Natural health supplements are becoming increasingly popular these days, and for good reason. All natural supplements are often very effective at improving overall health and treating a wide range of health problems. In addition, natural health supplements are often safer than over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications, having fewer side effects. They are also usually more affordable than prescription medications.
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However, not all natural supplements are safe, and not all are effective. Here is what you should watch out for when selecting natural supplements.
Do they work?
While many natural supplements are quite effective, not all are. How do you know if a particular supplement is going to work or if it is a waste of money?
To start with, you need to do your research. The internet is a great tool for that. Don’t rely on advertisements that are trying to sell you products, but look for studies that test how effective a supplement is. Look for articles in medical journals or articles written by doctors. Look for explanations about why a particular supplement is supposed to do a particular thing, and think about whether it makes sense. And if it sounds too good to be true, well, then it probably is.
You can also consult with a health care professional who is knowledgeable about natural health supplements. Not all doctors are very knowledgeable about all natural supplements, so before asking your doctor his or her opinion about a supplement, ask about his or her training and education with regard to natural medicine. If you want to use natural health supplements regularly, find a doctor who is qualified to advise you about them. You might find other health care professional that can advise you as well, besides medical doctors. For instance, many chiropractors and dieticians are very knowledgeable about natural supplements.
Are they safe?
In general, all natural supplements are usually safer than over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications. They have fewer side effects and are less likely to interact with other medications you might be taking. However, it is important to understand that not all natural supplements are safe for everyone. For instance, echinacea is a popular natural supplement that is frequently used to treat colds and minor infections. It has been used for centuries for this purpose. It very rarely causes any side effects at all. However, people with autoimmune disorders like Multiple Sclerosis should never take echinacea, because it stimulates the immune system and might make their condition worse.
So how can you know if a supplement is safe for you? Remember, you need to do your research. It is usually not difficult to find information about which herbs or other supplements are not safe for people with certain conditions. But take the time to do the research. You can also ask your doctor. Again, make sure you have a doctor that is knowledgeable about natural health supplements. Some doctors will just advise you against taking any natural supplements because they are not educated about them. A pharmacist might also be able to tell you if a particular supplement will interfere with any medication you are taking.
One thing you want to keep in mind with regard to natural supplements is that the FDA regulates them they way they regulate food, not the way they regulate medications. With medications, the FDA requires that the manufacturer prove they are safe and reliable. But the FDA does not require that for natural supplements. The FDA is not strict about the quality of ingredients in supplements and they are not even strict about the amount of the ingredients in the supplements. You might think you are buying herbs in a certain strength, for example, but not really get that. Therefore, when you are researching whether a particular supplement is right for you, also do a bit of research about the companies that make the supplement you are interested in. Your doctor or dietician might also be able to direct you toward reputable companies.