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To Supplement or Not To Supplement?

09 Aug

Should you take supplements? A simple question, deserves a simple answer, yes. Supplements should be taken daily to ensure good health. Everyone should take a multi-vitamin/mineral, Omega-3, calcium (containing magnesium, boron, vitamins D& K). There are benefits to taking additional supplements like Ester-C, CoQ10 and L-carnitine too.

Most doctors do not know enough about supplements to actively use them. However, you can ensure your safety and promote good health by communicating what supplements you take with your doctor. Supplements work like medication and you need to understand that there can be serious consequences to self prescribing supplements. Despite their potency and affects on wellness, supplements are not regulated like drugs. Supplements are not drugs, and thus are not pre-approved like drugs. But they can interact with medications or other supplements that you are already taking. Working with a doctor or practitioner who can communicate with your physician about any supplements you take is ideal.

Things you should know if you are using supplements for a medical condition:

1. Supplements or natural medicines are enablers that work to facilitate a natural physiological process and support the natural function of a physiological process which in turn helps the body to function better. The impact is not immediate (typically takes 4-6 weeks to build up a therapeutic amount in the blood) and best when taken over the long term.

2. When you use supplements to support your body supplements should not be seen as a solution you’ll need to lean on forever: unlike pharmaceutical drugs, the best supplements are designed to “supplement” a need and teach your body to support itself. Good supplements will not build dependency, but will allow you to grow into a place of better health where you don’t need to use them any more.

3. Make sure you select supplements that are labeled Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). GMP is a term that is recognized worldwide for the control and management of manufacturing and quality control of foods, pharmaceutical products, and medical devices. By doing this you can avoid supplements that may be and that may be improperly packaged or labeled or contain:

• the wrong ingredients
• too much or too little of a dietary ingredient
• contamination problems due to natural toxins, bacteria, pesticides, glass, lead, or other substances

If you need a reliable source of information to help communicate with your doctor here is a list.

1. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM): Toll-free: 1-888-644-6226; E-mail: info@nccam.nih.gov Web site: nccam.nih.gov

2. American Botanical Council, http://abc.herbalgram.org

3. The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, www.sran.org

4. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, www.naturaldatabase.com, phone: 209.472.2244

5. Endocrine Practice, “American Association of Clinical American Association Of Clinical Endocrinologists Medical Guidelines For The Clinical Use Of Dietary Supplements And Nutraceuticals, volume 9, number 5 / September / October 2003, pages 417 – 470.

6. The German Commission E Monographs (Translated to English by the American Botanical Council 380 monographs evaluating the safety and efficacy of herbs)

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