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Do you need herbal supplements?

Do you need herbal supplements?

While herbal supplements can have many health benefits it’s important to always talk to your doctor. Many herbal supplements react badly with current prescribed medications which can lead to serious problems, and even death.  Always share with your doctor herbal supplements you take on a regular basis at each appointment and definitely if you’re being prescribed anything new and / or being scheduled for surgery. They often don’t ask you, so it’s imperative that you remember to tell them.
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The truth is, most people don’t really need supplementation of any sort unless blood testing proves a deficiency. It’s always better to eat your nutrition than take it in a pill form and many have side effects that may not be apparent. Most people who take herbal supplements consider them all “natural” not realizing that they can still cause side effects, and most of the science behind herbal supplements haven’t been tested yet by the FDA. I’m not trying to discourage you, but remember, it’s always best to eat your herbs in their natural state. Having said that, you can try some supplements to see how they work for you.

* Depression — St. John’s Wort is the most used herbal supplement for depression. Many people take it and claim that it helps. Please talk to your doctor first because it can have some nasty side effects and it’s important to know what you’re taking. Another way to treat depression naturally is to ensure your vitamin D and vitamin B 12 levels are at normal levels. Also, ensure that you get at least 20 minutes of sunshine each day. If you can’t, try getting a full spectrum light over your desk at work.
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* Weight Loss — Sadly a lot of herbal supplements that claim to be natural aren’t. The FDA has tested many and found that they include actual drugs that aren’t even approved for use in the USA. So again, be careful what you take. Just because it says natural doesn’t mean it really is. Herbal supplements aren’t yet controlled like other drugs in the USA. Know the source, and do your research. Having said that, green tea is an excellent appetite suppressant. Ensure that you get ephedrine free green tea. Drink 30 minutes before your meals for maximum results.

* Poor Digestion — A good aid for digestion is artichoke extract. It helps upset stomachs and cures constipation naturally. You can get it from most drug stores, Wal-Mart and online from Amazon.com. Some people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) probably shouldn’t use it. But if you have an occasional issue, it should be okay. Try to get a pure product that does not have many additives to help avoid issues.
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* PMS — Pre-menstrual syndrome affects many women the world over. There are various kinds of supplements for PMS that can treat different symptoms such as bloating, pain moodiness. Therefore in this case it’s best to purchase a supplement that has a variety of ingredients that address your particular symptoms. Black cohosh, evening primrose oil, and dong quai are all good choices depending upon your symptoms.

The bottom line is, you have to be your own best health advocate. Research anything you want to put into your body, and be sure to talk to your doctor or health care professional before adding any processed supplement to your diet. In addition, eat a diet rich in the foods that you need for your mineral, nutritional and health needs, get plenty of sunshine, exercise and water and you’ll find that you don’t need supplementation of any kind.

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