Nutritional Supplement Questions Answered!

| Modified on Sep 22, 2022
Herxheimer and Supplement Overload
Posted by Arn (Kenmore) on 09/21/2022 20 posts

"Herxheimer is a Jerk"

Inside joke for Earth Clinic readers. I'd get that printed on a t-shirt but nobody would get the joke.

Actually, a Herxheimer reaction is no joke. I think we, who self-medicate, need to ease into new treatments. It's just human nature to jump in with both feet when we have an ailment. But it's a good idea to go slow when the treatment is actually changing your body chemistry.

An example is ACV and baking soda. Your body may switch from acidic to alkaline very quickly, and that is bound to have some side effects. Also, baking soda has a lot of sodium, which causes potassium loss. So you may get some edema or lethargy if you don't take extra potassium.

I also recommend supplement "fasts". On weekends I generally skip all supplements to give the body time to stabilize. It's possible some of our ailments come from supplement overload.

Swansons Supplement Review
Posted by Madelyn (Idaho) on 12/14/2021

Oh no! Thanks for sharing this. I bought some Artemsesia Annua capsules from Swanson after reading a post here about its effectiveness for viral infections. I ended up purchasing other items with my order, many of them Swanson brand. I think I may return them.

Swansons Supplement Review
Posted by Art (California) on 12/13/2021 2137 posts

Ever since Lee Swanson retired in 2016 and sold Swanson Vitamins to Swander Pace Capital, it seems to me like their customer service has declined as I mentioned earlier in this thread. Their prices which used to be some of the best in the supplement market have also continued to rise.

I have been using Swanson much less and other suppliers more. Swanson is essentially my last choice for supplements now and I do my best to avoid them.


Swansons Supplement Review
Posted by ORH (TEN MILE, TN) on 12/13/2021

SWANSON......... was bought by the Chinese a year or so ago. I no longer use them. ==ORH==

Swansons Supplement Review
Posted by Adrienne (Idaho) on 12/12/2021

Hi Art, I commend you for hangin' in there trying to get justice! Just want to point out that what they did is one of many negotiating tricks used in the business world, "Well, I'd love to help you, but I'll have to run this by the board (or my supervisor or any other person) and get back to you tomorrow. Then, when tomorrow comes, the negotiator says something like "Well, I really thought they would go for the deal you offered, but they said they couldn't do it unless you come down on your offer by $500.00". And, there is no board or other person. It's just a trick. Sorry to see it used in the world of supplements, but, let's face it, they are in, money, money!!

Recommended Websites
Posted by Betty (CA) on 11/03/2021
★★★★★ is also a good reputable source for info as EC is.

I love both of these sites. Thank you to everyone for info and insight.

Liposomal Vitamins
Posted by Wanda (Spring, Texas) on 10/09/2021 27 posts

Just wanted to offer some help. If you can buy liposomal form of vitamins, get them because they don't have to be digested to be absorbed. They go straight thru the blood brain barrier so you don't end up urinating most of the vitamin out. The liposomal form is the same that chelation does without the IV.

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.

Swansons Supplement Review
Posted by Art (California ) on 10/15/2018 2137 posts

So I contacted Swanson today to find out which guide line I did not meet in the review that they rejected. I used their chat system to speak with a customer rep named Ann, who told me that the most common reason for rejecting reviews is because you are making medical claims, which I did not do. She then told me that she couldn't really say why my review was rejected and she didn't have it to look at, so I told her I had a copy I could send her and she said that would be fine. After she read the review she sent me a link to their basic page that explains how to do a proper review which my review was not at odds with, so I asked Ann if she thought the review was improper and she said that to her understanding it seemed acceptable, so she was going to refer me to a different department that could explain things better.

Swanson just sent me the following letter explaining why my review was not accepted:


Hello Art, I am sorry that your review was not published. All reviews are judged by an unbiased 3rd party company called Bazaar Voice to see if they can be published or not. They do check over each to see if it can be published and we cannot control which ones are or are not published. This is done so that we cannot pick and choose only reviews that make us look good. It seems to me from reading your review that it may have been rejected due to the comments being more about the dispenser and shelf life rather than if the product worked for you or not. You could try to change it a bit and submit it again if you like to see if would be accepted. Thank you. Have a nice day.

Cristin A.
Swanson Health Products
Online Correspondence Specialist


To me this answer is just about useless as their first letter stated that my review did not meet their "guide lines", but then Ann could not provide me those specific guide lines which could explain the reason for the rejection of the review and if you read the letter they just sent me, Chistin A. did not provide those guide lines either and instead merely passed the buck onto the "independent third party", Bazaar Voice, who she gave me no way to contact to try and find out what specific guide line they used to reject my review! All in all, this to me is exactly what I am saying about Swanson customer service going down hill. All they did was pass the buck twice with no actual way to find out the real reason that my review was rejected. Based on their response, I will continue as I said I would and use Swanson less and less and will no longer recommend them!


NatureMade Supplement Review
Posted by KT (Usa) on 10/15/2018

During the time I was involved with the NOMSG consumer group I was advised that the ingredients of NatureMade had been tested and were the safest for consumption at that time. Even though our food supply is changing, I still use them with no known problem and also use the powdered magnesium oxide from NOW.


Swansons Supplement Review
Posted by Art (California ) on 10/14/2018 2137 posts

Since many members of EC are users of Swanson, I wanted you to know of some relatively recent developments I have observed regarding them.

For decades I have purchased hundreds of vitamin and supplements from Swanson and had always been happy with them and recommended them frequently to others. I felt they offered good products at reasonable prices with very good service. Unfortunately it is now my opinion that they are no longer "that company" which I trusted to get almost all of my supplements from without even considering other supplement suppliers unless Swanson did not stock what I was looking for!

In recent years, I feel their customer service is down to poor at best. They continue to raise their prices on most of their products at what seems to be faster than what I see from other suppliers. Yes, I am now using other suppliers and Swanson much less than I used to and until they show me otherwise, that is how it will remain! I will no longer recommend them and will continue to purchase more from other suppliers and much less from them. I also notice that where they used to consistently offer the lowest prices on supplements, that is no longer the case and I am seeing other suppliers who are starting to come up with better prices than them or offer products that they don't even carry.

This week, they sent me an email which asked me to review a product that I had recently purchased, eye drops. I bought these eye drops to compare them to many other eye drops I have purchased before. Well I wrote out a review as they had asked and filled in the information they had asked me for regarding the product and what I thought of it. Having purchased many other eye drops before, I felt I had a good basis for comparison. My review was negative because in my opinion, the eye drops were much less desirable than the others I had tried previously and these eye drops had two main drawbacks that I considered to be very significant. Here is a copy of my review as sent to Swanson:

A waste of money
I bought this to compare to many other eye drops I have used previously and though the drops are helpful, they are not as good as others I have tried. What was more of a disappointment was that the package says to discard the bottle 30 days after opening whether it is empty or not! I don't like the dispensing system that requires you to squeeze the dropper neck instead of the bottle, which I found to be inconvenient and seems like an easy way to contaminate the contents as it requires you to put two fingers very close to the outlet tip, leaving germs in an area where they could potentially get into the bottle!

Here is their reply:

Our staff has read your review and values your contribution even though it did not meet all our website guidelines. Thanks for sharing, and we hope to publish next time!

Thanks again,
Swanson Health Products

I feel that I gave an honest review based on my experience, but apparently, because it wasn't positive, they are not going to post it as a review on their website. I get that some companies will try to control reviews in one way or another, but I thought Swanson was above this tactic. They asked me to review the product and then when I gave my review, they say it does not meet their guidelines. How blatant is that? They have never turned down any "good reviews " I have done in the past, but this is at least the third time they have turned down a review I have sent in that was less than glowing. I guess they think a negative review will hurt their sales and that may be true, but if you only want positive reviews, then you might as well just say that when you ask for the review. I consider this to be a form of deceit on their part because they are not letting their consumers see "all of the reviews", both good and bad. To me, that tactic is a major strike against them!

The bottom line for me is that I will no longer recommend them and will use them less and less and hopefully get to a point where I will no longer use them at all! Oh, and I will no longer be giving them any more reviews either! >:( >:( In my opinion, Swanson is no longer the company they used to be that I trusted to get almost all of my supplements from!


Avoiding Treatment Failures
Posted by Rp (Usa) on 08/31/2018

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!

Avoiding Treatment Failures
Posted by Tim (Georgia (Rep.of)) on 07/20/2018 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.

Avoiding Treatment Failures
Posted by Teena (Melbourne, Australia) on 07/19/2018 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.

Avoiding Treatment Failures
Posted by Tim (Georgia (Rep.of)) on 07/18/2018 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

Avoiding Treatment Failures
Posted by Epeach (Ga) on 07/17/2018

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.

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!

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)

Necessary Supplements
Posted by Timh (Ky, Usa) on 03/06/2014 2063 posts

I must add Cinnamon to Mamma's herb list especially if one is suffering from overweight issues.

Chicken or Calf Liver contains way more nutrition than other meats per weight.

Two more items on the superfood list which may be purchased wholsale after maybe extensive shopping: Bee Pollen & Brewers Yeast.

Necessary Supplements
Posted by KT (Usa) on 03/06/2014

Magnesium Powder is essential. I mention magnesium powder specfically because it does not contribute to the problems from capsules or binders and fillers in tablets. Any combination of these can cause more ailments than is recognized. It has taken me over two decades to learn this, piecemeal.

Necessary Supplements
Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Usa) on 03/05/2014

Dear Gert,

You are super smart! I wish they would hire you to teach others how to maximize their welfare dollars or even their limited food budget. It makes me very sad to see people in the grocery store using that money on soda pop and potato chips. Especially for the children, who are at the mercy of parents to feed them nutritious foods. And, I admire your efforts to stay off welfare. I think you are making great use of the money you have for food.

Since reading your post, I have been wondering what supplement I would consider most essential...and I couldn't pick one. I supposed because it might depend upon your current health and needs. For example, for my son that gets migraines, I would have feverfew on the list. But most don't need that.

That said, some things I love to have on hand because they are effective, versatile and inexpensive are:

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Blackstrap Molasses

Activated Charcoal


Fresh garlic

Perhaps you do this, but you can sprout your lentils to increase their nutrition. Lentil sprouts taste a bit peppery. I like them when someone in my house gets around to making them. :)

One possibility would be to use a bit of the money to buy herb plants that have many applications. Even in a sunny window or apartment balcony you should be able to grow peppermint and comfrey which are wonderful. Also, if you have access to an area that is unsprayed to pick plantain and save it and dry it, plantain is an amazing herb.

Looking forward to reading ideas others have.

~Mama to Many~

Necessary Supplements
Posted by Gert (La) on 03/05/2014

Just curious, if I'm very low income and can't afford extra's, what supplements and or vitamins should I take at a bare minimum? I do what I can--exercise, avoid chemicals for bathing/cleaning/etc, but food options aren't so great. I eat a lot of beans, oatmeal, lentils, onions, garlic, cabbage, potatoes, carrots. If I spend my little reserve on something, what should it be. I have around $80/m to spend on food & refuse to get on welfare. The food bank at church hands out prepared cereals, canned soups, etc which I am grateful for but that may not be better than my pintos with onion. What say you?

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.

Posted by Ed2010 (Canada) on 09/24/2013

For those who want to eat LIVER for medicinal purpose or general health. Can try this recipe. It is my mom's family recipe at least 200 years old. This liver fry can be eaten with Bread, Boiled Rice. We used to have it with boiled rice along mutton curry. In our region in South India, people who have any digestive ailments with take liver fry to increase digestion.

Thanks, Good Health


  • Goat Liver - 450 Gms
  • Chopped Onion - 1 Cup
  • Oil - 4 tbsp
  • Poppy Seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Cumin Seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
  • Pepper Corns - 1/2 tsp
  • Cayenne Pepper (Dry Red Chilli) - 4
  • Salt - To Taste


1. Cut liver into small pieces and clean it with water mixed with salt and turmeric powder. (use separate salt and turmeric powder)

2. Marinate cleaned liver with salt and 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder.

3. Dry roast cumin seeds, black pepper, poppy seeds, dry red chilli in medium heat till you get a nice aroma.

4. After roasting, let it cool , then mix it with 1 tsp turmeric powder and grind it to find powder.

5. Heat a wide pan or pressure cooker. Add oil.

6. When the oil is heated, add chopped onions and saut? till the onion becomes translucent.

7. Now add the marinated liver into the pan and saut? along with the onion.

8. Add Half a glass of water and close the pan or cooker, and cook it for 15 mins.

9. Check if the liver is cooked well,

10. Once cooked, add the ground spices and cook for some time till the oil separates.

11. Add more salt for taste, if required.

Delicious Liver fry is ready, Tastes great with a bowl of boiled rice.

Posted by Timh (Ky, Usa) on 09/20/2013 2063 posts

Raw Liver supplements or even cooked liver is one of the (imho) top ten super-foods.

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 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 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...

1 2 3