Updated: Aug 28
Hi, Dr. Julie here for functional medicine Friday. Today, we're gonna talk about the top things you should know before you take another vitamin. So what are vitamins and dietary supplements, right? They're nutrients that our bodies don't make on its own. So we have to obtain them from foods that we eat.
And sometimes that would mean large quantities of certain foods or from a vitamin or a supplement. So vitamins and supplements. We use that word interchangeably. I don't want you to get mixed up as we go through this. So when we look at dietary supplements or vitamins, it's gonna be vitamins, minerals, herbals, botanicals, amino acids, enzymes.
Those are names that you're gonna see in reference to supplements and they can come in tablets or liquids or capsules or powders or drinks or even energy bars. So let's go and start with our top 10 questions. And if you're following us on YouTube, that's great. Be sure to subscribe and also be sure to download our app it's on the Android and the iTunes store.
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Question number one, should I get my nutrients from food or supplements? That's a really good question. So vitamins and supplements. Are best when they're accompanied with a balanced diet, vitamins and supplements should not replace a healthy diet. It doesn't mean that you can start taking your vitamins and go to McDonald's breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day. Foods can provide calories and energy that are required for your daily activities, but vitamins don't provide energy or calories for use. They're just providing the nutrients.
Number two, do I need a multivitamin supplement? Yes. If you're not eating well and a well balanced, healthy, nutritional diet. You do need a multivitamin, but no, if you are doing a very personalized program based on your labs, and you're doing specific things to change your deficiencies. So if you don't have a specific personalized plan from us or from one of your doctors, then you should be taking a multi, if you do, then just follow that personalized plan. And honestly, in our personalized plan, we really don't give our patients meals because we give them just the things that they're deficient in.
What does the RDA mean? And what does DV mean? So RDA is the recommended daily allowance. And so this is set up by the food and nutrition board at the Institute of medicine and the national academies. And it varies by age, gender, pregnancy. It's the minimum amount of a nutrient that you need per day to be alive, right?
So we don't wanna shoot for the RDA. That's the minimum amount that you need. DV is daily value, and this is set by the food and drug administration, and it doesn't vary by age or gender. So one DV is for anyone who's four years old or older. Come on. Do you think someone who's five years old is the same as somebody who's 50 years old?
No. So we wanna look at it a little differently. We wanna look at it for each person and how it's personalized when you look at these on the labels, just know that's what this means, and it's just as suggestion of how much nutrients you should have per serving and it will often match or exceed the RDA for most people.
So what does the form of the supplement matter? Does it really matter what form you take it in? Yes, because supplements come in different forms and some of the forms of the supplement might not be beneficial. Did you know that there's seven different types of magnesium? And if you take one of them, you might be run into the bathroom with diarrhea.
And if you take another one, it's gonna help you with brain function. So there's different things. Different reasons. Some supplements in their form can upset your stomach. So if you need iron and you take fair sulfate, you're gonna get constipated. You're gonna get upset stomach, but if you take iron glycinate, you can take a much lower dose and not have all those stomach issues.
Some might not be very well absorbed like calcium carbonate, which is one of the most common types of calcium that we see in supplements. It causes bloating and gas as well as hardening of the arteries. People will say I'm taking it to get stronger bones.
I'm taking it for my teeth or for my hair. And guess what? If you're taking the wrong form, you are gonna actually get side effects as opposed to benefits. Maybe the wrong form isn't gonna do what you wanted to do. So we always wanna know what form we need. Because we wanna know why we're taking it for what we need it to do.
Just like we talked about Mag citrate versus Mag Threonate, one's gonna help you with going to the bathroom. It's gonna help with headaches and Mag Threonate gonna more help with brain function. So what's the difference between a fat soluble vitamin and a water soluble vitamin. That's a really good question. So vitamins that dissolve in fat are gonna be fat soluble because fats easily stored in our body. Fat soluble vitamins can be stored within our fats. That means they can accumulate and we can use 'em later. So you don't need as high a dose or as frequent. Of taking fat soluble, vitamins, water soluble vitamins are gonna dissolve on water and they travel in the blood and they're stored in a very limited amount.
And these are readily excreted from her body through urine. For example, B vitamins. Those are water soluble, vitamins, vitamin E vitamin a. Those are fat soluble vitamins. So we're not gonna take those things long term, or we're gonna measure what we need. But the vitamin BS, we're gonna need to take those long term on a daily basis because we don't storm 'em number six.
What factors should I consider before taking a vitamin supplement? So we wanna know what's your specific need or deficiency. I can tell you, I patients coming in some take no supplements whatsoever. And others take pages full, but guess what neither answer is correct. You need to take what you're deficiency in now, like right now, and guess what it changes over time.
So maybe in three months from now, you're not deficient in that anymore and you don't need it. Maybe you need something for maintenance, but you need to find out what it. because based on our genetic tendencies, did, some people genetically can take vitamin D and they hold onto it and their levels stay great and other people can take it and their levels never increase.
So you need to know what are your tendencies? Are you dieting? Sometimes if you're dieting and you're reducing your dietary intake, you're gonna need more nutrient support from supplements. Do you smoke or do you drink? Those things are really going to deplete specific supplements. Are you pregnant? You need a whole different regime for pregnancy and you don't wanna take other regular vitamins. If you take too much, vitamin a, if you take herbs, it can be really detrimental during pregnancy. So we wanna be very specific. Are you older than 50? There gonna be supplements that you need to take as you get older, versus if you're younger and prescription drugs are a major thief of nutrients.
For example, people taking Synthroid for their thyroid, they have to take it. They have a thyroid problem, but long term it's really gonna affect their bones. So you wanna make sure that you have plenty of vitamin D and K2 to bump that up. Other drugs like proton pump inhibitors, things that are stopping stomach acid.
Those are going to deplete your B vitamins. Very quickly. Birth control pills, you name it, drugs deplete your supplements and your nutrients. And if you don't replace it, you end up with another condition that you didn't have before. So what about, will the dose change to maintain my health? Absolutely. So that's why you check on your lab markers regularly to see. How do you hold onto it? I know before I hit menopause, I used to take one bottle of iron once a year. That was it. Once a year. That's all I needed. If I took more than that would be bad. And if I didn't take it, that would be bad, but we knew that was specific for me.
So everybody's different. So what do you need? That's what we wanna find out. Can I take too many supplements? Yes, you can take too many and you can take too much. If you take too many supplements, you think, wow, they're really good for me. They're healthy. It can cause a lot of problems. One of the things is vitamin D. We see a lot of people think, oh if I take a little, it's good. If I take a lot, it's better. If you take too much vitamin D it can cause kidney stones and we don't want that.
So you wanna take the correct dose because more is not always better. Remember fat soluble vitamins are more likely to be toxic to your health if taken in excess and they're stored in the body where the water soluble ones they're excreted.
Number eight, are counterfeit dietary supplements a reality? What counterfeit? Really? Yep. So the FDA warrants against fake dietary supplements, they have checked many of these over the counter supplements. They're filled with sand, or they don't even have the right nutrients in it that they claim to have because these do not go through the FDA. This is one of the things that you have to be super, super careful of, and you're wasting your money.
Sometimes people say I can get it cheaper over here at Walmart than I can If I get a pharmaceutical grade. That might be true, but you might be taking something that doesn't even have any nutrient value to it at all or worse, it could really hurt you.
Number nine. Who regulates these supplements? The FDA does not regulate these supplements at all. And so you have to know the source that you're getting them from. It's regulated by some method, right? So there are different sets of regulations compared to conventional food and drug products. And I can tell you about those regulations and who you wanna look for to check on that.
Are all supplements created equal? No, of course not. Because if they're not certified in some standard form, you don't know what you're getting. So the supplements that we use in our office are begin with wellness, McLaughlin care supplements, and all the supplements that we recommend have this quad certification.
It comes from the TGA, which is the Australian FDA. It goes through there. The natural product association, the GMP, which is a good manufacturing practice and the national sanitation foundation. So all of the supplements that we use in our office and recommend to our patients are quad certified, do not take something that is not certified because you never know what you're going to get.
All of the supplements that we have, whether they're in our med packs or whether they're in the bottles are quad certified. So how about this can poor warehousing conditions seriously affect the quality of the supplements? Absolutely. So here is an article where Amazon was forced to admit that some warehouses around the country are air conditioned and some are not, and they historically have not had air conditioning in their fulfillment center specifically on the east coast.
What does that mean? You have supplements that are sitting, waiting for you to order. It could be being heated to hundreds of degrees here, 115 degrees that degradates that supplement and it's not gonna be effective. And more importantly, it could be toxic to you. So you don't wanna order something like that.
Let's say you got your supplement from an Amazon warehouse that was air conditioned. First, how do you figure that out? But let's say it was, and then it was the wrong thing and you return it, but you set it on your porch all day long until the guy comes to pick it up to return it. Now, somebody else buys that same thing.
That's been sitting in the heat in the sun, and God only knows where that has been returned and resold to you. You do not want this. You want these supplements to be treated as if it was a medication and really watched. That you're taking the right things. So that's it. Those are your top 10 questions you need to know about supplements before you take another one.
As always we're here for you. If you have any questions, let us know, subscribe to our YouTube channel, download our app McLaughlin care, Android and on iPhones. And we'll see you next week.