Posts Tagged ‘vitamins’

By Sylvia Anderson, IH Editor — Published: April 08, 2010

Any alternative or nutritional supplement, whether recommended by a medical professional or purchased over the counter, can be of great benefit to your health—but can also present risks. When beginning a new supplement regimen, make sure you take the following important steps to ensure your safety.

The benefits of most complementary supplements are usually clear, such as garlic’s antibiotic effects or chamomile’s stomach soothing properties. However, like most prescription medicines and some foods, alternative supplements may also produce side effects, such as upset stomach, drowsiness, or nausea. In some cases, the potential side effects are even more serious than that.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of having problems with your supplements:

Understand what the supplement is supposed to do and when you can expect results.

Carefully read the label and any materials inside or on the package.

Be sure you understand all directions. Do you know when, how often and how long to take the supplement? If the packaging doesn’t help you understand those things, consult with your healthcare provider.

Check the expiration date, and stop taking anything in your cabinet that is past its date of expiration.

Vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements may interact with over-the-counter and prescription medicines, so be sure to ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist any questions you have and what side effects to watch for. Make sure they know about any other supplements or medications (prescription and over-the-counter) that you are currently taking so you can help prevent unwanted drug interactions. Write up a list beforehand and take it with you so you don’t leave anything out.

Pay attention to any differences in how you feel. If you notice a new symptom, tell your doctor or healthcare provider when it started and how it’s different from previous symptoms. Occasionally, a symptom caused by your illness can be mistaken for a drug reaction.

Keep your supplements in a safe place. Most supplements are best stored out of direct light in a cool, dry location. Don’t keep them in a medicine cabinet above the sink, where moisture can potentially seep into packaging and alter effectiveness. Also, keep them out of the reach of children and pets.

Be safe with your supplements! By following the above tips, you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your daily supplements without compromising your health.

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and Healthy)


Alternative medicine is a multi-million dollar industry, with one in four Americans taking alternative supplements or seeing a non-traditional medical practitioner for their healthcare needs. Traditional doctors have begun to embrace the benefits as well, as dozens of well-respected studies have shown that alternative medicine can be safe and effective. There are hundreds of supplements out on the market, but there are ten that stand out as the most requested and regularly used. Keep reading to find out the 10 most popular alternative supplements. . . 

These 10 supplements are popular in the alternative health world . . . and are making their way into the “modern medicine” world as well:

1. Multivitamins. Multivitamins are combinations of various vitamins and minerals, rather than single supplements, and are thought to work better because of their synergistic effect. While the make-up of multivitamins varies, the most contain elements included are magnesium, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, D, C and E. Some multivitamins are chemically produced and fragmented, but there are all-natural multivitamins available. Among the most popular are multivitamins aimed at specific groups such as children, pregnant women, and senior citizens.

2. Fish oils. A rich source of vitamins A and D, fish oils also contain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which have a proven protective effect on heart health as they help discourage the formation of blood clots. Many studies have also shown the benefits of EPA and DHA for maintaining joint health and they are commonly used by those with arthritis and rheumatic pain. Fish oils have also become hugely popular for children, following studies that showed they helped to improve concentration and were useful for children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Fish oil supplements may include cod liver oil or oils taken from a variety of fish.

3. Saw Palmetto.
 The fruit of this North American palm tree is used to treat symptoms associated with prostate enlargement and mild urinary tract infections in men and women. Saw palmetto contains fatty acids and sterols.

4. Echinacea. Well-known for its antiviral properties, Echinacea is thought to work by increasing the white blood cell count, strengthening the immune system to help fight infections such as colds and flu. More and more people are taking Echinacea as a preventive measure to try to avoid developing colds and flu.


5. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA). 
Found in evening primrose and borage oil, GLA is an essential fatty acid that is important for the production of prostaglandins (fatty acid hormones), which occur throughout the tissues and body fluids. Evening primrose oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is often used to help relieve pre-menstrual breast pain and menstrual cramps. It’s also good for improving skin condition and for joint pain.

6. Glucosamine.
 This natural substance is taken from shellfish such as lobster and crab. It is essential for growth and repair of joints, ligaments, and tendons. However, only small amounts are found in fish and animal products and glucosamine has to be synthesised by the body—a process that becomes more difficult as you age. 

7. Ginseng. There are two types of ginseng: Panax ginseng is taken from the root of the panax species of ginseng plant, which is found in the Far East and North America, while Siberian ginseng is taken from the root of the Eleutherococcus senticosus plant found in Russia. It has been used for centuries as a tonic to improve stamina and stress resistance. Ginseng may also help boost immunity and the body’s ability to fight off infection. In a society where we just don’t have time to take sick days, immune boosters are often taken as “health insurance.”

8. Valerian.
 The extract from the roots of this plant has natural sedative properties. It is non-addictive and doesn’t produce any hangover type of effects, making it a popular sleep remedy for people with short-term insomnia who don’t want to take prescription sleep aids.

9. Herbs for joint pain. Several herbs are used to alleviate joint pain (common among athletes and people with osteoarthritis), but some of the most popular include arnica (a natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic, traditionally used for bruises); devil’s claw (an anti-rheumatic and analgesic), and willow bark (the source of the active ingredient in aspirin and a natural anti-inflammatory).

10. Herbs for menopause. 
Traditional hormone replacement therapy has received a lot of bad press as of late, prompting more women to seek alternative treatments for the hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, and other common symptoms of menopause. Black cohosh, sage, and soya isoflavones are among the most popular natural remedies. Black cohosh has natural hormone-regulating properties and is widely used for treating hot flashes, and sage is used for controlling night sweats. Soya isoflavones are natural hormone-regulators, which may help control menopause symptoms.


You can find information on these and other natural supplements on Alternative Health!

If you’re thinking of turning to a more alternative path when it comes to your health, these supplements are a good start. Just be wary of any interactions that may occur with current medications you are taking.

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and Live Long!)



By Erin Jansen, AHJ Editor, Oct. 2008
I have always loved to read about how food and vitamins and supplements interact with and support a healthy body! I’ve poured through countless books and articles on the topic and I’ve taken vitamins and supplements for years. My best friend recently asked me “what is the end-all list of vitamins and supplements I should be taking?” so in an effort to keep my final list handy so I can share it with her and my other friends, I’m publishing it on AHJ.

I recently turned 40 and realized that what they say is true, your body really does change as you get older. Even though I eat a balanced, organic diet and exercise regularly, I know the importance of supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals –partly because some of these supplements your body no longer creates but still needs.

I know it can get confusing with all the different milligrams versus micrograms versus IU, but don’t worry, most of the natural supplements you find at the health food store are broken down in these measurements. Here is my end-all list of the most important vitamins and supplements every adult should be taking.

Baby aspirin (1x a day) – OK, so it’s not really a vitamin or a supplement, but a half aspirin daily (or 162 mg) can do wonders for your heart. Take 162 milligrams every day for life (it takes at least three years to establish the full benefit).  

CoQ is also a good for heart health.

Multivitamin (2 x a day) – Forget the “one a day” branding, you’re supposed to take a multivitamin twice a day. Your multivitamin is a fountain of micronutrients! Be sure to choose an all-natural multi and not a chemically produced one. Your multivitamin should have the following:

  • Magnesium (400 milligrams daily)
  • Calcium (600 milligrams twice daily)
  • Vitamin A (1500 IU)
  • Vitamin D (400 IU daily for those under 60 years old; 600 IU for those over 60)
  • Vitamin C (600 milligrams twice daily)
  • Vitamin E (400 IU daily)

(1 x day) – This is a B vitamin, you need a daily dose of 800 micrograms.

Vitamin B6 (1 x day) – Take a daily dose of 6 milligrams

Vitamin B12 (1 x day) – Take a daily dose 25 micrograms

Omega 3’s (DHA & EPA) (1 x day) – The all important essential fatty acids, you want an omega-3 that has DHA and EPA.  Take a daily dose of 2000 to 4000 milligrams.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – This is the third omega-3 fatty acid: ALA.  Take a daily dose of 2000 milligrams.

Coenzyme Q10 (1 x day) – A powerful anti-aging supplement, CoQ10 should be taken with a meal containing some fat or even better, in combination with soy or vegetable oil which enhances its absorption. Take at least 30 milligrams daily; you can take up to 300 milligrams.
L-carnitine (1 x day) – This is an amino acid that helps transfer energy between our cells. Take 1500 milligrams daily.

Resveratrol – This is a flavonoid found in red wine that acts as an antioxidant and decreases the aging of the DNA in mitochondria (the cell’s energy plant). A good dose is 100 milligrams.


  • SAMe – This in a natural amino acid effective with depression. The usual dose is up to 1200 milligrams daily (on an empty stomach).
  • Glucosamine – An important chemical for cartilage, ligament, bone and joint health, take 1500 millilgrams daily.
I would disagree and say that glucosamine should be taken regularly for joint health with chondroitin 1200mg.  As long as you are not allergic to shellfish.

Keep in mind this is my personal list of best advice practices I’ve compiled over the years.  It is not meant as a substitute for medical advice and if you have any questions, you should contact your physician or alternative health care provider. A Votre Sante!



Get Strong! Stay Strong!