According to the CRN 2017 Survey on Dietary Supplements conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs a whopping 76% of U.S. adults, which is more than 170 million, take dietary supplements. Among these the most commonly consumed supplements were vitamins and minerals. Within this group of participants 15% consumed dietary supplements for weight management, 22% for sports nutrition, 29% took herbal/botanical pills and 38% took specialty pills. Whether you are already taking supplements or thinking of adding them to your diet, it is vital to know the basics before you begin. Following are a few things you should consider when buying herbal remedies to make an informed decision.
How to Tell If You’re Buying the Real Deal
This one is no brainer, start reading labels! The first thing you want to do is check the list of ingredients, it will give you a crystal clear idea of what the product is made of and exactly how high or low the quality is. Additionally, natural herbal remedies will also mention the portion of the plant used, for instance root, leaves, etc., which is a clear indicator of the efficacy of the product.
Look for Certification
On the label look for USP (United States Pharmacopeia), under this certification look for GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). These certifications indicate the potency, purity, strength and how the product will dissolve in your body. USP and GMP certified products meet the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulations for dietary supplement which also serves as an indicator of consistency tests between each packaging. GMP is a system used to ensure that products are consistently produced as per quality standards. It is specifically designed to reduce risks involved in any pharmaceutical manufacturing process that cannot be deduced through testing the final product.
Check if the Price is Right
Since GNP and USP certifications cost a fortune for companies, not every company is willing to invest in third party certifications. Price is a clear indicator of the quality of product, sometimes higher-quality supplements cost more due to better quality control.
Review Other Ingredients
Consumers often skip the “other ingredients” section on the packaging, however this is not advised. One should make sure that it does not state more than five items in order to avoid as many processed foods as possible. Furthermore, you should also avoid additives, added sweeteners, colorings, dyes and artificial flavors. The more natural it is and devoid of synthetic ingredients, the better it will be for your health.
Check for Allergens
More than 170 food items have been reported to cause allergic reactions. There are eight major food items that can cause serious allergies namely milk, peanut, tree nuts, egg, soy fish, wheat and crustacean shellfish. It is estimated that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies. This puts approximately 5.9 million children under age 18 at a risk of facing an allergic reaction. High quality supplements will always state clearly the allergens it is free from on the outer packaging to inform consumers if it is safe for consumption.
Where to Buy
Where you buy herbal remedies is as important as the ones you consume, typically natural health food stores and health care practitioners will carry premium quality products. You can also purchase herbs from your local apothecary stores or even online from trusted e-stores.
All supplements will clearly mention instructions for safe usage. It is advised you follow thoroughly rather than over dosing thinking it’s natural so it won’t cause harm. This is in fact not true, anything taken in access puts you at the risk of harm.
The FDA maintains and updates lists of numerous supplements that are under regulatory review or have been reported to cause harm. It is advised as consumers you stay updated and check the official website periodically, to stay informed regarding recent developments.
Check with Your Health Care Practitioner
It is always a good idea to consult your health care practitioner or doctor before adding a new supplement to your regime, after all under certain circumstances dietary supplements may not be risk-free. If you are currently taking prescription medicines, it is important to ask your doctor if it is wise to take the combination of these two medications together, since many supplements contain active ingredients which have strong biological effects and their safety is not always a given for all consumers. In dire cases it can prove to be life threatening. A severe example of this would be taking Ginkgo Biloba (an herbal supplement), aspirin (over the counter drug), vitamin E supplement and Coumadin (a prescription medication) together, since each of these thins out blood, taking them at all at once can put you at a risk of internal bleeding. Similarly combining St. John’s Wort reduces the effectiveness of prescription drugs for seizures, oral contraceptives, certain cancers, depression and heart disease. On the off chance your practitioner does not know about a specific supplement, they can still guide you and help you read labels better so you can avoid harmful ingredients.
Who should avoid herbal remedies?
Women Who Are Breastfeeding or Expecting
There are numerous medications which though are safe for adults may prove to be seriously harmful to your fetus and even breastfeeding infant. It is better to be safe than sorry, avoid taking dietary supplements during pregnancy unless your doctor states otherwise.
Those Who Are About to Undergo Surgery
It is vital to inform your doctor about all the supplements you are consuming whether they are herbal, vitamins or mineral supplements, especially before surgery. There is a good chance your doctor might ask you to stop taking these at least 2-3 weeks ahead of the procedure to avoid potentially harmful drug and supplement interactions. These can be as severe as drastic increase in bleeding, changes in blood pressure or even heart rate. Such dangerous consequences can lead to dire outcomes of surgeries, resulting in unwanted stress and in some cases even death.
Children Younger Than 18 or Elderlies Above 65 Years
Since research is limited for herbal products, few of these supplements have been tested on children and even fewer have been determined safe for children. Similar is the case for elderlies, since their digestion and body responds differently to supplements, it is advised not to give supplements to those above 65.
Why You Should Choose Herbion?
We understand as consumers it is very difficult to keep up with so much information, so we recommend using Herbion Naturals best herbal remedies. All our products are cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice) certified and made with the highest quality herbs grown and nurtured on suitable soil. Our suppliers harvest once the most active ingredients are present. This meticulous process is done for each portion without damaging to preserve all the unique active ingredients. After the completion of this stage, the derived ingredients are stored at the applicable temperature and humidity to ensure efficiency. Once this entire process is complete, we then prepare our unique supplements.
Additionally, all our dietary supplements have clearly marked labels with evident ingredients so customers are well equipped to make an informed decision. Allergen free ingredients are also clearly stated to avoid any harmful interactions.