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Supplemental Benefits & Health Care Providers | Natural MD search

Supplemental Benefits & Health Care Providers | Natural MD search

Vitamin supplements can be a much needed and vital addition to your diet. Ideally you want to get as many nutrients and as much nutrition from you diet as possible. Food is the healthiest and safest way to get vitamins and minerals (Nature, April 20, 2007). But the truth is that today's Western diet is usually poor, consisting of a lot of processed foods that have been stripped of their nutrients. Couple this with a busy schedule and fast-food consumption, and it doesn't take long before you experience health issues as a result of poor dietary choices and processed foods. So supplementation is very beneficial and almost necessary. However, not all supplements are created equal.

You don't want chemical derivatives of vitamins and minerals that were synthesized in a lab. You want the real thing in its whole molecular form if at all possible. And you want the supplement to be derived from living plants and /or animals. You need vitamins derived from whole foods. Finally, you want to know the vitamins you are consuming have been sourced from a country like the United States that has strict laws and manufacturing standards to ensure quality. Over the counter vitamin and mineral supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry and there are hundreds to choose from. Many use cheap imported substances that were created in a lab under little or no quality control scrutiny. Hardly at all natural. How do you pick quality supplements that are right for you and what your body needs?

There are a number of very good vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements that are only available through health care providers and in reputable health food stores. This is done not so much to control the market and prices, but as a way to ensure that you as a consumer get proper medical advice and are thus prescribed what your body needs.  Proper testing by a health care provider can determine what supplements you need and are best for you.  Self-diagnosing and self-prescribing of supplements is not recommended.  You can end up wasting time and a lot of money on supplements that are not needed and may not address your issues. In addition to carefully examining your medical history and symptoms, blood and urine analysis, visual tests such as the examination of blood cells with a microscope, x-ray examination of bones, or a visual examination of the eyes or skin may be employed.

There are many reliable blood tests available that your health care practitioner can order to determine if you have deficiencies in certain vital vitamins and minerals. There are also resources like Spectracell which specializes in Micronutirent testing and comprehensive nutritional panels which can be ordered by your health care practitioner. If you lack insurance coverage inquire about a cash fee option. Many labs not located in hospitals offer discounted prices and an even better discount if you pay cash.  It doesn't hurt to ask but it can hurt if you don't. If you find that the supplements that your health care practitioner recommends are not affordable for you, ask him or her to recommend another brand that can be obtained elsewhere or another method of getting those vitamins from your diet.