The recent Consumer Reports article about dietary supplements strengthens the case for naturopathic doctors. The headline of the report “Supplements can make you Sick” suggests the dangers of dietary supplements and that they may be doing more harm than good. It takes a closer look at the report to determine the nuanced truth.
I included a link to the article below but if you don’t have the time or interest to read it, here’s my synopsis:
- Many of the dietary supplements and vitamins available at drugstores and big-box stores may not have the adequate potency or ingredients to be effective and may contain harmful additives.
- Many dietary supplements claiming to aid in weight loss contain dangerous stimulants and should be avoided.
- The use of physician quality dietary supplements and vitamins can be safe if used under the supervision and direction of a physician.
- Many medical doctors (MDs) and pharmacists are not adequately trained in the therapeutic use of vitamins and dietary supplements.
- Physician quality and USP verified nutritional supplements contain the ingredients listed on their labels in the correct potency, but many other supplements may not.
- Individuals choosing to use vitamins and dietary supplements for their health should be consulting with a licensed Naturopathic Doctor (ND) who is trained in the safe and effective use of these products as well as potential side effects of these products and interactions they may have with prescription medications. Hint: your neighbor/aunt/best friend/the celebrity endorser of the product likely doesn’t have a naturopathic medical degree and you should not be taking their medical advice.
- The 15 supplement ingredients highlighted in the Consumer Reports article do you have the possible side effects and cautions listed in the article. However, some of these supplements and herbs can be used safely under the direction of a licensed Naturopathic Doctor (ND) familiar that is with your medical history.
- The Consumer Reports article estimated that 23,000 emergency room visits are made annually because of side effects or allergic reaction to dietary supplements and while we need to pay attention to these adverse events and make efforts to prevent them, these events are far fewer than emergency room visits made because of properly prescribed medications. Just as one example, “some estimates suggest that each year more than 100,000 patients are hospitalized for NSAID-related GI complications alone…Moreover, it has been reported that 16,500 persons die annually from these complications.” http://www.ajmc.com/journals/supplement/2013/a467_nov13_nsaid/a467_nov13_fine_s267
What can you do about this issue?
If you are currently using dietary supplements and herbs, consult with a licensed Naturopathic Doctor. To find one in your area, see the Massachusetts Society of Naturopathic Doctors or American Association of Naturopathic Physicians listings of members.
If you currently live in Massachusetts, you can help residents gain access to qualified naturopathic doctors, click the link below to sign the petition urging your legislators to vote favorably to license Naturopathic Doctors in Massachusetts:
What is Advanced Health & Wellness going to do about this issue?
We will continue to offer physician quality, highly vetted, safe and effective nutritional supplements and herbal medicines for Dr. Tracy’s patients. In the next few months we will also be increasing our existing inventory to meet your needs. In Autumn 2016, Advanced Health & Wellness will also be offering economical options for clients of all the practitioners (not just Dr. Tracy’s patients) that are physician quality alternatives to vitamins usually found in drugstores and big-box discount stores or online (examples: vitamin C, calcium, fish oil, vitamin D-3).
We will be sending out a patient survey via email to learn more about how we can meet you and your families’ nutritional needs. Please take 5 minutes to complete this survey.
I am also working on creating a more extensive online partnership to allow Advanced Health & Wellness’ patients to order physician quality nutritional supplements and herbal medicines, as well as organic food products and organic and all-natural skin care, sunscreen and cosmetics with a 15% discount and have these items shipped directly to your door.
To read the full Consumer Reports article, follow this link: