For over 30 years I have helped thousands of people – many with serious diseases – regain their health and stay healthy. I have not done this by prescribing dangerous drugs but rather through a program of exercise and designed clinical nutrition.
If you want to be healthy, you have to live a healthy lifestyle by choosing more healthy alternatives over less-healthy alternatives. One of these choices is vitamin and mineral supplementation. Supplements by themselves are not an antidote for junk foods or lack of exercise. Supplements, as the name implies, are just that – they supplement what is lacking in your diet to provide your body with the proper natural materials (not drugs) that it needs to heal and maintain itself.
There is a great deal of misinformation out there connected with vitamins and supplements. Many of my patients say “Dr. Erickson, I am already taking a multivitamin.” Let me explain why we sell supplements from our office or suggest the purchase of specific brand names of supplements.
RDA stands for recommended daily allowance. This is the minimum daily amount of specific nutrients that the U.S. government has decided the average adult needs. These standards were set over 40 years ago in a day and age when environmental and lifestyle factors were completely different than they are today. They are inadequate, and they do not address the special needs of people who are smokers, drinkers, people exposed to air pollution, toxic chemicals, bad water, and stress. Supplements are our first line of defense against poor health.
As an example, in a large-scale study, nurses taking 100 IU of vitamin E had nearly a 50% reduction in heart-related deaths. The RDA for vitamin E is only 10 IU. Another study demonstrated that people taking 400 mg of vitamin C per day had a 50% reduction in heart-related deaths and increased their life span by an average of 8 years. The RDA for vitamin C is only 60 mg.!
WHICH VITAMIN SHOULD I BUY?
Before I can answer the question “Dr. Erickson, which vitamin should I buy?” let me ask you “How much is YOUR HEALTH worth?” The best supplements cost more than junk and you can’t always tell by looking at a label. That’s why I make specific recommendations on brands I feel comfortable with. I know the potency and purity is what it’s supposed to be. Vitamins are unregulated by the FDA (food and drug administration) so if a bottle says “100 mg” there is no guarantee that it doesn’t contain 50 mg. Also, the FDA doesn’t require expiration dates on supplement bottles. They can lose potency sitting on a shelf or being exposed to heat in a warehouse. As a physician who recommends nutritional supplements I am recommending to you the exact brands that I take or would take myself. Through years of clinical experience I have confidence in certain products and companies. Some of these products are not available in a store and for this reason I sell them from my office. Others, you can buy at a health food store or order by mail.
NATURAL VS. SYNTHETIC: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Almost all vitamins are synthetic. A natural vitamin has the whole vitamin complex with it, not just a portion. It is made from whole foods, not chemicals. The brands we sell from the Center are made from either organically grown vegetables or organic plant products. They are not contaminated with pesticides or made from coal-tar derivatives such as acetone or turpentine. In addition, the supplements we recommend are easily absorbed by humans and do not contain binders that do not allow the pill to dissolve completely. There are no standards requiring absorption studies or disclosure of binders such as Di-Calcium-Phosphate. Would you believe, some vitamins are coated with shellac! Others have added polyunsaturated vegetable oils as fillers which can oxidize quickly and produce free radicals which make the vitamin rancid.
The FDA adds to the confusion, in my opinion, by allowing drug companies to call part of a vitamin, a vitamin. For instance, chemical ascorbic acid is called vitamin C. The companies are not required to add bioflavonoids and other phytofacters that are needed to complete the vitamin C complex. Phytofacters are plant compounds that protect the plant against radiation damage, insects, pollution, free radicals, etc. and also play an important role in maintaining human health. That’s why we sell Nutrilite® Brand BioC Plus. It is made from acerola cherries, the way nature intended for you to get your vitamin C. The same applies to all our other vitamins.
Minerals are best absorbed in “chelated” form where they are bound to amino acids or another substance. Also, minerals from plant sources are much more easily handled by humans than say “oyster shell calcium” or other non-plant sources (plants have the ability to convert inorganic minerals into organic minerals). All of our calcium products and minerals are natural and easily bioavailable. That’s why we use BioMultiPlus from Biotics Research™ as a multivitamin, as it is plant chelated.
And finally, not all natural supplements are alike. Some companies put only a portion of plant material in their supplement and call it “natural.” You want to make sure that if the active part of the plant is the leaves, you are not getting stems. You also want to make sure that the processing meets pharmaceutical standards of purity, potency, absorption into the body, and that a high heat process is not used. You also want to know where the source of plant material comes from (U.S. or imported from a third world country where DDT is not illegal). That’s why we sell Nutrilite®, Standard Process®, Biotics Research™ and certain other brands. Although they are not available in stores – their supplements are made from organically grown plant materials and meet the standards I feel comfortable with as a physician.
How Much Do I Need to Stay Healthy?
No two people are alike and there is no “one size fits all” vitamin. Your supplement needs will vary from day to day and are affected by many factors. If you have medical challenges with diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, alcohol or drug problems, stress, pregnancy, heavy metal poisoning, or other conditions your needs will be different than the “average” person. That is why I do not take a “shotgun” approach to recommending a “megavitamin” amount to people and hope it covers everything. Too much of a vitamin can have an adverse effect on the body.
The first step in supplementation is to build a foundation with a natural multivitamin-multimineral which covers all the vitamin groups and trace minerals. Please ask us what preparation would be appropriate for you. If your multiple vitamin is doing the job we will keep you on it. The next step in supplementation is to fill in the gaps. One of the ways we do this at the Preventive Medicine Center is to analyze your needs at each visit with CRA (Contact Reflex Analysis), monitoring specific reflex points that reflect your nutritional status. In this way your supplement program is custom fitted for your specific needs. Give yourself 12 weeks, and you’ll feel the difference.