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Choosing the right supplements

Updated: Jan 11

Today, nutritional supplements are sold in every possible venue—from individual practitioners, to health food stores and supermarkets, to Costco® and the internet. A recent landmark statement from the editors of the prestigious The Journal of the American Medical Association (2002) states that most Americans would benefit from a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. However, studies have yielded conflicting results, with benefit and no benefit being equally represented.

How is the average person to make sense of this?

WHAT ARE SUPPLEMENTS? Supplements are usually isolated vitamins, minerals, or phytonutrients. These can be naturally derived from food or synthesized in a laboratory. Natural supplements are just concentrated, raw, whole fruits, vegetables, and nutritional yeasts. These have the advantage of containing many co-factors to enable the absorption and activity of vitamins and minerals. Synthetic vitamins produced in a laboratory do not contain these co-factors and therefore may not work as well. Supplements prepared in a laboratory are often not in the suitable form such as found in whole foods (Bauman, Piper, Brint, & Wright, 1980).


Go with a whole-foods professional brand such as: • Standard Process® • Innate Response®/Right Foods®

• NewMark® • Vitamin Code®

Also look for a natural food store line such as:

  • Garden of Life® (retail version of Vitamin Code®

  • New Chapter® (retail version of NewMark®)

  • Mega Food® (retail version of Innate Response®/Right Foods®)

Expect to take 3–9 capsules or tablets daily to receive an adequate amount of nutrients. For people who require the hypoallergenic properties of synthetics, or who require therapeutic doses, consider these professional brands: • Allergy Research® • Crayhon Research® • Designs for Health® • Douglas Labs® • Metagenics® • Orthomolecular® • Pure Encapsulations®

High-quality, pure nutrients can also be found at retail stores in such brands as: • NOW® • Pioneer® • Rainbow Light®

• Solgar® • Source Naturals®


  • Prevention of nutritional deficiencies

  • Correction of existing nutritional deficiencies

  • Protection against a toxic environment

  • Therapeutic doses to manage previously diagnosed health conditions WHEN TO TAKE SUPPLEMENTS

  • Generally best taken with meals

  • B vitamins should be taken in the morning as they help produce energy

  • Calcium and magnesium taken in the evening may help promote sleep

  • Avoid taking mineral supplements with tea or coffee

  • Be mindful of potential interactions between supplements and medications

HOW LONG SHOULD SUPPLEMENTS BE TAKEN? It can take four to six weeks of daily supplementation for the benefits to be felt. An occasional missed dose is not a cause for concern. There is no risk of the body becoming addicted to natu- ral supplements in whole food form, but high doses of isolated nutrients should not be taken long term without being monitored.


  • Antioxidants include the vitamins A, C, and E; the minerals selenium and zinc; and non- vitamin plant constituents.

  • It is recommended to consume a diet high in antioxidants and Booster Foods rather than relying on supplements for antioxidant intake (NutraIngredients, 2004).

EATING FOR HEALTH® BASELINE OF NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTATION • Green powders • Undenatured whey protein • Flax/fish EPAs • Multivitamins/multiminerals

• Digestive enzymes • Probiotics • Targeted nutrients and herbs

Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are best derived from the diet, supplemented with whole- food preparations if necessary. Supplements should be just that: “supplementary” to a diet filled with nutrient-dense, health-giving foods.

Bauman, E., Piper, L., Brint, A.I., & Wright, A. (1980). The Holistic Health Lifebook: A Guide to Personal and Planetary Well- Being. Brattleboro, VT: Stephen Greene Press. NutraIngredients. (2004, Aug 4). Controversy over antioxidant supplements. Retrieved from http://www.nutraingredients- USED WITH PERMISSION ©2015 BAUMAN COLLEGE | WWW.BAUMANCOLLEGE.ORG

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