Nutritional Balancing for Dummies: Supplementation
Welcome to the third (and very long-awaited!) installment of the Nutritional Balancing for Dummies series! If you’re just joining me for this series, you can check out the first two in the series: DIET and DETOX.
I wrote a comprehensive post at Traditional Cooking School last year entitled What Is Nutritional Balancing? In that post, I cite many scientific references for the four aspects of the Nutritional Balancing (NB) protocol: diet, detoxification, supplementation, and lifestyle. If you’re new to NB, I highly, highly recommend you click on that link and read that post first. Then come back here, and things will make a lot more sense!
Today’s post is an in-depth explanation of the supplementation aspect of the NB protocol.
I started my NB protocol a little over 18 months ago, and it has been such a godsend. What Paleo, WAPF, GAPS, and other regimens didn’t do for me, NB did! I have been able to see symptoms and issues I’ve had for years disappear, namely depression, anxiety, digestive issues, constipation, and fatigue.
When you try to explain NB to people, most of what you’ll say typically goes right over their heads … because it’s A LOT of information. I lose people somewhere between “I take 24 pills a day” and “I love coffee enemas”.
(Actually neither of those statements is a joke.) 😉
Think about a wooden chair with four legs. What happens if you saw one of the legs off? The chair tips over, right?
That’s how important each aspect of NB is.
You can change your diet, de-stress your lifestyle, and sit in a sauna daily, but if you’re NOT taking your supplements, you won’t see the full benefits a NB program can give your body. You can take supplements, do coffee enemas, and eat veggies all day long, but if you don’t learn how to relax and de-stress your lifestyle, your program will be lacking.
Each aspect of NB works with the other three aspects to give you a completely holistic and balanced healing approach that truly addresses the mind, body, and soul.
If you’re skipping out on just one aspect of the program, you’re not going to have a completely successful program. Period.
If you read my post at Traditional Cooking School, but still find yourself scratching your head, trying to figure out exactly what you’re supposed to do on your NB program, this post will help you. And let’s be honest, Dr. Wilson (one of NB’s pioneering practitioners) is a freaking genius when it comes to this stuff, but seriously, who has time to sift through, process, and absorb all the information he offers??
Well, uh, actually I do; but even I have to keep going back and sifting through the articles to find what I’m looking for.
Today, I’m going to focus on another leg of the chair: SUPPLEMENTATION.
Hopefully, I’ll answer any questions you may still have lingering about supplementation as part of the NB protocol. And if I don’t accomplish my goal, that’s what the comments section is for! If you ask a question in the comments, I promise I’ll answer it to the best of my abilities. 😉
According to Dr. Lawrence Wilson, one of the pioneering practitioners of NB, there are many reasons supplementation is necessary. Here are just a few:
Depleted Soil Quality & Hybrid Crops
Because of poor farming practices, most soil is depleted of valuable nutrients, which make their way into our food. This depletion causes nutritional deficiencies in the food, which in turn, causes vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the humans who consume that food. Along those lines, many hybrid crops are grown today because these crops give higher yields than heirloom (more nutritious) varieties. Hybrids are even grown organically, so just buying organic doesn’t insure a more nutrient-dense food (although I certainly advocate organic whenever possible!).
In fact, the US Senate made a study of the soil back in 1936. These quotes are from their report:
“…most of us are suffering from certain diet deficiencies which cannot be remedied until deplete soils from which our food comes are brought into proper mineral balance.”
“99% of the American people are deficient in minerals, and a marked deficiency in any one of the more important minerals actually results in disease.” (Senate Document 264, 74th Congress, 1936)
Chemical Pesticides & Herbicides
The problems with pesticides/herbicides are numerous, not the least of which is the toxicity they introduce to our bodies. Our bodies actually require MORE nutrients to process toxic pesticide residues out; and if the food we’re eating is already lower in nutrients, this process depletes our nutrient stores even more. Food chemicals also contain heavy metals, which accumulate in our systems and cause all kinds of havoc.
The average distance a food travels before ending up on your table is 1500 miles. Most foods, especially produce, cannot go this distance without consequences — the main consequence being that their nutrition content is diminished in transport. Fruits especially, but also other produce, must be sprayed, irradiated, or processed to survive the journey from Chile or China to the thousands of American supermarkets that are importing this food.
Any processed food is devoid of nutrients, and since so many people’s diets consist largely of processed foods, it makes sense that people’s bodies are becoming devoid of nutrients. Dr. Wilson states, “the refining of wheat to make white flour removes 80% of its magnesium, 70-80% of its zinc, 87% of its chromium, 88% of its manganese and 50% of its cobalt” (source). And refining wheat is actually a pretty simple process compared to the processing of corn into high fructose corn syrup or the processing of rice to yield Rice Krispies cereal. The pasteurization and homogenization of dairy also drastically decreases their vitamin and mineral content. For this reason, I always recommend raw (best) or low-temp pasteurized milk.
I agree with Dr. Wilson that the majority of people’s digestion today is weak and/or compromised in some way. This is due to overuse of antibiotics and birth control pills, the heavy load of toxins in the air, water, and our food, the consuming of processed and hybridized foods, and the stressful, hurried lifestyles most of us lead. All of these factors contribute to serious problems such as yeast overgrowth (candida), low stomach acid and digestive enzymes, leaky gut, and imbalanced intestinal flora. These problems then lead to poor absorption of nutrients from food, causing deficiencies.
Modern Medical Practices
I am very thankful for modern medicine and believe it can be life-saving in certain instances, however there are many medical practices which have actually contributed to the toxicity and nutrient deficiencies in our bodies. Vaccines, antibiotics, birth control, x-rays, over-the-counter pain relievers, acid blockers (for heartburn and indigestion), and other prescription medications all either cause depletions of minerals or block mineral absorption (source).
Once you take all of these into account — things which we’ve all been exposed to (environmental toxins, vaccines), pills we’ve taken (Tylenol, birth control, Pepcid), foods we’ve eaten (processed, boxed, non-organic) — is it any wonder why our bodies are screaming for nutrients??
How Is Supplementation Determined?
Through a complex and highly accurate test called Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis, a practitioner can determine mineral deficiencies and imbalances, heavy metal toxicity, and metabolic rate. Only then can the practitioner advise the use of certain NB-approved supplements.
Here is a screen shot of my very first Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis:
*Unless you are very familiar with NB, these results probably don’t make much sense. That’s ok. This is to give you an example of what the HTMA looks like and to encourage you to work with a qualified NB practitioner. 🙂
There are many supplements that CAN be used at any given time on a NB program. Each person’s biochemistry, toxicity, deficiencies, and metabolic rates are different, so there is no way to wisely determine which supplements and doses will be therapeutic outside of this hair test. In fact, over the course of a NB program, the hair is tested every 3-6 months, and often supplementation is changed based upon the results of each hair test.
Our entire family has undergone hair tissue mineral analysis. One would think that a family who lives together, eats the same food, breathes the same air, and drinks the same water would have similar biochemistries, but quite the opposite is true. While there are certain supplements that our practitioner has us all taking, there are a couple of supplements that The Hubs takes that the peeps and I do not, and a couple of supplements that the peeps take that The Hubs and I don’t take.
Don’t Rely on Symptoms
I cannot recommend a particular supplement to you or anyone else based upon symptoms or issues you describe to me, because often, symptoms are not always a true indicator of the real problem.
For example, I struggled to maintain an even blood sugar for years, and in the months leading up to my discovery of NB, my blood sugar was often so low that I would nearly black out and fall over if I stood up too quickly. I believed it was a symptom of adrenal fatigue, and I was right. Initially, I tried treating it by eating lots of high quality fats (coconut oil, in particular) and consuming salt liberally (because I craved it). Many people with adrenal fatigue report relief of adrenal-related symptoms just by doing these two things over time.
The problem — later revealed in my hair tissue mineral analysis — was that no amount of healthy fat or salt was going to “fix” my hypoglycemia or adrenal fatigue.
Why? Because my metabolic rate was so slow, my digestion so compromised, and my heavy metal toxicity so high that very little of those healthy fats or minerals from all the extra salt I was consuming were being absorbed or utilized by my body. In fact, my hair test revealed a staggeringly low phosphorus level (<9%), indicating that my body was not even able to synthesize and use most of the protein I was eating! It also indicated hidden copper toxicity (how I found NB to begin with), low zinc (which = low digestive enzyme production), and heavy metal toxicity (specifically aluminum and mercury) — all of which were confirmed by reading my complete test (source).
List of Possible Supplements
YOUR hair test will determine what supplements are right for YOU. I’m not even going to share what supplements I’m taking because I don’t want anyone to take that as a green light to begin taking those supplements.
Limcomin (to raise sodium/potassium ratio)
Digestive aid (such as GB-3)
Paramin or Cal-Mag+6 (to balance calcium and magnesium)
Renamide (for kidney support)
Trimethylglycine (TMG: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, methyl donor)
SBF Formula (metabolic pack for fast oxidizers)
Megapan (metabolic pack for slow oxidizers)
Thyro-Complex (thyroid support)
This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, but it gives you a good idea of the types of supplementation possible on NB.
TMG, which Dr. Wilson himself recommends for EVERYONE, is one supplement I don’t tolerate. My practitioner, along with Dr. Wilson, determined that I should take six TMGs per day, based upon my hair test results. When I started with that amount, I experienced major anxiety symptoms, insomnia, and a racing heart beat. When I was laying down to sleep, my body even felt like it was vibrating!
When I called Dr. C. about this, he immediately said that TMG was the likely culprit. He advised me to stop taking it for a week and give my body time to adjust to the other supplements I was taking. After a week off TMG, he advised me to begin with 1/2 of one TMG pill per day and then up my dose by 1/2 a pill every few days, paying close attention to my body for any adverse reaction.
The most TMG I was ever able to tolerate without adverse reactions was two pills — 2/3 less than the amount initially prescribed! Without my practitioner’s knowledge of NB and supplementation, I may have spent months guessing to try to figure out what was going on, but he was able to help me adjust my program and resolve the issues (which he said were very rare to begin with) in a few weeks.
Again, I can’t stress enough how important it is to work with a qualified nutritional balancing practitioner and obtain a hair tissue mineral analysis. (I’m happy to give you my practitioner’s info — his prices are a lot better than most, and he treats long-distance! Use my contact form at the top.)
Whew! That was a lot of info, wasn’t it? I sincerely hope these detailed posts on the tenets of Nutritional Balancing are answering any questions you may have had about the program or help you decide if NB may be right for you.