Are you a supplement chaser? Do you feel compelled to continue trying more and more supplements, hoping to find the holy grail of health? The truth is, health doesn't work that way, and you are likely flushing your money down the drain!
Lies in a bottle
How many bottles of supplements do you have in your home?
Be HONEST here.
You likely have more bottles than you want to admit.
Supplement bottles are often pushed for profit and have no ingredient integrity, truthful advertising, or honesty.
You might have bought bottles because of a claim that they would help you lose weight, ease your discomfort, or provide you with any hope for a better outcome than what are dealing with now.
But how many of them actually WORKED? How many showed you tangible results?
The realistic answer is few to none.
When you buy a supplement, you’re TRUSTING that what’s on the label is actually in it. But what if it’s not, and you’re paying top dollar for fillers and straight-up lies?! (hint: supplements are often low quality, contain irritating additives/fillers, and most of the raw materials are imported without strict regulation regarding safety and purity).
A few recent cases paint this fraudulent picture clearly:
- August 2015: Green Pastures, the makers of the all popular Fermented Cod Liver Oil was slammed with a damning report that their code liver oil is rancid, not from cod, and contains added oils according to lab tests. I think the jury is still out on this one, but you can read the full report here, and the various rebuttals here and here.
- March 2015: Select herbal supplement brands at Walmart, Walgreens, Target and GNC were found to NOT include what they were supposed to (ie. the main ingredient) and were contaminated with off-label ingredients. Read the full article here.
- April 2014: Lawsuit against Bluebonnet Nutrition Corporation and Albion Laboratories for filling their magnesium glycinate supplements with largely a cheaper form of magnesium (oxide). See lawsuit details here.
Let's be honest: unless you own a lab and test your own supplements, or visit the manufacturer, you really have no clue about what you are actually consuming in supplements. I get it, the desire to TRUST companies by default, but with supplements, I beg you and your wallet not to, especially if you aren't even sure your body actually needs them or they are helping!
When I was trained as a nutritional therapist, supplements were emphasized and heavily pushed. This educational foundation steered me to amass thousands of dollars in supplements to sample, test, and use in my nutrition practice. Luckily I came to my senses after my first year in business and learned that supplements DO NOT WORK as well a well strategized diet. And they often have unwanted side effects if they are not targeted based on your own body, making them more harmful than helpful (vitamin D, iron and vitamin A to name a few).
Whole foods > Supplements
Here's a a little food for thought..
When you set out to perform a task, let's say bake a cake — you first need a certain amount of ingredients on hand, right? Flour, sugar, butter, salt, baking soda, eggs and vanilla. All of these different ingredients are equally important to completing the task successfully. If you add in a bunch of "supplemental" flour into your recipe, what do you think the result will be? More likely than not, the cake will not turn out, and you would have to alter the recipe and add other 'supplemental' amounts of the other ingredients to re-balance the cake recipe successfully.
Your body's need for nutrients is similar in a lot of ways.
When your body is carrying out a task, it needs not only one nutrient, but a combination of nutrients in balance to one another.
For example when your body is building bone, you not only need calcium, but you also need vitamin K2, vitamin D (not from supplements), magnesium, boron, and good digestion. So taking a calcium supplement can often cause you MORE harm than good, because it's only part of the equation. On the other hand, when you consume whole foods, such as whole unadulterated milk, for example, the fat of the milk contains the fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2, while the fluid part of the milk contains much of the protein and calcium. So in totality, the milk supports the body in a complete sense by supplying what is needed.
On occasion, I have found very few supplements to be helpful in the SHORT term while working to re-balance the body, but more often this is better accomplished by using specific foods therapeutically. Heavy supplementation also tends to give you a false "easy button" when it comes to nutrition, and distract you from eating real food. If you take this "supplement" you might think that you don't need to change eating habits or consider nutrition.
Put your money where your mouth is (literally)! If you’re a supplement junkie, it might be a good time to invest those dollar bills in real food — the safest supplement. Don't fall for the supplement companies' marketing plans of health promises in every pill.
The Supplement Game vs. Actual Data
Most the women I talk to have played what I call the "supplement game" at some point in their life (myself included); taking a long list of supplements with no real understanding of if it is what their body needs or not. They often are just taking what's popular or ground-breaking at the time, or what they read worked for someone else on a blog. And there's a huge fallacy out there that more supplements equals better, when you could really just be overwhelming your body without even knowing it!
With over 90,000 vitamin and dietary supplements on the market in the United States, the supplement game is pretty troublesome; it's like being blindfolded while playing a game of darts - throwing dart after dart just hoping to get lucky and hit the bullseye...
There is a better supplement approach than just guessing what your body needs, hoping to 'get lucky', spending insane amounts of money on supplements your body often doesn't need while perhaps stressing your liver and digestion even more. It's what I call the data based supplement approach or "hacking your nutrition"...
I mean, imagine if you knew exactly what you were low in, what you were high in, and what you needed to take to bring you back in balance? And better yet, you knew what supplements you definitely want to avoid, because taking them would only make you feel worse!
That's exactly why I now use hair analysis to pinpoint this type of data with my clients, so they only spend money on supplements they know they need, and get far better results going by the data provided by their own body.
This way, they're setting themselves up for the best results in the shortest amount of time by layering a stellar diet with data-based supplementation.
Watch the video below to get a small glimpse at why hair analysis is such a game-changer...
What will you choose?
Ready to hack your supplement plan using your body's own data?
Get started right away by checking out here or enter your email below to learn all about the best way to understand your own mineral levels with hair analysis.
I hear doctors repeatedly tell patients that we don't even digest most of the supplements we take, or that they are ineffective. Yet, what is the first thing doctors prescribe when you become pregnant? Prenatal vitamins. So, apparently, when you are pregnant, vitamins suddenly are absorbed into the body. Additionally, with all the pesticides and warnings about fruit, vegetables and fish not being as nutritious as they once were...now you have to buy organic everything (e.g. organic chicken, veggies, fruits, milk and wild fish) or you are basically eating trash. I give up. Where's the candy?!
I think balance, plus an understanding of how our bodies work best, are the keys. There are times when we need to take basic supplements in order to re-balance our internal homeostasis. For example, I am recovering from the flu and its complications such as bronchial asthma. I have therefore had to take oral prednisolone (cortisone) because of the asthma, and therefore need to boost my calcium intake (high doses of cortisone can deplete the calcium in bones). Our bodies are amazing pieces of workmanship, the way all our systems work together, and while our main emphasis should be .on eating a good, balanced diet in order to enhance our bodies' performance, we also need to educate ourselves on what other things we can do, to maintain good health. Exercise, reduction of stress, recognizing when there is a problem or deficiency, and having a balanced approach to life... all these things are important.
When we sent sailors to sea and they developed scurvy and lost their teeth it was due to lack of Vitamin C. Dr. Pauling got a nobel prize for developing Vitamin C which I took over my lifetime. Never had a cold and my skin is taught still at Age 73. I used a lot of vitamins, they used to make them more pure nowadays they put damaging ingredients in it like Magnesium Stearate and Cellulose or Soy Oil, not good. I now get my vitamins from a natural doctor, they are expensive but treat everything better than a doctor. I had thick blood and my medical doctor suggested Baby Aspirin, the natural doctor said to use Sassafras Tea, it will not break your intestine and it does it better. I would not trade my natural doctor for a medical one other I break my bones or such.
IF in a capsule, I open and put its contents into a smoothie, as I've seen x-rays of stomachs that have UNdigested gel-caps still in there long after swallowing them
Hi, I asked Ray Peat about taking fermented cod liver/butter oil and it seems he is not a fan. I notice you speak about taking it and in your book as well. I’m just confused about whether to take it or not now. I believe in what Ray Peat says and I know you do too so I’m wondering why you recommend it when Ray Peat doesn’t? I’m taking vitamin a, e and d drops instead. Should I take FCLO? Thanks
Ray Peat said….
“In the winter in the far north, fish liver was the main source of the essential vitamin D. When livers are stored in a barrel, their enzymes break down the tissue in processes that don’t require oxygen, causing the fat to separate from the disintegrating protein. That’s apparently where the “fermenting” is involved, since oils don’t ferment. Since fish oils and other polyunsaturated oils increase the need for vitamin E and selenium, I think it’s best to get vitamin D from sun exposure or to take a concentrated supplement, without the fish oil. Butter oil is just a refined form of butter, and generally I think less refined foods are preferable, to minimize the exposure to oxygen and contaminants”
I'm aware of Ray Peat's opinion on fish and cod liver oil. However, while my blog borrows from Ray's wisdom, I do have some differing opinions. I think cod liver oil/butter oil can be a great way to supplement fat soluble vitamins, particularly (vitamin A & K2) for a person who is not going to eat liver. I'd prefer a "food like" supplement than a concentrated supplement.
It's a personal choice, and everyone should do what is best for them (and what their body responds best to).
Catherine, I'm confused about this whole thing of Fermented Cod Liver Oil. It sounds like BS to me and let me explain why. Sadly, I never knew the wondrous flavors of fermented food growing up 🙁 Although I've always craved salty tangy food such as pickles, giving me the impression my body was screaming at high C that it needed probiotics but I didn't understand. Now that I DO understand, I ferment my own Kimchi and Milk Kefir. So that said, I understand fermentation to be anaerobic bacteria and/or yeast consuming simple to complex sugars into acids such as lactic acid or ethanol. So What are the microbes feeding on? Last I knew cod liver oil contains FAT, not SUGAR.
Anyone who knows the least thing about polyunsaturated fatty acids has to understand that "fermented" can only mean one thing here: Rancid and therefore highly unhealthy. It's just another scam coming to you from the WAPF.
Supplements saved my life! My immune system crashed deep and wide almost 20 yrs ago. Without supplements I'd still be in bed every single day - ugh. I still supplement, but they're different today. I recently began taking FEVERFEW EXTRACT and returned to NON-GMO Soy lecithin along with flax seed oil. My brain and body LOVE this stuff! I also take B-12 due for pernicious anemia (no more shots!) and when I am ritualized about this routine I am on cloud nine with energy and peace of mind. I take cod liver oil as well, but not the fermented/butter combo. I eat clean too. I think some of us are on the short end of the stick as far as absorption, acids, enzymes, gut bacteria and God only knows what else so that supplementation helps us get through the day! I enjoy your posts! K
I have heard the rumors about how calcium supplements are very toxic and I am aware of studies claiming certain supplements give u cancer.
However I once got Glaucoma which was accidentally healed by an overdose of vitamins C and B!
You can't actually 'overdose' on Vitamin C, as it is flushed through your body quite quickly. The worst you'll get from really high doses is diarrhoea! And calcium supplements, like anything else, need to be taken wisely. For example, calcium citrate is better absorbed than calcium carbonate, and should be accompanied by Vitamin D. It is also important to take calcium and magnesium supplements separately. A good idea is to take calcium with Vitamin D in the mornings, and magnesium in the evening, as it improves sleep quality. I also recommend a Vogel homeopathic supplement called 'Assist Calcium Absorption', which I've been taking for years.to treat brittle bones (something I've had since I was a child). Of course, in saying all this, if you can get adequate calcium from diet, so much the better - but that, of course, also depends on how much your body absorbs.
Rande | RandeMoss.com
Interesting. While I do think it's wise to get most of what we need from whole food nutrition- I do love a good quality gelatin or collagen powder and my wife has seen incredible improvements in her acne scars since taking that particular cod liver oil! I'm little mixed in my thoughts on the recent controversial articles.
Have you ever tried Optimal Health Systems supplements? If so, curious to know your opinion of them. They are whole food, plant based supps and I have seen amazing results from using them, but i'm not super educated about quality of supplements and what I should be looking for to make sure they are doing only good and no harm. I see this blog as a very credible source. Let me know your thoughts.
If I am balding and wear my remaining hair crew cut short, can I use body hair for the analysis? Or should I skip a haircut or two in order to have enough for analysis?
Yes, you can use hair from other parts of the body, but the results are not as accurate so it is not recommended and used only as a last resort. Only about one full teaspoon or 125 milligrams of fresh hair growth is needed for hair analysis. The newest hair growth (1-1.5 inches) is needed to show what is going on in your body most recently.
I hope that helps!
I'm balding up top too. Just take the hair from the back of the head.
My all-natural (not chemically altered) hair is to my waist, I wouldn't cut it; however, could gather hairs that have come out on their own into a brush/comb/drain catch. Does that still work?
No, unfortunately that wouldn't work because it would be very time consuming and it would be very hard to tell which end was fresh growth and what end was not. Only the first inch of fresh hair growth closest to the scalp is used in hair analysis. The ends of the hair would give you nutrition data from 1-5 years ago depending on your hair length, which is not what we want.
Pubic hair is an option, but only a last resort.
After having Fibromyalgia for nearly 30 years and getting no relief no matter what I tried , I tried supplements . I am no longer in need of daily naps , no longer on daily pain medication and also have great improvement in all my other symptoms from not only Fibro but my other medical conditions . I will stick with what works for me .
Could you share your supp routine? As someone dx'd with CFS in the past, I'd love to hear what worked for you! In general fewer the supplements the better, but if you need them and they work, so be it. Recently high quality Mg like Xymogen's OptimagNeuro has helped me.
This is a good article. My kitchen counter has many supplement bottles. I wish I was in Seattle because I would go see you but I'm all the way across the country. Do you know of any good people like yourself in Philadelphia, PA or nearby?
I work remotely with hair analysis clients from all over the world, so distance is not an issue.