Ask Leyla: Frequently asked questions about supplements

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| By Leyla Muedin MS, RD, CDN

Supplements are an important part of your comprehensive medical and nutritional treatment program, but many who are prescribed supplements have questions about their use and benefits. This week, I’ve tried to tackle some of the most commonly asked questions.

ts_faq_sm2Why do I need to take so many supplements?

Your supplements and the amounts prescribed by your practitioner are targeted to your particular symptoms and conditions. Often various vitamins, minerals, micronutrients and herbs work synergistically, enhancing efficacy and relief. At the Hoffman Center, our approach is multifaceted: Rather than offering a single “magic” bullet, we support multiple systems to facilitate recovery.

How do I start taking my new supplements?

If you’ve never taken supplements before, it is best to start one new supplement every 2 to 3 days. If you experience nausea, fullness or gastrointestinal distress, slow down. It may take a little while for your body to get used to the program.

The recommended dosage on the bottle is different from what the doctor/nutritionist put on my supplement sheet. Is that alright?

Yes. Your supplement dosages are individualized by the doctor and/or nutritionist to target your specific conditions.

Why are your brands sometimes more expensive than the supplements sold in a regular pharmacy?

The Hoffman Center is committed to bringing you the highest quality, pharmaceutical-grade supplements that are the most bio-available and free of cheap fillers. This guarantees the most effective results in the least amount of time. Nevertheless, compare prices, and you’ll usually find that our supplements are very competitively priced.

I’m experiencing nausea when I take my supplements. Should I stop taking them?

Nausea is an indicator of malabsorption and may be due to not taking enough food prior to supplements. The best way to take supplements is to begin taking a few at various points through a meal and finish taking them by the end of the meal. This way, your supplements are “sandwiched in” with food and will be digested and absorbed properly. Taking all your supplements at the end of a meal may result in them repeating on you.

Why is my urine bright yellow after taking my supplements? 

This usually is due to some residual riboflavin (vitamin B2) being excreted. This is perfectly normal.

Can I take my supplements blended in juice or other drink so I don’t have to swallow so many? Which ones?

Supplements in capsules can be opened and mixed with juice, water or protein shake. It is best NOT to crush tablets.

Can certain supplements cause diarrhea?

Yes. The ones most likely to do so are magnesium, high-dose vitamin C, probiotics and fish oil. Try cutting back, then reintroduce slowly to “titrate” to your digestion.

I’m taking a lot of supplements. Why am I not experiencing immediate relief from my symptoms?

Supplements work with your body in achieving the desired outcome—not like medications, which may offer immediate relief but with unwanted side effects. As a result, supplements may take longer but can diminish symptoms and help manage and in some cases reverse conditions without the harmful side effects.

Will I be taking all these supplements forever?

That depends. Usually, as your health condition improves, the need for heavy supplementation will decrease and we can taper you to a more manageable maintenance program. Also, we may repeat blood tests to see if we are reaching our goals. Therefore, it is important that you adhere to the schedule of follow-up visits that your practitioner has called for, even if you feel fine, so we can adjust your program to meet your changing needs.

What is the best way to reorder my supplements?

You can call the dispensary at (212) 779-1744 x311 to reorder. You also can reorder on-line through the Hoffman Center store.

To learn more about Hoffman Center supplements and nutritional approaches to support various conditions, visit DrHoffman.com and HoffmanCenter.com.

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