Thursday, October 21, 2010

On Supplements and Vitamin Testing

Although supplementation of large groups of people in double blind studies often fails to improve the health of the participants, I am a big fan of supplementation for individuals based on specific vitamin testing and supplementation for individuals with specific health problems.

Supplementation is often necessary when you are on a restricted diet, such a gluten free diet for celiac (1) or a gluten free/casein free diet for neurological problems. Individuals with clear malabsorption of nutrients and growth problems can also benefit from supplements that specifically address their underlying deficiencies. Often, double blind studies of large groups of people really miss the individual nature of supplementation. So the studies that Michael Pollan speaks about where large groups of people take beta carotene (2) and do not get better, do not address these individual biochemical glitches which would require supplementation. The studies which report that people get less cancer when they eat fresh fruits and vegetables containing beta carotene with the studies showing that beta carotene itself gives no benefit, support the idea that health benefits from supplementation of this one vitamin in large groups of people are not enough to provide protection that the fresh fruits and vegetables offered. But, in individuals with low levels of absorption of a particular vitamin, supplementation can be a different story.

I had malabsorption of several nutrients: copper, B12, carnitine, and asparagine and a few other nutrients and when I added these supplements to my diet after extensive nutritional testing through Dr. Dardashti I was able to go off thyroid medication and two other medicines I was taking for attention problems. Although I was eating food with these nutrients, I was not actually breaking down and absorbing the nutrients. And, I discovered, I needed to take supplements in order to be well. Interestingly, the vitamins I was not absorbing were all absorbed on the same part of the intestine and therefore pointed to a malabsorption problem that was not going to be corrected through eating properly.

But the best part of doing the nutritional testing and finding out exactly what I was low in is NOT that I got off all the medication I was taking. The best part is that I feel better. I feel well. I feel healthy.

I did the extensive nutritional testing through Dr. Dardashti, because I had neuropathy which I was told was from low vitamin levels by Dr. Latov, who wrote the book: Peripheral Neuropathy: When the Pain and Numbness Won't Go Away. When I found out I was deficient in a few vitamins which were causing the neuropathy I sought out the best nutritional testing I could find--through Dr. Dardashti.

After extensive nutrient testing and vitamin supplementation the neuropathy went away and so did the need for medication I was taking for other health issues. What a bonus.



Neil Johnson said...

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My Doodle's Dairy Free said...

I completely agree. I live in the middle of nowhere where access to decent medical care is a 3 hour drive. I decided to try different vitamins/minerals for my daughter, one at a time, to see what helped her the most. I have found, for her, that vitamin D, zinc, and Omega 3 play the biggest part in her recovery from Autism. A decent probiotic also helps. It's made all the difference in the world. Thanks for continually educating me!

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