Nutrients extracted from herbs are bound together and formulated into a supplement that you can take to complement the nutrition in your diet. Some nutritional supplements supply the body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to function efficiently. Others, however, provide support to different organs, glands and systems in the human body. Despite the numerous benefits that nutritional supplements have to offer, there are precautions you should take in order to derive the most benefits.
Nutritional Supplements & Prescription Medications
Some people mistakenly think that because natural herbal supplements are made from herbal extracts, there’s nothing to worry about. However, just as nutritional supplements can provide nutrition and nourishment to your body, the opposite is true when not taken correctly.
According to Luz Maria Briseno, Certified Nutritionist, if you choose to take nutritional supplements along with prescription medications, don’t take them together. It’s better to to take the supplements about two hours apart from any medication.
However, certain nutritional supplements should never be taken while on certain prescription medications. For example, turmeric promotes blood circulation. If you take blood thinning medications and have an ulcer or aneurism, taking turmeric could cause uncontrollable bleeding.
Other nutritional supplements such as cinnamon, powdered fenugreek, pear cactus, ginseng and cat’s claw help to regulate blood sugar levels. If you’re on diabetes medication, taking such supplements could result in low blood sugar. Consult your doctor or health care professional before incorporating such supplements into your diet.
It’s a good idea to consult a health care professional if you decide to take supplements along with prescription medications. Nutritional supplements generally contain multiple herbal extracts. Research each supplement to make sure that there are no known side effects or interactions with the drugs you’re taking.
Natural Supplements and Multivitamins
Unless otherwise advised by your doctor, most people would benefit from taking a good quality multivitamin. Vitamins work synergistically – they need each other for better absorption. You need the benefit of a multivitamin to help your body absorb the nutrition from the food you eat. However, synthetic vitamins can cause more harm than good. If you choose to take a multivitamin, look for an herbal-base product.
Manufacturers generally suggest taking multivitamins with food. If you take B-complex, take it in the morning or early afternoon. B vitamins produce mental clarity and energy. Taking B-complex in the evening could affect your sleep.
Take fish oil with a complete meal. You need protein, carbohydrates and some fat in your stomach to benefit the most from fish oil.
It you take a calcium or magnesium nutritional supplement, taking it before going to be will help you get a better night’s sleep.
Nutritional and Antioxidant Supplements
Many foods you eat contain antioxidant properties. Antioxidants prevent or repair the damage that results from oxidation. When the cells in your body use oxygen, the natural result is free radical scavengers. Antioxidants seek out these free radicals and either keep them from causing further damage or repair the damage that they‘ve already caused.
Without the help of antioxidants in your body, the damage caused by free radicals can lead to cancer, cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Think of the damage that rust causes on a piece of metal. That’s what happens in your body without antioxidants.
Some vitamins such as vitamin A, C and E are antioxidants. You can also find nutritional supplements such as noni juice, pomegranate juice, acai berry juice, goji juice and spirulina (a superfood) at your local health food store. You can generally take antioxidants any time throughout the day, but be sure to read the manufacturer’s directions on the label.
Enzymes help digest the food you eat. If you take enzymes and don’t have any food in your stomach, the enzymes will eat away at your stomach lining. Always take enzymes with food or just before you start eating.
As you can see, there are many benefits to taking nutritional supplements. However, it’s a good idea to research the ingredients in the product you choose. Look for established brands. Do research to find out if there are any known side effects or interactions involving the nutritional supplement you choose and any medications you might be taking.