Address: 11 Mavista Grove Elanora Queensland 4221    Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
Book a Meeting Book a Meeting

Multivitamins and Supplements: Superheroes or do we need to be Super Aware?

Kids love superheroes, and what better way to subliminally entice them, and their parents, into the world of supplementation than promoting these products on television advertisements where supplements and multivitamins are the heroes here to save YOU!  This is exactly the manner in which some supplements are currently being advertised.  The questions begging to be answered though are, do they actually:

1.     Help improve illness,

2.     Assist in the prevention of illness, and/or, 

3.     Improve quality of life?

4.     How do we know what is best for us?

The extensive range of supplements found in health food stores may become overwhelming and confusing.  The ease at which we are granted access encourages the thinking that they are safe and useful.  However, do our bodies really need them, or as the famous Hippocrates quote states, “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.”

Our bodies are complex organisms, that require adequate amounts of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), to function effectively.  I believe that nutrition and the consumption of ‘live’ foods plays the central role in providing our bodies with the micronutrition it requires.  However, even if we were nourishing our bodies with the best available produce, that being fresh, tree ripened, organic, biodynamic, grown in fertile soils, wild caught, free range, free from preservative, chemicals, residues, fillers, GMO’s etc. (and most are not), there are numerous other factors that affect our nutrient uptake and utilisation.  These factors may include; digestion and absorption, age, illness, pollution, exercise, weight, stress, genetic expression etc.  Therefore, it seems, that supplementation may be warranted in some circumstances.

Immunity, illness prevention and general well-being in conjunction with use of supplementation is a well discussed topic. 
Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient for humans.  It is a crucial to various aspects of the immune system, particularly immune cell function. If a diet that supplies 100-200 mg/day of Vitamin C (Carr, A. C., Maggini, S. 2017), covers the general requirements for the reduction of disease risk in healthy individuals, why is the supplement form (often ascorbic acid, an extraction from Vitamin C, unlike Nature's Vitamin C - Camu Camu ) one of the most popular immune boosting supplements purchased?  Due to the low storage capacity of the body for the water-soluble vitamin, a regular and adequate intake is required to prevent hypovitaminosis C.  Statistics suggest that hypovitaminosis C is common in Western societies due to dietary recommendations not being met.  Although food availability and supply are sufficient, factors including poor dietary habits, life-stages and/or lifestyles either limiting intakes or increasing micronutrients requirements (e.g. smoking, alcohol, drug abuse), various diseases, pollutant exposure and economic reasons, illustrate the need for supplementation in some cases. 

It has been shown that pneumonia patients receiving low-dose vitamin C (0.25-0.8 g/day) reduced their hospital stay by 19% compared with no Vitamin C supplementation, whereas the higher-dose group (0.5-1.6 g/day) reduced the duration by 36%. (Carr, A. C., Maggini, S. 2017).  This article, written by Carr and Maggini, does not specify the form of Vitamin C utilised, however in hospitalisation circumstances I would assume that the synthetic form, ascorbic acid, is used due to its ability to be used intravenously.  It is important to be aware that there are also many natural plant food sources of Vitamin C that may be used as supplementation including; camu camu, acerola berry, sea buckthorn, amala and roxburgh rose fruit.  (Chen, L., Hu, Chun., Hood, M., Zhang, L., Kan, J., Du, J. 2020). 

In the case of general health and wellness, and for prophylactic measure, access to these natural sources of Vitamin C has never been simpler.  Two examples of reputable sources are: Changing Habits: Nature's Vitamin C (Camu Camu) and H.E.A.L Native Vitamin C with Kakadu Plum, Acerola & Camu camu, both available at Radiate Wellness.

Micronutrients are also influential on our cognitive behaviour.  Brain growth and development is vulnerable to an inadequate supply of micronutrients especially the developing brain in utero, and the early years of childhood.  Deficiencies in iodine and iron, during the initial two years of life, create problems that are not reversed by an adequate diet later in life and may lead to mild-to-severe impairment of both mental and physical growth. (Benton, D. 2010).  In 1990 nearly 30% of the world’s population were said to be at risk of iodine deficiency, a problem that can be addressed by iodized salt.  Most women in Europe are iodine deficient during pregnancy. It is suggested that deficiencies later in life may result in impaired mental functioning.  For example, in rural Albania the iodine supplementation of 10 to 12-year-old children, who were moderately iodine-deficient, resulted in improved information processing, fine motor skills, and visual problem solving. (Benton, D. 2010).  Why are we so deficient in Iodine in the first place?  Natural sources of iodine are found in seafood and iodised salt, with the iodine content of plants and vegetables dependant of the environment and soil in which they are grown.  It is unfortunate that most of the world’s soils have been over-farmed and are now depleted of vital minerals, and fish are more commonly farmed and less commonly wild caught, therefore quite substantially our natural and most bioavailable sources of iodine have been negatively impacted.  There are many companies manufacturing iodine supplements, however again, there are real food and natural supplement options available, such as: Fulhealth Molecular Iodine Colloid 3% w/w 10ml, and Seaweed salt,  H.E.A.L. Organic Oyster, both available at Radiate Wellness


Whether the intake of vitamins and minerals into your body is through food, whole food supplements or manufactured supplements, the assimilation and utilisation of these micronutrients is directly affected the by health of your gut bacteria.  In fact, emerging science is looking at the gut bacteria as an additional organ system, that may be able to prevent and treat many common diseases.  Two studies from the Mayo Clinic suggest gut bacteria may predict susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as well as offer a possible treatment. A study published online April 13, 2016, by PLOS ONE offered some evidence that a particular strain of the bacterium Lactobacillus johnsonii may protect against some cancers.  Research in the February 2016 Journal of Applied Microbiology found the bacterial strain Akkermansia muciniphila could prevent inflammation that contributes to fatty plaque build-up in arteries and hence heart disease. 



Within the trillions of bacteria thriving in your gut there are thousands of differing strains, and each individuals’ composition is unique.  The main factors affecting your personal microbial mix are age, diet, environment, genes and medications. (  Gut dysbiosis is a concern linked to our modern lifestyle.  In fact, even those health-conscious people, eating an ancestral diet and following a healthy lifestyle, may have gut concerns impacting their health due to the sterile nature of modern living. Our ancestors did not sterilise their food, they did a lot of foraging and gathering, ate fruits that had dirt on them, they ate seeds, and roots and tubers, all giving them significant exposure to the microbial ecosystem in the natural environment.  Meaning they eat it, they live in it, they sleep in it, it’s all over their system. (Kiran Krishnan 2020).   This way of living can even be seen in existing hunter gather tribes today.  Much of the beneficial flora found on their foods, is missing from ours, due to the sterile nature of life today.  This is where a probiotic supplement may assist by modulating the ecosystem within the gut, helping to reduce the growth of bad bacteria and support the growth of beneficial strains, diversity and the metabolic capability of the microbiome.  (Kiran Krishnan 2020).  Probiotic supplementation may therefore be of benefit to improve and prevent illness, and quality of life.  It is important to note that not all probiotics are created equally, and the individuality of each persons’ microbiome must be considered.  The incorrect use of probiotics can unnaturally disrupt the gut ecosystem, if too high an amount of the wrong strain is supplied. (Kiran Krishnan 2020).  As defined by the World Health Organisation, probiotics are “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”. (Mack, D. R. 2005).  One of the key elements here is that it is a ‘live’ organism.  Live when you consume it, and live when it hits your gut.  Many over-the-counter probiotic supplements are not ‘live’, and even those found in the fridge claiming to be ‘live’ may only survive, under these conditions for a short period of time before they deteriorate.  Let alone the unknown factor of whether they even survive the high acid levels once in the gut.


Case Study – Supplement Use for Pyrrole (B6 and Zinc)

Patient: 40-year-old woman

Presenting:  Panic attacks, anxiety and insomnia

Diagnosis: High Pyrrole

Step 1: Initial Integrative Doctor Recommendation: 

Pharmacist created individualised multivitamin supplementation (Used for 2 – 3 months before experiences tingling in fingers and overactive dreams – Excessive B^ in system).

Step 2:
Naturopath Recommendation: 

Each morning: 

Step 3:
Gut healing protocol & commencement of ‘paleolithic’ style diet and lifestyle: 

In conclusion, evidence supports that the use of both some manufactured and ‘food-based’ natural supplements, along with proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, has the ability to support the body in its’ endeavour to heal and strengthen, therefore improving quality of life.  However in order to optimise the benefits and negate any negative impacts, I believe that it is important to work with a qualified practitioner, who will be able to safely and more cost-effectively allow you to purchase the supplements that are most beneficial to you, at a particular point in your life, especially when considering probiotics.

Due to the widening gap in our food choices and production methods from those during ancestral times, our bodies are not receiving adequate nutrition.  Even many of those choosing to eat a more paleolithic diet and living a more ‘ancestral-like’ lifestyle, seem to have gut flora issues.  Without the correct balance of flora within the gut our bodies are less likely to utilise the micronutrients in an effective manner. 

Supplements do have their place in a healing or preventative health journey, when under the guidance of a health professional.  However, the goal should be to minimise manufactured supplements where possible, heal and seal the gut, and introduce lifestyle and dietary changes that promote the overall health and wellness of the entire person, so that the body becomes more capable of doing what it is meant to do, that being self-regulate, self-adjust and where possible self-heal.  Promoting synthetic and manufactured supplements and multivitamins as ‘super-heroes’ may have a detrimental effect on the health and wallets of the unaware and uneducated.

Recommended natural supplementation mentioned in this article.
Click each supplement below to find out more.

Even starting with one product to introduce to your family, is a great start!



Benton, D. (2010).  The Influence of Dietary Status on the Cognitive Performance of Children. 2010 Molecular Nutrition and Food Research Apr;54(4):457-70. 
DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.200900158.

Carr, A. C., Maggini, S. (2017).  Vitamin C and Immune Function. 2017 Published online.
DOI: 10:3390/nu9111211

Chen, L., Hu, Chun., Hood, M., Zhang, L., Kan, J., Du, J. (2020). A Novel Combination of Vitamin C, Curcumin and Glycyrrhizic Acid Potentially Regulates Immune and Inflammatory Response Associated with Coronavirus Infections: A Perspective from System Biology Analysis. 2020 Apr 24;12(4):1193.  DOI: 10.3390/nu12041193.

Dickinson, A., McKay, D. (2014). Health Habits and Other Characteristics of Dietary Supplement Users: A Review. 2014 Nutrition Journal 13:14

Evolve with Pete Evans – Podcast (2020). Kiran Krishnan (Microbiologist) 04 April, 2020.

Harvard Health Publishing.  Harvard Medical School.  Can Gut Bacteria Improve Your Health?

Mack, D. R. (2005). Probiotics. Mixed Messages. Canadian Family Physician 2005 Nov 10; 51(11): 1455–1457. 

Nutrition Australia. Iodine Facts.