Scraped knees, bug bites, poison ivy: these are just a few things you’d expect a kid to pick up while playing outdoors and in the woods. A lifelong passion for nature and desire to help others tap into its healing powers? Those things were unique to Tieraona Low Dog’s experiences as a child—things that drove her to a career in integrative medicine, combining both conventional and alternative forms of healing.
With a background in natural medicine and a medical degree from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Dr. Low Dog is recognized as a leading expert in the field of integrative medicine. Due to her expertise in herbal medicine, dietary supplements and women’s health, she has served on numerous boards and advisory councils, including the American Board of Integrative Medicine, of which she is a founding member. She has authored books on natural healing, contributed over 20 chapters for medical textbooks and has been honored by many organizations for her achievements. Now, Dr. Low Dog has partnered with MegaFood to create a line of innovative multivitamins specific to gender and age.
Here's what she has to say about her partnership with MegaFood:
How did you first become interested in natural health and herbal practices, and dietary supplementation? What/Who were your biggest influencers?
I have been interested in all things “nature” since I was a child. As a girl, my dream was to grow up and be a park ranger so that I could live in the forest and teach people all about the animals and plants. I was a Girl Scout because many of the merit badges had to do with the outdoors and summer camp was so much fun. My grandparents took us fishing and camping. My grandmother Jo used simple home remedies to treat everything from bug bites to the measles, which my brother got before there were immunizations to prevent it. I was raised with the philosophy that nature provides for most of our needs, you just have to know where to look. This led me to explore wildcrafting, gardening, herbal medicine, massage therapy, midwifery, and eventually to medical school. Nature was by far my most powerful and influential teacher.
How did you become aware of/involved with MegaFood? Did you take their supplements before you started working with them?
I learned of MegaFood when I visited the New Hampshire manufacturing facility with Dr. Andrew Weil in 2010. I was impressed by their commitment to quality and their use of organic produce in the production of their supplements. I have taken the Dream Release formula religiously to help with sleep.
What was your main focus or some of your main goals when formulating the line of supplements for MegaFood?
While I loved MegaFood, I didn’t take their multivitamins, as I needed the active form of folate and B12 due to a genetic impairment that makes it difficult for my body to methylate/activate these B-vitamins. I am not alone in having this genetic impairment. I also had difficulty finding a prenatal vitamin to recommend as so many didn't have iodine and even fewer had choline, a nutrient that is vitally important to the neurocognitive development of young children (and adults) and is deficient in the typical American diet. So when they asked me if I would like to help them create a line of food-based multivitamins, I said absolutely! I wanted to create gender based basic multivitamins that provided sufficient amounts of key nutrients in the optimal form that research shows are often low or deficient in the American population. By taking out the calcium and magnesium and putting them in a separate supplement with additional vitamin D, we were able to deliver the key nutrients most of us need in just two tablets, not an easy task when you are making food-based multis!
Did you work with other doctors/scientists when formulating the supplement line? What sort of research was involved? How long did it take to build the line?
We all stand on the shoulders of researchers who do the heavy lifting when it comes studying nutrients, as well as surveying and testing the population to determine our true nutritional status. I spent almost one full year reviewing the CDC’s Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition in the U.S. Population (2012), as well as reading hundreds of research papers when I was writing my new book, Fortify Your Life with National Geographic. It was this research that formed the basis of the new line of MegaFood multis.
If someone had to choose three “top” supplements to take, what would you recommend and why?
A basic multivitamin that is appropriate for your age and gender. This is the most important supplement if you can only take one.
Many people should consider taking additional magnesium and vitamin D, and possibly calcium if their diet is low. These are often found in one single supplement.
Finally, given the state of the human microbiome, taking a probiotic is probably wise. This can be in the form of a probiotic drink, probiotic rich yogurts, or taking a supplement.
Can supplements play an important part in good nutrition when someone’s diet is less than ideal?
They play an important part in our health even if we think our diet is pretty good.
What would you recommend to someone who is just starting out with supplements/building a brand new supplement regimen?
Do your homework. It was the whole reason I included a chapter on personalizing your supplement regimen in Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and More. You want to get the nutrients that you need but you don’t want to overdo it.
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote or saying?
I have many.
“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society were none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.” Lord Byron
What do you like to do to have fun and relieve stress?
There are many things that delight my heart. I love taking long hikes in our forest with the dogs, riding my horse for hours, hanging out with our chickens, tending my gardens, drinking really good wine, playing cards with family, taking really long hot baths by candlelight.