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A Better Approach to Supplements
by Gary F. Zeolla
Note: Be sure to read the Update" at the end of this article, or you will get the wrong impression of the writer's final attitude towards NAET.
Many people turn to supplements to help with various health problems, to improve athletic performance, or simply to enhance their health. But the biggest difficulty is trying to determine what supplements will actually help a particular individual. Most people waste a large amount of time and money “experimenting” with supplements to try to find something that helps. And in some cases, a supplement might actually make things worse. But there is a better approach this trial and error method that this article will discuss. But first, some background.
Creationist Diet on Supplements
I am the author of the book Creationist Diet. In it, I have two chapters on supplements. The crux of those chapters is as follows:
1. Supplements do not and cannot make up for a poor diet. One should be looking mainly to food not supplements for their nutrients.
2. However, taking a full-spectrum multiple vitamin-mineral supplement would be a good idea as "insurance" against nutrient deficiencies. Even with a good diet it is possible that one's diet might still be deficient in one or more nutrients and a multi would help to cover this deficiency.
3. Since most multi's contain little or no calcium and magnesium, it would be a good idea to take a separate calcium/ magnesium supplement.
4. There is some evidence that taking high doses of the antioxidant nutrients (e.g. vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, vitamins C and E, and the mineral selenium) help to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and strokes. However, the evidence is rather divided.
5. In some specific cases higher doses of some nutrients might be needed, such as taking calcium and magnesium to help with chronic pain or neurological problems.
At the time my book was written all I was taking was a Men’s One-a-Day, which contains 100-150% of the RDA for a wide range of nutrients, plus a separate calcium/ magnesium supplement. However, due to various health problems and multiple allergies, I began experimenting with various supplements.
But after wasting a lot of money, the only supplement that I found that actually helped was Twinlab’s Calcium Citrate Caps (which also contain magnesium). Taking 3-4 of these a day helped to control my neurological “tics.” I experimented with other brands and forms of calcium and magnesium, but none seemed to help as much as the Twinlab’s product.
But otherwise, all other supplements I tried proved to be worthless, or even worse. In many cases I experienced side effects from the supplements. For instance, at one point I switched from the One-a-Day to taking Twinlab’s Daily Two Caps. I did so due to the success I had with Twinlab’s Calcium Citrate Caps and because of what I learned after the publication of my book about quality and absorption issues of supplements.
However, after taking the Daily Two Caps for a short period of time, I ended up with diarrhea and urinating constantly. I couldn’t understand why I had these problems at the time, but now I do.
Testing for Allergies to Supplements
I discovered why I had such problems with the Daily Two Caps when I turned to NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques), an alternative form of allergy treatment, to deal with my allergies. This was in January of 2002. And associated with NAET is a diagnostic procedure known as Applied Kinesiology or “muscle testing.”
These medical procedures are described in detail in the articles listed at NAET and Applied Kinesiology. And knowledge of what is contained in those pages is needed to understand what follows. I describe the success I had with NAET in the multi-part article Stiff Person Syndrome. But here, what is important is how NAET and Applied Kinesiology relate to the issue of supplements.
In NAET theory one can be allergic to not just whole foods but vitamins and minerals themselves. In my case, some of my worst allergies were to vitamin A, vitamin C, the B complex vitamins, and zinc. But all of these are in rather high amounts in the Daily Two Caps. So by taking this supplement I was taking concentrated forms of substances I was allergic to. This has been verified by the fact that now that after being treated for these and other nutrients, I could take the Daily Two Caps without problems.
So the first part of the NAET protocol in regards to supplements is to use the muscle response testing to be sure the person is not allergic to the supplement or anything it contains.
Moreover, a basic tenet of NAET is that if you are allergic to something you cannot properly utilize it. So, for instance, if you are allergic to citrus and eat an orange, you body cannot properly assimilate the vitamin C, potassium, and other nutrients in it. Moreover, if you are allergic to vitamin C itself, you cannot adequately utilize it from any source, food or supplements.
As a result, over time, even with adequate intake and even high does supplementation, you still could very well be deficient in nutrient(s) you are allergic to.
Dr. Devi Nambudripad (the “inventor” of NAET) explains further:
When you are allergic to nutritional elements you cannot absorb or utilize nutrition from food. The body then suffers from nutritional deficiencies impairing its normal function. After you go through the allergy elimination treatment, you need to take nutritious products to eliminate the deficiencies in the body. You also need to supplement your diet with appropriate nutritional supplements to strengthen the meridians and/ or related organs (Say Goodbye to Illness, pp. 148,149).
So once you are treated for allergenic nutrients and foods which contain them with NAET, it is recommended that you supplement with high doses of those nutrients. This will enable you to more quickly restore adequate body stores of these nutrients than diet alone would enable. But once you have restored your body's stores then you can begin to cut back on the supplements and depend more on food for your nutrients.
Testing the “Need” for Supplements
The second part of the NAET procedure is to use the muscle testing to determine exactly what supplements will be of benefit to a particular person. This eliminates the guesswork and waste of money in experimenting blindly with supplements.
The NAET Guide Book describes a way to use the muscle testing to determine the need for specific nutrients. You simply hold the supplement and utilizing the muscle testing you ask the body if there is a need for this particular supplement. The Guide Book also describes a method by which you can determine how many pills you should take.
However, one of the doctors I went to for my NAET treatments told me that she did not find the Guide Book's method for determining the number of pills to take to be helpful. She said that following that method one could end with the need to take dozens or hundreds of a particular supplement. But the body simply cannot absorb such a high level of nutrients at once. So she felt it was best to just use a high dose supplement and take it according to label directions.
But she does utilize the idea of asking the body if there is a need for the supplement using Applied Kinesiology. She also uses another method for determining need, which is somewhat similar to the NAET method. She had me lie down and hold my arm at my side. She then placed a magnet between my body and my arm and tried to pull my arm away from my body while I resisted. And without holding anything she was able to do so.
Then she had me hold a sample of supplement. And if it strengthens my arm so that she was no longer able to pull it away this showed the supplement would be beneficial. Later, I also did self-testing at home using the finger on finger self-testing muscle response method and came up with basically the same results. But I did add one step.
While holding the supplement, I tried asking how many of it I should take a day. I asked first, "Should I take one a day?" If the answer was no then I asked if I should take two a day, etc. So I started supplementing according to the number I got for each supplement.
Another important point is that just because there is a need for a supplement at one time does not mean one will always need it. It is very possible that after a period of time of taking a supplement, the need for it will be fulfilled and one will no longer need it. So it is important to periodically re-test if there is a need for a particular supplement. And the best time to re-test is when one is at the end of a bottle before purchasing a new one.
Now this approach may sound strange, but it does make sense. To take supplements, especially very high doses thereof, without testing to see if there is really some kind of need for it is frankly a waste of money. Also taking too much of some supplements can cause problems.
For a list of the supplements I am currently taking, see Current Supplements.
In summation, first one needs to test to be sure they are not allergic to the supplement or anything it contains. You can actually worsen your condition if you take a supplement that you turn out to be allergic to. Second, one then needs to test to see if there is actually a need for the supplement and how much of it one should take.
As Dr. Devi Nambudripad writes:
Many people who feel poorly due to undiagnosed food allergies may take vitamins or other supplements to increase their vitality. This can actually make them feel worse if they happen to be allergic to these nutrients as well. Only after clearing those allergies can their bodies properly assimilate them. So nutritional assessment should be done periodically, and if needed, appropriate supplements should be taken to receive better results (Say GoodbyeI, p.20).
Dr. Sandra Denton emphasizes the last point in the forward to Say Goodbye to Illness:
In my office NTT [Nambudripad’s Testing Technique] is used to determine the appropriate nutritional supplementation or medication and the correct dosage for each patient. No more guesswork or merely copying a protocol out of a book. The therapy can be tailored to the individual (p.XVII).
Source for Supplements
Taking supplements can get rather expensive. But rather inexpensive places to purchase them are iHerb and Amazon. These online stores offer the above and many other supplements at some of the cheapest prices I have found for them on the Web or otherwise. For iHerb, use coupon code HOP815 to get $5.00 off your first order.
I no longer recommend Applied Kinesiology for testing for supplement use, or for anything else for that matter. Over the years, I have tried many supplements that the testing said would be helpful to me. But not only were they not helpful but they caused me negative side effects. For further details, see Dangers of Applied Kinesiology and NAET.
Nambudripad, Devi, M.D. The NAET Guide Book. Buena Park, CA: Delta Publishers, 2001.
Say Goodbye to Illness. Buena Park, CA: Delta Publishers, 1999.
Zeolla, Gary. Creationist Diet: Nutrition and God-given Foods According to the Bible. AuthorHouse. © Gary F. Zeolla, 2000.
A Better Approach to Supplements. Copyright © 2002-2005 by Gary F. Zeolla.
Disclaimers: All company and products names are registered trademarks of the respective companies.
The material presented in this article is intended for educational purposes only. The author is not offering medical or legal advice. Accuracy of information is attempted but not guaranteed. Before undertaking any diet, exercise, or health improvement program, one should consult your doctor. The author is in no way responsible or liable for any bodily harm, physical, mental, or emotional, that results from following any of the advice in this article.
The above article was posted on this site September 21, 2002.
It was last updated June 9, 2005.
Dealing with Health Difficulties
Dealing with Health Difficulties: NAET and Applied Kinesiology
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