Beware of Poison in Nutritional Supplements
What, poison in nutritional supplements?
I was sitting in my office with a new client who was showing me her bag of supplements. As I dug into her bag, the first supplement I pulled out was a popular brand of multivitamin. Without looking at the label, I already knew what it would say – a list of vitamins, their quality- and various other poisonous ingredients that most people aren’t informed about. Ingredients like ethylene glycol (anti-freeze), titanium dioxide (a white color dye) carnauba wax (undigestible), red dye number 5 (may be cancer causing), and magnesium stearate (prevents pills from sticking in machine). Magnesium stearate isn’t necessarily poisonous but in high quantities may prevent absorption of the vitamins
My general conclusion when it comes to supplements and minerals is: If you aren’t buying good quality products, don’t take the generic.
People often ask me, “why should I take supplements if my diet is healthy?” Almost no one has a diet that is healthy enough to fulfill their nutritional needs. Our earth has been so damaged by overpopulation and over-farming that the amount of nutrition in the soil is less than half of what it was in the 1940’s. Even organic vegetables are picked days before they reach the shelves, and then sit in water, in brightly lit stores for several days before they are eaten. Light, heat, and water remove the water-soluble vitamins from our food.
Double-check the Supplement Label
In 2009, Americans spent 26 billion dollars on nutritional supplements. While I often prescribe supplements for people, I seek out those that will provide the nutrients we need without adding toxicity. I’ve spent years researching, looking for the highest quality of supplements available. My general conclusion when it comes to supplements and minerals is: If you aren’t buying good quality products, don’t take the generic. Hopefully this column will guide you to look at what is required to make an educated decision.
When you’re shopping for supplements, you should first look at the list of added ingredients to make sure there are no toxic chemicals. The next step is look at the list of nutritional supplements being provided. If you are buying “food” based vitamins, the dosages will be lower than pharmaceutically made vitamins. Consult with your practitioner to find what dosage would be right for your body.
Several high quality supplement brands include: Innate Nutrition, Garden of Life, and Mega Food. SuperNutrition is another good quality supplement available at health food stores. It has a pretty good quality one-a-day multi- vitamin.
Minerals are not supplemented in most foods we eat. They are extremely important to our well-being. Calcium intake has gotten a lot of press but you should also include chromium, selenium, zinc, iodine, and magnesium. If you buy a one-a-day multi, you will not have enough calcium or magnesium in it, because they are hard to fit into a one a day size pill or capsule.
Take only high quality nutritional supplements
Good minerals take up a lot of physical space and therefore it is difficult to get one pill a day that has all the minerals in it. There are many factors in the digestion of minerals. You need fat and enough stomach acid in order to absorb most of them. Most of the mineral supplements available over the counter are made from ground up rocks or shells, very hard for humans with no gizzards to digest.
For lack of better options, at the moment I recommend mineral supplements made from amino acid chelates because these allow easier absorption through the digestive tract. Amino acid chelates are molecules such as calcium citrate, magnesium malate or aspartate, chromium picolinate and such. I often recommend that the magnesium be equal in quantity to calcium. However, sometimes too much magnesium can cause diarrhea, so you have to find the right balance. Many people with various pain problems, high blood pressure, and sleep disorders need extra magnesium. This is something that you can have tested to find out.
We live high speed, high stress lives, with poor nutrition in our food. Most of us need some support for our bodies to maintain optimum balance. High grade, “clean” minerals and supplements offer a great solution. In another column, I will address herbs, and other supplements and how they should be prescribed or used.