When new patients bring in the supplements they are taking, I look them over and test them for the patient using clinical kinesiology. I recommend discontinuing the supplements that weaken them. Sometimes that is the only thing we do until the next visit, and patients often report feeling much better just being off the supplements that had weakened them. In my clinical experience, not taking any supplement is better than taking poor quality supplements.

Synthetically made vitamins differ from vitamins extracted from foods in their chromatograms, and in the direction that the molecules rotate under polarized light. This difference can be likened to right and left- hand bolts and nuts. When you need right-hand cap screws to put the head of your car engine back on, left-hand screws won’t work nearly as well. In clinical trials comparing natural vs. synthetic forms of vitamins, the synthetic vitamins are not nearly as clinically effective as the vitamins from natural sources.

Looking at a vitamin label, if a B vitamin has in parenthesis “Thiamin hydrochloride” or “Thiamin mononitrate”, etc., it’s synthetically made from a petrochemical source. If the parenthesis has in it “derived from rice bran, yeast”, etc., it’s from a natural source.

Having the % Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) as similar as possible for each of the B-vitamins (for instance, all the B vitamins at potencies around 100 % RDA) will prevent long-term imbalances. Some B vitamins like B1 and B2 are less expensive to manufacture, so many companies will add around 1000% RDA of these, and only around 100% of a more costly vitamin such as niacin (B3), even though our bodies need about 10 times more niacin in ratio to B1 or B2. At first, the consumer will feel a rush of energy, but over time, will become tired and sick – from deficiencies of the more expensive B vitamins that an imbalanced formula will eventually create.

The label of your vitamin E should say, “d-alpha tocopherol, in a base of mixed tocopherols”. Don’t buy vitamin E that says “dl-alpha”.

Much of what makes cheaply-made supplements harmful are the preservatives, fillers and binders in the base. Avoid the toxic solvents derivatives: Propyl (such as hydroxypropyl-), as well as ethyl (as in polyethylene-) and methyl derivatives. Stearic acid is a soap-like substance often used as a lubricant for ease of manufacturing, but it renders the nutrients less well absorbed. Other stearic acid cousins to watch for are: calcium or magnesium stearate, ascorbyl palmitate and fractionated or hydrogenated oils. Avoid supplements with metals such as aluminum in the base. The supplements that test the best have the least chemicals in their base; usually they are in powder form, with the only other ingredient being the gelatin in the capsule.

Much evidence is accumulating on the dangers of mega-dosing. This causes cellular resistance to the vitamins, creating deficient states in between the megadoses. For example, I now recommend no more than 500 mg of vitamin C at a time (I take 200 – 300 mg. of natural source C per dose), except on a temporary basis – for example, when you have an infection, or to aid in nicotine detox when quitting cigarettes.

Nothing beats high quality food for highly usable nutrients. All the protein foods are high in B vitamins: fish, fowl, meats, whole grains and beans, nuts and seeds. Organically grown produce has higher nutrient content than produce grown with synthetic fertilizer. Vitamins A, C and all the minerals are found in organic, fresh vegetables and fruit – the deeper the color, the higher the nutrient content.