By Dietitian Jill Place
All the time I was writing the article, Why Supplements?, I realized that I had to continue the thought withHow Supplements? It's a sort of primer about what and what not to do when it comes to supplements ... from selecting them to actually putting them into your life.Click To Tweet
Here are my thoughts about all that …
You Can’t Do This All by Yourself …
People being ill is a HUGE puzzle … that’s why it’s a part of my logo … and that my tagline is “solving unsolvable health puzzles”. And I gotta tell you that even I don’t know what’s wrong with you sometimes …
Or what treatments to recommend. It IS sometimes a huge puzzle. That’s why I test, test, and test again. And sometimes have to try different kinds of supplements to get you healed. Because everyone is different and needs different support.
And … when all else fails … I call upon my medical intuition. Recently, I cranked it up and found that a beloved friend had blood flukes … my senses kept saying “FLUKES … FLUKES … FLUKES … (a kind of flatworm that can cause a lot of damage … )”.
Now that we know, we can treat it … and get her well. Medication may be used first … and we’ll continue treatment with supplements. We’ll see once she talks to a doctor.
The bottom line … sometimes these things are enormously complicated! My friend has been sick for years and no one has diagnosed her problem until now … even through tons of doctor’s visits.
And … even if you can get a handle on what’s going on … treatment can be multi-faceted, go through varied protocols, and have ups and downs.
And also is sometimes so long that clients can lose hope. Because we’re healing systems … not symptoms.
That’s where mindfulness and soulwork come in. Because this is truly a body, mind, and soul healing. One that you need an expert to guide you through. So …
PLEASE … PLEASE DON’T SELF-MEDICATE!
I get emails and website messages EVERY DAY from people who absolutely have the answer … they Googled it and they know it is! So it always puzzles me … WHY ARE THEY ASKING ME?
I assume that they want validation for their “Googling”. And free advice (I ethically CAN’T do that as I believe in looking at the whole picture for each individual).
On the chest behind me is a cup that bears the saying, “Please Don’t Confuse Your Google Search with my Dietitian Degree”. When I saw it online, I just had to have it!
If you want to see one of these emails dissected with my comments, please read It’s NEVER about Your Symptoms … and why it’s so important to find the root cause behind what’s ailing you. Hate to say it but Google won’t do that for you.
Also, once people get it into their Google-mind what’s wrong with them, they’ll go ahead and buy the supplements that are recommended for that malady …. sometimes to the tune of hundreds of dollars. Supplements that may not be appropriate for what’s actually ailing them.
I remember when I worked in the cancer community people would come in with flyers listing so-called cancer-fighting supplements that cost upwards of 500 bucks 20 years ago. I tried to steer them away from those eager to make money capitalizing on their fear and hope.
The bottom-line …don't 'Google' a diagnosis because it may be wrong. Then don't spend hundreds on supplements for that diagnosis as they probably won't help.Click To Tweet
The best case scenario … you’re only out a bit of money. The worst … you may make the situation worse. Or even harm yourself.
You Can’t Take Just One …
Emails bombard us daily with cure-all supplements for just about everything that may be wrong with us. Emails that tout just one supplement can fix all that’s wrong.
I don’t know who makes a lot of these “miracle cures” … and I’ve spent 30 years researching the best supplements available. Because … you know … they’re not regulated.
Which can be a good thing and a bad thing. The bad thing is that you end up with a lot of these “miracle cures” that don’t work. Because a lot of studies … and independent supplement labs … have shown that many supplements don’t have the amount of nutrients in them that they say on the bottle.
Not only that, I’ve been told recently that FIFTY PERCENT of the supplements sold on Amazon are FAKE! I don’t know if that’s actually true … I do buy one supplement there and it’s fine.
But … y’know … they’re not regulated so they can literally put anything in there. That’s one of the reasons I’m leery of “miracle cures” that are the only answer to a problem.
And also leery of supplement companies that don’t have a sterling reputations. I don’t use companies anymore … even those I was closely aligned with … that have sold out to questionable conglomerates (like Amway) or drug companies.
Also … after 30 years of recommending supplements … I know that, for many reasons,it takes a bunch of supplements to make a protocol. Any protocol.Click To Tweet
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take just one. But it doesn’t work for multivitamins. And it doesn’t work when you need a lot of support for healing.
You Can’t Take Them All at Once …
Years ago, I remember a woman coming into my cancer clinic with TWO SHOPPING BAGS full of herbal supplements given her by a very famous L.A. herbalist that must have cost $1000. She sat down and cried!
Because she was so overwhelmed with the prospect of taking all those pills! Pills that the herbalist never asked her if she wanted to take nor worked out a regime for.
Eventually, we were able to sort out a plan for her. That not only suited the amount she was willing to take. But those that supported her newly-diagnosed breast cancer (not all were appropriate).
Because … most important …you can't shock bodies by dumping a bunch of healing into them all at once. Because bodies can't change that fast!Click To Tweet
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know what I mean. Bodies don’t let go of weight very fast. And … if you think of losing weight as a healing … they don’t heal very fast either.
So it’s important that you begin with a small amount of supplement. And build to a therapeutic amount. And possibly change protocols … like beginning with normalizing pH before doing the actual healing work.
Yes … it’s complicated. Too complicated to “Google”.
You Need to Plan …
Because these sometimes complicated protocols ask that you take different types of supplements at different times a day (and add or subtract different ones per week), it’s important that you have a plan. And not only a written one either.
Here’s one I put together for salicylate sensitivity … if you notice there are certain supplements to start. And then others added later.
Also, if you look closely, you’ll notice that we often start with one a day (or one at each time) and step it up to a therapeutic dose over time.
For this to work, you also need pill (ahem … supplement) boxes … large ones to hold everything. I’ve got two … one for my daily supplements and another for special protocols … one that has individual daily containers I can pop in my purse for those days I’m out consulting.
And … yes … I drag out all my bottles once a week and fill them. Because you’re not going to open all those bottles every time you need something.
If you do that, I guarantee you’ll stop doing the plan before the day is out. So … if you are embarking on any supplement protocol … make sure you have a plan and easy ways to make it happen.
And Don’t Forget Diet …
You can’t just take supplements and expect a different outcome. And … come to think of it … drugs would work better too if you stopped eating all that processed food that causes inflammation.
I became a dietitian because I believe that you should always start a healing regime with a healing diet. And always begin my clients with one. Even before we start a supplement protocol.
If you don’t, you’re just putting a band-aid on the situation. It may work for awhile, but inflammation stoking other health problems will eventually win out.
So start with diet. Then add supplements. It’s the ONLY way to health!
My Final Word …
Please … please …PLEASE consult an expert before you begin any supplement regime. And 'Google' is NOT an expert! Make sure that you know exactly what's wrong ...Click To Tweet
Then … if you DO want to take supplements for the problem … make sure that you incorporate them into your life SLOWLY. And develop a plan to do so. Your expert should help you with all that.
Explore other avenues of healing, like mindfulness and exercise, to help you along the path. And … lastly … tell your expert if things aren’t working so they can slow down treatment or change up things. Because everyone is an individual and should be treated like one.
Millions of Americans today are taking dietary supplements, practicing yoga and integrating other natural therapies into their lives. These are all preventive measures that will keep them out of the doctor’s office and drive down the costs of treating serious problems like heart disease and diabetes. ~ Andrew Weil