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Self-Prescribing Supplements


I know what you’re thinking (I’ve been there)- buying supplements from a shop based on a google search IS the cheapest way to treat different conditions- but at what cost?


Here’s what google/the chemist doesn’t tell you.


Expensive is not always better

I mean, it is technically (possibly) better for the profits of chemists and health food shops. The cost, however, is not an indication on the quality of the product you are taking.


Form

For vitamins and minerals, they come in different chemical forms. These forms make a huge difference to how the body absorbs and reacts to the nutrient. Different forms can also be used in the body for different purposes- and the marketing on the supplements won’t always show you this.


Safety

I almost want to shout it from the rooftops. Your body is so unique in what is going on for it. Your skin condition could be because of a lack of collagen- or it could be because your liver is sluggish. Herbs and supplements are not automatically safe because they are “less powerful” than conventional medication. Herbs and supplements are strong and used in the wrong context- can have really awful side effects (note: in the right context and with professional support- no side effects).


Individualised treatment

Google cannot possibly take into consideration all the different factors that go into making your health the way that it is. This makes it a gamble to go out and buy a supplement or herb from the chemist.


Dosing

Most supplements you buy from the shop contain a dose lower than what is needed to have a therapeutic benefit. This means that when you take the dose on the side of the container, you aren’t having enough to have an effect. Because you also don’t necessarily know what the upper limit is, you also can’t just dose yourself (see the safety section).


I do want to note that it is really positive that you are trying to take some steps towards improving your health. Herbs and supplements used under professional supervision are there to help push your body back into a state of health. If you are having to take herbs or supplements for a really long period of time (anything over 3 months is odd) to manage a condition or symptom- then you are not addressing the underlying cause and you are long-term wasting money. Also, depending on your bodies storage of the nutrient- if you take a supplement for too long you could end up having too much (and having negative health implications because of this).

Disclaimer: As a naturopath, we do sell herbs and supplements. If we have them stocked in clinic, we get a portion of profit from the sale of these items. If we are going through an external company to get your treatments, we don’t (i.e. when you have to order through a website and get it delivered directly to your house)- then they get the profit. In my case, I don’t currently get a profit from the sale of these items.



#health #herbsandsupplements #supplements #selfprescribing

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