Archive for tag: supplements

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!


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!

Time Crunch

This past week has been an expansion of my efforts I listed for you in my blog. 

As an example, I just completed a presentation for my Advanced Botanical Prescribing class to be presented next week. The presentation is a review of the cardiovascular drug, digoxin, along with referenced studies of botanical interactions on the efficacy of digoxin's function in the human body. I chose to focus on three botanicals. These are Hypericum perforatum or St. John's Wort, Withania somnifera or Ashwagandha, and Crataegus oxycantha or Hawthorne. The interactions between digoxin and these botanicals were surprising and warrant further study. I'm sure my classmates will be interested in the findings I present next week. 


Many people take botanical supplements alongside their pharmaceutical prescription drugs with the notion that botanicals are all natural, not chemically derived, so they must be inherently safe. What most don't realize is that botanicals have chemical constituents that impact the human body and can interact with pharmaceutical drugs by either increasing or decreasing the drug's effect, to keep things simple for our purposes here. Pharmaceuticals are prescribed for specific reasons and should never be tampered with by altering the prescription or adding supplements unless under the direction of a licensed provider. This goes for the patient, friends, family, or those who wish to help yet may not understand the impact of what appears to be friendly advice. 

With the exception of the myriad reports, presentations, reviews, quizzes, and exams that are typical of eighth trimester, my week has consisted of work, and a short break to the theatre to see a movie. While things are a bit tedious right now, I'm certain once this trimester is completed and "in the books" so to speak, I'll be able to get out and about and let you guys know a bit about the area this spring and summer! I can't wait for some nice warm spring days to get to the lake and enjoy the scenery! 

Until next week may your springtime arrive and the birds wake you with song!