1. What are your thoughts on multivitamins? There's a time and a place for these and quality matters. Big time. I prefer if my patients get their nutrients through food but recognize that most of us are on the go, up early, out entertaining clients, or just plain too tired to cook. Even in those scenarios, it can be possible to get what you need through the right choices in food.
Where a multivitamin is necessary or if my patients really want one, I focus on quality. Often the bioavailability (how well your body absorbs and uses each nutrient) or formulation of the multi is poor meaning that the balance of what's in the multi or the forms of each nutrient can leave almost the whole content coming out your other end.
Another issue: the binders and fillers often in lower-quality multivitamins are very difficult for our bodies to break apart and digest. The longer it takes, the less likely you are to absorb anything that comes out of it. If your multivitamin is a tablet, try leaving one in vinegar for about 30 minutes, rinse it off, then in a bit of water with a pinch of baking soda for another hour. This will give you a (very) rough idea of what that pill will go through in the stomach and small intestine. Most of them will barely reduce by half. This doesn't tell us anything about what you're absorbing though, only how sticky the binders are.
2. You do acupuncture? Yes.
3. Should I cut out gluten? If you can link your symptoms to a food sensitivity, then sure. If you go gluten-free for, say, a month and you feel much better, try re-introducing it. If your symptoms return, that's a valuable piece of information. I definitely don't recommend it as a catch-all though but if you feel it's worth testing out, give it a shot.
I often hear of people who are going gluten-free as a weight-loss strategy which is definitely a bad idea. Just because a product is gluten-free, doesn't mean it's healthy for you. Often they're packed with sugar and can actually lead to weight gain.
4. I'm feeling crappy but I'm taking all of my vitamins and supplements - should I take more? There are at least 20 supplements that we all could be taking just because they're healthy, but that does not mean they're therapeutic. I'm not a fan of long-term supplementation. I believe that supplements do just that: they supplement the diet.
Many people benefit from a "supplement holiday". When taking high-dose nutrients in pill form, the body can only absorb so much at once and knows what to do with food more than a pill. There are also additional enzymes in food which helps to absorb these nutrients. When a suitcase of supplements comes in, I go through each one, figure out what's therapeutic (meaning which will help your symptoms), and go from there.
5. Should I take anything for my cold? My view is that you can take something that will get rid of your cold in 3-5 days, or you can go home, rest, make some tea, watch a whole season of your favourite show and get rid of your cold in 3-5 days.
There's nothing wrong with letting your immune system stretch its legs every so often. In fact, it's good for you. Don't panic if a little fever sets in. This is the healthy response to getting rid of bugs. If you get sick often or have trouble kicking it (i.e. if your colds last weeks or you're getting one after another), then it would be time to call in some reinforcements, but more importantly, let's figure out why you're getting sick so often!
Any other questions, I'm more than happy to answer! firstname.lastname@example.org.