Intern Skills - Supplementation

This past weekend, Lauren and I went on a pumpkin search at a local farm here in Illinois. After a nice (yet not so healthy) snack of freshly made apple cider donuts and local fresh apple cider, we embarked on our journey through the corn maze to the secret pumpkin patch where we continued our hunt for the perfect pumpkin! As the day progressed and the sun shined in all its glory, we realized we needed some water, so we paused the great pumpkin hunt to stock up and refill with some high quality H20! Who knew that we would need to rehydrate on a little pumpkin search!? I guess that keeping hydrated is key to finding a great pumpkin. So, after filling up on water, we continued on our quest only to find pumpkin fudge instead! I guess supplementing with water doesn't help with finding the perfect pumpkin, but pumpkin fudge (in moderation) is a nice treat!

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This leads me to supplementation, another skill that is built and added to our doctor's toolkit here at NUHS. According to the Oxford dictionary, in general terms, to supplement is to enhance or complete something where a deficiency exists. In naturopathic terms, administering supplements acts in the very same way for human beings.

Supplementation can include a simple saline solution, water or electrolytes for someone who is dehydrated (on a pumpkin hunt), vitamins, amino acids or a combination of any of the building blocks, enzymes, cofactors...well, you get the idea...for any deficiency in a human being.

Just a few of the conditions that we treat with supplementation include...

  • Dehydration
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Anemia
  • Endocrine (hormonal) imbalances
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Pre- and peri-natal care
  • Weight management
  • Geriatric care

Our supplementation training begins very early in our biochemistry classes with Dr. McRae, through our clinical experience training with simulated patients and practice cases until we reach the naturopathic clinic as interns. We learn the various methods of administering a supplement to achieve the greatest efficacy from the dose, whether orally, topically, or sublingually.

Through the appropriate use of supplementation, we can help our patients correct imbalances while incorporating and restoring the basic determinants for healthy living. Ideally, once our patients are returned to a basis for health, we will no longer need to supplement as their diet, lifestyle and habits can help them maintain a healthy state of living. For those who need supplementation, a properly trained naturopathic intern and doctor can provide the proper supplementation at the proper dose to help our patients be their healthiest!