Herbal Supplements, Are They Worth The Risk?

Many people nowadays are turning to what we know as “organics” and “naturals” or otherwise known as herbals. The rising popularity of herbal supplements has created a new fad,if you will,if not a new health lifestyle. But before you join the “proverbial” bandwagon, here are some things you need to know about this dietary supplement.

What really is the difference between a drug and a dietary supplement?

According to the definition of drugs as set by food and drug administrations in different countries, drugs are defined as chemicals that can prevent, prolong the life, treat other effects of a health condition, improve the quality of life, and/or cure ailments and diseases, or alter the function of any part or chemicals inside the body. These drugs may have approved therapeutic claims. As an example we can cite, paracetamol. This is a drug given to lower the body temperature in fever. Ascorbic acid is commonly used for the treatment of scurvy. Iron supplements are also used at times to treat mild cases of anemia when it occurs.

Herbal supplements are actually not classified as drugs really but as dietary supplements. The main difference between herbal supplements and drugs is that they do not have approved therapeutic claims unlike in the case of drugs. Moreover, dietary supplements could either contain vitamins, minerals, herbals, or amino acids, all geared to add to or supplement the diet of an individual. They are not intended to be taken alone as a substitute to any food or medicine but are to be used in conjunction with regular foods.

It is important to note that most of the manufactured medicines we now have once came from animals and plants. Over time skilled chemists isolated the life-saving or life-curing components and separated them from the harmful ones. This facilitated further drug research and drug development that lead to the production of a variety of drugs for many ailments and conditions from synthetic sources. Please keep in mind that Herbal supplements are made from a mixture of crude herbs reduced into powder or gel form, and later on packaged as tablets, liquid and capsules, there is a possibility that life-threatening or at least body chemistry-altering components are still present. Additionally, bacteria may also be present in the herbs are they may at times not be adequately treated/sanitized when produced, thus the need for concern from the medical community.

Is there a growing concern with the use of herbal supplements?

Yes. With the rising popularity of using and consuming anything herbal or organic is the proliferation of fake herbal supplements that threaten to endanger lives. If this is the case, then why you may ask are herbal supplements given drug administration approvals? This is one way of ensuring the safety of the people is to have all candidate drugs, food, drinks, and dietary supplements registered with the proper authority. Otherwise, they would pose more risk with these things being sold in the black market. We could ensure the quality and safety of herbal supplements if they get proper classification with the food and drug administration. Moreover, people may be able to file the proper complaints in the event a worsening of health condition is proven to be linked to the use of a particular herbal supplement. Yes this allows for some measure of regulation as far as the distribution and use of herbs is concerned.

Are herbal supplements worth the risk?

Yes. It cannot be discounted that many who have tried herbal supplements experienced an improvement in their health-whether this is either due to the herbs themselves or due to a placebo effect, as long as they do not worsen the condition of an individual, then using them is worth the risk. Many herbalists will also tell you that herbs are not miracle pills. For every year that the illness or condition existed in the individual, at least one month of Treatment of the recommended herbs are to be administered to benefit from it. But of course, certain things must be considered before taking any herbal supplement:

Your doctor knows best.

First of all, clear your condition with your doctor. Ask him/her if taking a particular herbal supplement is safe given your health condition. People with heart, liver, or kidney trouble are usually not advised to take these, or at the minimum is to take these herbals in minimum amounts. All substances pass through the liver and kidney to be processed and filtered respectively. Certain herbs used for losing weight, contains chemicals with heart-inducing effects that can increase heart rate, which in turn can exhaust the heart and cause heart attacks in several documented cases by the American Medical Association.

Always Follow the directions for use.

Never take more herbal supplements than what is directed by the doctor or as instructed on the bottle. Each individual may react differently to the components of herbal supplements. While it may be perfectly safe for one individual to take in a supplement, another person may be allergic to it
with grave consequences.

It has no approved curative effect.

No matter how the product pamphlet or the label of the bottle sounds about how it has been found to be helpful in certain health conditions, these herbal supplements are not therapeutic. So do not substitute these for your doctor prescribed regimen of drugs for the treatment of certain diseases, or for the control of blood pressure, lowering of blood sugar and cholesterol levels and to fight off infections.

Are Weight Loss Supplements Right For You?

Most doctors will tell you that weight loss supplements are not necessary and that only a good controlled diet along with daily exercise is the only thing one needs to lose weight. This is true. however with today’s working society with 2 parents working and trying to raise children at the same time who has time for exercise? Who has time to plan good nutritional meals?

I know first hand what this is all about. My wife is probably around 60 pounds over weight. Now before we go any further I would just like to say that I love her just as much now as I did when we first met. Her weight does not bother me. She is a beautiful person both inside and out. But I know inside she is hurting. And for the last several years she has struggled with her weight almost daily. And the biggest problem as I mentioned above is time. Time to prepare good quality nutritious meals both for her self and the children. Time to do sufficient exercise in order to burn off calories.Our schedule is chaotic to say the least. She works from 9:00 AM till 5:00 PM. I work from 3:30 PM till 12:00 AM . When I’m not with the kids she is with the kids. Only on weekends do the kids have both parents home at the same time.

Back to supplements.

First they will not work if you do not get the proper diet and at least exercise once per week. My wife has tried supplements and they did work for her. What supplements do is to help speed up your metabolism rate decreasing the need for daily exercise. They also supplement the nutrition needed that you may not be getting from your diet for proper weight loss. Weight loss supplements actually regulate your blood sugar level, this helps you overcome severe sugar and carbohydrate cravings that sabotage even the most strong-willed weight loss efforts.

So are weight loss nutrition supplements right for you? When my wife lost 40 pounds using supplements she felt great. She was happy and gained allot of self esteem back. Not to mention that she had allot more energy. If you have a hectic schedule and cannot find enough time in the day to prepare proper nutritional meals and get regular daily exercise then I suggest you give supplements a try.

My opinion is that if they help you to lose weight and make you feel good about yourself again then go for it. What do you have to lose except a few pounds. There are hundreds of products on the internet you can try. A couple of my wife’s favorites can be found at the following web page. http://weight-loss-nutrition-supplements.com

You can also get good information on dieting and weight loss at this site along with a very handy calorie calculator.

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