What I Tell My Patients About Supplement Quality

Blog- What I Tell My Patients About Supplement Quality

Your naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist, or nutritionist has recommended you start taking supplements to give your health a boost. You’re on a budget and you’re trying to figure out how to get a good deal. You’re a bargain shopper, and you want to find the best deal.

Here’s why it might not be worth it to bargain shop with supplements:

If your supplements contain cheap or low dose versions of the nutrients, you’re probably wasting your money.

You want to take a high quality, professional supplement, not sawdust that’s been shoved into a capsule. At best, poor quality supplements are filled with cheap fillers like wheat, corn, or soy. At worst, they’re filled with something toxic that could harm you.

Certain forms of vitamins, like calcium and magnesium, are better absorbed in different forms.

Cheaper supplements may not be effective treatment. It’s so important to talk to a doctor who knows what YOU need, because what you’ll need is unique to you.

Some nutrients are harmful in high doses.

A few examples of supplements where you can have “too much of a good thing”:
Iron: too much iron is inflammatory—if you don’t need it, don’t take it! A quick blood test will tell us if you’re low in iron.
Vitamin A: Can harm an unborn baby if mom takes too high of a dose.
Folic Acid: Can be harmful if you have a MTHFR gene variation.s


Here are some of the most common things you’ll hear me telling my patients about supplements:

FISH OILS
1. Since these are OILS, they can go rancid. Some people prefer fish oil in the capsule form because let's face it, fish burps are the worst! But, if it's inside a capsule, it can be hard to tell if the oil has gone rancid. Do the whiff test--stick your nose inside the bottle, and if it smells like rancid oil/bad fish, replace it. If you’ve had it for a year, it's expired.

2. Fish oil supplements will concentrate heavy metals and other contaminants. Make sure you are using a high quality brand that tests for contamination.

VITAMIN D
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and has to be taken with fat in order to be absorbed in the gut. Are you taking your Vitamin D with meals high in healthy fats? If not, consider buying a Vitamin D already in a fat soluble base. Check the label and look to see if it already contains an oil- MCT is the oil most commonly used.

MULTIVITAMINS
Are they a waste of money?
Well...it depends. If your health is great and your diet is rich in a variety of plant and animal products that are organic, local, and seasonal, and your digestion is on point, then you probably don't need a multivitamin.
If your diet is kind of healthy, you are vegan or vegetarian, you're pregnant or breastfeeding, or you have digestive problems that affect your ability to absorb nutrients--you may benefit from a multivitamin.

Cheap multivitamins (Centrum, Costco brand, TJs...) often have SO little nutrient levels--honestly, you're just wasting your money. Don't even bother!

*Make sure your multivitamin has "methylated folate", and NOT folic acid. The newest research shows that many people have a decreased ability to utilize folic acid, and it may be harmful to have too much. If a supplement contains folic acid, it is generally poor quality. The reputable brands know to use folate (you may see it as MTHF on the label).

HERBS
Be careful when buying herbs. ONLY buy from high quality herb companies.
You want to make sure you are taking the correctly identified herb in the right form that has been harvested at the right time and extracted in the right way that wasn’t grown with pesticides or herbicides. Some herbs are more potent when in a certain form like a capsule, tincture, or tea. Talk to your naturopathic doctor about good quality companies and what forms of each herb are best for you.


I hope this encourages you to take your supplement quality a little more seriously. Don’t waste your money, and get the most medicinal value you can out of what you take!

(I give all my patients access to my online supplement dispensary, found here. Everything I recommend from this site is professional grade and high quality. Current patients can receive 10% off of all purchases!)

Migraine Relief with Hydrotherapy and Aromatherapy

Migraine Relief with Hydrotherapy and Aromatherapy

Migraines are the worst.

When you know you're getting a migraine, you know you'll be pretty much useless for the rest of the day. The pain is awful, your thinking is cloudy, and you reach for your pain medication.

Last night, around 6pm, I started to feel "off". I could tell the light and sound sensitivity was starting, I felt nauseous, and that all too familiar headache was approaching. I quickly went through my checklist of my known triggers:

-Stress/Anxiety
-Perfume/chemical smells
-Food additives/MSG
-Dehydration
-Poor Sleep
-Hypoglycemia/skipping meals
-Constipation/digestive upset

Since I have spent years honing my body awareness, I knew that stress/anxiety was triggering today's migraine.

As a chronic migraine sufferer and naturopathic doctor, I have natural action plans on deck that don't involve taking Tylenol, Advil, or Ibuprofen (unless I REALLY REALLY need to).


Step One: Get in a Bath!
Hydrotherapy is one of the easiest and cheapest forms of medicine, and one of my favorite!

Hydrotherapy is the use of hot and cold water for therapeutic purposes.

Hydrotherapy works by altering the blood and lymph flow in the body: hot water causes blood vessels to open up and increases blood flow, and cold water causes vessels to constrict, moving the blood away from the cold area.

To use hydrotherapy to help with migraines, I first draw myself a hot bath. I set up a bowl of cold water on the outside of the tub and add a washcloth. I use the cold washcloth on my head and neck to make sure I don't feel that pounding in my head that can start once I get in the hot water. While I'm at it, I set a LARGE glass of cold water next to the bath for me to drink--hydration is key.
 

Step 2: Add Epsom Salt
The magnesium sulfate in the salt relaxes muscles, gently moves the bowels, and helps with blood flow. I add ~2 cups of Epsom Salts to the hot water and make sure they dissolve. The magnesium in the Epsom Salts is pretty well absorbed--the hot water helps to open up the pores.
 

Step 3: Add bubbles
This calming bubble bath has lavender and sage essential oils and smells DIVINE! When I'm feeling anxious, this is a must-have addition to my bath. It doesn't have any synthetic fragrance--only a mild calming smell. There are no synthetic chemicals: if it's gentle enough for babies, it's gentle enough for me.

Step 4: Breathe.
While in the bath I focused on regulating my breath through breathing slowly and deeply. This helps to further reduce muscle tension, increase "rest and digest" nervous system to get the bowels moving, and helps to relax mind & body.

Step 5: Be Grateful
I spent 5-10 minutes thinking of the good things in my life that I am thankful for. This practice has helped me to reduce anxiety through helping me to see the good things in my life and stop focusing on the hard things. This can be in the form of prayer or just simply giving thanks!

Step 6: Aromatherapy
Before I got into the bath, I set up my diffuser with an organic lavender essential oil. I put it in the bedroom because I knew I'd be crawling into my bed right after my bath. Essential oil quality is important, so make sure you are using a reputable source! (I like Ancient Ways Botanicals)

Before I got into my bath, I would have rated my migraine at a 8/10 (10 being the worst pain). After 10 minutes into the bath, it was down to a 3/10, and was practically gone by the time I got into bed. A drugless miracle!

Migraine action plans can vary depending on your triggers. I recommend anyone who suffers from headaches and migraines talk to a naturopathic doctor about prevention and plans that fit their needs! Individualized medicine is so important, because triggers can vary, and everyone is different.

If you want more about what will work for you, I would be happy to meet with you to help you figure out the best plan for you. I know how tricky it can be, and I help my patients treat their migraines naturally every day!

In Health,
Dr. Fanning

Coconut Collagen Latte

Like most people across the globe, I start my days with coffee. I know it exhausts my adrenal glands by triggering cortisol release, which will ultimately make me feel more sleepy over time. It's addictive and if I was at my healthiest, I wouldn't crave the caffeine boost. I hear ya. But sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. 

I used to get jittery when I drank a cup of coffee and crashed soon after I got my boost. Then, I discovered this amazing blended coffee recipe! It has healthy fats and protein, which help to ease the caffeine buzz. It gives me some sustenance when I'm running out the door, and even makes my skin look great! 

Benefits of Collagen: 

  • Improves elasticity of skin and hair
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Strengthens joints
  • High in Protein and Amino Acids
  • Heals the lining of the gut

I love this recipe because the combo of collagen powder and coconut milk makes a frothy latte that makes me feel fancy when I'm bringing my coffee from home. I have been using Great Lakes Collagen which is tasteless, textureless, and dissolves perfectly in this drink. The small amount of honey is enough to give it a touch of sweetness, but has WAY less sugar than your typical Starbucks drink. I also add a tablespoon of the cream from the top of a can of coconut milk.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know how it turns out.

 
 

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