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WHY ARE NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS SO IMPORTANT IN TREATMENT?
There is a tendency for new patients to feel slightly overwhelmed by the number of nutritional supplements that are sometimes recommended by me as they initiate their preliminary Treatment Plan. I always try my best to explain why nutritional supplements are so important to recovery, but sometimes it is not fully understood or accepted by the patient. In this short blog post, I’d like to share with you the reasons nutritional supplements are so useful early on in treatment and sometimes for long term depending on what health issues a patient is dealing with.
THE MYTH OF QUICK RECOVERY WITH MINIMAL INVESTMENT
It is a rare patient who does not ask to get well as fast as possible as they know it will take time, while the majority want wellness yesterday. By the time most people request a consultation with me, they are typically quite unwell and usually have been for a decade or longer. Then there are couples who have been trying to get pregnant, sometimes for many years, and would like my help to improve their odds of conception but tend only to give me three months to work a miracle. So, you can imagine the situation I find myself in regularly – a very unwell patient, asking to get healthier as quickly as possible, as inexpensively as possible and usually with minimal effort on their part. This can be a difficult combination to navigate. It surely would be lovely if it was possible to regain health with little investment of money, time or energy – I would have loved it to exist when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, but it is not reality.
BEING SICK IS EXPENSIVE
Being sick is expensive, and I guarantee you it is always going to be more expensive on many levels – financial, social, psychological – than maintaining wellness. It is wiser to deal with sickness earlier than later. It is even wiser to prevent major illness sooner than later.
The good news is at every level of sickness, the more you understand about your own body and any predispositions you have towards illness and/or any illnesses you already have, the more successful you can ultimately be when trying to manage your health.
EDUCATION IS ESSENTIAL TO FOLLOW THROUGH
At AcuPlus, I work diligently to educate patients about their predispositions to poor health and how their bodies work. Improving patient education can improve outcomes because patients tend to more readily stick to wellness plans and reap the many rewards. Gratefully, most patients are amazing at taking the education and advice from me and putting in considerable effort to follow treatment plans and see their bodies recover. Seeing patients succeed is the biggest reward of my practice!
WHAT INFLUENCES HEALTH?
Unfortunately, in our society, we are trained by family, medical professionals and the pharmaceutical industry that there is no quick fix for chronic health decline. In fact, we are trained that there’s a pill for almost everything and if that doesn’t work and surgery doesn’t work, there isn’t much anyone can do for you. We have also been trained to believe that our diet is not a major player in chronic illness. All of this training can not be farther from the truth!
What we do each day to manage our bodies effectively, MATTERS!
We are what we eat and absorb.
We are a reflection of our attitudes, beliefs and perceptions of reality around us.
This means we have immense power to shape our bodies and minds. This is especially true the earlier in our lives we implement healthier behaviors. But new behaviors can still be hugely influential after chronic illness sets in.
WHAT DOES THE BODY NEED TO BE WELL?
I do not routinely meet healthy, young people in my clinic. Mostly I work with those who have gone many years with significant body decline and now are very fearful and are seeking solutions.
The body declines over time as not enough essential building blocks are being regularly added, stress is poorly managed, sleep is inconsistent, exercise is sporadic or nonexistent, and so on. Deficiency of the many things the body needs becomes very evident in chronic poor health.
The body needs over 70 nutritional supplements every day just to do its basic functions!
If diets are low in that extensive variety of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fibers and fatty acids, and if there isn’t a healthy microbiome present throughout the body (helpful bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeasts…) it is simply only a matter of time before the body starts to break down. This break down will impact all the body systems to varying degrees, unique to each person. Those systems include: biotransformation, assimilation, repair, circulation, elimination, and communication, all of which affect the organs, your quality of life and longevity.
HOW TO START RECOVERING HEALTH
Diet is the foundation for wellness.
This cannot be disputed. Aside from oxygen that you get through your lungs, and Vitamin D that gets created through skin interaction with the sun’s rays, everything else your body needs to build itself daily is taken from your foods and beverages. Food really matters, and so does your body’s continued ability to be able to break apart those foods into tiny usable particles and absorb them into the body so you can live.
Therefore, you can imagine that when an ill patient presents to me asking for advice to get well quickly, the best advice I can give is to start with diet. Unfortunately, there is almost always push-back about changing a diet even when I explain the importance of food. There are emotional and social connections to food, lack of education about what food is and its uses in the body, as well as financial constraints and time constraints associated with food purchases and preparation.
Even if we get past much of the reasons for push back with some health coaching and education, there is still the inevitable existence of nutrient deficiency in people who have been getting progressively unwell for many years that needs to be addressed beyond diet – at least initially.
As a Functional medicine practitioner, I have access to amazing tests using urine and blood samples to check on such deficiencies that help me be more precise with my recommendations. However, the price tag for this testing, for many people, does not fit their budgets. This means I must give nutritional supplement advice based on patient symptoms and signs. The supplements are intended to support a poor diet as the patient learns how to improve their diet and their bodies learn to more efficiently digest those higher quality foods. Nutritional supplements cost money just like testing would, but in most cases is a better value because they don’t have to pay for both the testing and the inevitable supplements afterwards.
Keep top of mind though that nutritional supplements, even high quality ones, are not a substitute for a healthier diet, quality sleep, improved stress management and regular exercise. Supplements support the body as it becomes healthier and learns to get its nutrition from higher quality foods. My goal with every patient is to get them to a point where diet and digestion is adequate for supplying the body with what it requires for better health. Some patients eventually only need 1 or 2 nutritional supplements long term.
TAKING NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS
For many people who have not been used to taking care of their bodies or who are accustomed to taking one or two pills of a medication for managing a symptom, taking a handful of supplements twice a day can seem overwhelming at first.
Quality brand nutritional supplements, like functional testing, come with their own price tag that can seem daunting to those used to paying bottom dollar for cheap products or taking no nutritional supplements at all. There is usually a massive quality difference between mid to high level brands and bottom brands. Because the goal of supplement taking is to ingest nutritional products that the body can absorb and use to run the body systems, it makes sense that you’d benefit most from quality supplements that can maximize the possibility of getting useful nutrients to the body.
HOW I MANAGE NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT PRESCRIPTIONS
In the end, I give my patients with chronic health issues a individualized, comprehensive, foundational Treatment Plan showing what I believe to be the quickest route to health improvements for them. This usually includes a list of quality supplements and reasons why they are so useful. If someone can’t afford them all, I will have them start a few at a time and monitor progress. For a patient who refuses supplements, they must always accept the conversation that their progress will not be the requested speedy recovery.
Nutritional supplements are not required to heal.
But they do help reduce deficiencies more quickly when they are from quality sources and suppliers, and they are in forms the body can most easily utilize.
If you would like to discuss how nutritional supplements can help you with your health concerns, contact AcuPlus for a consultation. Expert advice can save you lots of money and experimentation.