Becoming aware of what is in supplements and medications
Frequently, I am asked why I only use and recommend “practitioner only” supplements!
Supplements are now sold everywhere and can be very confusing for the consumer with conflicting information and pricing. Not all supplements are rubbish, however, many are!
Many chronically ill people do require supplements, particularly if they are on one or many strong medications. The elderly also requires extra nutritional assistance as often the diet is not adequate.
In our clinic – I often have my clients tested for vitamin deficiencies so that we can individualise a wellness care plan. What I commonly see is Zinc, Iron and Vitamin D deficiencies. These minerals and vitamins are essential for a healthy metabolism and illness recovery. Most of us are magnesium deficient but not all magnesium’s are the same.
I am often asked about Multi Vitamins, however, if you are zinc deficient then you won’t get enough out of a multi vitamin to make any difference. Multi Vitamins are really a hit and miss thing.
It is always mindful to question whether the manufacturer of the supplements really has your best health in mind or has joined the ranks of clever marketing and profit engineering.
Further to this, Practitioner only supplements have therapeutic applications. For example, you can buy Panadol over the counter or in the supermarket, it is relatively safe to take (following directions on the pack). If you want something more specific and targeted for the severity and type of pain, you see the GP and get a script.
The same applies to practitioner only supplements. The practitioner is trained in knowing what the supplement is and how to best apply it, plus the ingredients are more potent – therefore it has a therapeutic benefit. In other words, you experience greater benefit as it is very specific for your needs.
Did you know there are lots of hidden ingredients in your supplements, called excipients?
The quality of a product is not simply determined by the active ingredients (for example, Vitamin C has more than just Vitamin C in it). It is important that the active ingredients be sustainably and ethically sourced, Non-GMO or preferably organic and comprehensive formulas with synergistic cofactors (for maximum absorption and uptake).
Excipients are seldom listed on the label. Excipients or “inactive ingredients” are the lubricants that allow faster production, the fillers that allow a press mould to be used, the glues that hold a tablet together and the chemicals that are used in the coating.
Some examples of inactive ingredients include: sulfites, benzoates, aspartame, saccharin, oleic acid, benzyl alcohol, lactose, soya lecithin, propylene glycol, and sorbitan trioleate, also add in artificial colours and flavourings. There are many more. Many excipients are poorly researched and either synthetically or chemically manufactured. It is common for someone with asthma, skin problems or allergies for their supplements to actually aggravate the problem due to the inactive ingredients.
Generally speaking, the larger the tablet, the more lubricants are used (hydrogenated oils such as magnesium stearate). Concern is particularly noted for “time-released” products, for example, time/sustained release vitamin C tablets require up to 400mg more of hydrogenated oils (aka plastic butter). It would not be unusual for some brands to use up to 60% of excipients.
Some basic guidelines for supplements:
- Get tested to see what you are deficient in and see where you are at.
- You cannot take enough supplements to make up for a poor diet.
- If you walk into a chemist/health food store and say you are tired, you will walk out with a bunch of products that will cost you a bomb which may or may not work.
- Supplements must be individualised – there is no one size fits all.
- If you have a compromised liver, kidneys or even bowel issues, you will be deficient in some important vitamins and minerals.
- Never underestimate stress … a burnt-out nervous system often occurs when we are quite depleted nutritionally.
- Getting professional assistance saves you time, money and effort in the long term (rather than expensive wee).
Veronica, your favourite Brisbane homeopath
Do you have any questions? Feel free to contact us on 07 3394 4111 or leave a comment and we will get back to you.