Pure Healthcare’s Kohei Iguchi asks the question…
Have you heard the radio ad recommending magnesium for stress, or TV commercials with that lady from the pharmacy explaining how vitamin C helps to fight colds and flu, and even your neighbor advising you to get some fish oils for your joint pain?
These days, it seems like everywhere you go, you are bombarded with information on how nutritional supplements can improve your health. The trouble is that you are likely to end up at a supermarket feeling frustrated at hundreds of different supplements to choose from! Before you know it, your kitchen pantry contains mountains of supplements that have expired because they were not effective.
Does this sound familiar to you?
It is true that nutritional supplements can help to improve our health and wellbeing, especially with our modern diet, or so-called “convenient” foods filled with sugar, pesticides and artificial ingredients. In fact, a landmark study published in the Journal American College of Nutrition found “reliable declines” in the amount of nutrition in 43 different vegetables and fruit from 1950 to 1999 due to modern agricultural practices designed to increase yield rather than nutrition. Ideally, we would all be having organic foods each meal, but this is not financially nor economically realistic for the majority so far.
So we turn to nutritional supplements, which then raises the concern about safety and reliability.
You should know about…
EFFECTIVENESS: Certain forms of vitamins, minerals and herbs that may not work as effectively or even cause some side effects? For example, a form of magnesium called magnesium oxide can cause loose bowels.
DRUG INTERACTIONS WITH SUPPLEMENTS: Your supplements may adversely interact with your medication! Although the risks are low, certain supplements may either increase or decrease the effects of your medication. A common example is the use of St. John’s Wort with certain antidepressants, anticonvulsants and antineoplastic drugs. Although some may bring positive effects when used appropriately, it MUST be used under professional supervision.
THE INGREDIENTS: Some supplements may not contain what they say they do? Since nutritional supplements are regarded as ‘food’, there are no professional bodies to regulate and monitor manufacturing processes and labelling in New Zealand. Despite the guidelines established by the Dietary Supplements Regulations 1985, there are no official pre-approval processes to ensure the products are manufactured to an acceptable quality, safe to use, and complies with the law. A recent study conducted by University of Auckland showed that around 90% of fish oils sold in the New Zealand market contained much less omega 3 oil than what was claimed on the label, and some had even gone rancid.
Scary, isn’t it? So, next time you see a “Buy 2 and get 1 free” deal on supplements sold in a large bin at the supermarket…think again!
Choosing the right supplements can be daunting and time-consuming, especially with so much media hype and conflicting information. Talking to a health food store clerk may not be enough as they do not have enough information about your health, such as your medical history, list of medications, diet / lifestyle, and allergies.
It is crucial to talk to a qualified natural health professional who is well versed in the use of supplements to check the safety of your current medication and supplements, and discuss with you about whether the supplements you are taking are truly effective. The practitioner may also provide Practitioner Only products, with superior potency and purity, regulated by strict safety and quality assurance procedures.
This is a simple yet powerful way to reduce the mountains of supplements in your pantry and effectively improve your health with ease and a sense of security for you and your family.
Qualified Naturopath, Medical Herbalist, Advanced Hemaview Practitioner
Channel Magazine: Issue 55 June 2015