Supplements: Harmful or Helpful — 13 Comments

    • It is true that 95% of vitamin supplements sold are synthetic. Many claim they are “natural” but this means nothing. Sometimes food-based nutrients are spiked with synthetic nutrients so contain both. Some health issues can be treated with these higher doses however, so not all synthetic nutrients are bad. Coal tar is NOT good. If you see thiamin hydrochloride (HCL) or thiamin mononitrate, these are from coal tar. USP isolates are also guaranteed synthetic, possibly coal tar derived. Inexpensive vitamin brands from the drug store are generally low quality and synthetic. If you don’t suffer yeast syndrome, consider Brewer’s yeast for a natural source of B’s. You might also look into Synergy, Mega Food, and Vitamin Code, which at least have a food base and might be all natural. It is very hard to know for sure if these have some synthetic nutrients added but most of the ingredients are natural and higher quality forms of nutrients are used even if synthetic. If you eat breads, pasta, breakfast cereal or sports bars, you are likely getting coal tar B vitamins, as this is what is used to enrich foods. Even if not 100% natural, taking methyl or hydroxy cobalamin B12 will likely help if you have low B12 signs. Consuming animal products should also get you there unless you have leaky gut. Just avoid cyano-cobalamin B12 supplements or food additives.

    • It should be selected for your needs, and need not be labeled “pre-natal.” I do not recommend anything with folic acid (should be folate!), nor cyano-cobalamin B12 (not the ideal form), nor a lot of calcium, which should be coming from foods. Supplemental iron is another nutrient that can cause trouble. Iron is best obtained by increasing lamb, beef and eggs (pastured) or use of a cell salt if food isn’t keeping iron stores adequate.

  1. I still refer to the supplement guide you advised for me awhile back. In general, I give the girls Nordic Naturals brand. Any other brands you did reputable for kids?
    Thank you

    • Cod liver oil has some benefits over fish oil. The cadillac of cod liver oil is Green Pastures; they also make a therapeutic butter oil, which is great for kids. Nordic Naturals and Carlson’s are also good, but more highly processed, and may or may not have all the vitamin A and D benefits of Green Pastures.

        • Check the labels. One of them contains inferior (potentially problematic) forms of B’s, as well as nutrients you should not be taking.

  2. My multivitamin has most of the forms you say to avoid. This is frustrating as it was expensive. I will be contacting you to figure out what I need. Also, my doctor says I should be taking calcium as I have osteopenia, but I have noticed it leads to constipation and stomach upset. Can I rebuild bone without taking calcium supplements?

    • Many supplement manufacturers take cost-cutting steps they hope you won’t notice; this can mean one or more nutrients in a product are in an inferior form. Because we associate calcium with strong bones, we are quick to reach for high calcium pills. Unfortunately not only is a calcium tablet an ineffective way to build bone, it may put you at increased risk of a stroke or heart attack. Because bone is living tissue, it can be strengthened, even in old age, with a multifaceted approach. Calcium is one small component, and best coming from your diet (not pills) in balance with other minerals. We also need optimum levels of vitamins D and K, magnesium, beneficial fats, trace minerals, plenty of alkalinizing vegetables, and weight bearing activity. The right cell salts can also help.

  3. i find very few supplements on the market provide the right forms of nutrients. I feel more energy when i get the right forms at the right levels!

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