Are Natural Dietary Supplements Always Safe? - A Comprehensive Guide

It's a common belief that natural things are safer or better than artificial or refined substances. However, it's important to understand that while many dietary or herbal supplements (and some prescription drugs) come from natural sources, “natural” doesn't always mean it's a better or safer option for your health. Not only is this not always true, but some natural products can be harmful even if used as directed. For example, comfrey and kava can damage the liver.

St. John's Wort, ginkgo and ephedra are natural compounds, but as Dr. Sussex-Pizula points out, so are morphine, cocaine, box jellyfish, poison, arsenic and ricin. It goes without saying that these aren't things you want in your body.

As an expert in the field of nutrition and health, I'm often asked about the safety of natural dietary supplements. The truth is that while some natural supplements can be beneficial to your health, there are also potential risks associated with them. It's important to understand that just because something is natural doesn't mean it's safe for everyone. Recent research found that 14 of the 27 brands of dietary supplements contained the banned substance in a variety of doses.

For someone who is generally healthy and eats a wide variety of foods, supplements aren't worth it. However, unlike medications, most people choose which dietary supplements to take without their doctor, nurse, or pharmacist telling them anything about it. Synthetic nutrients are dietary supplements that are manufactured artificially in a laboratory or in an industrial process). Despite knowing that adequate levels of vitamin D are critical to good health and disease prevention, vitamin D supplements are also under intense scrutiny (49, 50). However, the FDA does not review the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed. Talk to your healthcare provider before using dietary supplements to determine how much is safe to take based on individual needs.

When your healthcare provider recommends supplements to meet specific needs, they can be beneficial to your health. For certain groups of people at risk of suffering from nutritional deficiencies, certain synthetic supplements may be beneficial. As its resources allow, the FDA reviews supplement labels and other information, such as leaflets, statements, and online advertisements. However, several other studies have linked multivitamin supplements to improved memory in older adults (40, 41, 42, 4). Some companies don't follow FDA rules on making claims and labeling supplements correctly. In conclusion, it's important to remember that just because something is natural doesn't mean it's always safe for everyone.

Before taking any dietary supplement - natural or synthetic - it's important to talk to your healthcare provider first to determine how much is safe for you based on individual needs.

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