I've been hearing a lot about a whole food vitamin supplement called Juice Plus and getting asked lots of questions about it from clients. Can you please tell me about it and other products like it? Do they work? Is one better than the other?
I am going to comment not on the product of Juice Plus, but I am going to give you what I have learned about supplements in general and from that you can make your own decisions. I am not an advocator of supplements in most situations. Whether it is Juice Plus, EAS, NOW Foods or Ultralife, I consider them all basically the same. If my clients are hitting roadblocks down the line of treatment, then and only then will I do testing through BioHealth Diagnostics (www.biodia.com) in order to find out physiologically/hormonally what is going on or not going on inside. Then I will have an exact idea of what types of supplements, enzymes, probiotics, hormones, etc. my clients need. At the same time, this give me an opportunity to refer out if needed to a more skilled professional in these areas such as a naturopath, herbalist, etc.
What I recommend all my clients do, as well as what I have done, is to research and come to their own conclusions. If I don’t know something about a product, exercise, diet, etc., I go research it and research it until I can’t research it anymore. As well, sometimes I actually try things on myself first before recommending them to clients.
In my clinical opinion, one of the major crutches of society is supplements. The word implies what they are, but the majority of society likes to use them as their primary source of nutrients, enzymes and food intake. There are many major problems with this, stress being the most important one. The definition of supplements is "something that completes or makes an addition" (www.m-w.com).
The key to this definition is something that compliments or makes an addition to. The problem is individuals use the supplement as the food and the food as the supplement. We have it all backward, and society is painting us a picture of that. I chose IBS secondary to it being one of the most common complaints that I see with new clients. Symptoms consistent with IBS are present in 10-20% of adolescents and adults. Less than one third of patients seek medical advice. In the pediatric population, IBS symptoms are reported in 14% of high school students and 6% of middle school students. One third of patients with IBS trace their symptoms to childhood.
This is not even giving you stats among adults, but it is scary to see that a high percentage of children are already having GI problems. From what I have seen clinically, most of my clients eat a lot of refined/processed carbohydrates and other foods and are taking lots of synthetic vitamins, protein powders, enzymes, probiotics, omega-3s and so on. Most of these people have poor lifestyle habits and are using the supplements to play catch up. Also, most or all of these supplements are synthetic, which means man-made. So your body reacts to these in a stressful (sympathetic response) way. You get GI inflammation, irritation, constipation/diarrhea, cramps, bloating, gas, food in your stool. You have lethargy and jitteriness at the same time. You can’t loose weight, and you feel like $*#@!
Most of the supplements you buy on the market today are synthetic and depleted of any energy. Using a “this for that” approach never works in the long run. If you think of how most Americans eat and their use of supplements, it's no wonder they are constipated and taking laxatives or other supplements to poop. They are eating processed foods, conventional meats, eating man-made fats and chemicals, but on the other end of it, to make up for their deficiencies, they take antioxidants, mutli-vitamins and so on to counteract the effects of their poor nutrition and lifestyle. Americans buy $1,300,000 worth of laxatives every day (Read Chapter 1 of How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy by Paul Chek)! Do they ever take the time to listen to their bodies and wonder why they might be constipated or pooping out toxic waste? They just keep pumping this junk into their bodies, which makes them become more and more constipated.
Now what is my point? I have two points, the first one is simple. We spend more money on health care, prescriptions and days home from work sick secondary to GI disorders. This leads to more money wasted on health care and a weakened economic system and it creates a hole in your pocket. If we just paid attention to nutrition and lifestyle, everything would be peachy keen! In the past six years, I have only missed one day of work. I attribute that to proper nutrition and lifestyle.
My second point is that if you are eating organic foods (it takes life to give life), eating for your metabolic type (read Noah Hittner's article on the topic here), drinking the proper fluids (water), getting enough sleep and thinking positively, then success is inevitable. Taking any supplement creates negative energy within the body (stress), and the end result it total body dysfunction in the long run. There are some companies that have high quality organic supplements, but I never recommend them until the six-month mark while working with a client. I would rather focus on diet and lifestyle initially in order to reintroduce life to the body. 99.9999999% of my clients get results. Did cave men have supplements?
Before you start recommending supplements, my advice is to:
- Do some major research on them.
- Try using diet and lifestyle recommendation first with a client.
- Purchase The Metabolic Typing Diet by William Wolcott.
- Purchase How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy! (book) and You Are What You Eat (audio CDs) (click here for a preview) from www.chekinstitute.com.
This will give you a great start so when clients ask you questions about supplements, you are fully loaded and ready. Good luck!