Q. Since so many people are getting their information from so many conflicting sources today, wouldn't it be wise to ask patients what supplements they are taking and amounts, and when routine blood work is being done, check these levels so that one knows exactly how much of each supplement to take?
A. This sounds logical on the surface but it is not practical. First there is the cost of testing which could be in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars depending how many of the hundreds of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, hormones, fatty acids, amino acids, etc., are tested. Second there is the fluctuation in the levels of these substances that occur in the body based on a number of factors including diet, activity level, season, etc. Third there is the difficulty of interpretation of results. Given the same set of results, different doctors and nutrition experts will give different opinions on how much to tale more of or less of. Fourth, different labs could give different results since no testing is perfect. Fifth, the level of a nutrient in the blood does not necessarily reflect the levels in organs, tissues, and cells. For instance, there could be a high level in hair and a low level in breast tissue or the skin, but yet the blood study could show a normal result. Sixth, people can have negative reactions to a supplement even if blood levels are normal. The body is infinitely more complicated than many people realize. There are some basic supplements one should consider if they wish to take without the need for blood testing, and they are discussed at http://www.raysahelian.com/diet.html