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Nutritional Versus Pharmalogical

There are two basic ways to use dietary supplements. The first way is to take them in nutritional doses. This means that you have a specific deficiency and have reversed this situation by replacing what is missing. An example of this would be to take vitamin D after a blood test reveals that the vitamin D levels are low. You would then recheck the levels and stop (or reduce the dose) when the levels are normal.

The second way to take supplements is to take them in pharmacological (mega) doses. This means that you are trying to create a drug-like effect to alleviate a symptom. An example of this would be to take fish oil for arthritis pain. In this situation, the patient does not necessarily have a fish oil deficiency, but is using fish oil as an anti-inflammatory drug.
Which is the best way to use supplements? Can taking too much of any one supplement cause harm?

Let us examine the pros and cons of each approach.

Nutritional Approach


  • Patients use only nutritional levels of nutrients. Therefore any deficiencies are rectified.
  • By definition, there are no “side effects” as a result of this approach because no imbalances are created.


  • With many supplements, it is difficult to determine what the actual nutritional needs are.

Mega-Dose Approach


  • Symptoms can be addressed fairly rapidly.
  • Supplements in general are less toxic than drugs.


  • Any agent that is used as a drug can have “side-effects”
  • If you take a supplement in dosages higher than what the body needs, you will create a new imbalance, and maybe even new deficiencies.

Example: Let’s go back to the fish oil example. Yes, fish oil can reduce inflammation and pain in therapeutic doses. However, fish oil is a very fragile substance and can lead to oxidative stress, and accelerated aging.

A better way of dealing with a patient who has pain and inflammation is to find the cause of the problem. Usually this involves some combination of excess omega-6 fatty acids, excess sugar intake, leaky gut syndrome, intestinal dysbiosis and poisonous food additives. Eliminating the toxic materials and healing gastrointestinal tract will alleviate the problem of pain and inflammation as well as many other problems.


The best way to deal with chronic health problems is to achieve bio-chemical balance using mega-dose supplement

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