By Dr. Mary Riggin, LAC,  FitFM – Family Wellness

Last month, I discussed how vitamins don’t always give people the results they want.  One woman, Sally, would experience uncomfortable symptoms when she took lots of vitamins.  For some people this phenomenon was not unusual.  Why?  If it’s good quality, shouldn’t it help?

Your body is detoxifying; that’s why you don’t feel good is what some say is the reason some people react badly to supplements.  The idea is that if you just take more supplements, your body will eventually release the old toxins that are stuck in the cells.

For some this theory just doesn’t apply.  Sally, who’d supplemented for years, wasn’t doing any better, and in some areas, was doing worse.  This confused and frustrated her.  She couldn’t understand why she wasn’t doing as well as her friend, who was using similar supplements for similar problems.  What was wrong with her?

Bad reactions to supplement and vitamin therapy are sometimes caused by some type of sensitivity to the nutrient being taken.  For example, someone who is lactose intolerant cannot digest dairy products properly.  Even though dairy products themselves are not bad for you (as long as they are organic), some people just can’t tolerate them.  We view this as sensitivity to that food.  Sensitivities to various vitamins can also create a problem.  If you have some type of sensitivity to Vitamin C, you may not experience the same results of an enhanced immune system as your neighbor.  You take the C, and still get really sick.  Why?  The reason is simple; you have some type of sensitivity that your neighbor doesn’t have.

Absorption issues can actually cause deficiencies.  In Sally’s situation, this is why she wasn’t responding to her vitamin therapy.   The cause of Sally’s problems was rooted in food allergies.  Even though she didn’t show the typical signs of food allergies like sinus problems, frequent sneezing, acid reflux, weight loss or gain, or skin trouble; there was still an issue with absorption.  This is why her stomach bloated so badly and her energy would crash.

When your body isn’t processing the nutrients properly, everything is affected.  Sometimes it can be very subtle, so you wouldn’t think, Oh, I have food sensitivities and allergies however, this can be exactly why some don’t respond to nutritional therapy.

Have you ever known someone who just doesn’t like to eat healthy foods?  They say the salad makes them sick, or the eggs just don’t taste good.  This could be an indicator that the body isn’t absorbing correctly.  These are the same people who have an aversion to vitamin supplementation.  When they take the supplements, they feel sick.  Adding more supplements doesn’t fix this issue, and can make it worse.  But unfortunately that is exactly what some people do; they just add more, to no avail.

Have you ever had a leak in the fuel line of your car?  This happened to me a few years ago.  No matter how much gas we put in the car, it seemed like I was always running out of gas.  Even though I would fill up the car; because of the leak, I’d run out of gas quickly.  The deficiency didn’t get handled until I got the fuel line fixed.  It can be the same with our body; if we aren’t absorbing correctly, the deficiency is harder to fix.

Correcting this problem isn’t easy.  In fact, for many, the problem is rooted in their family history, and that just makes the whole situation more complicated.  Fortunately, for many, like Sally, finding the correct problem and getting it handled is possible.

Sally continued to look for answers.  She wanted her issues handled and wasn’t giving up.  She ended up consulting with a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine who understood that correcting the absorption issue would handle the problem.

By using an advanced form of acupuncture and acupressure, the absorption issues in her digestive system were treated.  By handling the sensitivities, her absorption of nutrients was enhanced.  This enabled her to supplement with whole food based vitamins without an issue.  It’s like we fixed the broken fuel line in order to handle the deficiencies.  As an interesting side note, she still wasn’t able to tolerate chemically produced vitamins; she needed to be careful with how the vitamin was produced and its quality, in order to benefit from the supplementation.

Sally’s story isn’t unusual.  Many people have genetic sensitivities to foods and nutrients; and others have developed issues over time.  In our society, with the use of many types of food chemicals, additives and preservatives, many people are experiencing absorption issues due to over-exposure to these types of foods.  This creates a domino effect, so the good nutrients don’t get absorbed correctly either.

It’s important to stay in-tune with your body and pay attention to details.  If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.  Getting your system checked, the way we get our cars checked for optimal function; could prevent bigger problems down road.  If you are using supplements, but feel like you are not getting optimal results from them, get your body’s systems checked; there may just be a deeper issue.



Dr. Mary Riggin

Dr. Mary Riggin,LAc,  FitFM - Family Wellness

Executive Director, Acupuncture Physician

Dr. Riggin is  FitFM - Family Wellness , is the Founder and Director of Healing Touch Oriental Medicine. As an inspiring health educator, in-demand speaker and doctor of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Dr. Mary has helped thousands of people completely turn their health around.

Dr. Mary co-hosts and produces the wildly popular radio show "Food is the First Medicine" and her presentations and viewpoints on natural healthcare have made her an in-demand and innovative expert in the natural health world.

Dr. Mary Riggin, produces and hosts Food is the First Medicine Talk Radio Show, and is a popular speaker.She has practices natural medicine in the Tampa Bay area; her passion and purpose is to help as many people as possible. Listen to her weekly on TanTalk 1340AM in Tampa Bay, or online anytime, anywhere at

She is former Vice Chair of the Florida State Board of Acupuncture. She has been featured on various TV and radio shows and frequently teaches free classes at community and recreation centers throughout Pinellas County.

She is a published author and was featured in the book A Woman's Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Alternative Healing, writes and publishes educational newsletters and brochures, and was elected to serve two consecutive terms as President of the Florida State Oriental Medical Association.
Dr. Mary Riggin
Dr. Mary RigginFitFM - Family WellnessEmotional and Social Well-being,Health,Nutrition  By Dr. Mary Riggin, LAC,  FitFM - Family Wellness Last month, I discussed how vitamins don't always give people the results they want.  One woman, Sally, would experience uncomfortable symptoms when she took lots of vitamins.  For some people this phenomenon was not...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids