Q. If nutraceuticals are not regulated by the FDA, how do we know they won’t hurt us
A. First of all, many substances that are approved and regulated by the FDA have caused injury and death, even when used as prescribed. Supplements have a much better track record in this regard.
Secondly, it is vital that you know and trust the company making the supplements you recommend. Both highly ethical companies, along with highly unethical companies exist, and it is up to each provider to guide your clients accordingly. The ethical companies work hard to insure quality control, and typically test each batch of raw material for purity, as well as using third parties to test the final product to confirm that the label matches the ingredients. You can directly ask these companies for proof of their quality control procedures. Some good vitamin stores keep them on hand as well.
Q. What is the provider’s liability if something goes wrong?
- These supplements are in the legal category of “GRAS – Generally Regarded As Safe”, which is why they can be bought and sold over-the-counter.
- They are not medications, and the provider is not “prescribing” them.
- The agreement should encourage the client to check with their medical practitioner if they have any concern. (However, this does sometimes backfire as the medical practitioner may not know anything about supplements and may default into fear mongering).
- Clients are encouraged to stop the supplement immediately should any adverse reaction occur and call the provider immediately. Please DO believe your client!
Finally, the client asked “How many vitamins are too many?” This is a reasonable question! The problem is that there is no “one size fits all” answer because of bio-individuality. We all have differing deficiencies, and need different levels of supplementation. What might work beautifully for one person may be too much for another. Or, your client may need a few days or weeks of a particular nutrient, and then not need it any more. Typically, the client knows their body well enough to be able to tell.
Trust your client! So, what is the answer? There are several.
- This client had added up the amounts of the different nutrients in all of her (not very many!) supplements. This is a very good idea! I do it with my clients. The amounts were actually very low when my student and I compared them to the amounts found in one of the multis I tend to recommend, such as Julia Ross’s True Balance, or Pure Encapsulation’s Nutrient 950. Nutrient levels in these products exceed the RDA tremendously and therefore scare some people. This is because the RDA (recommended daily allowance) is the amount required by the typical person to not die from a nutrient deficiency disease. These levels are NOT ENOUGH for us to function optimally! Optimal functioning is the goal here.
- Be aware of signs of deficiency and excess and encourage your clients to keep track of what improves, what doesn’t and what might be getting worse. At the end of the day, only our clients know how they are feeling and responding. We can only tell them what works for most people most of the time. They are the experts on their own bodies! Trust your client!
- Do lab testing to determine a client’s actual nutrient level, and whether these nutrients are being utilized by the cells effectively. For instance, a high serum B12 level may indicate that B12 is not being effectively utilized, and the answer may be to actually give more!
- Keep learning and training!!! Bring your cases and questions to our FREE Consultation Group and Community Forum. Call me if you have a question at 303-888-9617. Attend online summits. Take my courses if you haven’t already. Take other people’s courses. There is always more to learn