Jane Banyard

April 24 at 12:18 PM

Your needs are unique, and here’s my cautionary tale! If you’re like me – and you just want to stay healthy – you’ll consider almost any supplement to support that goal, as long as the research supports it. And natural health authors have lots of recommendations right now! Vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, thiamine, quercetin: from reliable scientific studies of how they work in the body, they seem to make sense at a time like this. Since my NSTs over many years always indicate I need some of those, I’ve been taking them.

Recently, though, I read a recommendation to take NAC (N-acetylcysteine) to protect against Covid-19. NAC has been shown to help against upper respiratory infections, liver processing challenges, blood sugar issues, and various other antioxidant needs, without side effects. Perfectly logical, I thought. So after reading the research, I added a small bottle to an order I was placing. When I opened the bottle, though, a ghastly stench jumped out at me. On to my next guinea pig: without briefing my husband, I passed it under his nose – and he had the same reaction. Clearly, however good NAC may be for some people, *we* don’t need it, at least not now.

What harm could come of taking a supplement we don’t need, apart from wasting a bit of money? Well, anything that goes into our bodies must be processed through our metabolic and detoxification systems. Those complex reactions consume a combination of other nutrients. So taking in a nutrient we don’t need runs the risk of depleting us of something else that may be in short supply, disrupting the balance we live with. Also, too much of any mineral (for example, zinc, copper, iron) can throw off others.

In days gone by, I’d have urged you to get a Nutrient Scent Test to find out what *you* actually need right now, in these unusual days. Our needs shift over time with diet, ageing, health conditions and stress. We can’t arrange NSTs right now. But as Diane mentioned in the recent post about zinc, you can test your own supplements, the ones you have in your cupboard. As long as they’re individual nutrients rather than combos or multis, they don’t contain lots of extra ingredients, and they are not encased in gel or liquids, they will give you a useful guide while you wait for a full test. If you’ve been taking something awhile and it starts to smell bad, take a break from it then try again in a few weeks.

For example, based on the NST, I needed pantothenic acid (B5) for many years, and stress overwhelmed me if I let it lapse. But last year I finally seemed to not need it anymore…until a new pandemic came along and the smell of my bottle changed again.

Regardless of what other people swear by, recognize that you’re a unique individual, and supplement your diet accordingly.