What you need to know before popping that “healthy” pill or powder—straight from a doctor.
Thinking about taking an herbal supplement to enhance your wellness routine?
“Always talk to your doctor first,” says Jena Sussex-Pizula, M.D., a doctor at the University of Southern California. “Taking supplements prior to a full diagnosis and discussion with your doctor can be dangerous, potentially delay needed care, and interfere with other more appropriate medications.”
Using supplements, like this ligandrol Australia residents swear by, properly can actually be helpful. “There are so many different healing modalities available,” says Dr. Sussex-Pizula. “As a primary care doctor, you get the unique chance to evaluate the entire patient, their symptoms, their medical conditions, and their medications. If after analyzing all of that, there is research data suggesting a supplement can be helpful, I discuss it with my patients.”
“Herbal supplements are actually very diverse and, unfortunately, not regulated,” says Dr. Sussex-Pizula. “They’re largely interpreted by patients as safe, but there are significant side effects, even toxicity of many supplements.”
FYI, that means that products don’t have to be proven safe. They don’t have to be proven effective. They don’t even have to contain the supplement they claim to be, Dr. Sussex-Pizula says. “These companies are under no obligation to do any post-market safety testing either, and they don’t have to monitor for its effects on its customers.” Eek.
Natural doesn’t always mean safe.
Yes, St. John’s wort, gingko, and ephedra are natural compounds, but as, Dr. Sussex-Pizula points out, so are “morphine, cocaine, box jellyfish, venom, arsenic, and ricin.” Needless to say, these aren’t things you want in your body.
“Plus, while the desired compound may be beneficial, the exact amounts and additional compounds in the supplement are often unknown,” she says. (FYI, your protein powder may be contaminated too.)
The “safest” herbal supplement? Simply eating a whole foods diet, rich in micronutrients. Dr. Sussex-Pizula suggests you get your supplements “directly from the plant, fruit, or vegetable itself” to avoid any of the safety issues with supplements.