Supplement sales are soaring. Americans spend more $20 billion a year on supplements alone. There is so much information coming at consumers that it can become confusing and overwhelming to know which vitamins, minerals and herbs to choose. And so what often happens is that people end up with a cabinet full of supplements and yet have no idea if any are working, or worse yet, if they even need them. To help clear the confusion (and the supplement cabinet)we wanted to share a nutritional supplements 101 guide that FDN trained functional health coaches follow with our clients and in our own homes.
Know why you are taking a particular supplement
Any supplements used should fit into one of these three types of targeted care:
- Relief care: to help you feel better quickly and to help avoid using medication when possible.
- Corrective/Therapeutic care: This is a very intensive time period where a client begins to make some major corrections in bodily functions. It is about using the right nutrients to restore vital nutrient balance so that the body can heal itself.
- Maintenance care: During this period, a large portion of the functional restoration has been completed and the focus is now on maintaining improved health. This is accomplished using knowledge gained throughout the specialized coaching program regarding diet, rest, exercise, stress reduction (internal & external) and some maintenance supplementation.
Know what you are looking for that supplement to do
A supplement should fill one of these three basic functions:
- Substitution: such as digestive enzymes for those who may be lacking in normal production.
- Stimulation: For example,B-12 provides stimulation to the liver, echinacea stimulates the immune system.
- Support: Not to be overlooked. For example, adrenal glandulars help the body respond to the incredible stress in today’s world.
The bigger picture
- We believe it’s about restoring normal function and balance NOT about treating a specific symptom or condition. Though intelligent relief care is sometimes called for, we aren’t looking to relieve a particular symptom, we’re looking to detect underlying causal factors and work to build health from there.
- Using targeted supplementation insures you aren’t throwing time and money out the window. At Self Care we work closely with clients to monitor progress and changing needs. One of our tools is functional testing. It allows us to not only find underlying health concerns but also track progress and course correct as needed.
Once needed supplements are identified, be sure to introduce them properly.
Consider this, you purchase several new supplements and that night or the next day you start taking them. Maybe you feel improvement, maybe you have a headache or some other unwanted symptom. The question is….. which supplement caused it?
When starting any new supplements you will want to start taking them one at a time. We also recommend starting with the lowest dosage and working your way up slowly until you find the correct dose for you. This may be the maximum dosage, the minimum dosage, or somewhere in-between. Each of us is different.
A few often asked questions…
Why so many, and for so long?￼
￼Pharmaceutical medications have been engineered to be effective in doses sometimes measured in parts per billion. (Think 1 tsp. in a 600,000 gallon Olympic size pool!) Nature doesn’t work like that; therefore natural supplements require a higher dose and need to be taken for a longer period of time.
Going natural means you’re avoiding the chemical toxins, unwanted side effects and the repercussions (known and unknown) that come with the use of pharmaceuticals. By using natural products you work with the body’s innate desire and ability to restore balance and normal function.
Can’t I get the nutrients I need through food?
This one requires a two-part answer…
First, diet is an extremely important piece of the puzzle. However, in today’s world it’s impossible to get all the nutrients required for optimal health through food alone. Soil that’s depleted of minerals, growing, harvesting and processing practices and the fact that our diets greatly lack variety all contribute to this.
Second, the nutrients you ingest (including supplements) must then be properly broken down metabolized and assimilated in order to do their job. Any digestive disorders will interfere with this process, and the effectiveness of supplements. This is where some additional detective work and testing comes in handy. Many digestive disorders can go undetected. Though digestive disorder symptoms are sometimes obvious, quite often they are not something that would lead you to suspect any digestive malfunction. Such as headaches, poor mood, back ache, skin issues, and more.
Will I have to take them forever?
With proper use, supplements are utilized to support the changes (improvements) that need to happen. Once health is restored, many supplements will no longer be needed. Supplements can provide targeted therapy that facilitates healing and the restoration of normal function and balance to the body. They may also be used for “intelligent allopathy” to provide some relief and comfort while health is being restored.
Natural vitamins, minerals and herbs are not intended to treat any specific disease. We recommend only supplements that are necessary to substitute, support, and stimulate in order to achieve and maintain optimum health.
Did you know?
- The government does not preapprove advertising claims made by the manufacturer of a supplement.
- The FDA only spot tests 1% of the 65,000 dietary supplements on the market.
With FDN functional health coaches, the quality and effectiveness of the supplements we use and recommend is extremely important to us. We have the unique position of benefiting from years of research, testing, and retesting that FDN has done. We’ve actually seen how the supplements we use and recommend perform.
Supplements are an important part of a healing protocol, but should never be the first step. The supplement market is a huge industry; therefore, claims, suggestions, and marketing ploys are put forth in order to increase sales. Buying them can simply be a waste of money if you haven’t taken the time and effort to identify, which supplements your body, truly needs. Knowing which supplements are necessary to improve YOUR health is where the professional advice of a FDN Practitioner comes into play. Much like with one’s food choices, supplementation should be tailored to each individual in order to address specific healing opportunities.