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Being Supplement Savy

Posted on 12 February, 2016 at 14:10

Supplements and Healthcare Products exist in an environment that few people can easily, and effectively, navigate. I repeatedly see this situation in my new clients...actually most of my new clients....It goes something like this:

You enter the health food store with a symptom (for example foot pain) and you need help!  The very well intentioned, educated, and informed, clerk will recommend a product that can help you with that exact problem.  For example maybe they will give you a cream for your foot.  You go home and faithfully apply the cream for a week.   Often times you will get relief and your journey will end there.  However sometimes, it does little, to nothing, to improve your symptom.  This then results in another product for your cabinet, with little to no relief and wasted money.

So you will then either do one of a few things: A) get frustrated and proclaim that natural products don't work.  B) go back to the store and try something else. C) go to your doctor and get something pharmaceutical for your foot pain-which may, or may not help, mainly because it is not addressing the "Root Cause" of the problem. D)give up and live with the foot pain.  All of these outcomes will result in wasted time, money, frustration and, in some cases, a very serious condition being over looked.

So many people do this dance over, and over, again.  The problem with "pigeon hole" solutions is that they often overlook the root cause of WHY the symptom occured in the first place.  By no fault of the clerk, nor the client, the solution will be based upon one singular symptom. This approach is set up to fail, even before you enter the store.  The human body does not work in singular functions.  It is a vast network of systems, nutrients, emotions, genetic history etc.  Time and time again I find that a person needs a meta (overall) analysis of their system in order to address what may appear to be an isolated symptom.

Through this journey one thing is very clear...the repeated purchase of products will result in a plethora of products sitting in your cupboard.  Whenever people tell me they can't afford to see a private practitioner I always ask them "How much money did you spend on products before you came to see me?"  Ineviatbly the amount of money will usually far exceed what they would have spent if they sought help in the beginning.

Now let's go back to that healthstore visit.  The healthfood store clerks today are, for the most part, highly educated and well informed individuals.  They are, however, limited by a few things when it comes to selling a product to the client... information provided to them, how much money the client wishes to spend and, most importantly,available time spent speaking with the client.  Nobody has the time to sit and list their entire medical history to a healthfood store clerk.  Thus how can the clerk determine what exactly you need?  As well, that "foot pain", that you sought relief for, can actually be a symptom of a much bigger issue.  Did you know that digestive issues can cause foot pain?  B12 deficiency can cause foot pain?  Intestinal parasites can cause foot pain?  Electrolyte issues can cause foot pain..and the list goes on and on...Get the picture.

Another common occurence, that I experience time and again, in my clinic is the common statement..."I take a multiple vitamin."  That statement sounds good but it is not as clear cut as you may think.  There is a huge, and I mean huge, difference between supplement brands.   That is to say what you may think is a good product may actually be a complete waste of money.  A key thing to remember is NOT to purchase your supplements where you purchase motor oil and underwear! Go to the healthfood store, or a health clinic for your supplements!!

Not too long ago, I had one client that was taking several pills of magnesium everyday.  They were told that magnesium would help with their restless leg syndrome.  Obvioulsy they came to see me because this solution was not working.  I quickly switched them to a good quality brand.  The new dose was only one tablet as opposed to the five that they were taking.  Two weeks later they called me and thanked me switching them over to a good healthfood store brand.  So thus, what may seem to be a bargain is not a bargain if you need to take five times the amount in order to get the same relief of a single dose of a reputable brand.

Another common scenario; the client that comes in with a long long list of supplements-usually a list of poor quality supplements.  I will always, and it has pretty much happened every time, cut this list down to a  few things...and again switching the brands.  They will usually experience positive results, save money and stop putting something into their body that can actaully be harmful.  

This brings me to the final point...did you know taking too much of a supplement, when you don't require it, can be harmful?  So many times people will purchase a product after a friend recommended it or they saw an adversitisment on televsion.  The client, again, thinks they are doing a good thing.  In fact, certain supplements can be very harmful.  For example there are certain types of cardiac (heart) medications that can interact with calcium supplements.  The client, being older, was advised to take calcium.  Thinking that they are being proactive, they start taking calclium and slowly notice that their blood pressure starts to edge up.  Usually this interaction is not serious...but it can be over time. 

I hope that some of this got you thinking about the supplements you are taking...if you have any questions...give me a call!  It can save you some time, money, and most importantly, your health!

Categories: Just my opinion