A parent’s role in biomed requires us to move with caution, act with bravery and yet, race against time. Biomed, like everything else in Autism is a tough journey, full of dangers, pitfalls and requires deep pockets. It requires full family participation and you’re expected to hit the ground running. We need to be smart shoppers, compare prices and source alternative suppliers. In the end, we turn into procurement and sourcing experts.
In Malaysia, we have several options on where to source supplements. Mind you, it is a little bit harder to get, but the results are well worth it.
Option 1 – Purchase from your DAN practitioner. Depending on who your doctor is, he or she may be able to supply most of your supplements. Some doctors only supply Tier-3 supplements. Some doctors do not carry any supplements at all, some may depend on delivery and stock availability. Provided that you are able to travel regularly to where your doctor practice, this may be the most convenient option as it takes away the hassle of sourcing your own products. Some doctors are able to take credit card payment, otherwise cash flow may be an issue for some.
Option 2 – Purchase from a retailer. In Singapore, Back2Basics carries a good range of supplements from several trusted brands. They also sell food items and organic cleaning products. Visit them at www.b2bdiet.com.sg In Jakarta, Kedai Radita carries Kirkman’s and a few select brands. Please contact the owner Pak Agus for details at firstname.lastname@example.org . Both these 2 retailers are not able to deliver outside of their city/country. Cash terms only, no credit card facility with either shops. However, Back2Basics offers NETS payment facility for those who have a Singapore debit card. For those who are able to travel regularly to Hong Kong, please check out www.littlegianthk.com . Some countries may have higher taxes and duties, this will affect the cost of the product.
Option 3 – Purchase online. There are a few online stores especially in the United States that carries a huge range of supplements. This online store www.spectrumsupplements.com delivers directly to Malaysia. Their prices are competitive and they offer good rates for international deliveries. There may be other retailers, however you would need to do your own research and contact them directly regarding delivery. For certain specialist products from certain companies that are not able to deliver directly to Malaysia, you can overcome this by setting up a hub account. There are services that creates a USA mailing address for you; you then have the products delivered to the address provided by the Hub service. In turn, the service will then post it to you. This will incur additional delivery costs and may take a longer turnaround time. But it’s invaluable for certain niche products that you are not able to get elsewhere. Visit www.vshub.com for details. With any international deliveries, you are subject to Malaysian customs inspection.
I generally do not recommend purchasing online any supplements that require refrigeration. Even though the company may provide ice packs and insulated packaging, I worry that in case of undue delays especially at Malaysian customs, the ice may melt in the meantime and you end up with a product that has lost it’s efficacy and stability due to our hot tropical climate.
When shopping for refrigerated products, do bring your own insulated bags and ice packs to ensure you maintain the potency and freshness of your products. Some doctors and retailers may provide it, however they usually run out of stock.
When purchasing directly from the doctors or retailers in neighboring countries, it’s advisable to bring supporting documents eg. test results or doctors prescription when crossing the border or flying through the international airport. In the event where a customs official question you on the many many bottles of capsules and tablets, you’ll need to show proof that it is for personal use and not for resale. So far, I have traveled by plane as well as driven across the Malaysia/Singapore border with no issues at all. But, just in case…..
Depending on your budget, time and travel arrangements, there are many options to choose from to suit your requirements. There are pros and cons to every method. I urge you to compare prices and source your products wisely. Price is not the only factor, dependability and the quality of service provided bears heavily in my mind whenever I shop for supplements. Obviously, it is not as convenient as popping over to your local Giant hypermarket, however nothing in Autism is ever easy or cheap. However, do not let this be an excuse not to pursue biomedical treatment. There are far bigger hurdles to overcome. It’s just part of the daily struggle and challenges we face daily in trying to recover our children.
By sourcing your own products, you’ll also find different formulations eg. magnesium comes in capsules, liquid AND soluble powder, at different potency, taste and texture. This way, you have the freedom to choose which formulations suits your child’s taste and preference. Your doctor or preferred retailer may only carry one type, however you’ll soon find that there are many choices out there.
I know many enterprising parents who actively source out the cheapest discounts straight from the distributors. Some are kind enough to insist that the distributor extend the discounts to their friends. Some parents purchase huge 25 kg bags of Epsom Salts and distribute it to friends, just because it’s such a hassle to purchase little 300mg bags all the time and the stores are always running out of stock. Some parents are conscientious enough to purchase supplements on behalf of friends when they are in Singapore or Jakarta. This is a harder task than it looks, their minds are often racing thinking of their own purchases for their own children and need to focus on this task. Yet they still take the time to help other parents in need. Oftentimes they use their own money upfront and take great care in ensuring the orders are right. Other kind parents constantly purchase supplements for friends when doing their own online orders. Not only that, they use their own money upfront first and bear the risk associated whenever customs officials question them. They rely on the fact that these friends will pay them back. The trust and kindness extended by these parents are much appreciated. Some people call them Autism Mom Bargain Hunters, I call them my friends.