Recently we caught up with one of our amazing doctors to ask a few questions about supplements. Now, understand, at The Wellness Way, we all know the value of our supplements. But when it comes to talking to one of our doctors, they receive a world-class training. For more information on supplements, what they are, and some important considerations when choosing, check out articles on our website.
Q—What are some of your favorite, go-to supplements?
A—It’s not as simple as that. Each person is so unique in their physiology that I can’t have a go-to, one-size-fits-all approach. That is actually what we see as one of the big down falls with mainstream medicine. You can’t assume that what will help one person’s headache, or GI issues, or mental health, will even offer another person support. First, we need to take a look at whether that person is actually deficient, or is there a dysfunction somewhere in the body that needs support? What other situations are going on that will affect this person’s physiology? Have we looked at labs, and are those labs comprehensive enough to find the dysfunction, deficiency, or excess? How is it best to support this unique individual?
Q—The internet has become a huge resource for people to use in researching supplements, do you have any words of advice to people?
A—Ahhh, Dr. Google. Yes, that one has certainly led many people into more impulse buys than the candy aisle at a grocery store. There are so many factors that aren’t taken into consideration when reading about various supplements online. I come back to, is there a deficiency of a specific vitamin or mineral? A neurotransmitter or hormone that an herbal may support? Now, consider this, many people aren’t necessarily deficient as much as they simply have an imbalance in how that nutrient is actually used in that specific body. Or, they may not be deficient in a neurotransmitter or hormone, they simply might be unable to convert it so that the body can appropriately use it. In reality, they may have an abundance and continue to add more supplements simply because they haven’t looked at appropriate tests and labs; this can lead to additional problems! Before you just start guessing, ask a well-educated doctor. And if that doctor suggests, run some labs. Don’t guess, test.
Q—Sometimes people hear about herbs, vitamins, or minerals, or have even been recommended them by a doctor, but choose to go elsewhere to purchase them. What are your thoughts there?
A—You get what you pay for. And unfortunately, more often you pay way too much for what you get. Before I started diving deep into sourcing of supplements, I could understand this thought process a bit better. Now, I say be careful! At The Wellness Way, we source only the highest quality, purest form herbals and nutrients we can find. We have met with our sources, we know their standards and practices, and we don’t compromise. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for whatever you pick up on sale at your local discount store.
When supplements are produced, they are often highly concentrated. What is in that concentration? If it’s not a pure product, that could be a bad day! What are the fillers they use? The process for extracting, producing, etc.? Is the supplement in the dose you are taking what you actually expected from reading the label? Those tests aren’t required by the FDA. Those are on the company to monitor. How much do you trust that company? I hope you can say with your life, because that is the level of trust you are showing when you take their supplements. I’d also suggest using the same degree of reflection when analyzing pharmaceuticals.
Q—Speaking of extractions and process, can you explain that 1:2 extract ratio we see on the back of The Wellness Way herbal tincture bottles as well as the water or alcohol as additional ingredients?
A—This one is tricky, but I’ll do my best to explain it here. That 1:2 or 1:5 ratio you see on the back label indicate the quantity of starting materials used in the extraction process as compared to the end result in the bottle. Picture this: Our source sends us the actual part of the plant, whether that’s a root, a leaf, a berry. We don’t want the product ground up before it arrives. How would we know the quality and composition of what we are receiving? This is very important to us in managing the quality and integrity of our products.
Those plant parts go through a specific extraction process to get the product that goes into each bottle. Each unique plant species has a best method. When we look at that ratio, it is simply a proportion of the weight of herb starting material compared to the volume of finished product. To put in simpler terms using our Albizia as the example, the extract is a 1:2 ratio which means that 1 gram of Albizia bark is used to create 2mL of Albizia extract liquid herb. The water/alcohol liquid that is used to extract our different herbs can vary based on the properties of the herb due to the solubility of the specific herbal constituents. Some beneficial properties of the herbs are only made possible at specific concentrations of water/alcohol mixtures so these are specific to what the herbs require to maintain a high potency. This is why you can find different percentages of alcohol concentration for different herbs.
Q—Sometimes people comment about the alcohol in liquid herbal tinctures and mention they feel they are actually getting a “drunk” feeling from them. Should they stop taking them if they feel this way?
A—This is something I’ve heard from a few patients as well. Some think it has to do with the alcohol that is in the tincture. Looking to the above question, you’ll see the actual amount of alcohol left in the tincture is pretty miniscule. Often the amount of alcohol in the process of total raw materials isn’t that much. Now consider that most people are taking between ½ and 1 tsp of these tinctures. How much alcohol do you actually think is left? The only patients I’m most concerned about using these herbal tinctures with is someone with a history of alcohol addiction or dependency.
That “drunk” feeling is not related to the alcohol as much as it is your body up taking the nutrients in the supplements. Think about this, when you take the liquid supplements, your body starts preparing for them from the time you smell them, and they start to absorb the moment you put them into your mouth. Consider what is happening physiologically during this process. Your body is taking in a large dose of nutrients and phytonutrients (even if small in measure) all at once, and if you are mixing some of your supplements together at the same time, you are getting quite the intake all at once. Now, if your body has been depleted and is needing this level of support, it’s going to take a little bit for it to find equilibrium from that uptake. This isn’t harmful, and typically tapers off as your body adapts to this new level of support. Yes, some liken it to feeling a buzz. I can assure you, you are not drunk, but you may need a moment to sit down.
Q—Is there more hope for pill versions of some of The Wellness Way supplements?
A—Yes! I know this is something that patients are looking forward to. However, we have to go back to quality and integrity of the supplement. The whole process needs to be weighed to ensure we are delivering the same level of physiological support for health restoration. This isn’t a natural given for all herbs and nutrients. For now, many of our herbs function best in the way they are, that’s why they are that way!
Q—There has been a lot of talk lately about supplement that boost the immune system, is there anything you can recommend?
A—First of all, run from anyone who says they can “boost” your immune system. That is not an accurate representation of what is happening. You can support your body’s immune response. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs support the body, they don’t force a mechanism like a pharmaceutical would. We can definitely help support your immune system, and many people use various herbs, vitamins, and minerals to do so. But what does your body need? How do you know? We do health differently, we don’t guess, we test. I can’t just recommend something without knowing more about your situation.
Q—Why are some of the supplements not available for guests to purchase from the website?
A—Good question! That takes us back to the first question, and several others above. Because we don’t know what you need, you may not know what you need, and we know the high-quality, multi-faceted herbs we have on our website. Let me back up. When we recommend an herbal tincture to someone, we know how their body is functioning and how they should respond to it.
Consider this, what if you had a six-year-old who just learned to ride a bike. You figure, since they know how to start, steer, and stop, you can hand them the keys to your car, and they can drive themselves to the park. That would be crazy! Yes, it would be. Just because they can understand some basics of how an herb might affect the body, doesn’t mean they’ll understand the proper use of that supplement. These herbals are so multi-faceted in the way they can affect the body that people should not be self-treating with them. Once you have a doctor you are working with, you’ll have access to more products on the website. Until then, we suggest that you talk to a practitioner who is well-educated on our supplements and how to use them appropriately to restore health.
Start Your Wellness Journey!
We hope you learned something new after hearing our doctor answer some common questions about our supplements! To learn more about The Wellness Way and our approach to health restoration, find a practitioner to help you start your wellness journey!