Are My Supplements Working?

Note: The text below is a transcription from the video above. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.

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The topic today is, Are My Supplements Working? And this is one that, when presented to me, I was actually excited about doing because this is a challenge. I work in a field in which we use diet, lifestyle and a variety of different supplementations from herbs and botanicals to nutraceuticals, to vitamins, to minerals, and so on and so forth, combined with diets. So I work with this every day. It’s a very nuanced area and, “Are my supplements working,” is something that I hear a lot. People will come in for their first consultation and sometimes… I had a lady there that came in with three bags of supplements. I think it was 31 supplements that she was taking multiple times a day. Multiple was at least two, was at least two times a day. Most of my patients come to me with bad digestive systems to begin with. So throwing 60 some supplements a day or more into a bad digestive system probably reduces the effectiveness of supplementation just for the record, and that’s part of it.
Okay, so supplements, let’s go A to B on this. First of all, when I’m treating patients, right now, at a point in the evolution of functional medicine and the evolution of my career, it’s changed dramatically. It used to be people came in and if I started giving them some supplements, they were like, “Hey, I’m on four to five drugs. What are supplements going to do?” People were more medically oriented. Now people are coming in with laundry lists of supplements and sometimes they’re the right supplement, sometimes they’re not at the right dosage. But the point is, obviously they’re not working for them or they wouldn’t be here talking to me about their chronic fatigue, and their fibromyalgia, and their leaky gut syndrome, and their irritable bowel syndrome, and their chronic anxiety, and all that type of stuff.
Why are they not working? All right. So one big reason why they’re not working is, and this is always a challenge for me when the patient comes because I use supplements. We have a pharmacy, if you will, of supplements in our front office that we’ve been fine-tuning and developing for probably a decade and a half at least. And different companies have different strengths in the field. One company has a strength that they’re really the guys in glutathione. Other people might really be the company in berberine, other people… and on and on. Okay, so you get the point there. But that company doesn’t just do glutathione and this company doesn’t just do berberine. They then start to do all of the things that the other companies do, and then they have to tweak it to make their product special. So they’ll put a couple of different ingredients in there, which a person may be sensitive to, they may not be sensitive to.
And these are the quality companies I’m talking about. These are the people I know and respect. And these are the companies that you can count on that what they put is in there. And what they say is in there is in there. And the amount that they say is in there is in there. And so we have a whole pharmacy of these. But I have the pharmacy of certain supplements from this company that are the best because those are the best for that company, and then the same thing for the other. So it’s hard for the consumer to know that because you haven’t been using trial and error on these supplements on very sick people for a long period of time on thousands of cases. So that’s one of the reasons that your supplementation may not be doing the job that you think it should be doing.
I’m going to step back a little bit. Usually, if people ask me, “Are my supplements working,” I’m going to say like, “Well, you’re here. You tell me if your supplements are working.” If the person says, “I don’t know if my supplements are working,” they’re not working. And I’m not being smart. These companies that I use, when we do supplementation, once you hit the right dose, there’s one reason a supplement might not be working for you. If you hit the right dose from the companies that we use, you’re going to feel better or you’re going to feel worse. But you’re not going to go, “Well, I don’t know if this is working. It doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything.” If it’s not doing anything, then your supplement, you’re either not dosing it up enough… Now again, I had one just yesterday. And this gentleman, he has been watching my videos for like I think five years now, and he’s been treating himself.
So he’s using all of the supplements that I have here, not from me, but that he could get online. But he’s using them in such tiny doses. He has a chronic stress response that’s continually causing him irritable bowel problem, which means he’s not able to digest the tiny bit that he’s taking. So he needs to up dose dramatically. He needs to get the stress response under control. And there’s a couple other things that need to happen for these supplements to work. So it isn’t just a matter of, “I put the supplement in and it works or it doesn’t.” You got to understand, supplements are different than drugs. Drugs go in, they do different things. They kill stuff, they stop stuff, they increase things, they’re drugs. These things alter physiology dramatically. There’s virtually not a drug that you can’t look at and see a laundry list of side effects.
Herbs and botanicals are not like that. They go in, and I don’t even like to use the term healing, they go in and they support your tissues to get better. So if I’m treating a gut problem and I’m giving people digestive enzymes, or I’m giving them something for their stomach, or I’m giving them something for their gallbladder, I’m giving them something for their intestines, I’m giving them something for their liver, I’m not giving that to them to heal them. I’m giving them to support them so they can get better. But for them to get better, they have to get to the root cause of the issue in the first place, which frequently is a stress response or a thyroid problem, or diet is oftentimes huge, or blood sugar going all over the place. You have to start to deal with that first to bring down the temperature on the inflammation, the immune response, whatever.
And now guess what? The supplements you use, if they’re quality supplements, if they have the right amount in there of whatever they say they have, if they have in there what they say they have, those supplements now support your tissues so that you can heal. Now, a lot of you’re going to say, “Well, I do that without diet and I feel better.” You do feel better until you stop taking the supplement. And this is all of you who look at the supplements I give people in the beginning, sometimes I might give people as many 10 supplements in the beginning. They go, “Oh, my God, it’s a lot of supplements.” So I’ll go, “It is a lot of supplements. But if we do this right, you’re not going to need to take those supplements all the time. If you’re like 35 years old and you have all your organs, and you’ve got a bad gut and you’ve got bad digestive issues and you got a gallbladder that’s still there, it’s sludge, it’s not working.
You should be able to get that under control with diet and stress and lifestyle things. And ultimately not need those supplements for your digestive system unless you have some sort of a disease that you can’t make hydrochloric acid in your stomach or unless you don’t have a gallbladder. So then you have to take something like that in the future. So by the time my patients are done, they’re not taking 10 supplements because that’s how supplementation is designed to work. Now it’s a market. Everyone wants to sell you supplements, they want to sell you supplements, they want to sell you the most they can. They want you to take them for the rest of your life and they want you to buy them from them. So you have to take that into consideration. Let’s bring that from a private practice and the doctor who wants to do that, let’s bring that over to the internet.
Look, there are people who are buying my supplements on the internet and paying twice as much. And they’re expensive already, I think, because I take them. There’s a lot of counterfeit out there. Look, there is so much data out there on this, you don’t have to take my word for it, you can just look it up. I’ve read numerous articles where they have looked into… And this is not the medical profession going in and saying, “Oh, these people are bad.” No, this is independent researchers going in and going, “You know what? We went to this big company. We went to that big company. We went to this food store, or this health food store. Went to this supplement store. And we took these 10 supplements and we evaluated them and as many as 70% of supplements don’t have in them the amounts of the nutrient that they say, or the herb or the botanical.”
And it’s even, maybe it’s like 50% or 30%, I think it is, don’t even have in there what they say is in there or they have such a tiny amount in there that it almost doesn’t even count. So you have to be careful where you are getting your supplements. That may be the reason that your supplements aren’t working. The reason your supplements aren’t working may be poor quality. It may be contamination. I know China’s a big controversial thing right now, but the reality is, is China contaminates supplements and a lot of these counterfeit supplements are from China. And a lot of credible companies online have ingredients that come from China. It’s just a known fact that their products are contaminated. My cases will fail if and when I miss a contamination, if I miss a food sensitivity or if I miss food additives that my patients are sensitive to, and I happen to send them a supplement because I missed it, that there’s an additive in there and they start bloating up.
They’re not very happy about it. We have to change that right away. And that’s me having a patient call me and go, “You said I didn’t have to feel worse before I feel better. And I’ve got supplement, I’m starting to fatigue.” And then I go back and I look at all the ingredients. I go, “Oh, my god, I think they’re sensitive to this.” Based on that, we take it away and now they’re fine. That’s me controlling it. Put that online, and you’re going online and you’re buying all these supplements. How many of them are coming from China? I will say this, “If you get a supplement from a company in California, I’m in Reno, I am right on the border of California and Nevada, you’re going to get a good supplement because they have this thing called Prop 64 and those supplements have to be clean, they’re pristine, they’re regulated. There’s just a lot of great things that happen there in California relative to supplements anyway.
So there’s all these nuances. So you have to become an investigator. And again, I go back to also this gentleman that I’m working with right now, he’s working… Well, I’m not going to go through his case, but he has several, I would say, three quarters of the supplements he’s already taking are in that group of supplements that I would probably start him on anyway because he’s been watching the videos forever. He’s been astute about it. He’s having trouble figuring out the diet, but he’s not dosing enough. He’s not dosing anywhere near enough. In some places he’s only dosing 30% of what he needs and some he’s dosing literally like 10% of what he needs. So we have a thing about dosing in the vitamin industry here and we way underdose in this country. We just do, and I can get into all that. Like vitamin D for an example. The ranges here are 130 to 100 for vitamin D. The ranges in Canada are 50 to 200.
So if you have vitamin D of 125 and you go into your doctor’s office, they have a coronary, no, they tell you, you’re going to have a coronary, or they have you like, “Your legs are going to start hurting.” There are a few people from all over, all over. There are people in Philippines, there are places in Philippines, and the Philippines ranges are 95 to 235. They’re going to go, “Man, you need to get your vitamin D up.” There’s a lot of that. There’s a lot of that with B vitamins and E vitamins, and all that type of stuff. I can conjecture why it is, but I don’t want to really give my opinion because I’m not sure on this. But you’re going to see that these are going to expand. Multiple vitamins I think are useless. I think they’re pretty useless because there’s so little of everything in there.
And if you have anything wrong in your system that you’re not able to break down and absorb supplements, forget a multiple vitamin, I just think it’s a waste of money. And there’s certain people, all of my patients who have ashwagandha should not be taking, my female patients for sure, should not be taking multiple vitamins. And I have videos on that so you can look that up. So those are a lot of the nuances. I think the biggest thing is, I go all the way back to the beginning. If you are a patient who has bloating, distension, constipation, diarrhea, fuzzy coated tongue, you have small hard feces, you have problems, you get bloating or distension if you use starch, or fibers, or sugars, you have a bad digestive system. If you’ve gotten a food sensitivity test and you got more than 10 or 20 food sensitivities, you have a bad digestive system. So how are you digesting and breaking down your supplements?
So if you have one that’s working to get rid of a pain here or something, that’s fine. That’s fine, you know it’s working, it’s doing something. But if you have a bunch of supplements and you’re going like, “I wonder if these are working,” they’re not working. Let’s just keep it simple here. It’s like they’re not working, there’s not some miracle mystical, “Ooh, they’re working on some level and if I wasn’t taking them, I would be getting better.” Now supplements, you better feel something. You better feel better. If you feel worse, get off the supplement. Or, if you are taking a lot of the supplement, dial it back and see if you’re just taking too much. There’s so much, I could talk on this for hours and hours and hours, but these are the key points. These are the key points.
If you’re going online, you don’t know what you’re getting. If you go online and you find a quality company, I’ll just name a couple quality companies because I do use them. I don’t get any money for saying this, but Apex, Xymogen, Biotics. These are great companies. We have a couple here in town that are really good. So if you understand who quality companies are and you’re going to look online and get those, make sure they’re not counterfeit. There is a lot of counterfeiting online, it’s not a small percentage. There’s a lot of counterfeiting online. So you may be getting supplements and not getting what’s in there. So there’s that. And then there’s, if you do have the quality supplements and they’re not working, it may be because your physiology isn’t designed to work yet with the supplements because you have underlying irritable bowel syndrome, so maybe there are dietary changes or how you’re handling your stress responses need to be done in conjunction with those supplements.
In other words, you figure out that, you start getting that under control, you get the proper diet and we use so many different diets depending on what the person is, the person on that right diet, everything calms down. Now they get on supplements and they go, “My god, these are the same supplements we’re on. How come they’re working now?” Well it’s because they’re not fighting everything, every time you eat a food that you’re sensitive to or every time you eat a food that you’re allergic to or every time you’re going into an anxiety attack that’s screwing up your digestive, they’re not going to work. So those are the big areas that I deal with every day.
And it gets uncomfortable sometimes because I’ll look at people and I’ll go like, “Okay, you’re taking all these supplements, but I’d really feel better if you took mine while I was doing this because I know what they are, I know what the dosages are. I know if you have a bad reaction, I’m going to know which supplement it was. I’m going to know if it’s just too much, if we need to dial it back, or get rid of it.” So for me, it’s an uncomfortable conversation because I don’t want people think I’m just trying to sell them supplements. So I’m really into this because my goal is to get the person from A to B, where they want to be, with what we need and then get their physiology working as much as it can, and then dial the supplements back to just what they might need into the future.
So that’s my take on supplements as a practitioner who works with them on a daily basis and is really trying to understand them well so that I can utilize them properly. And again, I didn’t even mention that, then you got to watch, if you’re taking medications, they might be neutralizing your supplements and you have to be watching, you have to be aware if you’re taking medications if they go together. So you need to look that up online, make sure that you can take these supplements, which is another thing that we have to do with all of our patients. So there’s a lot of nuances to it. It’s not just going to the store, buying the cheapest supplements at the lowest dose and then taking them and going, “Well, I took vitamin D and I still got Covid. Well, what about those guys who said I couldn’t get it if I took enough vitamin D?” Well maybe you weren’t taking enough.
That’s another whole thing. But that’s something that’s out there right now as a possibility. That high dose of the vitamin D may be good for Covid. I’m talking about studies from Israel and I think Holland and Japan. And I’m talking about real studies so I’m not just throwing that out there to be controversial. It’s still not sure. But the point is, you’d have to be taking the amount of vitamin D that they said in those studies. And you have to have vitamin D like over 80 or 100 and your vitamin D is 13 even though you’re taking it, you’re not going to have the effect.
So lots to it, a lot to it. Unregulated industry, very, very profitable, bigger all the time. Everybody’s got internet now. Everybody’s looking online for what supplement does what for one symptom. I call that green medicine. You’re not getting to the underlying cause of the problem. There’s all of that and more. So you have any questions on that? You know, you guys might want to let us know if there’s other things that you know about or you’re thinking about your supplements if maybe we could do a future presentation on. But I think that kind of covers it.

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