into your mouth is no guarantee it will have any (good) effect.  And maybe even bad.

The biochemistry of nutrient "breakdown" is basic science but is plenty boring if that's not your field.

I'd like to summarize a very complex process in a few bullet points.

1.  Supplements must be "bio-available" if they are to do any good at all.  This doesn't mean that it must just show up in your bloodstream - it means it should go inside the cell or tissue it is supposed to affect.  Some nutrients hang out in the watery substance of cells, some in the fat permeable parts of cell. Some nutrients can't pass the "blood brain barrier" and some can.

2.  The liver breaks down all substances into metabolic by-products, sometimes dozens and sometimes hundreds.  The quality of your supplement (and even the state of your liver) are very important factors in absorption and utilization of nutrients.

3.  Some man-made (synthetic) vitamins aren't even utilized by the body (hence all of the recent hubbub about how "vitamins do no good and might even harm".   This is actually true.

4.  For the ordinary consumer  (non bio-chemist with a testing lab facility at his/her disposal) it is very important to deal with companies and supplements that have been tested to be bio-available, active, and proven to do good things once inside the body.

5.  Most professional companies (those who sell mainly to doctors for their patients) provide this kind of testing results and can be trusted. The top companies for this level of efficacy are Metagenics, Ortho-Molecular, Integrative Therapeutics, and the leader of them all is the JuicePlus+ Company.  This is because all of their tests are 3rd party, double-blind and placebo controlled, eliminating the potential errors of "inside the industry" testing.  There are other good companies out there but I do not have their testing regulations or results.

6.  A little is good, a lot is a lot better?  This is not the case.  Too low levels do not accomplish anything and too high levels can be toxic - as in the case with Vit A, selenium, resveratrol.  So know your doses, based on research.

Just going to a HFStore or drugstore and grabbing stuff off shelves isn't a very safe or reliable way to get results.  Make your money count.

Take care, be well,
]mary anne 
Mary Anne Robinson, MS Bio-Nutrition
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