The Shadow Side of Nutrients – which nutrients cause what issues
I lived with Swami Satchitananda for years and was certified in yoga in India back in 1971. Having studied theology and looked at every which way folks sleuth answers to ‘What’s it all about?’ I have come to respect a basic fact; that this material world is two-sided. There is the good and the bad of each and everything. Spiritual masters refer to this as the dualistic side of nature.
This holds true for every element of life. Water is essential. Too much water is drowning. Food is essential. Too much food is erosive.
MEDS  It’s like this with medications. We have seen that for every benefit you may get by taking a pharmaceutical, you also risk a potential side effect. Side effects can be mild or nasty. But when you take a drug for a hopeful health advantage, you always risk having something else go wrong.
NUTRIENTS But we rarely think of this with nutrients. After all, they’re ‘natural’ (a term with no legal definition by the way). However, nothing in life is exempt from this two-sided reality of the world we live in. Not even nutrients.

  • Sometimes supplementing with one nutrient increases the body’s need for another.
  • Or, as we lean more on nutrient protocols (which is basically a good thing) we are learning some potential shadow sides caused by specific nutrients
  • We are learning specific carrier salts, timing and co-nutrients, all of which can influence nutrient effects.
  • Nutrient interactions with foods, drugs, and each other is a complex science and art that mostly seasoned nutritionists are educated on. Most dietitians and other health practitioners, unless trained, are often unaware of these evidence-based potential issues.

Here is a summary of some of the 'dark' and 'light' (two-sided nature) of nutrient supplementation.

  • Glucosamine supplementation may be contraindicated in folks who are glaucoma suspects (being ‘watched’ by their eye docs), have a diagnosis of glaucoma, have first degree relatives with glaucoma or are on steroids (click here for glucosamine – glaucoma article)
  • Turmeric is beneficial for many things, but may for some people, cause depletion of healthful gut bacteria, so should be taken with probiotics
  • Flax seeds, consumed regularly, are a good thing, but they contain linatine which can compete and increase the need for vitamin B6
  • Calcium supplementation without sufficient magnesium and vitamin K, and in excess, can worsen heart disease risk, especially heart attack
  • Strontium protects bones. But if given in less than equal amounts of calcium (which should be taken at a different time of day than the strontium) then the quality of bone produced may not be as optimal
  • Alpha-tocopherol vitamin E by itself blocks the heart protective function of gamma-tocopherol and is heart unsafe; be sure to use mixed tocopherol Es and be suspicious of products and companies that still use alpha-tocopherol E
  • Sodium bicarbonate is used to treat acidosis and protect kidneys and enamel on teeth when used as a mouth wash but it needs to be taken away from iron as it can block its absorption
  • Niacinamide in high dosages is marvelous for joint swelling, pain and insulin resistance but it can block methylation in high dosages and cause fatigue so it needs to be given with other pro-methylating nutrients
  • Any one B vitamin given solo can create a B vitamin family imbalance so a back up B vitamin is recommended (I prefer activated Bs with the first step of phosphorylation already done as many folks aren’t so good at this step)
  • Natural folate forms (tetrahydramethylfolate, folicin, methyl folate) are healthier, especially as we age and during prenatal times. According to Joel Mason, a Tuft’s gastroenterologist that I have heard speak and personally discussed this and agree with, folic acid (which is a SYNTHETIC form of the natural vitamin folate) can, in excess, promote growth of cancer cells. I am a big fan of natural folate and hardily support the vitamin companies that go out of their way to use this healthier but more costly form (i.e. Designs for Health, Xymogen, Pure Encapsulation, and Thorne, to name a few, and I make no money from giving out their names). The name Folic acid comes from foliage foods high in folate. Eating lots of greens is always a good approach, and up with green drinks that make these nutrients more bioavailable.
  • Fish oils have beneficial fatty acids, but they can also get oxidized into damaging substances. So take along with mixed tocopherol vitamin E to reduce lipid peroxidation.

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