Naturopath Interview on Supplementation


In a recent article I mentioned that I do take some whole-food supplements to assist with my own health and wellbeing, so I thought I’d interview a naturopath to ask the tricky questions on supplementation.

ShelleyThis is Shelley Atkin Naturopath for Lifestream Natural Health Products.

Naturally because she works for Lifestream, she recommends their products. This is not a sponsored post, however in the interests of transparency, I have received some lifestream products to test out and I really like them, I also take some other whole-food supplements, that I have taken for many years, so I totally and genuinely recommend whole-food supplements. Shelley has arranged to give away a pack of Lifestream whole-food products above to one reader.

“Our diet is our foundation, and supplements should support that rather than replace it.”  – Shelley Atkin

What lead you to get into naturopathy?

I became interested in Natural Health through my own ongoing asthma illness that continued as a young adult, which would strike me down and leave me exhausted every winter.  Not content with just seeing a Naturopath, I decided to become one and got on top of my asthma in the process.  I left my science degree course and never looked back.


I’ve been testing out the Lifestream acai powder, spirulina and omega-3 supplements. Is supplementation important if you already eat a whole food diet with lots of organic fruits & veggies?

I see supplementation as a great support for a wholefood diet.  Every little boost is nourishing your body, and some days work out better than others with what we eat, so some backup can be very helpful.  Supplementation also allows some targeted support during illness or body systems that need a higher nutrient intake to get back on track.  Acai will boost your antioxidant intake during stress, Spirulina will boost your glycogen supply before exercise, and V-omega 3 will add that shine to your hair in preparation for a big event.

What about those who don’t get all their serves of fruit and veggies in every day? What kinds of supplements could they invest in to help close the gap?

A good green superfood will have them noticing the difference within a week, and the flow on from that is that it reaffirms to people how important nutrition is.  Then they start making dietary changes as well which is the most important outcome.  Our diet is our foundation, and supplements should support that rather than replace it.  I recommend Lifestream Essential Greens+ to increase the vitamins and minerals from the greens, fruit and veggie, protein, fibre, enzymes and herbs each day to close the gap and kickstart a nutritional change.

I also recommend Spirulina tablets (convenient when people don’t want to drink their nutrition).  Lifestream Spirulina will hit them with wholefood nutrition they’ve possibly never experienced and it will deliver the energy to motivate change.

How are Lifestream products different to something like Isagenix or Herbalife, or even something like a chemist multivitamin in terms of their purity, formulation and bioavailability and effectiveness?

The Lifestream range is entirely wholefood – not a synthetic vitamin in sight.  Our philosophy is to bring plants to people with as little interference as possible.  The word ‘natural’ is an umbrella term that can also include synthetic vitamins, herbal tablets full of fillers and binders, synthetic compounds made to copy nature, and where purity means a clean laboratory rather than a clean and green product.  A standard multivitamin is completely synthetic, with the vitamins and minerals manufactured as isolates.  Lifestream products are farmed rather than manufactured so you’re getting nutrition in the way it was intended to be packaged to us – in a complete and recognisable way.  In this way, our body recognises it and can therefore more fully absorb and utilise the product without extra non organic ingredients left behind.  And therefore they work most effectively with positive energy and health outcomes.  What is also really important is the suppliers that a company works with.  With the growing interest in superfoods there are so many suppliers all vying for a piece.  In some cases it is a 35 year partnership that Lifestream has with the growers, which is why Lifestream can guarantee the quality and purity.  It is a greater investment to choose quality wholefoods instead of a synthetic, and as with all things, you get what you pay for.  We all need to be able to trust what we are putting into our bodies. 


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What are some supplements that you typically recommend to assist with weight loss?

For me weight loss comes when the diet is returned to wholefoods and portions are in control.  However, there are some supplements that can support or kickstart the process.  Firstly to provide the energy to help make the changes which I find Spirulina really helpful for.  It also helps with iron and protein to support exercise.  I recommend giving the digestive system a good clean with our Lifestream Cleanse program that detoxifies, shifts waste and soothes any inflammation.  This pack also includes Aloe Vera which helps in stabilising blood sugar to assist with managing cravings.  Finally, the metabolism needs a kick so Lifestream FucoCai sourced from seaweed actually provides this boost, without any caffeine that is common is many weightloss products.

What are some other health complaints you see, and what are some good supplement formulations to assist with those?

The most common health complaints relate to digestion.  Whether it is constipation, diarrhoea, irritable bowel, bloating or reflux.  Educating on how our digestion works and that it works everyday, often against the odds of what we put into it, is an enlightening process!  I always work out where the cause of the issue is, if it is at the beginning of digestion where Digestive Enzymes can help, at the end of the process, where a psyllium/probiotic supplement like BowelBiotics can help or with food intolerances and allergies where Aloe Vera juice in invaluable.

What about the claim that vitamins and supplements just make expensive wee?

Synthetic vitamins and supplements are the culprit here – the body just does not recognise these compounds in the same way as when they come from food.  They might be 60% similar to the natural compound and will latch the enzyme on in the best way that is possible.  This means that the process is compromised from the start, the absorption will not be high, and therefore the remaining product is excreted, of which one pathway is urine.  Studies have shown that wholefood vitamins and minerals are absorbed much more effectively and that is why Lifestream supplements are better value for your health and hip pocket in the short and long term.  Choosing quality is absolutely essential for all supplements, otherwise you can’t be confident of what they are doing to your health, and also the health of our planet.

Is there any way that the average person can test the effectiveness of the supplements they are taking?

Every person is different as is their health situation/condition.  The way for most people to know if a supplement is working is to become attuned to how their body is feeling.  Are you waking up with more energy or haven’t noticed a difference?  Has your digestion improved? Is your skin now glowing?  Are you sleeping better? Are your eyes clear and bright? Has your joint pain subsided? I also suggest the visual test of a supplement – if it is a particularly large tablet and your digestion is not great, then your body is going to have quite a time breaking it down with the binders and fillers that are necessary to create the tablet.  Does it have white specks through it that indicate a binder or filler?  If it is a powder, does it mix well in water?  Or is it full of artificial flavours, colours, added sugar, preservatives and synthetic chemicals that the body will not recognise and benefit from?

Should we see a naturopath to prescribe the right formulations of supps, or can we just read the labels and pick something based on the symptoms that we feel?

Everyone benefits from having an expert look at their health and the total picture from an objective viewpoint, I’d be lost without mine!  I recommend seeking guidance rather than just reading labels, whether that just be from a naturopath in a health food store, a pharmacy assistant, or customer service for the brand you’re considering.  Any concentrated herbal or pharmaceutical supplement should be left to the experts to recommend to you. With high quality wholefood supplements however, you’re in a safer position as they are food based and therefore less likely to cause any issues.  If you do need to see a naturopath they’ll be impressed that you started a process of helping your health with wholefood nutritional support.

Any other tips or suggestions to optimise our health and wellbeing?

Our health and wellbeing are our most important assets.  And the tools and resources available now to help everyone achieve the highest level of health and wellbeing are an amazing gift.  We know more than ever, seek out information more than ever, but the challenges on our lifestyles are also constantly there. Keep your diet as clean as possible with plant food at the top, nourish any ills with food based supplements where you can trust the quality and purity, keep your body and also your mind active, and practise gratitude – it feeds and heals the soul.


Reader Giveaway.. $162 Value pack

Lifestream have kindly offered a giveaway pack for one lucky reader who comments below on their thoughts on supplementation. Do you take them? What have you noticed when you did?

Winner will be chosen at random from the comments below after 7 days. (I may put your names in a hat!) Good luck!


Comments (14)

  1. Pingback: Food Supplements and Your Health | AnjumsList

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  6. I live on supplements, I have many several health conditions where doctors put me on pharmaceutical products and as fast as my body will handle I switch them over to natural products to keep me on top. Currently I am taking life stream spirulina and essential greens +. Supplements keep me alive along with a very healthy diet, I think balancing the two is definitely the key. But supplements over sythetics or pharmaceutical products would be my first choice any day!

  7. I have always believed you are what you eat. Unfortunately today many of our foods have been altered in numerous ways which can damage the integrity of what we are eating

  8. i take spirilina blue,such a great product,gives me a much needed boost to get through my day,working between 10 and 12 hr days,I certainly notice when I don,t take it,I struggle to get any get up and go

  9. I am a big believer of taking supplements that are not synthetic and are as close to their natural form as possible, that’s why I love lifestream products so much 🙂 I take supplements regularly and find that taking magnesium helps lessens cramps. I think that supplementation is necessary for some people especially if their body is under stress etc and requires support. I really go for quality when it comes to supplements and think that the ones that come from wholefood sources are far more beneficial and safer than synthetic products.

  10. I think supplements have their place, but do not replace what can be gained through a healthy diet – full of fruit and veges.
    It is important to listen to your body and see what works and what doesn’t and go from there.
    It can be quite easy to get caught up the latest health fads, so important to do your own thorough research or see a health practitioner for guidance before taking anything.

    • I meant to add that I have taken magnesium for stress and to improve sleep and it helped. I have also used valerian for sleeping too.

  11. Yay! I put your names in a hat and Fiona, you’re the winner of the Lifestream pack. Enjoy lady! 🙂 I’ll get your pack out to you asap! Congratulations.

  12. I have osteoporosis arthritis in my fingers and toes and would like to know how I can manage my pain. Also I have been taking Green lipped muscle supplement and developed body pain. Can you please help? Thanks. My phone number is 0430461924.

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