Why Must I Take More Than The Label To Get The Desired Effect?
by Randal J. Watkins
Over the years I have found different answers to this question. I used to think more was better and needful. However, over the years I have realized this is not always true. I think this day and time there is a lot of good scientific evidence to the efficacy of nutritional supplements.
Most of the scientific information, will cite the number of milligrams of certain nutrients used in a study. I think this is a good place to start if you fit the profile of the test group. Often the label on the bottle is a good place to start too. I know many of you say I just have to take a lot more than the recommended amount to accomplish what I need to accomplish.
On the surface, that may look OK. After all, I have been doing it for years and if I want to live without these problems it sure beats the alternative of medication, surgery or hospital stay. Nutritional supplements do beat the alternative by a long shot. However, I suggest there may be a way to have your symptoms improve and not have to take mega doses of different products.
I know this first hand because I could take many capsules of some products and not get any benefits. Now I take only a few products daily and none up to the recommended amounts except calcium. There are many reasons why an individual may not get the needed nutrients from a normal label recommended amount.
Now I want to explain what over the years I have learned that has helped me to reduce my nutrient consumption and still maintain a very high quality of life. In this edition I will only be able to address one of many reasons. However, I will continue this series in the preceding issues until completion. I also will be keeping this on the site.
On several occasions I took several capsules of Una de Gato combination and never once felt any effect. I have ran into people doing consultations that say they are taking supplements but feel no worse or better for the experience. Many conclude, they don't need the products or the products are no good.
Certainly, the products not having any nutritional value can be a factor. That's one reason we offer the Nature's Sunshine brand of products. We have been to their factory and know of the quality first hand. Also, we have seen many times that they will quit selling the products when others companies don't. For example, when the Chernobyl nuclear reactor blew most of the chickweed herbs were contaminated with nuclear fallout. This herb is usually purchased from the area known as Russia at the time. However, other herb manufacturers kept selling chickweed by allowing a larger amount of radiation to be in the chickweed. Nature's Sunshine never compromised their position and actually didn't make available the product for several months.
When we had a retail store it was hard because many of the combinations also included chickweed. This meant when a customer asked for chickweed we were out and several other combinations were effected too.
Other examples of giving up sales for quality are; chickweed was removed again because all the batches had too much clay in them, golden seal was removed because the batches were only having the properties of the leaves and not the root. The root in golden seal is where the active constituents are located. Also, a batch of herbs had been laced with lactose and just recently Nature's Sunshine couldn't find a pure enough batch of Oregano oil that we couldn't sell it for a few months.
In short, a big reason for why the label recommendation doesn't help improve your symptoms is the quality of the product. I don't want to leave you with the impression that Nature's Sunshine is the only good company out there. It's not, but you should ask your current manufacturer when is the last time they sacrificed profits for quality!
Last issue, we discussed how not all products have the same quality. Poor quality can cause us to have to take more to get the same effect than with a good quality source of nutrients.
This issue let's turn our attention to co-factors. Co-Factors help us to assimilate or digest the products we are consuming more efficiently.
Space limitations will limit me to only one co-factor for calcium. In the following issues I will continue this series.
Regarding calcium, it is a known fact that as we age (after age 35-40) our ability to produce HCL (hydrochloric acid) diminishes. In order for us to assimilate calcium properly we have to have sufficient hydrochloric acid in our stomach. Many folks have said to me I take calcium but I can't tell its helping me any. Remembering last issue's article, we must first ask is the
quality good? If so, then we have to look at our hydrochloric acid production. If this is low or insufficient we will need to supplement with hydrochloric acid capsules or tablets to properly utilize the calcium you are taking.
What are the symptoms of poor hydrochloric acid production. The most obvious is related to the digestive system. Do you have any of the following belching, feeling full, bloating and/or gas? Do you have a problem with constipation? Hungry for protein, loosing hair and/or poor finger nails. If you answer "yes" to any of the above symptoms then you might consider supplementing with hydrochloric acid capsules. I have taken 1 hydrochloric acid capsule at bedtime with my calcium for over 15 years.
Let's take a look at what changes will show up when we assimilate our calcium properly. I have prepared a page along those lines located here
If we can tell these symptoms are improving when we take the calcium then we must be receiving some benefit from our calcium consumption. If not, then we need to consider supplementing with one of the co-factors (hydrochloric acid capsules). Next issue I will discuss other co-factors for calcium assimilation.
Remember you can swallow nutrients but in order for them to be helpful you have to assimilate them at the cellular level. The co-factors help us to do just that. Find out why you are taking your nutrients( I am not referring to your medications, NEVER STOP THEM WITHOUT YOUR DOCTOR'S PERMISSION) and determine if they are helping. If not, begin to apply this information to your health regimen. After all, if you are wanting them to help it will be helpful to evaluate their usefulness on a regular basis.
Continuing our discussion on co-factors, I would like to talk about how supporting the glandular system helps assimilation of your nutrients. Using the example of calcium, I have found that if the glandular system isn't working properly its hard to assimilate calcium and other valuable nutrients.
In physiology this is proven by the parathyroid gland being required to maintain certain blood levels of calcium in the body. The hormone it secretes is called PTH. This hormone achieves an increase in blood level calcium by influencing the amount of calcium absorbed from the small intestine and reabsorbed from the renal tubules. If these sources don't provide adequate calcium levels then the PTH hormone instructs the body to reabsorb calcium from the bones.
Suppose our glandular system doesn't have enough nutrition to function appropriately. Then the hormonal messengers may begin sending the wrong information out to the body. An example of wrong information may cause the body to begin taking calcium from the bones or other such mistakes. In the calcium example this would cause our bones to become weaker and more fragile over time. I experienced hormonal irregularities first hand a few years back. These irregularities are best explained in the example below.
Imagine a lot of soldiers in war and getting ready to formulate a different attack because charging the enemy hasn't worked. A drunken 5 star General walks in and tells them to do the same thing that hasn't worked. The soldiers will have to obey . As an observer, we might think the soldiers are not very smart. The fact is, their orders caused the problem. The hypothalamus is the 5 star General of your glandular system and if it gets weak it begins to send out the wrong orders. These orders tell the organs to do the wrong things. For example, your adrenals provide energy if the hypothalamus says to the adrenals you are giving too much energy then they will dutifully slow down. When all along you may be fatigued and want more energy. I realized how important this organ was with me when I kept feeding my adrenals herbs to get energy and nothing worked. Feeding my hypothalamus caused my energy to take off. Now at 47 years young I now have more energy than I did when I was 16.
Many nutrients feed the glandular system. Master Gland is a good overall combination of those nutrients that nourishes the glandular system. Another item to consider for the glandular system is essential fatty acids (E.F.A.'s). If you have dry skin this can indicate your low in the EFA's. The glandular system uses the fatty acids to make hormones. If you are deficient then the body doesn't have the building blocks to make hormones. These hormones play a role among other things in calcium assimilation with the parathyroid gland. Black currant oil is what I suggest to our clients that have trouble assimilating calcium. Sleep problems can indicate a need to improve calcium assimilation. Often, through nutrition and nutrients this problem can be corrected.
Making sure the glandular system is working properly can be very important to all functions of the body.
For more information on the glandular system. Go here
Continuing our discussion on co-factors, I would like to talk about how the liver is needed for minerals to be assimilated.
The liver is considered the store house of our minerals. We need many minerals to be in our systems to have optimal health. Calcium, magnesium, chromium, zinc, sodium, potassium, copper and many other minerals often only needed in trace amounts.
If the liver is the store house for our minerals then sometimes we might need to take something to strengthen the livers ability to absorb the minerals. I have seen many clients take supplements and herbs but to no avail until they began to support their liver.
There are many herbs and combinations associated with strengthening the liver. Dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, red clover, milk thistle and many others have been used to feed the liver over the years.
What are some ways to know if the liver needs support or not?
Unfortunately, there is no specific way to know only some guidelines to consider. I have found that with many clients these situations could indicate they could benefit from some support of the liver.
1. Crave, desire or want fatty foods
2. Bright lights bother you
3. Eating fatty meals produces uncomfortable feeling
4. Dry skin
The liver works with the gall bladder to emulsify fats. Emulsification helps the body to absorb fats at the cellular level. If the liver is secreting the bile properly then the body will begin to show it's not absorbing fats properly. Sometimes this is indicated with some of the situations above.
Obviously, there are many more situations that could indicate the liver needs some support. However, will stop with these and point out that other things could cause these situations too.
If you are having to take a lot of supplements and herbs to get the desired effect and you aren't supporting your liver you might consider taking a single herb or liver combination to supplement your existing program. Often it doesn't take the suggested amount to begin to help your liver do the job it needs to do.
A good combination to look at can be found here
I mentioned last issue that I would cover stress and our emotional health and how it relates to assimilation of the nutrients we consume. For purposes of brevity, I will be discussing the effects of long term or continual stress. Sudden stress does cause some imbalances but many professionals agree that long term stress causes the most damage.
Stress burns up our B vitamins and minerals at a very fast pace. If we are under continual stress and we are taking the above mentioned items, there is a good chance we will need to take more than the usual amounts just to break even.
This can be observed if we are taking B vitamins and minerals before we are under stress. Our quality of life is good our health is doing well and we have no health complaints to speak of. Enter the long term stressor(s) (worry, bitterness, anger, fear are a few examples). We begin to notice that our health isn't the same. In fact, our state of health is weakening. Our first question should be what has changed. If we are fortunate we remember the addition of the stressor(s). If it were me, I would examine what gets used up during stressful times and begin to add in or increase those quantities from what I was taking before the stressor(s) were added. Please make sure you read all warnings and cautions before increasing any nutrients past the label recommendation. What does all this have to do with assimilation?
B vitamins help us to assimilate the nutrients we ingest. The B vitamins help with carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. Minerals also aid in metabolism too.
Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made. Each body system is synergistically tied into another system. Making it impossible to function independently. The absence of minerals or B vitamins would be like trying to build a house without nails. We could have all the workers eager to work but without the right building blocks we couldn't complete the project. Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands when we are under a stressful situation. "According to medical information, long-term over-secretion of cortisol has direct physiological effects on the following functions: carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, protein metabolism, inflammatory effects and lipid metabolism."1
Is it any wonder when we are under stress that our ability to metabolize and assimilate our foods and nutrients we consume is impaired. Now that we have identified the importance of less stress, what do we do if we can't avoid stressful situations? I have prepared a list of resources below that has been very helpful for me personally. These resources may or may not help you but I did want to make the list for those who could benefit.
Helpful Spiritual / Emotional Resources
2. Untangling Relationships (Workbook) - by Pat Springle
3. Conquering Co-Dependency (Workbook) - by Pat Springle
4. Making Peace With Your Past (Workbook) - by Tim Sledge