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No Supplement for Common Sense


After watching last night’s ABC Four Corners program called "Swallowing It" featuring Australia’s supplement market I felt a little anxious going to work today. I was concerned that once again I would be at the face of the media fuelled backlash against misleading products and expensive urine.

Something interesting happened today, I gave advice and sold products just as I do every other day that I work. No one mentioned the program or any of the other recent media releases.

As naturopaths and nutritionists, we have years of training and clinical experience that we use to assist the general public in choosing the correct supplement for their needs. We are educated in therapeutic doses and are quite aware that not all products meet this requirement. Additionally, we can differentiate the products by what form they contain. The best example is magnesium; you can pick up a cheap magnesium in the supermarket or off the chemist shelf but if it mostly contains magnesium oxide all it is going to do is give you a bowel movement. However, a magnesium in chelate or digylicinate form is well absorbed and will assist in relieving muscle pain and insomnia.

The program on Four Corners did focus heavily on the lack of evidence for vitamins. The problem with this logic is that there is a lack of quality longitudal studies. The studies are short due to the costs associated with research and the lack of public funding for studies. The most reliable studies have come from the University of Harvard where they did studies for 30 years using 180,000 people. The subjects used a multivitamin these are some of the results:

  • 15 years of use in female subject showed: 75% reduction in bowel cancer, 25% reduction in breast cancer and 23 % reduction in cardiovascular disease.

  • 20 years of use in 44% reduction of cardiovascular disease in men

If you do have any doubts if you are taking the correct supplements for your health needs speak to a nutritionist. As part of any nutritional treatment diet and lifestyle are always the primary objectives, supplementation helps us get to where we need to be when diet and lifestyle just can’t make it on its own.

For further information and consultation on the proper use of supplements make an appointment today.