Are Dietary Supplements Safe?
Dietary supplements are helpful if consumed correctly; however, they can also be a waste of money or in some instances, even harmful. As you know, you are constantly inundated with conflicting headlines such as:
- Dietary supplements ARE dangerous!
- 10 vitamins that will KILL you!
- 5 vitamins you should NOT take! (Now 6 according to Forbes!)
- 10 vitamins and minerals you NEED every day!
- Dietary supplements ARE a waste of money!
These are just a few examples of common headlines continually dramatized to capture your attention. We, however, are not here to dramatize any position but merely reveal important facts for your consideration.
So, are dietary supplements helpful, harmful, or a waste of money?
The simple answer is: ALL OF THE ABOVE!
However, each of these answers must be taken in proper context.
The ONLY helpful situation – nutrient balance
Only one (1) factor determines if your dietary supplements are helpful. That factor is:
Does this dietary supplement provide a sufficient dosage of the exact nutrients I need and at the same time, not contribute toward a further excess of nutrients I don’t need at this time?
Dietary supplements are an important component of a healthy eating plan. As such, if your dietary supplements conform to the number 1 determining factor just mentioned, they are helpful.
As just seen, “a sufficient dosage” does imply more of a specific nutrient or nutrients. This would be a therapeutic or replacement dosage and may be considerably more than the typical RDA, MDA, or other minimalist recommendations. In this instance, it is important to quantify your nutrient intake through an appropriate nutritional lab analysis.
Note: Numerous factors such as prescription medications, over-the-counter meds, toxins, stress, improper food choices, arbitrary dietary supplementation, and many other factors addressed throughout this site contribute toward your specific nutrient needs.
Harmful situations – more is (NOT) better!
First, as we approach this “harmful” situation, keep in mind we are not attempting to dramatize this situation in any manner whatsoever. A harmful situation could requires years or even decades to manifest any symptom or health problem. The point is to simply reveal how dietary supplements really can create harmful situations. In addition, we are referring to the highest quality dietary supplements manufactured using the purest ingredients.
To begin, there are two commonly held beliefs that can create harmful situations. They are:
- If a little does a little good, a lot should do better.
- I can take as much (of any nutrient) as I want and the body will use what it needs and excrete the rest.
Unfortunately, these two widely held beliefs can easily contribute toward many health problems.
Let’s explore a few examples.
Increasing Currently Excessive Nutrients:
You may not realize that decades of scientific research clearly reveal the potential harmful effects of nutrient excesses. Simply put, too much of any nutrient can become just as harmful as too little.
How is this possible?
Every nutrient possesses a dynamic relationship with myriad other nutrients. When each of these nutrients are in a dynamic balance, they work together (a synergistic relationship). However, if any nutrient involved in this dynamic balance becomes excessive, the relationship changes from a synergistic to an antagonistic relationship. In other words, whichever nutrient becomes excessive now becomes dominate over the other nutrients in this dynamic group of nutrients. The ramifications can be quite complex. Here’s just a few examples:
- The dominate nutrient can create a deficiency of many other nutrients in the group
- The dominate nutrient may no longer perform its intended metabolic functions (due to the lack of the other nutrients or cofactors it actually needs to work)
- Enzymatic actions of the now deficient nutrients are compromised and inefficient
- Important metabolites or derivatives may become insufficient for other metabolic pathways
These examples merely reveal the unequivocal importance of a dynamic balance between each nutrient.
In the quest to “prevent” a debilitating disease (i.e., cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, etc.) you are easily misled into believing “you need to consume these nutrients every day.” Why US Adults Use Dietary Supplements (help maintain health – 77% of supplements by personal choice
When essential nutrients are in a dynamic balance, they work together synergistically within every cell and throughout all metabolic pathways. If you consume dietary supplements (multi or single nutrient) that provides nutrients that are already excessive, you are potentially increasing the potential for health problems in the future.
It is common for many people to use supplements such as fat burners, muscle enhancers, or instant energy to manipulate the body. Body manipulation normally requires consuming an excessive amount of a select group of nutrients. These are normally stimulating nutrients due to the fatigue epidemic.
Once again, this ignores the fundamental nutrient relationships (each nutrient requires a plethora of other nutrients to work) and can easily contribute toward nutrient excesses and deficiencies.
As such, you are far better served to optimize your nutrition without attempting to “manipulate” your body into something it was not intended to be.
It is well documented in many sources (i.e. Physician Desk Reference, Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, JAMA, The Lancet, and numerous scientific articles) that specific drugs interfere with myriad nutrients and myriad nutrients interfere with specific drugs. This is the drug-nutrient relationship that may contribute toward drug-induced nutritional deficiencies.
Unfortunately, the majority of people in America now consumes one or more prescription drugs and consistently consumes over-the-counter medications (self-medication) as well. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the healthcare industry does not monitor your complete nutritional status to monitor drug-induced nutritional deficiencies!
It is important you check with your healthcare professional for possible drug-nutrient interactions for each prescription you consume. It is also important to confirm drug-drug interactions as well!
Useless situations – a waste of money!
As you know, there is tremendous controversy about which forms (picolinates, chelates, food-based, synthetic, etc.) of supplements are more easily absorbed. Absorption of all nutrients (food or supplements) is paramount for nutritional health. However, numerous factors easily interfere with the absorption of nutrients.
As seen in healthy foods and healthy herbs, naturally occurring substances and nutrient dominance of foods can easily render specific nutrients in your supplements useless. Other factors include stress, medications, toxins, and so on.
Inefficient Digestive System:
One of the most prominent factors today is an inefficient digestive system. This is the result of your overall metabolism and neuroendocrine systems. For example, over 80% of our lab results indicate a slow metabolism that is normally associated with a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Without a proper acid level in the stomach, nutrients from the foods you consume AND the supplements you consume are NOT properly broken down and complexed for optimal absorption.
In addition, myriad consequences (microflora imbalances, increased pathogen potentials, etc.) may result throughout the digestive system if your stomach acid is low.
As stated before, if your supplements do not provide a sufficient dosage of the nutrients you need, they are basically useless. Think for a moment, how is it possible to consume a multi-mineral/vitamin pill the size of this “O” and expect it to supply a sufficient dosage?
The formulations of your supplements are crucial. As seen throughout this site, every nutrient works with (synergistic) or against (antagonistic) myriad other nutrients. As such, it is important to understand these relationships and formulate supplements accordingly.
Stop guessing and start testing!
Thanks to the psychology of marketing, you are easily swayed into “thinking” you need certain dietary supplements. It happens to all of us. Unfortunately, this is extremely misleading and nothing more than guesswork.
So, take your first step toward controlling your nutritional health!
Our hair tissue mineral analysis is only one of numerous nutritional screenings. However, it is an excellent and economical place to begin. Our hair analysis reveals nutritional element excesses and deficiencies and reveals recent toxic element exposures of lead, mercury, arsenic, aluminum, and others as well.
Based on the results of your specific mineral imbalances and toxic elements, our Trace Elements Inc. Profile 2 includes a list of specific food recommendations to increase and avoid. In addition, a specific list of dietary supplements are also included to address your current mineral imbalances and assist in the detox process as well. As you will see, instances occur upon which numerous quantities and varieties of specific nutrients are required in an effort to rebalance your nutritional biochemistry.
In the end, by knowing which nutrients are excessive and deficient, you can choose your dietary supplements accordingly to be the most helpful.
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The content and laboratory services provided on this site are for educational and informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease.