We understand that the world of natural dietary supplements can be confusing. Vitamin therapy, alternative medicine, natural medicine, and lifestyle medicine are constantly in the news, and often the information is conflicting. We do our best to provide reliable health information to the consumer, based on Dr. Michael Janson's research and experience. To that end, we have here answers to some of the common questions that customers ask about natural dietary supplements and our nutritional medicine products. If you have other alternative medicine questions, you can submit them by Email or call our customer service line. We will do our best to answer them and post those of general interest right here.
Doesn't vitamin C cause diarrhea in large doses?
Yes, in very large doses some of the vitamin C that you take will not be absorbed, and if enough is left in the bowel it will draw water and lead to loose bowels at first, and diarrhea with higher doses.
You usually have to take over 8 to 10 thousand milligrams of vitamin C to get this effect, although some people can take up to 25 thousand mg without a problem. Higher doses are more tolerable when you have any kind of illness, particularly a virus or other infection.
Occasionally people have problems with smaller doses, but it is unusual. It does not really matter which form of vitamin C you take as a dietary supplement, and the effect is harmless if you recognize it and slightly reduce your dose. Some practitioners suggest finding out how much it takes to cause loose bowels, and then to take slightly less than that amount. They call this the "bowel tolerance" level.
What causes the flush from niacin?
Vitamin supplements containing niacin (vitamin B3) causes a release of histamine from mast cells - the immune cells in tissues that respond to allergies. This causes a flush of the skin almost like an allergic response, usually lasting for 20 to 40 minutes. If you take niacin regularly (twice a day or more) the flush usually stops because you have depleted your mast cells of histamine. The flush is not harmful, but some people find it uncomfortable (especially in dress clothes). Others find that they enjoy the flush. Timed-release niacin usually causes less of a flush, but it may still happen.
Niacinamide does not cause any flushing. However, niacinamide does not have all of the benefits of niacin. Inositol hexaniacinate (our Niac-Inositol) does not cause a flush, but it still has the same benefits as niacin in most cases. It does not cause any liver enzyme elevation, which sometimes happens with the timed-release niacin. Dietary supplements of inositol hexaniacinate are sometimes called "non-flush" niacin.
What is natural beta-carotene and is it better than synthetic?
Vitamin supplements containing natural beta-carotene are usually derived from Dunaliela salina, one of many algae. It contains a variety of carotenoids including alpha and beta-carotene. Some studies suggest that the synthetic beta-carotene is harmful in smokers, and not as beneficial as mixed carotenoids found in natural sources.
While this may be true, many of the studies in the past have been done with synthetic beta-carotene and still showed benefits as an antioxidant. Taking a small amount of synthetic beta-carotene does not appear to be a problem for non-smokers. However, it is important to eat a variety of foods that contain different carotenoids, such as spinach, tomatoes, melons, and other green, yellow, and orange vegetables and fruits.
Most multivitamin preparations contain the synthetic beta-carotene, which can be further supplemented with a natural source. What is your Ultra-E, and how does it differ from regular natural vitamin E? Dietary supplements of natural vitamin E contains a mix of mainly d-alpha-tocopherol with a very small amount of the other tocopherols - beta, gamma, and delta. These, especially gamma, have been shown to be very healthful. Gamma tocopherol is the most common form of vitamin E in the diet, and it appears that dietary supplements containing higher amounts of the gamma form are more beneficial than those that contain mainly the d-alpha form. The Ultra-E contains a much higher amount of the mixed tocopherols than the regular natural vitamin E, including 40 percent as gamma, and 5 percent each of beta and delta.
Are all your supplements natural?
Some of the B-complex dietary supplements in the multiple vitamins and individual capsules are manufactured, but the specific molecules are the same as naturally occurring B vitamins. The beta-carotene in the multiples and in plain beta-carotene capsules is synthetic, and is slightly different from the naturally occurring beta-carotene. However we also have the Natural Carotenes for those people who want to take extra supplements of the natural form. The vitamin C in almost all dietary supplements is manufactured by a natural process of fermentation of a carbohydrate derived from corn. If a significant difference exists between the natural dietary supplement and the synthetic form, such as vitamins D and E, we try to carry those that are all from natural sources. Some supplements, such as coenzyme Q10, are made in the laboratory by natural bacterial fermentation. All of our herbs are natural and mostly standardized with some of the whole herb included as well.
We include no synthetic additives in our dietary supplements: no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, coatings, or fillers. And, they are all hypoallergenic - only a few have either milk or soy derivatives.
What is the difference between MaxGLA and UltraEPA?
Max GLA is a capsule of the oil from borage seeds, and it is rich in gamma-linolenic acid, with all of the healthful properties of this omega-6 fatty acid. The 1200 mg capsule contains 240 mg of GLA (20%). The Ultra-EPA is a fish oil concentrate, rich in the omega-3 oil - EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, as well as DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid. Each capsule of Ultra-EPA contains 1000 mg of oil with 180 mg of EPA and 120 mg of DHA. You need both the omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids in the diet, and they both have similar but not identical health benefits.
What is the difference between your different multivitamins?
The Ultra Vitality is a complex of all the major basic vitamins and minerals in significant healthy doses contained in six tablets. Ultra Vitality Elite contains all the minerals other than iron. UV3 contains the same doses except it has no copper for people who have too much of this mineral. UV2 has added iron for people with iron deficiency (they may still need more iron than this provides if they are very depleted).
The Daily Preventive is almost the same as Ultra Vitality but the formula is contained in 12 capsules instead of 6 tablets for those people who have a hard time swallowing tablets, or for older children who need to take a portion of the adult dose. The DP1 formula has 100 IU of vitamin D, instead of 400 IU, 25 mg of zinc instead of 30 mg, and 4 mg of copper instead of 3 mg. The DP3 is the same except that it has no copper.
The Ultra Vitality Kids is a chewable multivitamin/mineral for very young children who cannot swallow capsules or tablets. They are naturally flavored and sweetened. They have much lower children's doses compared to the adult vitamins. Is it better to take capsules of Coenzyme Q10 or the chewable form?
Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble nutrient and it is generally poorly absorbed. Taking it at the same time as some oily foods can enhance the absorption. The chewable form is mixed with lecithin, an oily food, and chewing mixes it well with the lecithin so that absorption is enhanced. The other form of coenzyme Q10 is a gelcap that is well absorbed, but it is so costly in comparison to the chewable that the end result is not sufficiently greater absorption to justify the price difference.
What are standardized herbs?
Although herbs have a long history of use for medicinal purposes, it is only recently that they have been analyzed to reveal their most active components. These active chemicals are commonly present in very variable amounts in herbs, depending on where and how they are grown, soil quality, when they are harvested, the amount of rain and sun, and other factors. Standardized herbs have guaranteed specific amounts of the known, active herbal components, as well as the other factors that might be of help but are not as well studied.
Recently, the German government formed a Commission (Commission E) to conduct a review of the clinical value of many herbs in common therapeutic use for natural prevention and treatment of disease. The main focus of their review was on standardized herbs, in order to control as many variables as possible. This Commission E has published the results of their review in a monograph, and they concluded that many herbs do have the effects that are claimed.
High quality standardized herbal supplements usually contain all of the other active components of the herb, but they have at least the measured amount of the known active principles. This is not to say that non-standardized herbs are not valuable, but their levels of active principles are not as well known.
Examples of standardized herbs (standardization percentage in parentheses) include ginkgo biloba (24 percent ginkgo flavonglycosides), milk thistle extract (80 percent silymarin), kava kava (30 percent kavalactones), St. John's wort (0.3-0.5% hypericin), and bilberry (25 percent anthocyanosides). However, because many herbs may also contain active ingredients that are not yet studied, it is a good idea to take the standardized herb mixed with the whole dried herb if it is available. What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are protective nutrients that help control the damage from inappropriate or excessive exposure to oxygen. Damaging oxygen-containing fragments called free radicals are formed from many pollutants (petrochemicals, industrial waste, pesticides, solvents), and other chemical exposures, and during the course of normal metabolism.
These high-energy particles disrupt enzymes, membranes, cells, tissues, and organs. Adequate protection requires sufficient antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, Selenium, carotenoids such as Beta-Carotene, Lutein, and Lycopene, Coenzyme Q10, sulfur amino acids, and many phytochemicals. These include many flavonoids (found in supplements such as Bioflavonoids, proanthocyanidins (PAC), and Silymarin), as well as Ginkgo-Max, Garlic, Ultra-Lipoic Acid, and NutriVision with bilberry. Natural dietary supplements of these products can contribute to your program of natural medicine defense against aging and degenerative disease.
What is the value of sublingual melatonin compared to the prolonged release form?
Melatonin Sublingual is absorbed readily and helps promote normal sleep cycles when people have trouble falling asleep. The Melatonin PR also helps promote normal sleep but because it is not all released immediately, it tends to help more when waking early and not being able to fall asleep again.
Should I take the powder or pill form of your supplements, such as Glutamine, MSM, and Vitamin C?
If you value convenience, it is usually easier to take pills than to mix powders in water or juice. However, if you are taking high doses of these supplements for various health reasons, it is usually less expensive to take the powders, and it reduces the number of pills you have to take.
For example, each teaspoon of vitamin C contains about 4500 mg, or more than 4 pills, so if you are taking 10 or more grams a day (10,000 mg) you might consider whether you prefer taking about 2 teaspoons instead of 10 pills. Each teaspoon of glutamine powder is about 4000 mg (equal to 8 capsules), so if you are on high doses the powder might be easier to take.
Why do you only have glucosamine sulfate, and not N-acetyl glucosamine, glucosamine HCL?
Numerous studies show that glucosamine sulfate is beneficial in maintaining the health of joints in arthritic patients and relieving pain. This is the form of glucosamine that has been helpful in the scientific research, so we do not sell any other form of glucosamine. Chondroitin sulfate has also been shown to be helpful in arthritic patients, but no comparison or combination studies have been done to show that it is better than glucosamine sulfate or that the combination with glucosamine improves the results. However, some of our customers want the chondroitin sulfate to include in their dietary supplement program, and have seen results with it, so we carry it in combination as an alternative to supplements with plain glucosamine sulfate.
What is the difference between the various ginsengs - American, Korean, and Siberian?
Ginseng is considered a "restorative" or aid in adaptation to stress. The American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) is more sedative and relaxing, while helping stress, fatigue, and nervousness. Components of American ginseng help to reduce levels of substances that participate in both inflammatory and allergic responses, and help control fever and pain. It is now being studied for benefits in sugar regulation and controlling blood fats.
Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng, also called Asian or Chinese ginseng) has many of the same properties, but it is more stimulating, and is probably better to take in the morning, rather than at night. It is used to help maintain energy and to combat stress, fever, and inflammation. It has antioxidant effects, and in lab studies it protects cells against radiation.
Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is reported to reduce the effects of stress and to enhance athletic performance as well as mental acuity. It also helps cells survive after exposure to radiation, and it has potent antioxidant effects. What is the difference between bromelain and Pan-Gest - they are both enzymes?
Bromelain is a pineapple-derived enzyme that may help somewhat with digestion, but it is much less potent as a digestive enzyme than the pancreatic enzymes found in Pan-Gest. If digestion is a problem, Pan-Gest can help restore some of the digestive enzymes and support a normal intestinal function.
Bromelain on the other hand appears very useful in maintaining normal healthy joint, muscle, and skeletal tissue, especially in situations involving injury or inflammation.