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Many practitioners of nutritional medicine around the world are becoming concerned with the lack of effectiveness of nutrient supplements that come as pills, capsules, tablets or caplets.
Have you ever considered that you may not be deriving all the benefits from your nutritional supplements. Do you think your body actually effectively absorbs all the amazing nutrients contained within these pills and capsules?

If this question has ever crossed your mind, then this article will be of immense interest. And if you've never contemplated this issue before, I assure you that you're in for a few unpleasant surprises.
Many of my clients often mention during consultations that they feel as if they are getting no perceivable health benefits whatsoever from their nutritional supplements, yet continue to take them in the hope that they are weaving some unseen magic within their bodies.

The possibility that the contents of supplements are not being well assimilated into the bloodstream is now becoming a relevant issue worthy of closer scrutiny.

Imagine you were eating the best organic food and taking the very best nutritional supplements, yet still suffered lethargy and fatigue. Of course you'd be disappointed, perhaps and, and more than a little confused. Yet this scenario is not uncommon, and due in most instances to an inability to absorb nutrients. Indeed, the reason Micro and Macro nutrient malnutrition is on the increase in Australia and most other Western cultures is due to this phenomenon of intestinal malabsorption.

Arthur Stanley, in his publication “Mind Your Own Health” first published back in 1993, concluded that the nutritional literature now suggested that optimal health was dependent upon what you absorb, rather than what you eat.

He stated that it was the digestive and absorptive capacity of the gastro-intestinal tract which determined each person's ability to assimilate nutrients. He concluded that those practitioners who believed solely in the adage 'You Are What You Eat', should "go without supper until they learn a little more".

Creating perfectly biochemically balanced diets without paying attention to a person's capacity to assimilate the nutrients contained within these foods, is like tailoring a $1,000 suit without first taking the measurements.

There is no doubt that with mineral and amino acid supplementation in particular, if any degree of intestinal malfunction exists, only a small proportion (if any at all) of the supplemental contents will be assimilated into the body.

It is becoming more common for nutrient capsules and pills to be excreted in a stool in the same form as swallowed some 24 hours earlier. While this is 'worst case scenario', it raises important questions concerning the effectiveness of nutrient supplements, specifically those coming in tablet, pill and capsule form.


There are many easily identified symptoms and events which can indicate that your capacity to assimilate nutrients from food is not as good as it should be to maintain good health. Try this quick quiz, and determine whether you're at risk!

Please rate each statement from '0' to '5' (a '0' means the statement does not apply to you or you do not suffer from that complaint, a '5' that it does very often and the symptoms are quite severe and persistent. In between to describe the severity or if it happens sometimes rather than all the time).
Mild Severe

    Mild - Severe
1) I have a long history of taking pharmaceutical medication 0 1 2 3 4 5
2) I have repeatedly taken antibiotics 0 1 2 3 4 5
3) I experience loose bowel motions 0 1 2 3 4 5
4) Excessive flatulence 0 1 2 3 4 5
5) Upper stomach/intestinal bloating 0 1 2 3 4 5
6) Lower intestinal bloating 0 1 2 3 4 5
7) More than 2 bowel motions/day 0 1 2 3 4 5
8) Alternating constipation/diarrhoea 0 1 2 3 4 5
9) Tiredness/Fatigue after meals 0 1 2 3 4 5
10) Sugar cravings soon after meals 0 1 2 3 4 5


Now add up your score. If your total is any greater than 12, your gastro-intestinal tract (G.I.T.) function is probably severely compromised, and it is highly probable you are not effectively assimilating nutrients.

Even if you scored more than a '2' on any more than one of the statements, there is probably mild-impairmentnin your ability to assimilate nutrients from your food and supplemental supply. The higher the score the poorer your capacity to assimilate the contents of nutritional supplements in tablet or capsule form (especially minerals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium, selenium etc, amino acids and essential fatty acids).

Even though liquid or powdered forms are usually much more effectively assimilated, their effectiveness can also be diminished if the function of the intestine is seriously impaired.


Now it's time to ask yourself the BIG question... Are you getting your money's worth with nutrient capsule/pill/tablet supplements? Wouldn't it make more sense to initially repair your intestinal tract prior to capsule and tablet nutrient supplementation to derive a greater cost-health benefit from your supplements?

On first analysis, over 75% of my clientele have moderately to severely compromised intestinal function, which indicates that they cannot effectively assimilate nutrients from their food or supplemental supply.

This in itself is the easiest symptom of sickness susceptibility that a nutritional biochemist can detect. And there are plenty of reasons why it's become such a pivotal issue.

If you live in fairly polluted cities like Sydney or Melbourne then your liver will require greater quantities of amino acids like cysteine, methionine, glycine and more anti-oxidants such as selenium, manganese, vitamin C & E just to deal with the greater toxic load you have to bear.

The equation is basically quite simple. If you can't detoxify effectively, you run the risk of being susceptible to free-radical related cellular diseases.

Chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis will manifest more easily in an organism if it is unable to assimilate certain protective nutrients. If toxic chemicals derived from our external and internal environment can't be effectively eliminated from our body through effective liver detoxification then these agents are going to increase your risk of developing serious illnesses.

Any deficiency in anti-oxidant nutrient status will allow free radicals a greater licence to damage cellular membranes and DNA. Thus, maintaining good health is linked to the assimilation of particular amino acids, anti-oxidant vitamins, phytochemicals contained within plant foods and trace minerals.

As a Natural Health practitioner in Nutritional Medicine it is not my role to prescribe 5-10 different nutritional tablets to rectify what a growing number of people are suffering from nowadays. It is far better to tackle the real problem.

Doing otherwise would be like giving disaster grants to a dodgy government instead of aid workers in the field, which then goes on to purchase a dozen attack helicopters the following week instead. In a word, unethical.

Instead, it is my responsibility to restore the function of the gastro intestinal tract to a functionally active state. Then, when healthy food and selected supplemental aids are provided, the necessary nutrients can be assimilated to perform their much need roles in liver detoxification and free radical neutralisation.

All too often, the general public is being sucked into purchasing nutrient supplements in forms that are likely to be poorly assimilated.

Many practitioners champion the belief that if a few supplements are good, a few more should be better, several more — even better, and a heck of a lot more terrific. Of course, there's a down side to this unfortunate practice.

Many people I see professionally are taking so many pill supplements that their body's have become toxic from taking too many of them. On many occasions I have witnessed substantial improvement in a patient after I have suggested they stop taking all their pills and capsules.

Not only have they been the victims of poor advise, around 50-75% of these people are not absorbing the contents of their pills and tablet supplements in any case.


The factors that lead to damaged intestinal function have now been well documented in scientific literature. Be very wary of the following:

  1. The use and abuse of broad spectrum drugs and antibiotics — as they destroy the good bacteria with the bad. Protective bacterial flora is killed off, allowing opportunistic micro-organisms such as Candida Albicans and other fungal forms to take over which then drastically inhibits a person's nutrient assimilation potential.
  2. Eating too much red meat and chicken — as these meats in particular are increasingly being compromised via chemical contamination of hormonal and antibiotic residues in the food chain. Too much in a diet can contribute to an overgrowth of dysbacteria (abnormal bowel bacteria) in our intestines.
  3. Many household and commercial chemicals, electro magnetic radiation and mercury laden dental fillings — as they burden our immune systems and damage localized immunity via the gut lining. Add the hot topic of immunisation, and the pressures of modern-day stress to the list, as once a person's immune system is suppressed, opportunistic microorganisms can proliferate, impairing the body's ability to assimilate nutrients. This of course, sets the scene for serious medical conditions to develop.

Dysbiosis is of great concern to many nutrition oriented doctors and health practitioners. Other than toxic chemicals and drugs, the evidence quite strongly supports the notion that dysbiosis can manifest from simply a medium to long term consumption of a poor diet.

Diets low in complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre (fruits/vegetables/whole grains) and high in processed fast foods, meat, and sugar, play a significant role in determining our overall health, via the body's capacity to assimilate nutrients.

Most of, us are aware that if we put chlorine into our pools, it will kill bacteria, yet many of us drink chlorinated tap water every day and expect the health-promoting bacterial flora in our digestive tract to miraculously survive and flourish. And pigs may fly.

By inhibiting the growth of healthy bacteria, highly chlorinated water reserves allow Candida and opportunistic parasites the perfect environment to breed and go on to impair intestinal function.


The bottom line is efficient delivery into the blood and cells where nutritional supplementation has the chance to do its stuff. The absorption process is the critical factor. However, as antibiotics and toxic drugs can destroy much of the beneficial bacterial flora in the intestines, chances for absorption of the nutrients can be small, if at all.

Until now, nutritional supplements mostly entered the bloodstream through the digestive tract. However, with the advent of more sophisticated methods of research and development, technology has allowed a faster and more effective means of delivering nutrients into the body

Using the latest liposomal model, scientists have made a major breakthrough in nutrient delivery technology... the Lipoceutical.

A Lipoceutical is a liquid suspension of liposomes.

Liposomes are highly complex microscopic lipid spheres, 1/50th the diameter of human hair. Within the liposome is water along with the active ingredients that pass into the blood stream after spraying the suspension under the tongue. Using this New Oral Sublingual delivery system, the liposomes penetrate the mucosal tissue of the mouth and are absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

Millions of nutrient-encapsulated liposomes then flow directly to the heart carried by the carotid artery, and are then pumped to the rest of the body in a matter of minutes. Clinical tests have shown active ingredients absorbed in this way are superior to traditional sprays and have two to ten times the bioavailability of tablet or capsule forms that must take the long, hard journey through a digestive tract that for many people nowadays simply does not assimilate nutrients effectively.

More than increasing the nutrient's bioavailability, liposomal delivery dramatically increases the rate at which the active therapeutic nutrients or herbal extracts actually reach the blood-stream. This can be important in supplemental products where in-stantaneous action is desired in the case of natural pain relief, sleep enhancers, or athletic performance products.

In the USA, the lipoceutical spray is already helping to improve the therapeutic potential and marketability of supplements and herbs such as Echinacea and ginko-bilopa that otherwise taste somewhat worse than a dogs dinner.


The innovations currently taking place in nutrient supplement development suggest that the current "intestinal mode" of delivery is not proving successful enough.

Individuals with poor gastro-intestinal function do not assimilate nutrients contained in tab-lets and capsules effectively. Too often I see patients with numerous bottles of nutrient tablets that due to poor intestinal assimilation can-not deliver the necessary quantity of nutrients that cells require to fuel the healing process.

Prior to nutrient tablet/capsule supplementation it is the natural health practitioners ethical responsibility to restore functional intestinal lining capacity, otherwise over 75% of the active nutrient ingredients will end up in the toilet bowl. Either through ignorance or greed, some unscrupulous sources are providing their clientele with no benefits for great cost!

When you combine big city stress with the ever diminishing quality of our food supply, it should be the responsibility of every health practitioner to accurately assess intestinal status and repair the functional integrity of the gut if disrepair is evident.

Lipoceutical nutrients allow for effective and early treatment intervention in those people with impaired gut function. This can hasten the healing process, providing a quicker return to health and

The advent of lipoceuticals merely reflects the growing concern with the health status of the human gastro-intestinal tract and poor bioavailability of many nutrients such as anti-oxidant minerals we now require in greater quantities to deal with increasing planetary toxicity.

Many of my clients have indicated that they don't feel as if they are assimilating their tablet supplements.

What about the people I see taking 10 to 15 grams of vitamin C in tablet form who still suffer from gum bleeding and body bruising? Normally Vitamin C prevents these problems.

In conclusion, may I suggest that before you go and purchase your next supplemental supply, you seriously ask yourself, are the tablets, pills, or gel capsules you are consuming simply creating a very expensive bowel movement?

Christopher Manton,
B.App.Sci., Dip.Ed., M.Nutr & Dietetics., Ass.Dip.Nat., Nutritional Biochemist, is the director of The Health Detective Pty Ltd.
He is qualified in clinical nutrition and naturopathy and runs a
practice in nutritional biochemistry using Darkfield Microscopy and the Bolans Clot Retraction Blood Test.
Enquiries can be forwarded to the clinic at Level 1, 70 Bronte Rd, Bondi Junction, NSW 2022.
Phone 02 9387 8777 (BH).