Tips for following your orthomolecular supplement regimen
Discipline is often the furthest thing from your mind when you are busy or have a condition such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, bipolar, ADD or OCD. For some patients it is a monumental chore to sustain focus for extended periods. Protocols at our clinic are intended to be simple and understandable despite the fact that they often address upwards of four biochemical syndromes at a time. The relief that can be obtained by following these protocols can be immense, so we encourage all patients to do their best while we work to address your individual needs.
Right from your first visit to our clinic, patients are provided with a one-page typed plan and compliance calendar. I provide an extra copy of the plan for the fridge. Compliance is huge in my book. I would argue that we could learn almost as much from a patient who strictly follows a supplement plan as I could by following lab results alone.
Below I list the tools that help patients adhere to the orthomolecular lifestyle of discipline. I consider that our clinic has one of the best models of compliance in practice.
What you can do to stay on track
Follow your one-page typed plan, put a copy on your fridge and on your supplement cabinet/box
These one-pagers list the supplements to be taken at various times of the day, for example on waking, breakfast, dinner, and bedtime. At the top we have a ‘To Do’ list for lab to be done or questionnaires to be filled out along with dates. The next scheduled visit is listed and, if a phone consult is needed in between, that is mentioned. The diet is provided at the bottom of the page along with any special instructions (e.g. elimination diets). If you are travelling abroad you can take this plan with you along with the supplements if a luggage inspection is requested. On this one-pager I often work out optimal dosing times that provide the best benefit to the patient. For example, adrenal tonics need to be done no later than 4pm, cortisol lowering protocols for optimal support may need to be provided earlier in the day as well as near bedtime, iron and vitamin C need to be done together and away from other minerals, etc.
Use your compliance calendar daily
This calendar allows you to record all events on a daily basis per month with the benefit of keeping all health related information in one place. We want you to record all aspects that influence your quality of life. This gives us something concrete to judge how well you are doing and where we need to make improvements. Events that may require recording include sleep quality, dream recall (a reflection of memory acquisition), concentration/focus, mood changes, hallucinations/paranoia, body temperature, blood pressure, bowel movement volume/frequency, illness/injuries, life stresses, diet changes, food reactions, and doses started/missed.
Get a custom supplement formulation
Rather than taking individual supplements from different supplement bottles with all the fillers, we consider it easier and better to do an all-in-one supplement when possible to cut down on the number of pills and to make it easier to do. These custom formulas are available as powders or capsules. We have a handout for patients who are doing powders so they can mask the acidic taste by mixing them with sugar-free flavor crystals, juices or textured substances. I am often impressed with how clients fill out these calendars and provide me with details that would otherwise have been lost. Sometimes this level of monitoring provides me with the details needed to adjust the plan in a way that provides the best results.
Rely on Case Management to keep you on track
Communication is an amazing thing. Often and as needed our case manager issues phone calls and emails to clients to ensure that they adhere to their schedule, that they keep on track, collect lab samples on time, obtain their body temperature as needed, and fill out questionnaires and forms as needed.
Follow your Handouts, they are intended to make protocols simple to follow
We try to keep things simple and this has been an ongoing process, but over the past decade we have narrowed down our instructions to the point of simplicity.
Remember that many mental health disorders take months or years to develop and if they are ingrained and alter your biochemical or physiological state, you need to address these issues head on. Do your best to remain compliant in your endeavor to achieve orthomolecular health.
Yours in health,
Raymond J Pataracchia BSc ND (Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine)