Nutritional Supplement Questions Answered!

| Modified on Sep 22, 2022

The nutritional supplements industry has become enormous and complicated. It offers safe, effective natural remedies for innumerable health conditions, but at the same time there is a lot of hucksterism and overblown claims about medical benefits that may not be true. Worse, some nutritional supplements are prepared without safeguards or sufficient study behind them, so that poisonous contaminants and dangerous side effects are a possibility.

We believe that most supplements are safe for most people, but we all need an unbiased place where we can discuss supplements and their makers so that we can find the safest and most effective nutritional supplements.

Read Earth Clinic user advice on how to ensure supplement safety and which side effects to look out for when treating illnesses or looking to improve your overall health.


5 User Reviews
5 star (2) 
3 star (1) 

Posted by Alex (London) on 04/19/2015

Astaxanthin - Took 12mg pd for almost 2 months. Cannot say I felt better or stronger for it. Did have sore gums and tongue throughout though, as if on the verge of breaking out with mouth ulcers. Now that I have discontinued astaxanthin for 3 days, soreness is gone. Could be coincidence obviously (I do get funny symptoms in my body quiet regularly)

Posted by Cindy (Toledo, Ohio) on 09/22/2012

I took astaxanthin for about 2 weeks and it caused my face to break out with cystic acne. As soon as I stopped taking it, my face cleared up. I would not recommend it.

Posted by Carly (Seattle, Wa -usa) on 09/22/2012

Hi, RE Astaxanthin:

My husband is 54 years old and has been taking 8mg of astaxanthin daily for about five months now. I started him on it because I read about what a great antioxidant it is (at 10x times more powerful than vitamin C! ) and since altzheimers runs in his family, etc.

About two minths into him taking it, I noticed that his crows feet are REMARKABLY improved. I mean seriously improved. He is and has been a sun worshiper, and had started having some deep lines around his eyes in the past few years from it.

Anyway, it is pretty expensive as far as supplements go, but with his family history of diseases I think that whatever it is doing is worth the money.

I would take it myself, but think I am allergic to shellfish. After pricking one of the black gel caps and seeing the bright red-pink color of the liquid inside I was afraid of having a reaction to it. If my lines get much worse I may have to rethink my fears though. lol.

Okay, that is my personal experience of watching what it did to my husband over the past three to six months.

Posted by Rob (Manhattan, NY) on 09/21/2012


I experment with it now and then and find that it does have an effect.. Most notably on inflammation.. (for myself).. However initially found it affected my digestion. (diarrhea) I also take it with a multi cartenoid. Since it is just one of hundreds of beneficial cartenoids.. With this one it is good to take breaks since there are no long term studies. & better not to overdue it. I just take one 4mg at bedtime.. There are a few supplements and herbs I seem to go back to and this is one.. But as you see in the posts here it's affects depend on the individual...

Posted by Kylie (Whitianga, New Zealand) on 09/20/2012

I took astaxanthin for a few months and noticed that it really improved my vision. Normally in winter I have trouble seeing the computer screen on gloomy days (and I stare at it for 8 hours a day), but astaxanthin made my vision really strong. I went overseas and stopped taking it, and now my computer vision is a bit dodgy again, so I resumed taking it earlier this week. Can't remember how long it took to improve last time.

I raved about it to my mum and gave her some capsules and she said it was great but couldn't name any specific benefits it gave her. Then she asked for more and commented that she preferred it to fish oil, which I explained it wasn't a substitute for.

I totally believe in it and will continue to take it. Can't comment on the sunscreen benefits of it yet but if it stops me burning I'll let you know after summer.

Other than the definite vision improvement, I haven't noticed any other benefits with it, but that's more than other suppliments have given me so I'm stoked.

Posted by Kathie (Houston, United States) on 05/25/2011

I just read an article that shares several studies on an antioxident/ caritnoid called Astaxanthin. Studies showed that benefits included fewer fine lines, smoother surface, less under-eye puffiness and increased skin tone and elasticity... now get this... IN JUST TWO WEEKS! Take at least 2 mg (I am going to take 4 mg) every day. Because it is oil soluable, take it with food and your other oil vitamins for it to absorb best. It is also a great anti inflamatory, benefits eye health, and protects from sunburn!

Avoiding Treatment Failures

Posted by Rp (Usa) on 07/07/2018

Hi, I have read many accounts on the web (not just at Earthclinic) for various diseases and treatments, and find that many people do not understand the principles of medical treatment (natural, allopathic, or other). I believe it would be a great service to all, if EarthClinic would create a new category, aside from "conditions" "home remedies" etc.

I believe that a general category, "Why Treatments Fail" or "Treatment Advice" or "How to apply Treatments" would be very helpful. Many people say, "This treatment or that one didn't work, " yet the treatments work. It is the application errors of those who are frantic, yet not knowledgeable about medical treatments that cause the failures.

So many people are suffering and despair when treatments that are said to work, don't work for them because they don't understand how to implement treatments, what the principles are, and they often go to extremes and use harmful concentrations or other errors in their desperation.

For example, I posted some advice along these lines here:


You say that the bleach baths did not work, but every treatment modality has variables that affect whether or not it will be successful. As with medications where there are the necessary aspects of a medical order: you have the right patient, the right drug (treatment), the right dose, the right timing or interval between treatments/doses, and the right route or method of application.

Even with a bleach bath (or any other treatment that people say failed), we have to look at what amount of bleach is used in a tub of water.

Right drug/treatment (chlorine bleach or non-chlorine bleach) Some have used non-chlorine bleach as well with good results as it releases hydrogen peroxide into the water and kills the mites

Dose: (two cups in a full tub of water, but make sure to pour the bleach liquid or powder into the water so it mixes thoroughly and dissolves (if powder) before you get in. That applies to essential oils, borax, epsom salts as well. This way, the solution is dilute enough to avoid harming the skin by having too strong a solution (or oil) on the skin initially. No need to be harsh to the skin (even with bleach that is thought to be harsh; it will be like strong pool water and should not burn the skin; if there are many scabies and it's a first treatment, you will feel where they are as they succumb).

Timing: in this treatment involves how long one stays in the bath. That should be as long as you can up to an hour, but at least 30 minutes. And the interval: daily for a few days at least.

Some suggest leaving the bleach on the skin and air drying. Others have rinsed off after the bath and dried, and then applied something soothing: as bleach can really dry out the skin, an excellent way to soothe the skin while continuing to treat is to use aloe vera juice with a few drops each of essential oils (there are many variations. One is clove, cedarwood, and rosemary. Others like clove and tea tree or orange. Whatever is convenient. Neem oil is excellent.)

The route is topical as the bath water covers the skin and the treatment (non-chlorine or chlorine bleach) penetrates to kill the mites.

If too little (of any treatment) is used, then it won't work. How do you know you have scabies? Aside from the intense itching felt to be from within the skin, and piercing bites there, one can look for bumps on the skin. If you don't see any bumps, take the bath and soak for a while and feel the skin surface all over. Any bumps even on the bottom of feet or on the fingers should be inspected. If there are a few in a row, that is indicative of scabies tracks made. These are actually holes in the surface of the skin that appear as bumps but when soaked for a while the holes can be detected/felt.

In a bleach bath (or other treatment using essential oils, epsom salts/borax in a bath) you will see tiny specks. Those are the scabies mites that died and left ... so you then know the treatment is working."


In any case, those of us who have worked for decades in the health care field understand that any medication or treatment has a standard of care directing how the treatment or medication is to be applied. Most people don't understand this.

Please consider a new major section on "how to avoid treatment failures" and I'm sure you will find many people posting on that and helping others. Or, they may cross-post or post on both a topic/condition and on the "how to avoid treatment failures" section.

EC: Thank you for your suggestion. Well, we tried specific categories for "Treatments that Fail" on two pages in the past, but no one posted has posted to them in years. So currently we apply a 1 star or side effects rating to failed treatments in any category and that seems to work well.

If our regular contributors would like to add their thoughts here, please reply!

Replied by Epeach

I agree. A prescription always includes an amount and times per day, time of day, and length of time. It just seems to me any shared remedy should have the same information.

Replied by Tim
(Georgia (Rep.of))
21 posts


The most important thing to avoid any misunderstandings is to ask everybody to give full info regarding "usage & dosage" before you approve the post.

Best regards

Replied by Teena
(Melbourne, Australia)
233 posts

Hello Tim, I understand your point, and of course, it is very valid. I, however, find this platform as an avenue to guide and encourage research rather than stipulate dosages, etc. I would prefer to say 'further research the benefits of hawthorn for heart health, blood pressure etc' rather than take x amount of tablets per day, 4 hours apart. I find many are not ready for the dedication natural healing requires, for candida, autoimmune, etc.

Of course, if more information was requested, I would detail what I would do in the same situation, or in many cases, have done.

Replied by Tim
(Georgia (Rep.of))
21 posts

Hello Teena,

Of course you're right. But practice is also an important thing. If we want to share our experience in applying this or that remedy as a medicine for the treatment of the disease, about which we are asked, then it is necessary to indicate the dose.

Most of our participants do not have a special medical education and simply advise their positive experience in treating a particular disease. In such cases, how they took the remedy is very important. This allows us to reduce any possible harmful reactions. The theory without practice is blind. I am from the country in which the word "medicine" was born, (Сura Mediana). I prefer to share practical advice, although I understand perfectly well that find this platform as an avenue to guide and encourage research is equally important

Warmest Regards.

Replied by Rp

Hi, perhaps the desired result could be achieved by adding a message from Earthclinic with suggestions above the space where people post their treatment strategies and experiences. Like: "Please share what treatment you used, what dose or amount, how it was applied, how long, how often, and any other details that you found helpful." "This will help others find success."

EC: Thanks, RP. On the newly designed/revamped site that is currently underway, we'll try to make those notes (currently a pop-up box) more obvious. Please remind us if we forgot because right now we're working moving and reorganizing hundreds of thousands of posts!


2 User Reviews
1 star (1) 

Posted by Beryl (London, Uk) on 10/27/2011


I'm past retirement age, and quite frankly I am feeling my age. Coping with life, housework, garden, caring for a sick husband is becoming evermore difficult. Reading about 7-Keto DHEA on the web, I'm wondering how safe it is to take? I believe there are cancer risks if taken over a prolonged period of time, but people who take it say it improves their energy levels, mood, skin, etc. And Ted recommends it. Has anyone had experience of taking it?


Replied by Timh
(Louisville, Usa)
2063 posts

Beryl, I have been using DHEA and sometimes rotating to 7-keto DHEA for over a decade and cannot report any negative side effects. As far as safety, when it comes to supplementing hormones, one must always have a somewhat healthy liver/gallbladder to ensure proper metabolism, otherwise you could wind up either wasting your money for lack of increased hormone levels, or experience negative side effects of too much hormone levels. Best bang-for-the-buck is the regular DHEA. At your age nothing less than 50mg daily as a starter imho. After 3 months try 100mg. Also consider other anti-aging proticols in addition to DHEA, like Growth Hormone boosters. As for the entire glandular system, I like a raw "MultiGlandular" supplement as it helps boost all glandular activity. There are also good herbal combination (I like Dr. Christopher's formulas) that nourish and cleanse glands, thereby improving health and longevity.

Posted by Moshi (Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia) on 07/16/2011

DHEA can be convertd by your body into Estrogens & Testosterone. My experience when taking 25mg tablets for 6 weeks was that my DHEA blood syrum level jumped to more than the recommended range & I actually got morning sickness from too much estrogen! I now take a transdermal estrogen cream at about 5-7 mg per day & have experienced incresed energy levels.

Another problem for those who have a compromised liver function is that these hormones will build up un your liver & can cause damage! I also take a few days break every week or so to stop buildup. It appals me when I see adverts for 100 - 300mg DHEA as this is not something to play around with. My advice go slowly & get your hormone levels monitored until you find what works for you. Finally, transdermal cream has less impact on the liver.

Posted by Nat (Tampa, Florida, Usa) on 07/16/2011


People need to be aware that DHEA affects hormones, and that can have risks. I tried DHEA twice for about two weeks each time, and ended up having SVT (supraventricular tachycardia) both times. These episodes required ER visits.

Apparently, DHEA can have an effect on testosterone levels in some men, and therefore acts similarly to a steroid. While I'm sure the dangers are not as pronounced as actual steroid use, any kind of interference with hormones can be risky.

Use caution with DHEA.

Dissolving Time

Posted by John (Trang, Thai9land) on 10/15/2011

earthclinic from: cattlab2010(at)gmail.

Following Teds report on the dissolving times of vitamins - maximum 15 to 20 minutes in the stomach. It would be lovely if there was a page/site where all the vitamins/medicines plus their dissolving times were listed. I tested my vitamins and I will not buy anymore.

Also tested medicines. Two were OK -

Nifelat. R 15 minutes, [slow release?]

Aspirin 10 minutes,

Cordipin/Nifedipnum 60m ,

Manidipine/Madiplot 50m,

Omeprazole 60m,

Patar-Cap 60m ,

Bosnum/Fexofenadine 15m,

Levocitrizine/Xyzal 15m,

Terco-C 15m,

Euthyrox/Levothyroxine 60m,

and for the next one, ('don't hold your breath'.) Xanthium/Theophyline 20hrs ,

Amoxicillin 60m ,

Biotin 15m,

Vitamin B3 15m.

Fiber and Vitamins

1 User Review
1 star (1) 

Posted by Mary (Asbury, NJ) on 02/10/2009


Warning. Do not take any fiber product when taking supplements affected by the action of the fiber (ex. multivitamin). As fiber speeds materials through the intestinal tract, so too are supplements and their absorption is hindered.

Foot Baths and Supplements

Posted by Northern Woods (Spearfish, Sd) on 10/09/2013

Since I had previously had some stomach issues with taking supplements (any kind) I have started to use ALL of my supplemental things in a foot bath. Feet absorb everything very well, so I just start with about 1 inch of water in a regular porcelain basin (an old-fashioned one and they're hard to find now) and open capsules, crush tablets, add oils - whatever - to that foot bath each night.

I got started doing this because I like to do magnesium foot baths because they are soothing. When I realized it was helping some other issues I started thinking about how easily one could ingest all kinds of other stuff through the feet. I have saved myself MUCH digestive upset, not to mention heartburn and other issues, by using this method. After I soak in a small amount of water for about 10 minutes or so with my regular supplements that are hard to swallow or cause digestive problems/issues, I then add more water and a few epsom salts or magnesium flakes and some sea salt.

Hey, it's been working for me so I thought I'd pass it along. I still take things like my D3, Full-Spectrum K, sublingual B (methylcobalamine) orally, but I had been using a trace mineral in my drinking water and it finally just wouldn't go down anymore, so I substituted by ingesting it through the other end. Been workin' so I'll keep doing it. Helps considerably with pounding heart/arrhythmia and episodic panic attacks, etc. I have LOTS of trouble swallowing dry tablets (most of them are the size of horse pills) because I have dry mouth from Sjogren's, so I just bust them up in a mortar and pestal or in a bowl using the back of a spoon and dump them into the foot bath.

If anyone else tries this and has luck, let me know. Maybe I'm some sort of freak!

BTW, I also have peripheral neuropathy (no known cause can be found) so this is another reason I LOVE foot baths. The PN is also much improved since I started doing this, and when I'm done with the foot baths I rub coconut oil with a dash of peppermint oil in it on the feet for a nourishing/hydrating and cooling effect before bed. I wear a pair of cotton socks sometimes but usually not, I just rub it in thoroughly.

I also love to make a paste of clay (all different kinds, or mix a bunch together) and let my feet sit in the wet clay for a while. What a great way to pull stuff out of your system (I also use it axillary and that's great for women with cystic breasts). There are so many ways to use clay but I find these two methods a great, unintrusive help. I work during the day so I find time at night to do this. Sometimes I have to skip a night here and there, but the effect is great even if you only do it a few times weekly.


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Dawn (Atlanta, Ga) on 02/10/2011

My family and I have been using ganoderma for a little over 6 months now. My husband and I have noticed we have more energy and he has lost weight. He has noticed too that his joints don't ache like they have for years. I have 2 children and I give them ganoderma and they have not been sick a lot this winter. You do want to make sure you get log harvested ganoderma and not plastic bag harvested. I'd be glad to share where we get ours from.


1 User Review

Posted by Anon (Anon) on 07/09/2020

Ginkgo side effect

I began taking a ginkgo supplement and soon developed distortion in my field of vision. It completely blocked my sight in parts of my visual field and covered it in pretty moving geometric patterns. There was no pain. The distortion gradually shrank and disappeared over about an hour. My vision returned to normal. I tossed the bottle of ginkgo and it didn't happen again, until years later when I bought another bottle of ginkgo thinking the first must have been tainted. Same thing. I only took a few of the pills before it happened. If I only take one now and then there is no problem.

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