(See also the separate FAQ on Cod Liver Oil)

  • Azomite
  • B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Filters Removing Minerals
  • Glyconutrient pills
  • Soy in vitamin E supplements
  • Do store-bought enzymes work?
  • Does Frontier yeast have added vitamin B
  • Bio-K Plus CL1285 probiotic
  • Iron Supplement
  • Protein Powder


Q. Is azomite a problem because of the aluminum, etc?

A. Yes, I get a lot of questions about Azomite. It is safe for human consumption. I recommend it because it is a natural, inexpensive mineral supplement. Tests have never been done on humans and won’t be because the FDA won’t allow it. There have only been studies with animals and it is a good mineral supplement for animals.

It does contain aluminum, but it is also rich in silica, which counteracts the aluminum. People have been eating clay and dirt as a tradition for thousands of years and all clay contains aluminum and silica.

Here’s some information on minerals that may answer your questions.

This being said, I don’t feel this strongly about it. You can also get lots of good minerals from sea salt, raw milk, bone broths, etc.

Q. What type of vitamin B12 should I take?

A. Pure Encapsulations is a good one–not sublingual but it is the right form of B12. This is recommended by Dr. Dommisse, who spoke at our 2005 conference. Or you can try Jarrow sublingual methylcobalimum for B12.

Q. I am in the sun every day, do I need to supplement with vitamin D? I am having vaginal dryness and am looking for relief.

A. Being in the sun every day is not going to supply you with adequate vitamin D unless you have most of your clothes off and the sun is directly overhead. Also, you won’t get vitamin A, the best treatment for vaginal dryness from the sun. You can still take cod liver oil and I suggest a high vitamin one from Radiant Life (888-593-8333) or Green Pasture. This should help with the vaginal dryness. Take a dose that provides at least 20,000 IU vitamin A and 2000 IU vitamin D.

Q. Please explain what levels of Vitamin D cause hypercalcemia.

A. Vitamin D does not need to cause hypercalcemia to result in soft tissue calcification. It has been used to produce kidney calcification in chickens at doses that did not result in hypercalcemia, and there were recent human case reports of bone-loss with accidental overdosing at levels that did not result in hypercalcemia (which was not rigorously proven to have resulted from the vitamin D, but evidence strongly suggests it did). The idea that vitamin D can only result in toxicity at 40,000 IU definitely is not sound, and is based on the idea that hypercalcemia is requisite for toxicity, which isn’t true.

Optimal blood levels are at least 32 ng/mL. There is some support for 45 ng/mL, but the benefit of going from 20 to 30 ng/mL is huge compared to the benefit of going from 30 to 40 ng/mL. To my knowledge there is little evidence for any advantage of going up to 60 ng/mL, but this is the level found in people in sun-rich living conditions (who have 20 times higher risk of kidney stones than the general population!), such as Israeli lifeguards and Puerto Rican farmers. Heaney’s group found that supplementing for the six coldest months of the year in Omaha for two consecutive years with 1,000 IU led to 30 ng/mL; 5,000 IU led to 60 ng/mL; 10,000 IU led to 85 ng/mL. The first dose reached a full plateau, whereas the latter two doses came very close to reaching a plateau but did not. So the dose that leads to 60 ng/mL in Omaha when used for the coldest six months of the year is probably somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 IU per day. 10,000 IU per day leads to 85 ng/mL, right around the level associated with three times the risk of heart disease in India (greater than 89 ng/mL) – not proven to produce heart disease, but associated with it. And given the role of soft tissue calcification in contributing to heart disease, there seems at least to be grounds for caution in achieving a blood level greater than 60 when there is no scientific evidence that it is any more beneficial than 40-60 ng/mL.

To convert these numbers to nmol/L, multiply by 2.5.

A recent large double-blind placebo-controlled trial published in NEJM found 400 IU plus 1g calcium carbonate to produce a 17% increase in the risk of kidney stones. This can’t be blamed on the vitamin D alone, due to the presence of calcium carbonate, but again, kidney stones are the first thing to come up before hypercalcemia in animal experiments, and there is quite a bit of evidence connecting excess vitamin D to kidney stones as summarized by John Cannel here, under the second heading:


Q. I have heard that reverse osmosis filters remove minerals, is that true?

A. Yes, RO filters take out all the minerals, but they also are the only way to take out all the fluoride. So if you have fluoridated water, use an RO filter and then add minerals back in via mineral drops.

Q: What do you know about glyconutrient pills?

A: I don’t know a lot about this product, but ask yourself–how did humans get along before glyconutrient pills?  Because the body makes them, as even their literature admits. Much more important for you to spend your money on is cod liver oil. See our Guide to Super Foods.

Q: I would like to use a whey powder for my recipes, is that okay?  It includes:  Whey protein concentrate (milk), whey protein  isolate (milk).

A: Whey proteins are very fragile and easily messed up by processing.  You should make your own whey, it is not difficult especially from a good quality store-bought yogurt.  There is a recipe in Nourishing Traditions.

Q: How is oral vitamin D is made and what it is made from? I have been told by someone that checks all labels for vitamin D and that some are made from swine (pig) skin.

A: My understanding is that vitamin D3 is made by irradiating sheep’s lanolin, and vitamin D2 by irradiating yeast.  I have never heard that vitamin D3 is made from pig skin, however, lard is an excellent source of vitamin D.

Q.  I would like to know if I should avoid a supplement that contains vitamin E from soy?

A.  Nearly all the vitamin E supplements derive from soy, so it’s very hard to avoid.   Unless the person is extremely allergic to soy, this isn’t a problem as the quantity is very small.

Q.  I have been wondering whether or not store bought enzymes really work?

A.  This is a huge subject for which I have few answers–it is not my area of expertise. I do think that certain brands do work, these are brands that have been freeze dried.  But it is always best to get one’s enzymes from fermented foods.

Q.  Does Frontier Yeast have added vitamin B?

A.  The company states that there are NO added B vitamins but it does contain naturally occurring B vitamins including B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12.

Q.  What is your opinion about a probiotic in Canada called Bio-K Plus CL1285.  It is like a 3.5 oz kefir drink.  Ingredients are: water, skim milk powder, whey protein concentrate, active bacterial cultures L Acidophilus and L Casei, 50 billion.  The sales approach is that one container is like drinking 200 yogurts, it is human derived and that it supports the immune system, especially for someone fighting cancer.  Do you have any concerns with the ingredients?  www.biokplus.com

A.  I would have great concerns about the skim milk powder and the whey protein concentrate.  These are highly artificial, probably full of nitrates and damaged proteins.  Plus this beverage is too high in protein.  Better to make your own yoghurt or kefir from whole milk.

Q. When someone is low in iron, what supplements do you recommend?

A. First of all, cod liver oil as you need A to absorb iron.  We would recommend foods first.  Iron-rich foods include meat, liver, egg yolks, beets.  But if taking a supplement, I understand that ferrous citrate is the best.

Q.  If protein powders are harmful, what do you recommend using instead?

A.   We recommend real, complete protein from food (meat, dairy, eggs, seafood) WITH the fats that proteins naturally come with.  Read the article “Guts and Grease” on our website ( http://www.westonaprice.org/traditional-diets/guts-and-grease ).  Lean meat and protein powders rapidly deplete vitamin A. You do not need to supplement with extra protein as long as you are including protein-rich foods in your diet.


Tim Boyd was born and raised in Ohio, graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a degree in computer engineering, and worked in the defense industry in Northern Virginia for over 20 years. During that time, a slight case of arthritis led him to discover that nutrition makes a difference and nutrition became a serious hobby. After a pleasant and satisfying run in the electronics field, he decided he wanted to do something more important. He is now arthritis free and enjoying his dream job working for the Weston A. Price Foundation.

© 2015 The Weston A. Price Foundation for Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts.