Almost everyone takes a vitamin or supplement. In the U.S., we spend nearly 1.5 billion dollars each year on supplements and vitamins.  Nearly half of all Americans take at least 1 vitamin or supplement. How do you now if it is the right vitamin for you? How do you know if the level of the active ingredient in the vitamin you buy is enough or too much? How do you know if the vitamin quality is worth what you are paying for it? How do you know if the supplement is really helping you?
If you do a Google search for vitamins or supplements, you will see millions of results. Many articles state that vitamins are a waste of money. Some articles say that if you do not take a vitamin, you cannot be healthy – scaring you into thinking you need to rush right out to buy a vitamin. And, of course, there are thousands of vitamin companies that want to sell you the latest and greatest vitamin that will make you live a very long and healthy life, lose weight, improve your energy level, improve your sex life, balance your hormones, etc. Recently, Dr. Oz was criticized for “peddling” various products on his television show.
In our office we practice functional medicine. Click here to learn about functional medicine. We balance a patient’s chemistry using, vitamins, supplements, creams, gels, and dietary and lifestyle recommendations. It is clear then that we believe vitamins and supplements can be a good thing. However, we do not believe that every person needs to take lots of vitamins for the rest of their life for good health. In fact, too much is just as bad as none at all. So, how do you know what vitamins to take?
Dr. Oz was accused of endorsing “quack remedies” on his show. Dr. Ungar has had lunch with Dr. Oz and appreciates how he has brought alternative and natural health to the mainstream. Generally, the products he discusses on his show are not generally bad. However, what Dr. Oz (and people who “sell” vitamins) do is recommend a particular vitamin or supplement for everyone regardless of that person’s specific case history and body chemistry. Some of the supplements recommended by these sellers will work for some people. But are you part of the “some?” The only way to find out is to see a doctor who will do thorough testing of all of your body’s systems – hormone levels, adrenal function, thyroid function, GI function. Vitamins, supplements, dietary changes should then be used to bring your body back into balance and full function based on the results of that testing. [Click to Tweet]
Buy Quality Supplements.
Do you need to spend more to get good quality vitamins? Yes and no. The best answer is to buy vitamins that have research to back up their efficacy and that a doctor who knows exactly what you need recommends. [Click to Tweet] This is not to say that you should only buy vitamins from a doctor’s office (although this is usually the safest bet). You can buy vitamins on-line or from your local vitamin store but before you do, have the testing done and ask your doctor if these over-the-counter vitamins are right for you and if the amount of active ingredient is enough or too much to help you meet your health goal. You will also need to watch the filler included in drugstore vitamins. You could be sensitive to that filler, which could negate the vitamin’s benefits.
Get Retested and Make Adjustments.
After your first testing, you doctor may recommend supplements to bring your body back into balance. Balancing the body’s chemistry is a process. You don’t achieve good health simply by taking some vitamins for a few weeks. In order to see how you are progressing and to decide whether to continue, stop or adjust levels of your supplements, retesting is necessary. Be wary of any practitioner or vitamin seller who suggests that you should just take a supplement forever without a personalized clinical basis for that recommendation. Your goal (and your doctor’s goal) is to bring your body back into balance and then only take supplements needed to keep it that way. [Click to Tweet] In many cases, that might be nothing!
Some vitamins and supplements are necessary for some people based on their specific body needs. Criticism of vitamins and supplements is warranted when this rule is not applied like above. Applying this rule, the results speak for themselves in black and white (test results) and in the lives are patients live. We see people meet their health goals in our office every day. Click here if you would like to hear from a few of them.
Do you take vitamins or supplements? Do you know if they are helping you?
February 3, 2016
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians