It has come to my attention that the latest issue of Consumer Reports (http://www.consumerreports.org/health/natural-health/dietary-supplements/supplement-side-effects/index.htm) contains articles regarding the safety or lack thereof of certain natural supplements and herbs. Many people are very concerned, especially those who take natural supplements for their health. One might jump to the conclusion that I am against physicians and western medicine. Quite the contrary. I have the utmost respect for western trained medical personnel. We need their expertise, especially in crisis situations. However, we must continue to have the option to choose prescriptions, natural herbs, or a combination of the two.
I would like to address some of these concerns:
- If you read the fine print, you will find that Consumer Reports credits its independent consultants with the findings of this report. The independent consultants are known collectively as the BMJ Group. This is the British Medical Journal, and its subsidiary entities. The Medical journal is biased against natural supplements, as more patients using natural supplements would decrease the demand for chemically prepared drugs. It is a well-known fact that pharmaceutical salesmen routinely leave samples for physicians to use and physicians are routinely given gifts in exchange for increasing sales of product with increased prescriptions.
- The third heading on the chart in this issue of Consumer Reports is labeled “POSSIBLE DANGERS.” If I were going to write an article denoting the danger of natural supplements, then I would not have a heading of Possible dangers. I would have a heading of “KNOWN DANGERS.” I would also have evidence of case studies that would prove that a naturally occurring substance was dangerous.
- Additionally, many of the supplements are labeled ‘likely unsafe.’ What does that mean exactly? Where is the proof? Case studies, Clinical evidence?
- The COMMENTS section frequently cites the FDA in its warnings. It should be noted that not one of the listed supplements has been proven to cause any adverse effect. It should also be noted that many pharmaceutical drugs which have been given the FDA seal of approval, have since been recalled due to adverse side effects and death.
- It is noted that for almost every pharmaceutical commercial seen on television, the benefits of the drug are followed with a long and often very small print of the possible side effects of the drug.
For most of the supplements listed, there is a pharmaceutical drug that could be prescribed for the same purpose. I will elaborate on just one: Yohimbe. This herb has its pharmaceutical counterpart in the drugs that include Viagra and Cialis. I have heard the side effects of these drugs, which include blindness. I have never heard of a client becoming sick or experiencing any untoward side effect because he used Yohimbe.
As someone who chooses to use natural herbs and supplements, I understand that not all products are created equal. I make it my business to be informed as to the quality of ingredients that I put in my body. I choose pure, wild-crafted herbs. These are herbs that are grown in the wild, with no chemicals. These are the supplements that I recommend to my clients. On more than one occasion, I have seen clients come into the clinic with a bag of supplements that he has bought at a huge chain store, or off the internet. Many times we will compare active ingredients. We will often see that the main component in the supplement will be cellulose, which is a filler. This is the number one clue that the supplement under investigation is not pure.
I am pleased to also report that most of the people who seek alternative forms of medicine, whether homeopathic, herbal or supplemental, know the dangers of using FDA approved drugs, and understand that they themselves are responsible for choosing the purest quality herbal products available.
I invite you to share your success stories regarding your use of natural pure herbs and supplements.
Committed to excellence in education,