Nutrient Dosages and Program Notes

Biochemical Individuality

We receive many requests for information about adjusting nutrient dosages for different ages and weights. The following are some guide-lines.

Before discussing them, please note that the need for and response to supplements varies greatly and depends on many factors. Foremost is an individual's ability to digest, absorb and metabolize nutrients. Other factors include the quality of the diet, lifestyle, stress factors, specific disease conditions and more subtle factors such as mental attitude.

Patients living a healthful, low-stress lifestyle use up less nutrients and therefore often need fewer nutritional supplements. Those with a better diet may obtain more nutrients from foods and therefore require fewer supplements. However, if an individual is allergic to foods one is eating, even if they are good quality, it can negatively affect the absorption of all nutrients, offsetting the benefit of a quality diet. Thus, the picture may be complex.

Some people definitely require higher doses than would be indicated by their size or weight, others need less. Occasionally a patient can only tolerate one dosage of supplements every other day. Practitioners need to know this is not an exact science and be willing to adjust the size of nutrient programs when needed. Our laboratory consultants can be of help as well.

Adjusting Nutrient Dosages

Weight is the most reliable criterion for adjusting supplement dosages. The standard supplement programs are designed for an adult of about 150 pounds or 80 kilos.

If one weighs half the adult standard, the dosage should be about half as much. However, if an individual weighs one fourth the standard, the dosage should only be cut to one third of the standard. A child weighing 30 pounds, about a fifth the adult weight, would need about one fourth of the adult dosage.

Individuals weighing over 150 pounds may need additional nutrients. A person weighing 200 pounds does not generally need higher doses of supplements. A person weighing 250 or more often needs about one third greater dosage of supplements. These are averages, but are good rules of thumb.

Infants and Children

Diet is very important for children. A good diet can supply many nutrients a child needs. A poor diet, or eating allergic foods, can derail even the best supplement program. Food that are often a problem for children are wheat or all gluten-containing products, cow's milk products and sweets.

Fruit juices are often a hidden problem. Many parents think these are fine beverages. However, they are mostly sugar and water. Only a small amount of organic and well-diluted fruit juices should be given to infants, children or adults. Also, many baby foods and particularly commercial juices, such as grape juice, may contain fluorides and other pesticide residues.

If a baby is breast feeding, supplements for the baby can be given to the mother. If a baby is not breast feeding, be sure to check the infant formula. Many formulas are unbalanced and unhealthy for children. For example, many children are allergic to cow's milk and soy formulas. Formulas may also contain refined sugar and other chemicals.

When giving supplements to small children, use a pill crusher such as the EZ-Crusher available from Endo-met Laboratories. Mix the nutrient powder in a strong-tasting food, such as bean soup, banana or nut butter.

Twice a day for supplements is often best for children. However, do not be afraid to give somewhat more to children in cases where they seem to need it. For example, a calcium & magnesium product or Taurine (an amino acid) may help calm an agitated child.

Supplements for the Elderly

In general, nutrient digestion and absorption decrease with age. Chewable supplements may assist absorption, as will crushing or grinding tablets for those with very poor assimilation.

Many older people need a digestive aid containing HCl (hydrochloric acid). It is especially indicated for slow oxidizers and those with a low sodium/potassium ratio or very low hair sodium and potassium levels. Fast oxidizers and those with high ratios of sodium to potassium usually have less need for HCl and do better on enzymes and probiotics.

Hiatal hernia is common among the elderly and may cause difficulty taking products containing HCl. Many older people are taking anti-acid drugs such as Prilosec to reduce gastric reflux. Unfortunately, this impairs their nutrient absorption. Better solutions are to avoid eating late in the evening, elevate the head of the bed with a few blocks and relax during and after meals. It is also possible to reduce hiatal hernias. Many chiropractors are familiar with the simple techniques.

Many older people have trouble sleeping. Taking a calcium and magnesium product at the evening meal or at bedtime may help. Also, melatonin or valerian root may be helpful.

Constipation affects many elderly who eat less and are less active. Extra magnesium - as many tablets as are needed - is a simple and healthful way to handle this. Magnesium is a physiological correction. If possible, avoid herbal laxatives that can be habit-forming.

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