12 Jul 2017
10 Reasons Your Supplements Aren’t Working
If you’re taking vitamin or herbal supplements and you’re not getting the results you’d like, it may be time to take a deeper look at what’s going on. There are two common misconceptions about natural remedies. First, there is no ONE dietary change, supplement, treatment, or protocol, that will “fix” a chronic health challenge.
Second, natural remedies are what I call “root problem” remedies for health challenges. The remedy itself doesn’t do the work to fix the body, but rather it supports the entire function of the body to do what it does best – restore balance.
Your body wants to stay in balance and it does everything it can to do exactly that. The body is designed to constantly detect, assess, and make a concentrated effort to restore homeostasis (balanced health) from any health challenge. And as long as you are giving it the building blocks for balance it operates smoothly.
Before you decide to toss your supplement regimen, let’s take a look at the reasons your results might be less than what you’d hoped for:
1. You haven’t been on them long enough
Natural remedies generally take longer to work than pharmaceuticals, so you need to give your herbs and vitamins a good 3-month trial at minimum.
2. You’re not addressing underlying nutritional issues
There is no substitute for good nutrition. This means eating adequate protein, not skipping meals, eating lots of fresh veggies, fruits and healthy fats and drinking at least ½ oz. of water or more per pound of body weight.
3. You’re not managing stress
There are herbs and supplements that can help you achieve better balance for cortisol, however, if you do not address your underlying stress there is no supplement that will “fix” this. It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that you are “stuck” with whatever life serves up. This limiting belief is a fast pass to burnout, exhaustion and frustration…all of which take their toll on your adrenal health. See #9.
4. Underlying hormone imbalances are present
You may have underlying sex hormone, cortisol or thyroid imbalances that are preventing your supplements from working as well as they could. Testing can help identify these so they can be addressed and make your protocol more effective.
5. You have underlying gut health issues
Much of your health begins in your gut. If you have damage to the lining of your gut or issues with low stomach acid (the most common cause of GERD) then you may not be absorbing the nutrients from supplements into your body. Issues with constipation or diarrhea can also affect how supplements work. You can find more information on gut healing here.
6. You’re buying poor quality products
Buy your vitamins and herbs from a reputable supplier. Many cheap store brands contain little or no active ingredients. Purchase brands that have been independently tested for quality. This is one situation where spending a little extra to get better brands is worth it.
7. Your protocol isn’t the right one for you
It’s easy to stand in the supplement aisle of the health food store and load up a basket of products. But how do you know what you need? Could you be making things WORSE by choosing the wrong herb? If you know your body needs a significant amount of support, it’s worth paying an expert to help you. Get testing if needed (organic acids, hormones, etc) and let a professional create a management plan for you.
8. You’re taking inadequate dosage
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is just that. A recommendation. Often, that amount is not enough to do the job if you need extra support in some areas. And example of this is in the case of adrenal dysregulation. Large doses of Vitamin C and B5 are needed to provide the building blocks for healing, yet the RDA for these 2 vitamins is much lower. Most vitamins are eliminated in urine if the body doesn’t need them. The exceptions to this are Vitamins A,D,E,K which can be stored by the body…creating the possibility for toxicity with megadoses.
9. You have unrealistic expectations
There is no “magic bullet” or one size fits all approach to supplementation with herbs or vitamins. You need to do the lifestyle work that goes along with this. You can take handfuls of pills daily, but if you’re treating your body like an amusement park, you’ll never get the results you want. Limit alcohol, eat good food and get lots of sleep. That is your foundational work for a good outcome.
10. Something in your life needs to change
If you’re stuck in a soul-sucking job, your marriage is a mess, or your plate is ridiculously full of obligations, there is no amount of supplementation that will make it better. This is the time to re-evaluate every aspect of your life. Be the detective here…and be HONEST. It is much easier to stick to the surface things you’re probably doing already (like taking supplements) because it is MUCH more comfortable to do this than to dig deep for what needs to be addressed. But ultimately, your healing depends on your willingness to get uncomfortable and do the real work that needs to be done.
Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim parts of themselves they thought were gone forever.
Find out more about working with her at http://www.drannagarrett.com/work-with-me/.