Here is the post where I will say the exact opposite of what many of you may expect (or perhaps if you know me or have worked with me I'll say exactly what you've heard me say oh.... about a thousand times!)
My take on nutritional supplements, by me, Nicole Lange (fertility acupuncturist & patient centered care advocate)
I guess you could distill my feelings on nutritional supplements into one easy sentence and it would go something like this, "I'd rather [you, me, whoever we're discussing] eat well."
But it just isn't my style to stick with just one sentence, when 10 paragraphs can suffice :P
I'll start with a little story. A colleague of mine who I think the world of and respect greatly as a practitioner was sharing with me how much she was advocating for a certain type of fish oil. (unless you've been under a rock somewhere you've probably heard at least a snippet or two about the benefits of fish oil... anti-inflammatory etc. etc. etc.). I told her I totally agreed that fish oil was great and that my recommendations for taking it as a supplement were in line with how I prescribe pretty much any western dietary supplement, low doses, not everyday. (more on this below, don't worry!)
She of course, pointed out that by administering things in this way I was never getting anyone onto a "therapeutic dose" of the nutrient in question, so why bother.
This conversation has stuck in my mind because it helped me distill exactly why I do bother and why I feel good about my less than therapeutic dosing. The bottom line for me is, "Well, if I were counting on X (in this case fish oil) to be the one thing that is going to "fix" the concern I'm working on, well then, yes, of course a therapeutic dose would be essential! But I'm NOT!" I believe this is too neat, too magic bullet, too easy an approach for something as complicated as holistic health and a person's body/mind/spirit.
What I do want to do is this... I want to help a person find a constellation of options, all capable of moving them in the right direction, towards a more balanced, healthy, more fertile, happy and sane version of themselves and NOT count on them having to do or not do any one thing (supplement or otherwise). For example, if the fish oil is one part of a menu of say 20 different options and I'd like them to thoughtfully examine their goals, time, energy, money, etc. and pick a few and trust that those make the most sense for them, are sustainable and will combined get them to their goal I think I'm doing my job as a truly HOLISTIC practitioner and keeping the focus on them as whole people!
Never mind the fact that dosing fish oil in therapeutic dosages would involve taking the equivalent of eating BUCKETS full of fish and in my gut I just don't think that makes sense. Should we have to eat buckets of fish every single day to get the benefits when that isn't anything that would occur if we were relying solely on a healthy diet?
AND, if I might throw in an added bonus to my method of thinking how about this... how many times have we seen the old, "THIS IS THE BEST SUPPLEMENT EVER, EVERYONE SHOULD TAKE IT!" only to have something 6 months, 1 year, ten years later linking the very same supplement to some ill effect? If you take high doses and rely on one thing being the magic ticket to fixing everything, not only will you probably a) not stick with it and b) not actually see those results you c) run the risk of it being extra bad should it not be the right choice!
So you see, just because I'm an acupuncturist and do fertility work, two things that would commonly make me waaaay into supplements, I'm not! I'd rather you take low doses of things that you REALLY think you need extra of and eat well on top of making other choices with your life that will really get you to where you want to be. Trust me, although the thought of doing less can be terrifying, especially with fertility where you want a magic answer so badly, my results are fantastic - I promise!
For more "food for thought" on food vs. nutrients I highly recommend you read this article by Michael Pollan and his other varied works!
Welcome to my blog!
I'm an acupuncturist, teacher, fertility specialist, patient centered advocate, mom, activist and more! This blog is a place for me to write down the things on my mind, the things I discuss over and over, and the things I find helpful, interesting, and inspiring all in the hope that someone else out there, maybe YOU, will find some of these things to be helpful, interesting and inspiring too. I love learning, I love sharing, and I am passionate about helping others lead more balanced, fertile, and healthy lives - while trying to do the same myself. So here goes... The Blogging Life...