Supplements: Harmful or Helpful



Are your supplements in the right form?

Surprisingly some very pricey supplements, marketed as high end, are formulated with cheap and potentially toxic forms of vitamins and minerals. I recently reviewed two expensive multi-level products containing inferior nutrient forms.

Take a look at your supplement labels.  Nutrients and herbs come in different forms, all with different effects, some not good. Depending on your needs, you may or may not, be benefitting from your supplement choice.

Take magnesium, a commonly deficient mineral. Correcting a deficiency can protect you against strokes and heart attacks, while relieving headaches and insomnia. Magnesium oxide is the cheapest and least useful form; it often leads to diarrhea, thus causing greater loss of minerals. Does your supplement contain this inferior form?

Vitamin E is another nutrient than can be therapeutic in one form, toxic in another. If you see dl alpha tocopherol, you are taking the synthetic form of E, one found to increase cancer risk in study participants.  The ideal form of vitamin E, which contains the full range of naturally occurring tocopherols, is anti-inflammatory, with cardiovascular and cancer-fighting benefits. One form may prolong your life; the other may shorten it. Puzzled by the media reports? Read this.

Feeling fatigued? Depressed? Forgetful? It may be a vitamin B12 deficiency, dubbed the silent epidemic. A supplement can help but 99% of multiples contain an inferior and potentially toxic form of vitamin B12: cyanocobalamin. Some of us lack the ability to adequately detoxify the cyanide molecule from this form of B12 and can wind up with health problems when using it. In 1997 a study published in the journal Blood, found cyanocobalamin causes cell death. The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine argued for the discontinuation of cyanocobalamin, but it is still found in most multiples out there. Is it in yours?

Now check for folic acid, or vitamin B9. A common genetic mutation leaves many of us poorly able to convert folic acid to its active (natural) form: folate. Folate keeps us from feeling depressed and blocks some types of cancer. Everyone needs and can benefit from folate, but not everyone benefits from folic acid, and some can suffer problems. Larger doses of folic acid are linked with toxicity and colon cancer. Does your supplement contain the therapeutic form or potentially toxic form of this B vitamin?

Does your product contain iron? Or calcium? Both of these nutrients are associated with increased risk of heart disease and digestive problems. Calcium supplements, it turns out, don’t really even help our bones!  Other nutrients do however, and without increasing risk of new diseases.

And then there are potentially toxic fillers, colors, and other additives. Check your fine print.

I have seen well-chosen supplements help stop anxiety and panic attacks, reverse diabetes, ease menopause symptoms, stop pain, rebuild weak bones, improve depression, bust blood clots, and balance blood cholesterol levels.  The key is well-chosen. 

If you want to make sure you are spending your money wisely, and benefitting from your supplements, leave a comment or Email me for a supplement review.