I get many questions from people. Here are some of them with brief answers.
What is all of this about food allergies? Many times I find that the basic problem is that people are eating food that doesn’t agree with them. Food allergies tend to cause reactions in the intestinal tract and interfere with digestion. This means that the wrong things get through the digestive tract into the blood, which is a condition called leaky gut. Leaky gut can cause inflammation throughout the body in addition to stress on the liver. The most common food allergens are white flour, dairy, corn, soy and citrus. Food allergies can be the result of particular deficiencies. They also run in families. For instance, if you are allergic to airborne substances such as pollen and pet dander, you are also allergic to white flour and are probably deficient in magnesium and essential fatty acids. Airborne allergies usually involve leaky gut and overburdened liver which leads back to food allergies.
Are the supplements I get at discount stores any good? That depends. Some are, some aren’t. Quality is a big issue when it comes to supplements. I prefer to deal with companies that test each batch of product on both sides of the manufacturing process. I find that certain companies consistently have good quality herbs because they are testing them when they come into their facility and rejecting them if they do not pass certain tests. The rejected product does not just get thrown away, it goes to someone who doesn’t test and is looking for cheaper prices. I don’t know who these companies are, but if they don’t test for quality, I don’t take them.
Another issue I have with certain discount brands is that they are full of synthetics. All vitamins can come from natural or synthetic sources. Most people believe that the synthetic is the same at the molecular level. This just isn’t true. The FDA only requires that the molecules be similar. For instance the natural vitamin E is skewed to the right and the synthetic E is a mirror image that is skewed to the left. Science has found that the cells in the body don’t recognize the synthetic molecule and can’t utilize it. Isn’t the whole point of taking supplements to take something that the body will recognize and be able to use?
Product sourcing is another issue. For instance MSM can either be plant sourced or petrochemical sourced. Again purity is an issue. The plant source tends to be high purity and the petrochemical source tends to be lower purity. Lower purity means that there are other components present in larger concentrations. If the source is a petrochemical, then the other non-MSM components are probably also a petrochemical. Unlike my car, I do not run on petrochemical products.
How did I get into this? I got into natural health due to my personal experience with health problems. I turned to alternative methods only after I realized that conventional medicine would only manage my symptoms and would not help me get well. In other words, I did not want to be on medication for the rest of my life. I wanted to get well. I believed that if I changed my lifestyle, particularly my diet and added some nutrients that were missing in my diet that I could get better. And I did.
Margaret Durst is a naturopathic doctor who owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.