It became a realization mid-way through chiropractic school the imperative nature of nutritional supplementation. While attending a class, which was taught by a renowned medical doctor, the emphasis on human physiology impacting supplemental efficiency was highly noted. Hence brings up the purpose behind this message.
Physiology is a complicated science that, technically, differs amongst each individual. Simply put, this is the science of breaking down then using or removing particular molecules within the body.
In the sense of supplementation, physiology never adds up. In most cases, 1 + 1 will equal -9, 3, 0.5, etc. The point being, what you put in your body rarely equals what your body actually receives or will use. Our body has to go through several processes in order to effectively use the supplement. Through each of these processes, pertinent components of that supplement will be lost through our excretion methods, such as urine and other lymphatic methods. In other words, what the label on the bottle states, your body is not receiving in its entirety. Not the manufacture's fault....this is just science.
Efficiency is the key to success when it comes to supplementing.
The most important in effective supplement taking is obtaining high quality, minimally processed, supplements. The second most important factor is, when to take the supplement: ie. time of the day as well as when during the year.
Many of us might be unfamiliar with this latter aspect. So let's put some perspective on it: for those who have been pregnant or surrounded by pregnancy, particular supplements are taken before, during, and after the pregnancy period. But we know that those specific supplements are not consumed when not pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant. They are obviously used during and surrounding the pregnancy period....only. So why not treat other supplements in a similar fashion? Generally speaking, we do not. Instead we take a heaping amount of supplements first thing in the morning (for it's convenience) or, conversely, supplements are taken only when experiencing symptoms of an ailment or sickness. Both are extreme measures of taking supplements.
For those patients I have had conversations with regarding supplements, the first thing is I recommend is for them to stagger their supplementing. Both, throughout the day as well as throughout the year.
Why? Because of physiology (full circle time!!) --- When it comes to ingesting a supplement, there are 2 major processes that must take place in order for the supplement to actually enter the body for use. First, after ingestion, the supplement travels through our hepatic portal vein, directly going to our liver for the first metabolic process. The liver then decides if that supplement enters our systemic circulation (blood stream) or gets excreted as waste.
Think of this first process at the top part of a bottle: taking several pills at once will burden this first process therefore, forcing the body to reject or dismiss many of the benefits from that supplement.
The second process occurs once the supplement finishes with the liver to enter the body for further metabolic pathways to begin. Some of the products from the processing will be stored for future use, but some will be immediately excreted by your body within just a few hours. As a result, taking supplements all at once will create a short-lived "spike" in concentration that your body now will need to process. If the body can't use the molecules at the moment, your metabolic pathways will accelerate the excretion of those molecules from your body. In other words, you will be expelling most of the supplement instead of using it.
So what is it that I recommend?
Stagger supplements with two thought processes in mind: 1. Space out supplementation throughout the day and 2. Cycle particular supplements throughout the calendar year.
What this looks like for me:
1. Staggered Supplementation throughout the day:
First thing in the morning, I would take 1 - 2 different types of supplements (which can be 3 - 6 individual pills). Then, by mid-day, another set of supplements (either different types of supplements or continue the "dosage" of the prior supplement taken in the morning). With finishing the recommended dosages by the evening. This can look like anywhere from 12 to 20 pills in one day.
If I were to take all 20 pills in the morning, majority of each supplements' benefits would be wasted.
2. Cycling Supplements throughout the Calendar Year:
Each person is different depending on your needs as well as your activity levels, health status, etc. Generally speaking, my supplementation is at its highest from September to April. Majority of these months are colder, sun is not as prevalent, and because of holidays (most likely not this year) people are traveling more, therefore being around more people from different areas. All of which heightens the spread of particular illnesses. Notice, supplementation during these months aren't when one feels sick, but more so a committed and consistent practice of equipping your body with proper defensive material. This approach helps boost your immunity much more effectively!
Overall, supplements are highly determined by your activity level, health status, as well as daily living activities. When you know what works best for you, I personally recommend implementing these tactics so that you can get the most out of your supplements! Also, with this approach your wallet will be thanking you.
We understand that supplementing can get overwhelming without proper guidance, that is why we are excited that our office will be providing high-quality, plant-based supplements in near future! We personally find the importance of them for our daily lives and seasonal needs, so with that said our goal is to make our AIM community the best versions of ourselves to enhance your health and fitness needs from the inside out. We are here to make your supplemental journey easier and convenient.
*Please mind that these are recommendations. Therefore, use this information more so as a guideline rather than as "must do's". Always consult a medical doctor for anecdotal advice.
Have a great day!!!
Confidently You, Confidently Better!
- Dr. Steph Smith