Why is it important to know about nutrient interactions?
Alternative medicine is a term mainly used by those practitioners who wish to establish that they are alternative to orthodox medicine. Complementary medicine was first used in 1976 in the United Kingdom as a means of linking the most appropriate techniques to serve the patients at physical, mental, emotional, vitality and spiritual dimensions. Complementary medicine is holism in practice.
Complementary and orthodox medicine allows health practitioners to seek to complement the needs of the patient, by placing the patients first. This effectively removes any implied competition between professionals. Newspapers, magazines, internet and the mass media feed our curiosity for new supplements and ways to manage our health on a daily basis. The public want to know what works and are willing to pay for products that will make them feel better. The problem is, with so many products, inconsistent media coverage, lack of regulatory and issues with quality control, there is increasing frustration surrounding the natural medicine industry.
The interactions between natural medicine and pharmaceuticals is a relatively new area, but again there are resources, software and medical journals available. As a Naturopath, I feel it is my duty to encourage the public to speak to a qualified Naturopath and/or your Pharmacist about the supplements that you are taking, particularly if you are prescribed over the counter medication.
A qualified naturopath can also review the supplements you are taking to ensure that you are not wasting your money, you are taking it in the correct dosage for therapeutic benefits based on the research, and also increase your awareness of any adverse effects the supplements may have with particular health conditions.
Although there are many supplements that can be safely used by the public, it is important to note that the complex chemistry of herbs and multi ingredient formulations may have profound effects, both beneficial and harmful, on the human body.
We must then also take into consideration the interaction these natural medicines may have with prescription and over-the-counter medications. Over the last 30years a large amount of research has been published in medical journals on natural medicine and this is increasing daily.
It is also important to ensure that your supplements are register with their Therapeutic Goods Administrations in Australia (TGA) and that each product contains a breakdown of ingredients and the dosage of each ingredient. Many items on the internet may be either a waste of money, have ambiguous research behind them, or doing more harm than good.
On a positive note, the correct administration of an integrative approach to medicine could utilize therapies that assist with the adverse effects of some medications, provided they are prescribed by a qualified Naturopathy and health professionals.
Keep a watch out for more of my blogs on some commonly used supplements such as fish oils, calcium, coenzyme Q10, Glucosamine and Chondroitin, etc. I will inform you of the correct dosages, forms for increased absorption, my preferred brand label, and any possible interactions.
In the meantime, until you visit a qualified naturopath or speak to your Pharmacist, it may be wise to have a 2hour gap between the ingestion of supplements and pharmaceutical medications.
DISCLAIMER: This is not to replace medical advice. Please speak to your Medical Practitioner if you have any concerns. Please contact your Naturopath if you would like to do a supervised detox.