I frequently see new patients that come in to my office with a giant bag of supplements, yet they are still are sick, experiencing a lot of symptoms and reaching out for help. Many patients have advocated for themselves because their medical doctor isn’t helping them, so they turn to Google and try to figure it out on their own. While this is sometimes better than nothing, it is really important to have guidance with an experienced licensed practitioner who can run functional lab testing to find out exactly what you need, address your root causes, and give you the right supplements that are of the best quality to help your body truly heal.
There are two major issues I see when it comes to taking supplements. Number one: you are not actually absorbing the vitamin/mineral or supplement because you have a leaky gut, an absorption issue, or a methylation problem. This makes taking supplements ineffective because they are not actually doing their job. This may also be an issue if you are taking poor quality supplements, especially those that don't actually contain what is stated on the label (not all supplements are created equal). Number two: the reason behind why you are taking the supplement has not been addressed. For instance, if you are taking a liver supplement and you have not addressed the heavy metal toxicity that has caused the liver to be overburdened, you are not going to be able to fully heal your liver.
As a functional medicine and Chinese medicine practitioner, I believe less is more when it comes to supplements and a minimalist approach is best. The body becomes quickly overwhelmed when you are taking too many supplements, and it may actually be doing more harm than good. This is why I look at ways to adjust your diet and lifestyle first, rather than matching each symptom to a supplement. Supplements should be used to support your body's organ function, help you to effectively detoxify, and fill in nutritional gaps that may be lacking in your diet. My goal is for you to NOT need supplements and focus on long-term healing.
So, what supplements should you be taking? This depends on each individual patient. I determine this by analyzing lab work and looking at functional/optimal lab ranges to find patterns of disease and identifying root causes. I only recommend physician-grade supplements from companies with the highest standards and clinical results. I recommend supplements to be taken from 1-6 months, depending on what is being treated and the best order of what to address first (more on this in a later blog).