In this article I’m going to explain why you might be doing more harm than good by taking vitamin supplements. That’s right, I just said that! Surprised to hear that from a “natural” doctor? Unfortunately, I see it all the time. Good people spending their hard-earned money on possibly harmful supplements trying to do something good for themselves, but in reality, most are at best wasting their money, and at worst doing harm to themselves. I can hear you now, “Really Doc, supplements can hurt me? I expect that kind of nonsense from my MD but not from you.” Yes, the harm supplements can do is nothing when compared to what drugs can do. Even a “safe” over-the-counter drug like Tylenol can kill you. Regardless, these are some important things you need to know about supplements so the benefits you want are what you get.
Vitamins can increase your risk of death!
There is plenty of evidence that taking vitamin supplements has no effect or can have a negative effect. In 2013 a study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine which showed that men who take calcium supplements are at an increased risk for death from cardiovascular, heart, and cerebrovascular diseases. In October of 2011 a big study was published that reported multivitamins, folic acid, iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B6 supplements all increased an older woman’s risk of dying from any cause.
Would you knowingly PAY for rocks in your supplements?
Did you know that vitamins and minerals come in different forms? For example, calcium can be in a vitamin supplement in about 10 different forms. Most of these forms of calcium are terrible. Chances are high that if you take a calcium supplement it’s not doing you any good. If you take calcium, go and look at the label! If it has calcium carbonate, oyster shell calcium, dolomite or bone meal, you are paying for garbage! Calcium carbonate is limestone. Do you eat rocks often? Lots of things have calcium in them but that doesn’t mean that they’re good for us.
Your multivitamin is often a source of cyanide. That’s bad.
I recently posted on my Facebook page that there was a form of vitamin B12 that has cyanide in it. Look at your vitamin supplements and see if you find cyanocobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is the most common form B12 because it is the cheapest. While the cyanide in cyanocobalamin is a small amount, it’s still cyanide. Would you pay for a vitamin supplement with a little dog poop in it? I know it sounds crazy, but this is what we do when we buy supplements that contain terrible ingredients. If you compare the labels of vitamin supplements you will see that there is a big difference in the forms each vitamin and mineral is in. From my two examples I hope you can see why what form each vitamin is in is so important.
Artery-clogging, Soap-scum coated, Toxic coal-tar laden, Immune-suppressing CRAP in harmful supplements.
But wait there’s more! Often, harmful supplements contain things that are not vitamins or minerals or anything remotely helpful that are bad for you. Here are some of the worst:
- Partially hydrogenated soybean oil
- Artificial colors
- Magnesium stearate
- Titanium oxide
Partially hydrogenated soybean oil is the same kind of oil linked to heart problems, strokes, nervous system problems, blockage of the absorption of essential fatty acids and disruption of blood sugar regulation. Artificial coloring has been linked to things like cancer and hyperactivity in kids and is sometimes made from coal tar. Coal tar is the same stuff we patch our streets and roofs with. Magnesium stearate is a lubricant some manufactures add to make it easier to swallow a pill. That ring around your bathtub is magnesium stearate, it’s soap scum. The problem is that magnesium stearate can suppress the immune system and block the absorption of vitamins. Titanium oxide is used as a pigment but it suppresses the immune system.
Are you ANGRY yet?
Do any of the vitamin supplements you take have any of these harmful things? If they do, I hope it makes you angry. I hope it makes you see what a big deal this is. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that studies come out saying that a certain nutrient causes some terrible thing. The research is rarely done with quality nutritional supplements. If people are taking these harmful supplements, they will obviously have any number of problems.
Even quality vitamin supplements can hurt you!
Okay, let’s assume that a person is in possession of a quality vitamin supplement and is taking it. That person could still be hurting themselves or wasting their money taking it. What if the person’s body already has enough of a certain nutrient and the quality supplement is now creating an overdose or an imbalance? Whoops! If you take nutritional supplements, there is a good chance that you are getting too much of some nutrients, and not enough of others. No two people are the same. Even things like the “Recommended Daily Allowance” is just a rough estimate of what a person needs to prevent a deficiency of a particular nutrient.
If you don’t test, you’re just guessing.
So how can we find out if we need a certain vitamin or mineral? How can we find out if what we’re taking is working? The answer is simple, test the blood. A doctor with the proper training, looking at the appropriate lab work, can determine what a person needs. Until testing is done, we are just guessing. Personally, I wouldn’t even recommend taking something as “safe” as vitamin C for very long without lab work. “If you take too much vitamin C, won’t it just go out in the urine?” is a good question, and it is true that all water-soluble vitamins will be passed through the urine. However, taking too much vitamin C will also cause zinc to be lost in the urine as well. So even supplements as “safe” as vitamin C can cause something as harmful as a zinc deficiency.
I have been doing this kind of testing for 25 years with the training I received after I graduated from school. At the beginning of 2012 I decided I wanted more extensive training in this field and became a Science Based Nutrition Practitioner. This training has been fantastic and the help I’ve been able to give some of my patients because of this training has been amazing.
We live in a toxic world. To be healthy, we need to know what’s wrong so we can fix it!
In all honesty, the chances that a person in 2023 doesn’t need any help nutritionally are zero. Even if you eat nothing but organic super food, we live in a toxic, stressful world, and the effects of those toxins and stresses take their toll on our bodies. That means that your body, yes, your body, right now is not working correctly because it is not supplied with everything it needs. And without testing, it is nearly impossible to know. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get to work and get your body fixed up and performing like it’s supposed to. Even if you don’t live within driving distance of my office, there are lots of ways we can help over the internet and phone.
You’ve never had a comprehensive, detailed health analysis. Isn’t it about time?
From the very start, I require a detailed history, a list of all the medications you’re taking, and an appointment to go over all health concerns. Next, there is a variety of testing that can be done, and it will be specialized to your specific needs. With 60 different blood tests, food allergy testing (MRT), organic acids testing, adrenal testing, intestinal testing and urinary challenge testing if indicated. When I am done analyzing everything, I know what is going on, and what vitamin supplements a person needs.
Here is an example of what I’m talking about. Perhaps there is a 45-year-old woman who has high blood pressure. Let’s say it’s 179/ 94 and has been elevated for 3 months. Here is an honest comparison of what we do verses other common approaches:
As you look at these approaches, what do you think would happen if the patient chose the treatment in the yellow box and one day quit taking the drugs or the supplements? The BP would probably skyrocket again. These treatments would not be addressing the underlying causes. What if the patient went with the functional medicine approach and discovered that a cadmium toxicity was causing the hypertension? What if the patient was given a clinically proven treatment plan to get rid of the toxicity? BAM! Problem fixed and the hypertension is gone. Am I imagining, or do I have some proof? Here are my references:
This is just an example of what I have seen in my own patients using this patient-focused, functional medicine approach. This is big, exciting stuff! Finally, a way to get healthy that is not hocus pocus or a lifetime of drugs. In many cases I can help you even if you live too far to get into my office. If you’re interested contact us! Got questions? Use the comment section or contact me directly. I look forward to helping you!