Supplements can come in capsules, liquids, sprays, and juice. They can be: herbs, amino acids or extracts from vegetables, plants, and fruits. Getting your daily dose of vitamins and minerals is key to a well functioning body. For this reason, many North Americans have increased their intake of natural supplements over the last 10 to 15 years.
According to the American Botanical Council, in the U.S alone, consumers spend over 5 billion dollars a year on just herbal supplements.
While getting the essential vitamins and minerals is a good way to look after your natural health, naturopaths and holistic nutritionists say there are certain things you need to know about your natural supplements to keep your health on track.
1. Not all natural supplements are as natural as they initially appear to be. Be sure to read all the ingredients on the labels. Some include non-natural ingredients and chemical preservatives that you might want to avoid. If natural health is your goal then read all the information on the label carefully.
2. Some herbal supplements can cause serious side effects if mixed with certain prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Some may also decrease the effectiveness of anesthetic for surgery so it is important to talk to your doctor.
3. Picking and choosing single natural supplements isn’t always a good practice. A lot of supplements work best in concert with each other. For example, some nutrients, like calcium need other supplements around them in order to absorb properly. Essentially balancing your vitamins and minerals is important.
4. Natural supplements, including herbal supplements, are not federally regulated. With this in mind, it is prudent that you do your research before choosing a brand. Talk to friends about the products they know and trust. Find out if any studies have been conducted on the supplements you are interested in. This will give you more confidence and peace of mind.
5. Unless otherwise advised by a professional, sticking to the recommended dosage for a supplement is suggested. You may not see results right away, but it could simply mean that you have to take the supplement a little longer.
Years ago, people studying to become medical doctors were told that if you ate a good diet, you would get all the vitamins, minerals and fiber your body required. Time has passed and medical reviews and research have led doctors to another view. They now believe that low vitamin and mineral intake is associated with a higher risk of diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. A few years ago, the American Medical Association officially started recommending the daily use of a basic multivitamin supplement for all adults in an attempt to lower the incidence of such diseases. Many experts in the medical field say supplements have their place if they are not filled with chemicals and are used properly.
The natural health industry continues to grow because the demand in there…and many medical professionals are now saying natural health is possible for individuals who are willing to do a little careful planning.