Diets – One Size Does Not Fit All – Part I
Are These Supplements Right for Me?
What if I told you that you could actually be harming yourself if you are taking the wrong supplements? And I’m not just talking about herbs; I’m talking about your multivitamin, your B-complex and your magnesium. Yep! You heard correctly. If you are not aware of your biochemical individuality then you can’t know what it is that you should be consuming in order to be healthy and prevent disease. By ignoring your body’s needs and taking nutritional supplements haphazardly, you can impair health greatly.
Biochemical Individuality was a term coined by Dr. Roger Williams to describe the tremendous variation in nutritional needs from person to person. This variation in individual cellular chemistry makes standardization of nutritional supplementation recommendations a difficult task. We are doing ourselves a great disservice by utilizing the “one size fits all” approach to supplementation and to providing healthcare for that matter.
Likewise, the dosages of your nutritional supplements cannot be standardized either. The field of Orthomolecular Nutrition utilizes the concept of biochemical individuality to provide patients with only the amount of nutrient that they require, nothing more, nothing less. The goal is to balance the cellular biochemistry rather than to simply treat symptoms of a disease. With this approach, you avoid harming the delicate nutrient balance that is responsible for health and vitality while healing disease at a deeper level. An example of how incorrect combinations and types of nutritional supplementation can be harmful is seen with adrenal fatigue. In the early stages of adrenal fatigue (alarm stage of stress), the body requires more calcium, magnesium, choline, inositol and copper, with lower amounts of B-complex vitamin and C (B and C vitamins will rev up an already accelerated system). Contrarily, in the later stages of adrenal fatigue (exhaustion stage), an individual requires greater amounts of B-complex and C and less copper to help get the sluggish adrenals moving.
Another concept worth examination when it comes to nutritional supplementation is simple nutrient replacement. This is the concept of replacing only the nutrients that an individual is deficient in. The problem with this is that often a nutrient is deficient because it is compensating for another imbalance in the biochemistry. By only replacing the deficient nutrient, the entire nutrient balance can be thrown off, leading to further damage and disease. The goal is to correct imbalances at the source, like healing the gut and improving nutrition, so that the cellular chemistry stays happy and healthy. This is not to say that some nutrients don’t require direct replacement. Nutrients like zinc and selenium often require direct replacement because they are not readily available in food sources and frequently deficient in people.
So, now you are asking yourself, “Well, how do I know what I specifically need?” Enter Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis (HMA). Nutritional Balancing is a specialized and sophisticated medical approach that utilizes biochemical assessment, dietary and lifestyle adjustment as well as detoxification to heal the body on a deep, cellular level. The goal of Nutritional Balancing is to correct and maintain homeostasis in the body. Hair mineral analysis is a soft tissue biopsy that assesses the mineral content in the cells and interstitial spaces of the hair over a two to three month period. It is important to note that HMA assess activity at the cellular level and does not always correlate with blood analysis. HMA provides information on topics such as oxidation rates, thyroid and adrenal activity, carbohydrate tolerance, immune system activity, energy and toxicity levels. Further, hair mineral analysis can make inferences about over 30 physical and mental conditions. HMA is to be utilized as a screening test and is not intended to be diagnostic of any disease or condition. It is, however, an inexpensive, simple and easily performed test that provides your practitioner with a great deal of information about you.
These tools can be extremely useful in helping to determine what nutritional supplementation you need, how much you need and in what ratios you need them in. Don’t short change yourself by assuming that you need to take whatever supplement is on sale at GNC in order to stay young, fit and healthy. Don’t believe that taking 25 supplements in mega doses is the answer to your multitude of symptoms. Have an appropriate assessment of your cellular biochemistry and give your unique body what it wants and needs!