6 supplements that really work

As a nutritionist I am very aware that some in my profession have a bad reputation for putting people on a long list of supplements that do little or no good. Whenever feasible, I always look for the smallest number of supplements that will do the job. Here are six supplements that I have found to be particularly effective either on their own or when taken with just a few other products.

If you like this article, post a comment below or email me and next month I’ll cover a few more of these supplements. There are probably a dozen more that could fit in this category.

1. BioEssence: immune system support
This was the first Chinese herbal combination I started to use in my practice based on the recommendation of a friend from Tennessee

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, Dr. Dan Kalb, who used to head the Family Practice department at St. Joseph Medical Center in Houston. It turned out to be incredibly effective for everything connected with the immune system. This includes rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, skin disorders including eczema and psoriasis, not to mention allergies and asthma.

What amazed me the most about this herbal combination is that it does not work by suppressing the immune system, like western drugs for these conditions do, and has few or no side effects. I will not claim that is works in every case, but it does often enough, and when it does the results can be almost miraculous and remarkably fast.

Results I saw with this product gave me the incentive I needed to study Chinese herbal medicine, and I am glad I embarked on this project because it is now enabling me to help many more people in ways I couldn’t do before.
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Essential minerals: supercharge your (or your child’s) diet with homemade beef bone stock

When it comes to maintaining or regaining health, nothing plays as important a role as proper mineral balance in the body. Although we no longer hear much about it

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, leading experts in the field of nutritional medicine sounded the alarm as early as the 1930’s and 40’s: modern agricultural practices were depleting the soil, generating widespread mineral deficiencies and imbalances. This in turn left us vulnerable to weakened immunity, digestive and nervous system disorders, and more. When combined with the dramatic spread of environmental chemicals and other toxins over the past half century, the recipe for disaster is complete.

Those sounding the alarm were the likes of Henry Bieler, MD, and Max Gerson, MD. Dr. Bieler wrote the book “Food is Your Best Medicine.” He believed in drug-free medicine and was well-known at the time for being the personal physician to Greta Garbo and other stars. He was also known because his patients had a habit of living well into their nineties. Dr. Gerson authored “A Cancer Therapy.” He used food, vegetable juices, and little else to successfully treat diseases ranging from migraines to diabetes and even cancer.

Mineral supplements can help correct deficiency in some instances; however, many essential minerals are poorly absorbed from supplements. In addition, manmade supplements that are not properly balanced can aggravate any existing imbalance. The bottom line is that only natural unprocessed foods contain minerals in optimal ratios and, in fact, the body is ideally suited to absorb minerals from food rather than supplements.
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Miralax: probably not the best solution for your child’s (or your) constipation

When it comes to constipation, natural practitioners hold that it is way under-diagnosed by conventional physicians. The way we see it, anything less than one bowel movement a day is unhealthy; but in medicine constipation is only considered a problem when it is severe. In these cases Miralax seems to be increasingly the drug of choice. But is it really a good solution?

Miralax has such a reassuring name that makes it sound like it is just the thing nature created for this problem. Fewer people might be willing to take it – or give it to their children – if they knew that the active ingredient is a chemical called polyethylene glycol (PEG), a close relative of ethylene glycol (antifreeze).  Why, you might ask, would something like antifreeze end up being used as a laxative?   Well, because it works, it is synthetic and can therefore be patented, and approval studies have not uncovered any dangers (in healthy adults). Read More »

Constipation in children and milk allergy

Severe constipation is generally defined as 3 or fewer bowel movements a week. This condition seems to affect many of the children who come to my office. Rarely have parents been informed, before seeing me, of a possible link between constipation in children and allergy to the protein in milk.

What sometimes confuses the issue is that routine blood tests for food allergies may not reveal a reaction to milk, but eliminating milk for a trial period from a child’s diet rarely fails to reduce or eliminate the problem.

A quick search on Medline, the Internet service that searches medical journals, yields 104 studies, all from reputable sources and some from pediatric publications, linking children’s constipation with allergy to milk. A few of these studies are:

• Allergic constipation: association with infantile milk allergy. Clin Pediatr (Phila) 2001 Jul;40(7):399-402
• Cow’s milk and chronic constipation in children. N Engl J Med 1999;340(11):891
• Constipation and intolerance to cow’s milk. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2000;30(2):224
• Constipation in children. N Engl J Med 1998;339(16):1155-6
• Allergy to cow’s milk presenting as chronic constipation. Br Med J 1983;287(6405):1593
• Constipation in childhood. BMJ 1989;299(6708):1116-7