It’s not uncommon for people with health issues to come into their appointments here at CK Health with a suitcase full of supplements. These supplements are self-prescribed in an attempt to help alleviate symptoms and address the very real health issues they have. In actual fact, for the most part, people doing this are inadvertently taking the wrong products for their needs and are either making their symptoms worse, helping new unwanted symptoms appear, or are just plain wasting their money!!
Have you ever been to see a naturopath and already been taking supplements?
I bet you $100 dollars they asked you to stop taking the ones you’ve bought at the chemist or supermarket and made you pay twice as much for what looks like a similar product!
Believe it or not there’s actually a really good reason for this and I’m going to let you know WHY.
At CK Health we LOVE the products we prescribe and don’t have much faith in the cheaper over the counter products.
Firstly, it’s all to do with the transparency of the companies, how and where they source their ingredients from and what happens after that.
We choose companies that support harvesting or the raw ingredients for herbal medicine in a sustainable way. Avoiding products that are endangered or unsustainable.
We choose companies that test the quality of the raw ingredients and have the percentage of the active part of the ingredient (known as the constituent) on the label.
The products we choose have no unnecessary fillers in them like gluten or bulking agents. They are tested independently for contamination, heavy metals and toxic ingredients and the manufacturer then ensures these are well below the acceptable limits.
The products we like to use contain doses that are backed by human clinical trials and utilise synergetic ingredients to make the active ingredients more effective.
All these products are TGA (Therapeutic Goods Association) approved products and are made to pharmaceutical grade standards.
This is all well and good and sounds super-duper amazing, but when you are looking at cost, sometimes you need a bit more back up.
When you can buy 1000 fish oil tablets for $9.90 and I want to charge you $50 for 30, what is the actual difference?? And what about calcium or iron or magnesium? What difference does it make which one you take?? Well, if you want the product to work, it makes a big difference!!
Take Magnesium for example.
I’m going to use the brand Bioglan here, as it’s one we see people buy a lot from chemists, as it’s not very expensive and packaged beautifully..
There are so many different forms of magnesium. Most people won’t know what they mean or do, so we will just look at the back of the bottle, see that it says magnesium on it, and think its ok. The different forms of magnesium depend on what it is bound to. There’s magnesium citrate which is magnesium bound to citric acid, while magnesium bisglycinate is bound to two glycine salts.
The bioglan magnesium has 4 different forms of magnesium in it, which add up to 334mg of magnesium in total. However, when you break it down, the form that is the bulk of that formulation is magnesium oxide. This form of magnesium is traditionally used for treating heartburn or constipation, so using this to treat a magnesium deficiency or other symptoms of low magnesium like restless legs will do nothing!
One of our fave magnesium products here at CK Health, not only avoids magnesium oxide (which is very poorly absorbed by the body and seems a waste of money to us), but also uses other ingredients synergistically to improve the overall performance of the magnesium.
Amino acids like taurine and glycine can help improve the absorption of magnesium and are cofactors in the metabolic processes in the body that magnesium is involved in, so it is like turning a key in a greased lock- it will work much better than a dry one!
Another product we see a lot of people taking is Ferro grad Iron. Like magnesium and a lot of other vitamin and minerals, there are many different forms of iron that you can buy as supplements.
This form of iron in Ferro grad is called ferrous sulphate. To our eternal frustration, it is recommended to most of our pregnant clients by their midwives and it is notourisly constipating! Not what a pregnant woman wants as a side effect!
Also, the ferrous sulphate form of iron is really poorly absorbed. We prefer iron bisglycinate as it is way more gentle on the digestion and the body absorbs it more. The other one is iron chelate, which again, is not constipating and the body uses more of it.
So lastly, I’m going to compare a kids fish oil, as this is something we see a lot of in clinic here at CK Health.
You are concerned about your children health, see a wide range of cutely packaged children’s supplements and decide to try fish oil as it says the words better concentration or brain function on the bottle. And yes, fish oils, may help with these, but not all are the same.
I’m going to compare Natures Way Kids DHA, with my fave Nordic Naturals Children’s DHA.
On the outside you might think they are the same. However, look a little closer. The nature’s way has 300mg of DHA and 60mg of EPA. The dose is one per day.
The Nordic naturals have 104mg of DHA and 19 of EPA in the daily dose of 4 chewable capsules (they are tiny!).
So, when comparing, you might think the nature’s way is better, as it has higher amounts of both DHA and EPA in it. But we need to look at the RATIO of DHA to EPA. The scientific literature says a ratio of 3:2 or 2:1 is best for clinical results in terms of behaviour change.
Nordic naturals is 2:1, but natures way is 10:2 The difference in the ratio can make it not as effective when treating concentration or brain function.
Other things to consider are the extras in supplements. The nature’s way product has sulphites, soy and sucralose. Soy is one of the most common food allergens in children and sulphites are linked with behavioural issues! The Nordic naturals uses vitamin E and rosemary as natural preservatives instead of using sulphites and has no other oils in it as filler.
I’d love it if instead of trying products that you aren’t sure are right for you or are part of a “program” or “system”, that your first point of call is to come and see a qualified naturopath at CK Health. We will work out what product is going to work best for you!
We are passionate about getting you results and have even started compounding our own nutritional medicine alongside custom blending herbal tonics.
If you want to have a fresh look at the supplements you are taking click below for your free assessment. and find out if you really are wasting money!