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Monday, June 21, 2010

V is for Vitamin; An Interview with a supplement Queen!

Growing up my mother made sure I took my vitamins (aka supplements). It became a way of life for me and my family. I don't recall enjoying the pills - even the chewable vitamin C - nonetheless it made an impression on me. As I got older the topic of health became increasingly more important to me given the many areas of my life suffering due to lack of sleep, depression, acne, and IBS. Ultimately, leading me to becoming a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach. For several years, I took limited supplementation because I truly believed that in order to be healthy you must eat real food. I figured eating really good, unprocessed, organic, local food should be plenty right?! In the last few years I have found that in many cases eating real food is not always enough. I like to think of vitamins as "insurance." As someone who wants to eat or drink only the best I wanted to interview Mary from OVitamin to elaborate on supplements and what to look for considering it is such a sticky subject.

ML: Can you tell us why you are in the supplement business?
Mary: A lot of the reason I'm in the supplement business has been because of my own personal quest for better health. Nutrition has always been my passion. I am constantly reading up on what's new in the alternative health realm. I  also love attending seminars and trying to remain on the cutting edge of whats happening in the supplement industry.

ML: How long have you been in business?
Mary: I have been in business as a nutritional consultant within my husband’s chiropractic clinic for over 25 years.  Because our clinic was holistic we addressed more than structural issues. Supplementation with Vitamins, minerals and herbs was part of our wellness protocol. The last three years we started our on line store to make our products more accessible to not only our patients in our clinic but also all the clients we attend to that live too far from the clinic to see personally.

ML: What kind of benefits have you seen and your clients seen from taking supplements?
Mary: The benefits we see are too numerous to do justice in a short answer but I will try to mention a few. We have seen restored health in people who had lost their health and hope with the traditional medical approach. We have seen clients improve in so many areas from high cholesterol to something as simple as better energy.

ML: Purchasing supplements is a right that we have right now, however in the past we almost lost this right. Why is it important for consumers to be able to purchase their own supplements?
Mary: I would say the primary reason is because ultimately our health is and always should be in our hands. We must take responsibility for our health. Allopathic medicine is based on illness. You don’t do anything about your health until you are sick! The ability to purchase vitamins and supplements gives us the option to choose health.

ML: What are some basic tips that you could give us when selecting supplements? (what to look for, who to trust, where to buy)
Mary: I always tell my clients never buy from big box stores or your local grocery store. Buy your supplements from a trusted source. The supplements we sell are only for distribution by health care professionals. I have personally worked with the products we sell either in our clinic or with my own personal research.  I know the companies; I know how they assay their products and what standards they adhere to. 

ML: Fish Oil is a supplement these days that is seen to have widespread benefits, but there is also the worry about mercury tainted fish. Can you tell us how you select a fish oil or omega-3 supplement?
Mary: Fish oil is getting a lot of publicity lately even pharmaceutical companies are on it. They are currently going to release a high potency prescription EPA-DHA! This is one of their tricks to get consumers to pay 4 times the money for fish oil and to say the supplement industry does not assay their fish oils! But what I look for is the fish oil has .01 parts per billion heavy metal contamination. If a company says they have 0 they are basically lying and you cannot trust that oil. There are different ratios of EPA-DHA and I recommend a 6-1 for gut issues or 3-1 for everyone else. I prefer a enteric coated fish oil because it is easy on the stomach.

ML: Many Americans are dangerously low in Vitamin D. Can you tell us what to look for in a Vitamin D supplement?
Mary: I like isoflavanoids with the Vitamin D3 like the Metagenics ,ISOD3  or emulsified Vitamin D3 which helps with the digestion and absorbtion of the Vitamin D3. I recommend 2000 to 500 IU’s a day.

ML: Are there specific supplements that should be avoided?
Mary: Avoid supplements that have a lot of excitatory amino acids. A lot of energy drinks out there have added amino acids to their so called healthy protein powders. It can cause an imbalance in neurotransmitter support. I would also avoid Iron unless you have been diagnosed with anemia. Iron is highly toxic and can cause mal-absorption of other nutrients.

ML: Are there specific guidelines when taking supplements?
Mary: The guidelines are different for different people. I am a less is more kind of person. I always start with a lower dose and work up from there. I also start with the most glaring issue in one’s health. Don’t try to do too many things at onece.

ML: Anything else that would like to add?
Mary: Just as important as our micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals) are our macro-nutrients! Remember all the vitamin supplementation in the world will not replace an unhealthy diet or lifestyle. Vitamins should be considered as support for your health.



Mary has worked with her doctor husband in the clinical trenches for over twenty five years. Most of her training has been in the form of hands on. Mary continues to attend nutritional seminars, constantly learning new insight she can share with her clients. She has helped countless patients and clients with their nutritional needs as well as coaching them in that process. When not at OVitaminPro.com Mary enjoys skiing, writing, hiking, running and walking with her dog Oscar.

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