Nutritional Supplement: How Do You Determine Quality?


What\’s a Good Nutritional Supplement?

If you’ve heard my talks or trained with our trainers, you’ll know that my answer is an emphatic yes, if…

The “if” is if you get supplements:

  1. In the correct form
  2. In the correct dosages
  3. With the right synergistic nutrients

What is the correct form? Here is one example: you know that magnesium is a required mineral, but there are many different forms of magnesium. The most commercially available form is magnesium oxide. Too bad that magnesium oxide is very poorly absorbed in the body. On the plus side, it’s very cheap, and that’s why it’s found in so many supplements. On the flip side, magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate are much more potent forms of magnesium (for the science geeks, here’s a study you can check out:, and in fact, you’re much better off taking 40 mg of magnesium glycinate than 400 mg of magnesium oxide. This is just an example, but every nutrient has several different forms, and some are more potent than others. That\’s one criterion for determining quality of a nutritional supplement.

The correct dosages means that you are taking dosages that have been proven to be beneficial. For example, according to Dr. Michael Murray, author of many books on natural medicine, a person requires 250-500 mg of vitamin C in their multi-vitamin per day. If your multi-vitamin contains 50 mg, that’s not the right dosage. That\’s your second criterion for assessing the quality of a nutritional supplement.

Synergistic nutrients are nutrients that support each other. For example, vitamin C is much more potent when you have optimal zinc status. Iron is much better absorbed with vitamin C. If you’re taking calcium for your bones, but your potassium, magnesium and vitamin D status is poor, that calcium is doing very little good. Synergy is when 1+1 doesn’t equal 2, but rather 10. That’s what is meant by synergistic nutrients. That\’s your third criterion for assessing the quality of a nutritional supplement.

You might be wondering how important are supplements for you in particular. The answer is that it really depends. People who exercise require more of almost every nutrient than non-exercising people. People under stress (whether it’s mental/emotional or from pollution, radiation, exercise, poor nutrition, etc.) require more nutrients than “normal” people (whatever that means).

In some cases, I’ve seen clients really stagnate in their fat loss or muscle gain efforts despite eating and exercising right. With people like that, using the right nutritional supplement(s) to plug some physiologic holes can make these nutritional supplements seem like magic pills, and for that particular person they are. However, nutrients really only work when you’re deficient in them. If you have adequate status of certain nutrients, going above that by taking a nutritional supplement does little good (although mind you, it does little harm, too). That explains why a certain nutritional supplement may work wonders for one person, but do very little for another person. So it takes a keen eye, a thorough analysis, and sometimes even laboratory testing to figure out what nutrients you’re deficient in, and plug those holes with the right nutritional supplements.

If you want to figure out which nutritional supplements you should be taking or if you want to figure out whether the nutritional supplements you are already using are effective, you can make an appointment for a consultation by either responding to this email or by calling 647-271-8672.

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Until next week,




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