Ever wonder what’s so great about micronutrients? Dallin Hardy, Director of Product Development at Hardy Nutritionals®, stops by the Talk Neuro to Me Podcast to take a deep dive into micronutrient therapy with Dr. Freddys Garcia from the Carrick Institute of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation.
With a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and a Masters in Food Sciences with an emphasis in nutrition, Dallin Hardy is an expert on clinical broad-spectrum micronutrients. He heads up the science team at Hardy Nutritionals, the world leader in formulating research-backed micronutrients for brain and mood health.
To start, let’s break down the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are water, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. This conversation is focused on micronutrients...and there are lots. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that we know to be essential to proper body function. Without micronutrients, we get overt clinical manifestations of deficiency disease.
Micronutrients were first discovered towards the end of the 1800s. Throughout the early 1900s, scientists realized they were essential to the body's ability to overcome diseases.
Hardy Nutritionals' flagship formulation, Daily Essential Nutrients, is backed by multiple independent studies for mood, mental health, and brain support. Carrick Institute offers the exact same formula, produced by Hardy Nutritionals, to clinical neurologists and their patients under the label NeuroSpectrum 360.
“This is the best formula we have,” Dallin Hardy explains. “Or, at least, it’s the culmination of David Hardy, (the formulator)'s lifetime of experience in animal and human nutrition, and it’s got a lot of research on it.”
Before venturing into human nutrition, David Hardy got his start in animal nutrition. Over the course of 20 years, David focused on providing animals with the right amount and types of micronutrients, on top of their base feed, to fully optimize their health. He specialized in providing a micronutrient formula that calmed pigs exhibiting "ear-biting syndrome," something to which David related human anxiety and mania.
“David would always say this is the best place to develop something because you can experiment,” Dallin Hardy reminisced about his father. “He’d say the incentives are always right in the animal industry. Money incentives are to keep the vet away, keep the animals healthy. Whereas for humans, he’d always say, the incentives are backward. We only really talk about helping humans when they’re sick.”
After years of helping farmers achieve animal health, David Hardy figured out how to help people using his specialized blend of micronutrients. He started out with an extensive literature review.
“Stacks on stacks on stacks of studies on all different nutrients,” Dallin explains. “The combination of these two things went into the formulation: to get the nutrients right and the quantities right. That’s really where [the formula] came from.” David then used the formula to help some of his own family members who were suffering from mood and mental health disorders. The results were astounding. Pretty soon, his work began to garner the attention of university researchers around the world. Fast forward 20 years, and there are over 40 published independent university studies based on his findings.
The supplement Daily Essential Nutrients has been over 20 years in the making, with minor tweaks along the way. The bulk of the work, though, was during the transition from animal to human nutrition. Then, over the years of research and development, with various ingredients becoming available as the industry has progressed, the formula has continued to get better.
Better Than the One-A-Day Vitamin
Let’s be clear: this isn’t your typical one-a-day vitamin. Daily Essential Nutrients is a clinical formulation, meant to support therapeutic results. Patients and customers typically take Hardy’s products three times a day to get their fullest effect (and notice when they don’t!).
“This is a little bit different [from a regular multivitamin],” Dallin explains in the podcast. “The comprehensive nature is one thing, that’s the broad-spectrum concept where we’re hitting all the essential micronutrients. But then there are also other things that differentiate us from other multivitamins out there, and that includes the form of nutrients—bioavailable and effective—and the balance. Balance is a big one—the ratios between the nutrients and the quantities of nutrients.”
What sets Hardy Nutritionals apart from other vitamins the most, however, is the extensive research on therapeutic dosing. When differentiating from a typical multivitamin, it’s important to ask, "How are we optimizing health?", not just "How do we deliver the minimum?"
“I’m familiar with how the big companies put together their labels,” Hardy acknowledges. “When you’re talking about supplements, it looks good to have the 'Supplement Facts' part of the label have nice clean percentages on it. So there’s a tendency in the industry to formulate to that. You formulate to make the label look good.”
Hardy's formula totally disregards that. Hardy supplements are built around the needs of the body and brain, not aesthetics. Optimizing our marketing does not come before optimizing our health, so nice, even percentages aren’t considered in our formula.
So why is it difficult to achieve the same results when taking a one-a-day vitamin vs Hardy’s?
It comes down to the absorbability, the ratios, and the forms of nutrients in the bottle.
“Let’s talk about minerals specifically, because it especially applies to minerals. You've got the rock form of minerals, mostly oxides and rocks, and then you've got the plant form of minerals. In plants, the minerals have extracted ions from the soil, and then they organify so there’s a big carbon structure that carries that ion. And that releases a mineral ion with a positive charge, counterbalanced by this negative charge, the organic carrier molecule. This is the concept of chelation. And that frees up that mineral for all its reduction-oxidation capacities in the body, and it just makes it way more bioavailable and soluble. If you can make it more bioavailable right upfront, then you can get more out of it.”
In layman's terms? Most multivitamins contain the rock form of minerals which the body cannot properly absorb. Hardy Nutritionals supplements use the plant forms which the body can put to good use, all the way past the blood-brain barrier.
This process, however, increases the bulkiness, or the volume of mineral ingredients. You have to take a really compact oxide, take that ion off, and instead combine it with a really complex, much larger, carbon structure. This means more capsules per day to achieve the desired result.
Store-bought multis can have effective forms of minerals in low quantities or ineffective forms with labels that make it look like there’s a lot of quantity in there. But you really can’t win when it comes to bioavailability in a one-a-day vitamin because the amount of minerals the body needs to fully thrive won't fit in one capsule or pill.
Hardy’s has a unique proprietary formula for chelation called NutraTek™ mineral technology that’s not seen elsewhere in the supplement world. The unique chelating molecules combine with the array of Hardy's minerals to create a complex method that mimics the way nature works.
The Broad-Spectrum Approach
With the broad-spectrum approach, the goal is simple: Make sure there are no holes. Cover all the bases. That's why Daily Essential Nutrients contains every single essential vitamin and mineral humans need to thrive.
“What we want, especially when we’re targeting the neurological system, is comprehensive health across the board. Because physiology and metabolic pathways are so interconnected, this law of the minimum really applies. When you’re formulating, you want to cover all the bases, that’s broad-spectrum. You also want to be therapeutic in dose so that you erase the limiting factors. You’ve raised the minimum potential for health. That’s the idea.”
The Ingredients and Why They Matter
At first glance, you may notice the amount of minerals found in DEN are offered at high dosages. There are reasons for that. Let’s break it down with magnesium as an example.
Magnesium is vital to the body. When the body is low on magnesium, we may experience depression, anxiety, low energy levels, and more.
When it comes to taking “too much”, it’s important to understand how the intake levels set by the Institute of Medicine actually work. The Insitute of Medicine sets intake levels on high or low ends. The percent values on the label are based on the low end. There’s a minimum intake for each nutrient that the population would need just to stave off nutritional deficiencies. These are the recommended allowances you’re supposed to get every day from your diet.
But a lot of people are getting less than the daily recommended amount. You know, the number that’s supposed to be just enough to avoid nutritional deficiency disease!
“On the high end, there’s a therapeutic range where you can start optimizing health up to a level of toxicity,” Dallin says. “The Institute of Medicine has set these tolerable intake levels where they define it as the amount you could take every day for a lifetime and should be safe. It’s below the known toxicity levels.”
Magnesium, for example, is the only ingredient that gets close to toxicity levels in Daily Essential Nutrients. A side effect of magnesium is diarrhea. However, hardly anyone reports having diarrhea as a side effect of taking Daily Essential Nutrients; and that’s because of the calcium, which induces constipation. It’s a balancing act.
“It’s a beautiful thing when you look at the synergy across the nutrients,” Dallin points out.
The synergy in the formula is what makes it an effective supplement.
Single Nutrient Therapy vs Complex
We’ve already talked about the importance of a broad-spectrum approach when it comes to micronutrients. But what about single nutrient therapy? At the end of the day, both methods have a place at the table. They’re not mutually exclusive.
“Broad-spectrum has its place as the first line of defense. For a lot of people, if that's sufficient, then that's really slick for the patient. It's just a one-stop-shop, take one thing that's comprehensive, it's balanced and get results from that and that's ideal.”
Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone. Pregnant women, for example, often face low levels of iron. In that circumstance, a broad spectrum supplement may not be adequate for their specific needs. That’s where single nutrient therapy can be a great asset to the body. Add a little extra iron to the mix, and life is good again.
Hardy Nutritionals is supported by a large and high-quality body of research. The numerous studies, varying from case studies to double-blinds and more, are on a variety of topics and are all independent, meaning that the researchers obtain their own funding, dive into the product, and study the effects the micronutrients have on patients. Hardy Nutritionals does not fund, carry out, or otherwise influence the research conducted on their products.
“All we do is supply the product. They set up the study designs, they do all the studies. It’s independent research,” Dallin emphasizes.
Across the board, scientists are finding this formula incredibly capable of easing neurological conditions such as anxiety, stress, ADHD, depression, mood stability, and more.
“One study that really encapsulates this is a rat study. In this model, researchers traumatize the rat's brain when it is born, and then have the opportunity to regrow the rat's brain over the next six weeks. With the micronutrient formula mixed into the rat chow, the regrowth of the frontal lobe was unlike anything the researchers had seen before. It was functional tissue, not scar tissue. The rats performed just as well as the control group, and in some cases, better.”