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Nutritional supplements and health 1

Health supplements - Random vs. optimum - Broad balanced - Herbal

Possible adverse health effects caused by random dietary supplementation vary significantly with both, type of supplements and individual. The general rule is that anything with the power to produce beneficial effect on health,

also has the power to cause adverse effects.

And nutritional supplements are no exception.

Whether they will harm or benefit you - or have no appreciable effect - depends on how the dosage you take interacts with the multitude of highly individual body processes both, immediately and over extended period of time. For proper functioning, the body needs balanced intake of nutrients. By arbitrarily raising intake of randomly selected ones, such balance is jeopardized not only by the increased intake of those particular nutrients, but also by their specific synergistic or antagonistic effect on other nutrients (most any nutrient helps absorption and utilization of certain nutrients, while interfering with the use of some others). The more potent supplement, the more so.

That is why, again, you should take randomly selected supplements

only if you know your individual health and nutritional status.

Only then you have sufficient factual basis for an educated opinion on what their possible health effects - positive or negative - should be, what is the appropriate dose, and duration. Anything else is wishful thinking, and taking a double chance: either not to get the improvement you need, or even making things worse.

Some dietary supplements are generally harmless, but this doesn't apply to most vitamins and, even more, minerals. As always, there are exceptions. For some nutrients, like vitamins C and E or, for vegetarians, B12, supplementation is not only safe but also very desirable, in order to enhance almost invariably insufficient dietary intake. Still better is to take these as a part of broader supplementation regime, but more on that in a moment.

First, let's remember when taking self-selected supplemental nutrients is not advised. There are two common scenarios.

The first one is when people try to counter-effect poor dietary choices and/or lifestyle with selective supplementation. For instance, eating lots of sugar, and taking extra B-complex vitamins, because you've heard that sugars rob the body of B-vitamins. And, since sweets increase blood acidity, forcing the body to use more calcium as a buffer, you add good amount of calcium to your daily regime as well.

The problem is that you don't know if your supplemental intake makes it just about right, or too little, or too much. What you can be assured of, though, is that selective increase in B-vitamins and calcium intake will result in nutritional imbalance of some kind. Aside from putting you at the risk of excessive intake of these particular nutrients, it will change the rate of absorption or utilization of other important nutrients, causing or worsening other nutritional deficiencies and imbalances.

For instance, prolonged selective supplementation of vitamin B complex will significantly suppress body levels of iron and manganese, while elevating those of zinc and potassium18. Excess calcium will cause general mineral imbalance; for instance, it will suppress phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and manganese uptake. It can also suppress levels of vitamin D, which is needed for calcium absorption. If you are deficient in some of the multitude of nutrients needed for proper calcium metabolism - and you are likely to be - it will end up calcifying your blood vessels, joints and soft tissues instead of your bones and teeth.

Actual effects of random supplementation depend on the mineral levels were prior to commencing supplementation, as well as on a number of other factors (diet, lifestyle, environment, individual differences, and so on)

And you still

haven't even touched other serious health dangers
from excessive sugar consumption,

such as diabetes-causing pancreas exhaustion, obesity-inviting caloric excess, fostering Candida overgrowth and leaky gut, loss of other nutrients, like chromium, which will perpetually increase your sugar craving, and so on.

Random selective supplementation under such circumstances not only causes additional complications - just as any random selective supplementation can - it becomes a mind-game negativity, by supporting false belief that one can keep bad habits without suffering the consequences.

Another common scenario is when you have a disease symptom, and take a particular supplement which is said to be "good for it". The fact is that most symptoms have a number of possible causes, each resulting from complex interactions between the body and the micro-cosmos within which it exists, varying significantly from one individual to another. The factors are diet, absorption, assimilation, entire metabolism, genetics, environment, lifestyle... What helps one individual, can hurt the other, or have no effect whatsoever.

There is no single agent that will be only beneficial for one particular symptom, for everyone, let alone be the cure. Supplementation based on "god for it" fame is a shot in the dark - and so is its result.

The only way to arrive at what is likely to be a near-optimal dietary supplementation is through the following steps (assuming no existing disease, or symptoms):

switch to a balanced whole foods diet,
after 3-6 months, access your nutrient status with reliable lab tests,

correct nutritional imbalances with a comprehensive food supplement package prescribed by a knowledgeable physician, and

continue taking balanced broad-spectrum supplementation appropriate to your individual needs.

This is only more important if you need to address a disease. In such case, you and your physician should start with your nutritional status, and go from there to find out what is the cause. For the disease has not come from nowhere, and certainly is not a drug deficiency symptom. In varying degrees, it is produced by

your diet  + toxic exposures + stress level + emotional state
+ your genetic base

that have led to it. You can't do much about your genetics. Your toxic exposure, stress level and emotional state you can change to a greater or lesser degree. But optimizing your diet - including nutritional supplementation - is nearly entirely in your hands. While all these factors need to be addressed, when it comes to what your body needs to regain or maintain health, it always starts with a diet optimized to your needs.