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Strong Bones

Dr. Gardner, you mentioned strontium and silicon to be taken in addition to a daily supplement to build strong bones. I currently take one packet of Vital Primevia a day (two was giving me nosebleeds). How many milligrams of each should be taken per day? Would any supplement for these work that you find in a health food store? How much calcium per day would be needed for a 52 year old women taking the silicon and strontium? Is chewable calcium beneficial?

Vital Primivia at one packet per day contains 250 mg of calcium and magnesium.  This is not sufficient for bone health.  You need to add 250 to 500 mg of both calcium and magnesium to get an adequate amount.  Chewable calcium is fine. 

The rest of the minerals you need for bone health are in the multivitamin, even at 1/2 dose. 

Strontium is an interesting mineral.  For bone health, you need 2 to 3 mg per day.  However, if you have osteoporosis and you take 1,000 mg per day, it will stimulate bone repair and improve DEXA scan readings.  Eating whole grains will supply adequate silicon, although it can also be found in supplement form.

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“Good” Vitamins and Supplements

You have mentioned using “good” vitamins and herbs. Could you tell me what brand(s) you suggest? Thank you!

The best brands are marketed only to health professionals (and these are the brands I use on the website).

I have taken great care in designing the Primivia supplement line that is available on this website, incorporating the key ingredients in the most beneficial products on the market.  There are also some good quality supplements among the network marketing programs; however, I would have to examine their ingredients in order to give you an assessment of each individual brand.  I have had many readers frequently share their product information with me (often several readers share the same products with me). My decision is to recommend the successful treatment options I have personally tried.

Health food stores would probably be your next best option. Your least desirable options would be regular grocery stores and pharmacies. Buying on the internet will give you all the range of qualities, and you are dealing with unknowns unless you have a proven source in which you are confident.

Almost any option is better than taking no supplements, although there remains the concern about toxic metals found in them (mercury, lead, arsenic). The lower quality brands are not as careful about extracting harmful substances, or not letting them into the product during processing.

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Adrenal Exhaustion

I know that I have adrenal exhaustion. I went for a base line and am awaiting my results. I’m exhausted but I’m wired at the same time after any kind of emotional distress. It takes me days to get back in balance. What nutritional products of yours could you recommend to me? I know that when my test results come back, the doctor will want to prescribe some kind of medication which I don’t want. Please help me. Thank you.

When you have the symptoms of adrenal exhaustion, you must also look at thyroid and neurotransmitter deficiencies. The Adrenal Stress Index (ASI) is a saliva test for DHEA and cortisol, the best test for adrenal function. If DHEA or cortisol are low, it means the adrenals are probably exhausted. If they are high, they are stressed, but still functioning. If exhausted, take whichever (or both) is deficient, DHEA or bioidentical hydrocortisone.

With thyroid evaluation, I interpret any level of T3 below the mid-range for that laboratory as low thyroid, if symptoms are present. A urine test from Sanesco or Neuroscience is the best way to assess the neurotransmitters serotonin or dopemine.

You should be on Vital Primivia (available on this site), as it has large doses of all nutrients, including B5 that supports the adrenal, and the essential fatty acids. We have not yet added DHEA, and hydrocortisone is by prescription.

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Confusion About Magnesium Stearate

Please let Dr. Gardner know that I had been very happy with the vitamins.  Today; however, during my research, I came across some information on magnesium stearate. As I read about it and its potential damage to the digestive system, I was feeling grateful that I was taking high quality vitamins. However, after I finished on the computer, I went to look at my bottle of vitamins and found that (yikes!) there IS magnesium stearate in my vitamins.

For that reason, I’ve decided to discontinue my vitamin subscription.  Thank-you for your services and please let me know if any vitamins are produced without magnesium stearate.

Your confusion and concern about magnesium stearate is easy to understand, especially given the “controversy” that abounds on the internet.  First, let me set your mind at ease, and then I’ll explain the truth about magnesium stearate.

There is no research in humans that shows any negative effect of magnesium stearate in the human population.  It is unclear if the companies marketing “magnesium stearate-free” nutritional supplements are based on misunderstanding or willful misinterpretation of data, but they clearly are trying to gain a marketing advantage and not trying to disseminate the truth.  Anyone who has had any anxiety about the use of magnesium stearate in my Primivia supplement line can relax and be confident of its high quality.

Magnesium stearate is used in the production of foods, cosmetics, medications and nutriceuticals. Stearic acid is an 18-carbon chain saturated fatty acid, and the stearate form is a safe isomer of the fatty acid.  Although not mentioned, magnesium palmitate is also used for the same purpose, and is a higher concentration than stearate.  Palmitate is a 16-carbon chain saturated fatty acid.  Both the stearic and palmitic acids in magnesium stearate are derived from natural, edible sources.  The normal ingestion of stearic acid in food on a daily basis is about 7,000 mg.  If you were to take 20 tablets of nutritional supplements that weighed about 1,000 mg each, you would ingest 300 mg of stearic acid, less than 5% of a normal daily intake.

There have been some rat studies and in-vitro studies (in test tubes) with magnesium stearate that showed two potential problems.  One is that it affected the immune system.  However–and this is a big however– although rats are usually tested before humans because so much of their physiology is like humans, this is not so with the stearic acid.  Rats do not have the enzyme to break down stearic acid into the 18-carbon oleic acid with one double bond.  This means the stearic acid builds up to toxic levels in rats in these studies.

The other potential problem with intake of fat is that it could slow down the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, including supplements.  Two randomized studies done on the medications propranolol and metoprolol with three levels of magnesium stearate levels in the product showed no difference in bioavailability.

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The Differences in Supplement Quality: How to Evaluate What’s Best for You

A reader writes: Thank you for the opportunity to try your Vital Primivia supplements. They seem to be well produced, but I just don’t see any big difference before/after taking them, other than fluorescent urine, ha, so I guess it’s back to the cheap multivitamins. If you had more information explaining the difference between your stuff and the multivitamins I can find at Wal-Mart, that’d be nice as well as a more thorough explanation as to what your supplements are expected to do.

There are several differences between potent high-quality supplements and Continue reading The Differences in Supplement Quality: How to Evaluate What’s Best for You