Supplements and other natural health products

Would you prefer to take supplements or other natural health products rather than a pharmaceutical medication?  Perhaps you have already visited the health food store in your area to seek out a nutritional supplement to help you but after having used it for a month, you realize it isn’t really doing anything.  You search Dr. Google and he or she presents a list of different supplements that may help your condition so you go back to the health food store and end up spending $$$ on all the supplements. These don’t really help and you are still having to rely on that prescription from your medical doctor that you don’t want to have to take.  At this point you may be thinking natural supplements do not work and that if you truly want relief, pharmaceuticals are the way to go.

In 2015, the Toronto Star published an article presenting a statistic from the 2010 Ipsos-Reid survey stating that it is estimated 73% of Canadians regularly use natural health products (Pelley, 2015) so the demand for natural health products (herbs, homeopathics, supplements) is on the rise.  If supplements did not work, there would not be a large percentage of people using them so that means yes, they do work and may be used in place of some pharmaceuticals depending on your situation and condition.  You just have to make sure you are taking the right supplement for your condition in the right dose that would help YOU since each individual has different requirements based on one’s body physiology and anything else that is going on in one’s lives.

For example, two individuals that have high blood pressure may require different treatment approaches – one may be more focused on dietary modifications and the other may be more focused on a stress management protocol.

Another example is anxiety and depression – this can be related to a life event and one may need counselling and something to calm the mind or it can be related to an unknown hormonal imbalance or digestive imbalance.

How can I figure out what I should take? Your best (and safest) option is to work with a regulated and licensed holistic healthcare professional who has gone through extensive training (ie- a naturopathic doctor) and can work with you to identify the root cause & create an individualized treatment protocol for you.  Treating the whole person through individualized treatment is one of the key principles of naturopathic medicine.

Types of Holistic Healthcare Practitioners

Not sure which type of healthcare professional you should see? The following healthcare professionals have extensive knowledge in their respective natural, holistic treatment areas:

  • Naturopathic doctor: will take the time to take your complete health history (mental, emotional, physical health), perform any physical exams, recommend any lab testing necessary, and be able to recommend an individualized treatment plan using a combination of food, nutritional supplements, herbs, acupuncture, counselling and/or homeopathy. Naturopathic doctors are also trained to check interactions between supplements, herbs, and any drugs you are on.
  • Acupuncturist: Will take your health history and come up with an acupuncture protocol for you
  • Nutritionist: Will help created an individualized meal plan and supplement protocol for you based on your health condition
  • Homeopath: Will take your complete history and find a homeopathic remedy to address what is happening on the mental, emotional, and physical level.

In conclusion, yes, you too can benefit from the healing power of nutritional supplements and natural healing methods and it may be possible to restore your health and slowly wean away from any pharma drugs you are on but it may require an investment into booking an appointment with a holistic healthcare professional.  This is to ensure you are taking the right supplement for you based on your current health situation and any other medications you are on to prevent any adverse reactions from developing.  You may have to pay out of pocket but in the end you may end up saving because you can get professional guidance rather than spending $$$ on the trial and error of different supplements because nothing is really working.  If you are lucky enough to have extended health benefits, your benefits provider may fully or partially cover the cost of the services!

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Reference: 

Pelley, L.  (9 Feb 2015).  Supplement industry under fire.  Toronto ON: Thestar.com.  Retrieved on 8 Oct 2016 from https://www.thestar.com/business/2015/02/09/supplement-industry-under-fire.html.

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