FREE Nutritional Advice

We are happy to announce the launch of our online free advisory service. This is mainly, but not limited to, advice on supplements for certain conditions. Please use our contact form and specify "Oral Supplement Advice" as a reason for contact. One of our clinicians will email you back with free advice.  

FREE Testing Advice

We have partnered with one of the best testing laboratories in the world to offer a comprehensive range of functional testing using body fluid samples that you can collect at home (urine, saliva, buccal scrapping or finger prick blood sample). Please see this video for "Metabolomix Plus non-invasive nutritional assessment test". This is how it works:

1. You decide on the test you want.

2. We order the test to arrive directly to you.

3. You pay the laboratory directly and receive the test kit.

4. you take the samples and post it to the laboratory (it is your responsibility to follow the clear instructions and post the sample).

5. We receive the report from the lab and pass it on to you.  

5. The report will give you guidance which you can follow directly, however should you want our professional help we can arrange this for a fee (see our consultation fee in prices). 

Vitamins and Minerals Pitfalls:

 

With the plethora of supplements on the market, the choice has never been more complex. Here are few points to guide you. If you want and individualised advice please use our contact form and and specify "Oral Supplement Advice" as a reason for contact.  

  1. Vitamins consumed in food are normally biologically active but they get deactivated prior to absorption, eg by the gut lining cells or by the liver. This is to ensure that the body gets control of the biological actions. deactivated vitamins can then be activated to carry out the physiological functions as required. Therefore, except in certain situations, activated oral supplements are not always a good idea as they will probably get deactivated then activated again in the body according to the needs. 

  2. Minerals need acid in the stomach to get “solubilised” and released from food in order for them to be absorbed. Acid suppression therefore reduces minerals absorption.

  3. After solubilisation, minerals may bind to other materials in the stomach such as calcium, fibres, tannins (in tea) and fats. These delay or prevent minerals absorption. On the other hand, citric acid, vitamin c and amino acids (meat) are examples of food that enhance the absorption of minerals. It is therefore advisable to take minerals with meat or citrus juice and to avoid food containing calcium, fibres and tea and not to mix too many supplements e.g minerals and bran or greentea-containing supplements. 

  4. As a general rule, higher dose of oral minerals and vitamins does not necessarily means higher absorption. The body has mechanisms to progressively reduce the amounts absorbed as the dose increases (inverse relationship between dose and fractional absorption). In some situations e.g high doses of iron, the whole absorption process can be brought to a complete halt by the body thus producing a counter effect. 

  5. Iron (and many supplement additives such as sweeteners) may also damage the gut bacterial on the way out (check this link describing the effect of supplemental iron on colonic bacteria: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25205464/). It is therefore logical to say that small frequent dosing makes the most sense for most micronutrients

  6. Apart from one or two micronutrients where the absorption approaches 100% (e.g iodine), the unabsorbed fraction of the minerals/vitamins will passes on to the colon to be excreted. This is largely a harmless process although may be inconvenient e.g large does of vitamin c cause diarrhoea. However, the unabsorbed fractions of some minerals can act as competitors: they start to interfere with the absorption of other minerals. The most notorious in this regard are calcium and iron, they should not be taken in large quantities and not with other supplements

  7. Certain pathological states, such as infections, affect the absorption rates of certain minerals in order to limit the utilisation of these minerals by the infecting agents. For example: iron can be used by bacterial as a fuel, the body therefore tends to reduce iron absorption at the gut level and hide away the iron in the body to prevent the bacteria from accessing this fuel. It is therefore not advisable to use high doses of certain minerals, e.g iron, in certain pathological situations

  8. Most nutrients demonstrate an inverse relationship between dose and bioavailability e.g. Vitamin B1 exhibits ≈100% bioavailability at microgram doses and ≈5% at 50 milligram dose. High doses can still achieve better levels in the blood and be cost-effective but this is not always the case

  9. Vitamins can be dosed to replace deficiency (physiological dosing) or to achieve pharmacological effect e.g mega doses of vitamin c and vitamin A as anti-virals (e. g. an oral dose of 200,000 IU of vitamin A per day for two days is recommended by the WHO for children with measles). The aim of therapy should dictate the dose needed.  

  10. Excessive doses of some vitamins may be harmful. For example: taking large doses of folic acid can accelerate cancer growth. Also vitamin A in high doses can cause birth defects in babies if taken during pregnancy or trigger cancers in very high doses. 

  11. Some vitamins need to be given in combinations, for example vitamin B12 and folic acid do a “job share” and correcting one deficiency can exacerbate the deficiency of the other, leading to progression of symptoms.

  12. Fat soluble vitamins and other oily supplements, such as omega oils, can be damaged by oxidation i.e ‘rancidity’. Therefore they become inactive and possibly counter-productive. Try to obtain supplements through whole food whenever possible e.g oily fish rather than fish oil

  13. Minerals are given as compounds e.g calcium carbonate. The form of the mineral supplement has to be carefully selected with some formulations are better absorbed, for example: magnesium oxide is very poorly absorbed whereas magnesium citrate, orotate or aspartate are much better absorbed. In general try to avoid oxide, sulphates and carbonate

  14. Finally: please be aware of counterfeit preparations and source the supplements from reliable manufacturers with track records.