SUPPLEMENTS: Necessary or not?
(and if you are taking supplements now, are they actually helping or hurting you?)
Topics covered in this article:
- Why is nutrient supplementation no longer optional
- What you must know to be sure your supplement is doing more good than harm
- Besides vitamins and minerals, what else is considered a supplement
- What are the 3 primary reasons you would take supplements
- Safe and effective supplement formulas
- Why is dosage so important
- Why is testing for purity and potency so critical
- Supplement precautions when taking medication
(Learn more about Supplementation here.)
The need for supplementation has now been clearly established. It is no longer a question of whether or not you require nutrient supplementation, but instead, which ones and how much.
Consider the following quote from Journal of the American Medical Association:
To underscore: "Suboptimal vitamin status is not (unusual) ... and is associated with many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks, strokes), cancer and osteoporosis..."
How your nutrient reserves become depleted:
- Medications (all kinds)
- Sedentary lifestyles and too little (or too much!) exercise
- Not enough, or poor quality, sleep
- Quick, and often nutrient deficient, meals
- Toxicity in our environment (food; water; air; clothes; homes; workplace...)
- Stress, stress, stress ... too much and too long
If you relate to any of the above (especially more than one!), a properly selected nutrient supplement could help you look, feel, and function your best!
It isn't necessarily beneficial, or even safe, to take a nutrient supplement without first finding out the answers to these "must-ask" questions:
- Has your supplement been tested ... for purity (contaminants) and potency, by an independent lab?
- Are you taking the nutrients you actually need ... given your age, sex, stress levels, diet, medical history, drug intake, etc.?
- How much should you take of each nutrient ... so you're not taking too little to get the benefit, nor too much to be harmful?
- What time of day is best ... to take each nutrient to get the most value from each? (chrononutrition)
- What form of each nutrient ... is most beneficial and necessary to elicit a favorable response?
- What combinations and ratios ... of nutrients need to be maintained to accelerate healing and repair?
To find out specifically which nutrient supplements would be most beneficial for you (a "customized supplement" prescription), call my office at (772) 283-4046, or Request a New Client Consultation.
The word "SUPPLEMENTS" in this article may include:
- Minerals (and trace minerals)
- Quality protein (and amino acids)
- Healthy oils/fats (omega-3 and 6 oils, MCTs, etc.)
- Fiber (soluble and insoluble)
- Probiotics (saccharomyces, rhamnosus, acidophilus, bifidus, etc.)
- Prebiotics (arabinogalactans, inulin, etc.)
- Enzymes (digestive enzymes; nattokinase, diamine oxidase; etc.)
- Botanicals (and herbal formulas)
- Phytonutrients (resveratrol; EGCG; pycnogenol; sulforophane; etc.)
... and other substances, or combinations of the above.
Categories of Supplementation:
Basically, there are 3 categories or types of supplements:
FOUNDATIONAL Supplementation - fill inevitable nutritional "gaps" in your daily diet
(e.g., Dr. Powers BASICS and Dr. Powers ESSENTIALS)
REPLENISHMENT Supplementation - top off your nutrient "tank" when it has been measured low in any of multiple nutrients. When evaluated, it is quite common to find a number of nutrient deficiencies in most people. When restored to optimal levels, feeling and functioning better naturally occurs.
THERAPEUTIC Supplementation - usually include natural medicines to further support immunity, blood sugar regulation, thyroid function, hormone balance, chronic inflammation, pain control, etc.
For example, immune boosting supplements help 'prime' your immune system in preparation for bacterial or viral exposure, reducing your risk of infection.
First, it is wise to ensure the most common nutritional "gaps" are filled by taking a balanced, bio-available, safe, independently assayed (for purity and content), daily supplement formula.
Dr. Powers BASICS and Dr. Powers ESSENTIALS were formulated precisely for this need.
Taking Dr. Powers BASICS or ESSENTIALS helps ensure that you have safe and fundamental nutritional support to optimize your health and immunity, and without worrying about contamination or potency questions.
Each daily dose (2 packets) of Dr. Powers ESSENTIALS = the optimal amount and balanced combination of nutrients the vast majority of adults need:
- Vitamins + Minerals (2 caps) (details)
- Safe and effective "base" vitamin support in bioactive forms
- Includes: MTHF form of folate; methylcobalamin B12; etc.
- Albion-chelated minerals/trace minerals, in balanced ratios
- Magnesium (1 cap) (details)
- add'l 125 mg Magnesium Glycinate/Malate (highly absorbable Albion-chelate form)
- Vitamin-C (1 cap) (details)
- add'l 750 mg Vit-C (buffered) for added antioxidant and immune support
- Vitamin-E (1 cap)
- add'l 140 mg of mixed tocopherols plus 49 mg mixed tocotrienols for optimal Vit-E antioxidant support
- Vitamin-D3 (1 gelcap) (details)
- add'l 2000 IU dose of natural Vitamin-D (cholecalciferol) for immune support, cancer protection, and bone health
- Vitamin-K2 (1 cap)
- 45 mcg of Vit-K2 as MK7 dose for cardiovascular and bone health
- CoQ10 (1 gelcap)
- 50 mg of a highly absorbable form of CoQ10 for additional antioxidant support, necessary for energy production and heart health
- Antioxidant blend (2 caps) (details)
- A wide mix of patented antioxidant/botanicals to protect cells and support detoxification
- Probiotic - dairy free (1 cap) (details)
- 30 billion cfu's = meaningful dose!
- Only research-based strains of acidophilus and bifidus
- EPA/DHA Omega-3s (1 gelcap)
- Unique "pre-digested," highest quality IFOS certified, purified fish oil equivalent to about 1000 mg EPA/DHA derived from other forms of fish oil
To order Dr. Powers ESSENTIALS, submit at: email@example.com
Next, add in additional therapeutic amounts of specific nutrients that you have been tested and shown to be deficient in, and that directly impacts your health, vitality and ability to heal.
ALERT! Be sure to receive proper guidance and nutritional evaluation before taking individual "single" supplements (as listed below) in therapeutic quantities.
It is possible (and common) to take too much of individual nutrients, which can negatively impact your health.
Please seek professional advice rather than self-prescribing supplements to avoid these unintended, and often imperceptible, consequences.
Some examples of nutrients commonly deficient are:
- ANTI-OXIDANTS & PRO-OXIDANTS help protect you and your cells from damaging toxins, radiation, etc., with deficiencies resulting in accelerated aging, wrinkles, pain, and most chronic diseases
- Recommend: Nrf2-Activator more info >>
- Dosage: Dose according to your screening results, dietary intake or organic fruits and vegetables, etc.*
- ZINC is a commonly deficient trace mineral essential for wound healing, detoxification, energy transformation, and immune function
- Recommend: Zinc Glycinate more info >>
- Dosage: Dose according to your screening results*
- Alert! Overdosing of zinc can be harmful, and correct dosages are based on individual need.
- VITAMIN C helps maintain healthy antioxidant recycling necessary for keeping your immune system ready to go
- Recommend: X-Cellent C more info >>
- Dosage: Dose according to your screening results, dietary intake or organic fruits and vegetables, etc.*
- Alert! Supplementing Vitamin D can potentially weaken and undermine your immune system! Do not supplement more than 1-2000 IU a day without confirming the need first by testing 25-OH-vit D levels (and possibly 1,25-di-OH-vit D, too)!
- VITAMIN A is another hormone-like vitamin that directs multiple aspects of our body's function
- Recommend: Mixed carotenoids
- Dosage: Dose according to your blood test results and dietary analysis; etc.*
- Alert! Excessive intake of Vitamin A can be harmful, and correct dosing is highly variable and based on individual need, especially if your are pregnant or may become pregnant.
- PROBIOTICS supplementation helps ensure a healthy balance of intestinal flora ('friendly' microbes), and as a result, a healthy immune system (60% of your immune system is wrapped around your intestinal tract, and its function is directly linked to the health of your gut and digestive function!)
- Recommend: ProbioMax Daily more info >>
- Alert! Only specific strains, combinations, and quantities of probiotics have been proven effective.
- Dosage: Dose according to your medication history; test results, dietary intake of fermented foods, etc.*
- EPA/DHA-rich purified fish oil is the active form of omega-3 healthy fats, and their common deficiency in the diet is linked to immune deficiency, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, learning disabilities, visual problems, and more.
- Recommend: OmegaPure 900 more info >>
- Alert! Some sources of fish oil are toxic, and improper dosing can be harmful.
- Dosage: Dose according to your test results (according to your fat-soluble antioxidant reserves), dietary intake of health and unhealthy fats and oils, etc.*
INDEED, there are many many more vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, healthy fats/oils, amino acids, etc., then listed above, that you need to feel good, function well, and help prevent heart attacks, cancer, etc.
However, the above list serves to provide a glimpse at some of the important nutrients necessary for health, along with information about good sources, precautions, dosages, etc.
My hope is that the above information helps create an appreciation for the complexity of nutrient supplementation, leading you to experienced, professional guidance in this critical area to get well and stay well.
How can we determine which nutrients you are deficient in?
Clues about your nutrient status can be gleaned from a combination of the following sources:
- Dietary habits (intake of vegetables; EFAs; fiber; antioxidants; probiotics; etc.)
- Urine testing (Vit-C; Vit-E; Calcium)
- Blood tests (Iron (ferritin); Magnesium (RBC); Vit-D (25-OH); B12 (HCY/MMA); Calcium; etc.)
- NutrEval blood test (most vitamins including B-vits; minerals; omega-3 oils; antioxidants including glutathione; toxic metals; etc.)
- Holistic physical examination (e.g., nail appearance; skin health; etc.)
Aren't sure what nutrient supplementation your body needs?
A Holistic Health Screening will certainly help you determine some of your 'gaps'. Alternately, a nutritional consultation with Dr. Powers will help get you on the right track, too! (Schedule a Holistic Health Screening or a Consultation with Dr. Powers)
The last category of supplements are ...
Botanicals (herbs), homeopathic remedies, proteolytic enzymes, high-dose pre/probiotics, specific amino acids, and many more substances, can serve to assist the body in healing and repairing itself.
Selection, dosages, timing, and combinations, as with all supplements, determine whether the effect will have benefit, little of no benefit, or even potentially interfere with the body's healing efforts.
Alert! Before experimenting with supplements, especially therapeutic supplements, consider seeking guidance from a holistic physician specifically trained in nutritional supplementation.
Need some help?
Call (772) 283-4046 to make an appointment with Dr. Powers, or Request an Appointment online here.
* Important Messages about
DOSAGES and MEDICATION!
Too much is just as bad as too little:
It is not wise to just dump a lot of nutrients into your body without knowing what is safe to take; how much to take; when to take it; and for how long. Beneficial and safe dosages are based on your specific individual and changing needs.
Alert! Call or schedule a consultation to find out what supplements your body is thirsty for! (or an Immune Screening for immune-specific supplements)
If you are taking any Medication:
There are many drug/nutrient interactions that can affect the effectiveness of your medication.
Alert! If you are on medication, consult your doctor before taking any supplements, or Request an Appointment.
BUYER BE AWARE:
Not all Supplements are ALIKE!
The quality, content, and purity of supplements are not regulated by the FDA. That means that you have no assurance that you are actually purchasing what you think you are buying. For example:
- Amount of supplement: When buying supplements (Vitamin C, Zinc, Probiotics, fish oil, etc.), you have no certainty that the dosages indicated on the bottle is actually contained within. (Some samples of vitamin E supplements tested had almost no vitamin E in it!)
- Purity of supplement: You have no assurance of whether or not the supplement you are purchasing contains any impurities or additives that renders the product unsafe to consume. (For example, some fish oil sources of omega-3 healthy fats contain toxic PCB's and mercury.)
This is why it is so important to:
Only purchase supplements that have been independently and randomly assayed for purity and content by a qualified, "third-party" lab. (Not sure? Request an Appointment)
How much to take is critical!
Even if the supplement contains exactly (and only) what is listed on its label, knowing how much to take determines whether your taking the supplement will do more good than harm:
- Ratios of nutrients in supplement: Preserving specific ratios of certain vitamins and minerals is critical to receiving their benefit. (For example, improper ratio of Zinc to Copper can create imbalances in the body resulting in more harm than good.)
- Dosages of supplements: Taking too much of a supplement (vitamin, mineral, fish oil, etc.) can also do more harm than good.
This is why it is so important to:
Be sure you actually know what supplements to take, and how much to take, before just "dumping" them into your body and hoping for the best!
And, why it is critical to periodically re-evaluate your body's supplement needs as your supplement prescription expiration date approaches.
For more information on determining what nutrient supplements would be most beneficial for you, call my office for an appointment at (772) 283-4046, or Request a New Client Consultation
For more information on Nutrient Supplementation, click here ...
For more information on Chrononutrition, click here ...