What's Hiding in Your Supplements?


Ash, Sand, Salt and Chalk - eek?

So a couple of incidents with clients occurred in the past week that made me want to take up the subject of Supplements: what we should know about them, where to buy them, etc.

Client #1: Called late one evening to report he was experiencing a red flushing rash all over his body. We had recently added a fabulous multi-vitamin perfect for blood sugar balancing to his daily routine.  “Oh and by the way, I started taking some Niacin.”

Whoa nelly!

Niacin? (in case you haven’t heard) A vasodialating version of Vitamin B3 guaranteed to cause flushing and rash.

So I asked Why? “Because he’d read in a medical newsletter that it was helpful in preventing skin cancers.”  I assured him that his new multi vitamin did have a Niacin component in the form of Niacinamide – the non flushing version of Niacin.

“Where did you get the Niacin and how much is the dosage?” Well it was from one of our local health stores, and it was 300mg of Niacin. (Wow!)  I assured him that he was going to be okay, no trip to the ER necessary. The next day the client went back to read the medical newsletter and discovered that the recommendation had been for Niacinamide, not straight Niacin.

Lesson learned: Always consult with your practitioners before adding a supplement to your existing routine – important for interactions with other supplements and medications. And be very careful about buying over the counter products. Don’t get me wrong, I buy some things from Big Box stores, but I am a seriously educated consumer (and nerd) wary of most products on the shelves.

Client #2: sent me a picture of a newly popular skin, nails and hair supplement, wondering about its efficacy. So I took a peek at the label. At first glance, the ingredients seemed lovely, some vitamins, minerals and a big pop of Biotin. And there was an interesting proprietary blend of herbs included. So far, so good. But then I took a look a the “other ingredients” - at least 7, synthetic, complicated, multi-syllable chemicals as fillers.

I basically call them “Ash, Sand, Salt and Chalk”.

Lesson learned: Any of these “fillers” could cause reactions, and most certainly would be deemed toxic to the system. Why are they there anyway? So read your labels carefully.

As a certified Nutritional Therapist, I recommend and distribute supplements that are only practitioner/pharmaceutical lines. Companies like Biotics, Designs for Health, Thorne and Pure Encapsulations. These companies use whole food ingredients, and then test, test and retest. Minimal, if no fillers. Gluten Free, non GMO sourced ingredients.

One of the things we learned in school is that there are only a handful of manufacturing plants producing commercial vitamins and supplements, where they private label for retail like Costco, CVS, Walgreens, etc. These products are likely to be synthetic and cheaply sourced.

In my own research, I’ve found that if everything were perfect, we’d get our nutrients from our food. But with today’s nutrient-poor soils and industrial farming issues, you are likely missing some essential nutrients-no matter how healthy your diet. Supplements are a safe and effective way to make sure you are giving your body everything it needs. Supplements can also help prevent or manage chronic conditions, as well as alleviate acute health issues.

We are all so bio-individual that it is hard to make general recommendations and suggestions. That is why I ask my clients to submit a food journal, a personal history and complete a Nutritional Assessment questionnaire. And we perform a Functional Evaluation. Until I have a picture of the “whole person”, what is going on chronically or acutely, it is premature to suggest any supplements.

 We will always start with the foundations: nutrient dense foods, hydration, blood sugar handling, detoxification, and exercise.

I’ve recently added an Integrative Blood Chemistry analysis program that assists in evaluating a client’s nutritional profile. And we incorporate Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis – another great tool for assessing the health of a client.

Yes, folks ask all the time, “Leslie, what supplements should I be taking?”  I believe we should all be taking a great Multi-Vitamin, an Essential Fatty Acid supplement, and a Probiotic at the very minimum.

a few of my lovelies...

a few of my lovelies...

But I don’t guess – we test.

So if you are wondering about your health and how to optimize it for 2016, call or email me for a complementary consultation. Let’s take a good hard look at the supplements you have been taking and let’s make sure you are redeeming all of their value!

Eat real           Live well          Take back your health