What are dietary supplements?

Dietary supplements are not drugs nor are they food, they are a category all their own - even though they are regulated and classified under the federal jurisdiction the FDA (Food & Drug Administration).

The legal guidelines of the FDA define dietary supplements as “products taken by mouth that contain a ‘dietary ingredient.’ Dietary ingredients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs or botanicals as well as other substances that can be used to supplement the diet.”

When and why would I want to take dietary supplements?

People wish to take dietary supplements when their diets and lifestyles are inadequate to provide sufficient bodily nourishment to achieve basic health goals like having enough energy to get through the day, maintaining restful nights of sleep, feeling resilient when it comes to the effects of stress, supporting optimal cognition, and taking care of a number of other health concerns. Simple incorporation of dietary supplements into one’s dietary habits and lifestyles is a simple and effective way to help nudge our bodily processes in the direction they need to go to work the way nature intended.

The therapeutic molecular constitution of each of the herbs that are in the supplements are rich in compounds that nurture the needs of the different kinds of cells that are found in the different parts of our body and body tissues to get them to function optimally. In the same way that carrots have compounds that are good for your eyes, herbs have a broad spectrum of gentle nourishing properties that can improve health in ways similar and different to food.

See the ongoing development of the Education page where I will be posting and explaining various Pub Med clinical trials that feature herbs found in Counter Balance’s dietary supplements. As well as discuss more of the larger ideas and nuances of healing and self-care.

How do I take these supplements? How frequently?

These dietary supplements are meant to be taken via the ‘dropper’ (the mini turkey baster thing) that serves as the cap for the bottle. One can either squeeze a dropper full of the supplement directly into their mouth or squeeze the dropper into a cup of water, tea, coffee, or the Counter Balance favorite, a can of lemon La Croix! Notice, these supplements are made with rather strong alcohol so unless one is accustomed to taking herbal supplements directly into their mouth, it is best squeeze the dropper into a glass and drink it with water. (For more info on the alcohol question, see below). The general standard for a therapeutic dose or a serving is 3-5 ‘droppers’ worth of supplement at a time. It is also necessary to take the supplement with a frequency of two to four times per day - e.g. in the morning, afternoon, or evening, etc. Note, if one is not accustomed to taking herbal supplements, use less at first and then graduate to taking more at a time.

One 1oz bottle has about 9-12 servings so it should last about three to four days.

The most important thing to remember is that taking a lot of the supplement (a large proportion of the bottle) at one time is not making use of the supplement to its fullest potential. Meaning, that it is with a standard serving taken with greater frequently, i.e. 2-4 times a day or more, over a larger number of days that the therapeutic effect can be experienced and health goal achieved. One of the many ways to put the range of usage time for supplements into perspective is to understand that the generalized standard is that for every year you have experienced a health concern, you probably need about a month of dietary supplementation. For example, if you haven’t been able to sleep well for three years, then take the Relaxation & Restfulness supplement for three months. Or, if you have been beating your liver to death for the past 25 years, feel free to contact me about wholesale account pricing for Liver Support.

Can you explain the alcohol content?

The alcohol content of the supplements is between 40-50% Alcohol by Volume (ABV). This is because the herbs used in the supplements have water and alcohol soluble plant constituents with the alcohol acting as the ideal solvent to extract the greatest spectrum of therapeutically active compounds. This is significant and necessary because this gets to the core of why herbs are so effective in supporting health goals (and why it is so hard for the FDA to regulate herbs, which we’ll get to later on). Essentially though, the multitude of molecular compounds found in each herb (in which there are tons!) are best understood in regard their optimum therapeutic potential because all the different compounds found in each plant work synergistically with one another to have the best ideal effect with the body’s anatomy and physiology. This means that it is important to extract the greatest amount of soluble plant compounds (necessitating both water and alcohol as a solvent) in order for the herbs to work as intended and to the fullest potential. In other words, the role of alcohol in supplements can be conceptualize as something akin to ‘cooking’ the plants in order to bring out their intended effect and make them worth consuming.

Will these products make me intoxicated?

Intoxicating? An absolute and 100% NO when taken as directed and intended! Here is a little bit of math to explain – the intended serving size is 3-5 ‘droppers full’ to be taken 2-4 times per day. The average amount of supplement that is in each dropper is 30 drops or 1 milliliter, 30 times an average of four droppers per serving equate about 120 drops, 4 milliliters. Let’s round up and say that the supplement has 50% alcohol by volume so that would make the alcohol content of the serving size roughly 60 drops or 2 milliliters, correct? If we want to understand the alcohol by volume when the supplement is taken as directed, i.e. with water – and one cup being 8 oz and 2 cups being 16 oz – lets average that to be 12 oz – the volume of a can of soda - which would be a total of 360 milliliters (each oz is 30 milliliters) – then the alcohol content would be 2 milliliters divided by 360 milliliters, that’s an alcohol percentage of.006% that’s about half of 1% percent alcohol by volume.

Will these products make me feel hyper or make me feel unusual?

There is one supplement that will make anybody feel a bit hyper and that is the “10x Energy” supplement. Don’t take that one if you don’t want to feel really energized. And to get to more of the core of the question as to how these supplements affect levels of wakefulness, they don’t really change how you feel or experience your life day to day, by and large, the effects are more subtle. Think about it more like you’ll notice you can continue get more work done without feeling your usual level of fatigue with a heavy work load. Or you can wake up in the morning and notice you do not feel as much exhaustion as you are used to. Or that it is easier to fall asleep at night, or moreover – you just feel normal for the first time in a while.

Are there any supplements I shouldn’t take at night?

Definitely not “10x Energy” unless you have a 10-page essay to write or a report to research and put together. Also, “Daily Jive” formula contains Yerba Mate which contains caffeine. Furthermore, the “Power 2 Persevere” supplement and the “Stress Fighter” supplement include herbs that can balance out & strengthen people up so well that people may not want to consume them after 4:00 p.m. until one knows how their body reacts to the supplements. Final note, all these formulas will energize people to a large or small degree, that’s what nourishment to the body always results in. However, the energy will ebb and flow with the body’s nature rhythm of wakefulness and energy during the day and normal sleepiness at night.

When would I not want to use these supplements?

All of the labels on each supplement read “We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications” for precautionary reasons. Herbs are, in the vast majority of the time, safe for people who do not have extreme acute health disease - so odds are you will be experience the therapeutic benefits regardless of your condition, but please read the precautions on each of the supplements if you are unsure. Also, if you are currently pregnant and/or nursing there are certain supplements in Counter Balance’s line of products that are contraindicated such as “Daily Jive”, “Sun Support”, “Liver Support”, “Stress Fighter”, and “Power 2 Persevere” because they contain plant compounds that have not been clinically proven to be safe for pregnancy. Also, what is problematic about these supplements is that many of them disrupt how many pharmaceutical drugs work in the body, particularly blood thinning drugs. So if you on any blood medications, please talk with a qualified healthcare practitioner before consumption.

Are there any supplements that would not be good to take long-term?

Only three supplements I would not recommend taking for more than a few months at a time. The “Total Power Tonic” and “Mental Recharge” supplements can be taken daily for a few months and then stopped for a month or two months and started back up again. And “10x Energy” should be taken for short-term use because that’s its intended use -the other energizing supplements are better to be taken for long term usage to build up the body’s ability for more sustained energy.

Can I mix them?

Yes! Anybody can mix these Counter Balance products to synergize the effects of the different supplements. That’s why we retail the product in five packs – so you can choose what supplements fit your health goals!

What’s the best way to take the supplements?

The best way to take the supplements is following the directions on the label and going five days on, two days off, and then repeat. This is the standard protocol for herbal supplementation. The reason is that going two days off once a week allows the body to better process the herbs so that when starting up the five day cycle again, the desired level of efficacy is maintained at the same serving size & daily dosage as well as to mitigate building up too high of a tolerance to the supplements.

Where does Counter Balance source its herbs from? Why is this important?

Mountain Rose Herbs and Starwest Botanicals are where I source all the organic herbs from and I source the organic mushroom Lion’s Mane from Terrasoul. We are very fortunate in the United States to have the herb distribution company Mountain Rose Herbs. These folks set a really high bar when it comes to ethical standards for sourcing, all their products that are not ecologically-wild-harvested are organic, and they reinvest a lot of their profits into environmental stewardship projects throughout the world. The sourcing of herbs is important because more & more herbs found in the wild are over-harvested and becoming increasingly endangered. Efforts for organic agricultural production of these herbs and sourcing herbs from companies like Mountain Rose Herbs and Starwest Botanicals is an important step in the preservation of the herbs from going extinct by the excess of the natural products industry. I would also like to mention here the efforts of companies like Strictly Medicinal Seeds that make available seeds of therapeutic herbs that allow for agricultural products of medicinal herbs as well as the organization United Plant Savers that work to ensure that sufficient stocks of medicinal herbs are preserved in their protected areas so that the species of plants will never go extinct. Please support these two organizations! Counter Balance only uses three herbs within all the supplements that are not organically certified by either Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO) or Quality Assurance International (QAI). These are Muria Puama, Kola Nut, and Catuaba and Mountain Rose Herbs ensures that these herbs are sourced these products individuals and communities with sustainable and ecologically sound practices.

What are Organic Grape Neutral Spirits? And why is it used to make the supplements?

Organic Grape Neutral Spirits is the alcohol Counter Balance utilizes in the supplements. It made by the Oregon based Organic Alcohol Company and yes, Counter Balance pays thousands of dollars in Excise Tax to have it shipped to Colorado. According to Wikipedia, Neutral Spirits, also called rectified spirits or ethyl alcohol is a highly concentrated ethanol of agricultural origin which has been purified by means of repeated distillation, a process called rectification. Counter Balance uses Organic Grape Neutral Spirits because its 190-proof alcohol, that like mentioned earlier, is capable of extracted the largest spectrum of constituents from the herbal plants and since it is made from organic grapes, unlike wheat or corn spirits, it tastes spectacular for herbal supplements and is gluten free.

If the products are Organic & Non-GMO why do I not have the icons on my products yet?

Counter Balance is still going through the rigorous process with the USDA to get approved for USDA Organic logo to be added to the labels – both logos will be on Counter Balance products by early Summer 2018. Remember, as mentioned before, all of Counter Balance herbs except the three previously noted are sourced organically from herbal distribution companies. Woo Hoo!

Where and How do I manufacture the supplements?

Counter Balance Herb Company is based in Denver Colorado and has partnered with the organization Denver HaHo to operate out of their newly established commercial commissary kitchen. The process of manufacturing is relatively straight forwards -I mix the various herbs with the alcohol and water in individual batches, let it ‘macerate’ for a number of weeks, filter, press, strain, and bottle the herbs in 1-ounce bottles.

What businesses carry the supplements and where else are the products available?

Counter Balance is working with a number of Denver based Café’s and Coffee shops to carry the supplements as well as sourcing for clinical healthcare practitioners throughout the Denver Metro Area. Counter Balance is also making strides with Natural Grocers and Whole Foods Markets to be sourced through their stores. A thorough list of establishments and locations will be posted on an ongoing basis! Stay tuned!

I would like to carry these supplements in my store. Are there any health department concerns since the product has alcohol?

Fortunately, Dietary Supplements are not subject to regulations and constraints the same way that Food and Liquor are on the County, State, and Federal levels. And a liquor or food license is not required to carry and sell dietary supplements. Contact me for more information on laws and regulations.

Why aren’t herbal supplements more supported by the FDA and more commonplace commercially?

This is a bit of a long and complicated story but the short version goes that herbs have so many different molecular compounds that are pharmalogically active that the FDA doesn’t have the resources, and often the political will, to thoroughly evaluate the significant scientific clinical trials that validate the viability of these herbs for medicinal purposes. Because of this lack of authoritative sanction herbal medicine has not been able to have access to the same markets that big pharma has been able to produce with their expansive resources. And furthermore, because of lack of access to markets and the according shortage of demand it is harder for farmers to find markets for producing herbs and thereby creating a supply issue in the herbal industry that limits the possibility of growth and industry expansion.

What is the Counter Balance story?

The Counter Balance story to make it short and sweet comes down to a guy named Jimmy Bacon who started out in organic gardening and throughout the course of ten years got further exposed to the power herbs and botanical medicine to accomplish goals. Recognizing the vast usefulness of utilizing herbs to help get through the rigorous demands of college , work, and life in a big city - the idea was born to create a supplement company that could help support people with making their lives extra awesome and dreams come true!

What supplements of the personal favorites of the founders?

“Wellness Boost” and “Stress Fighter” no doubt about it.

Will Counter Balance ever farm the herbs themselves? Or locally source the herbs for the supplements?

That is the goal! Locally sourcing the organic herbs is the first step and then accessing the land and building the know how to operate a Counter Balance farm that can produce as many of the herbs that are possible to grow in Colorado is the next step. The Counter Balance founder has a large degree of expertise with organic agriculture and growing herbs and is learning more every season!

What’s next for Counter Balance?

The online store, weekly presence at farmers markets in the Metro Area, and larger networks of local businesses that carry Counter Balance dietary supplements.