Popular interest in the use of dietary supplements for health applications is widespread in the United States. Health care professionals should be aware that, although nutrient supplementation is generally recommended to enhance the relative adequacy of the diet or to meet increased requirements associated with illness or disease, the therapeutic action of many botanical products is similar to that of drugs, so the potential for harmful interactions exists.
Health care professionals often face that patients typically do not inform them of their use of botanicals or other dietary supplements. Not only should all dietary supplements be reviewed, but it is recommended that patients bring all supplements to be evaluated. In this way the health care provider can review dose, dosage form, additive sources of the same nutrient or botanical, frequency of use, rationale for use, any identified side effects, and the patient-perceived efficacy of each supplement.
Because dose, dosage form, and frequency of use are important in assessing efficacy and safety, supplement use should also be reviewed with the patient on a regular basis. It is particularly important that dietary supplement use be reviewed before surgery. Dietary supplements are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure disease. In some cases, dietary supplements may have unwanted effects, especially if taken before surgery or with other dietary supplements or medicines, or if you have certain health conditions.
Dietary supplements that have similar actions to prescription and OTC medications should generally not be combined because the effects can be additive and cause harm. Conversely, dietary supplements that counter the effects of prescription and OTC medications should not be combined, such as taking a blood pressure-lowering medication along with a botanical that can raise blood pressure.
There is concern that use of the supplement is discontinued, and no formal report of the adverse event is filed. Over 4 million Americans are taking antithrombotic therapy and that approximately 180 dietary supplements have been identified as having anticoagulation, antiplatelet, antagonistic, or drug-metabolizing activity. Adverse events should be reported to the health care institutions, poison control centers.
It is very important to determine which supplements patient needs and the health goals he/she hope to achieve through the use of these products. Some supplements may help ensure that you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients or help promote optimal health and performance if you do not consume a variety of foods, as recommended in the dietary guidelines for Americans.
How to choose botanical products?
Be sure the choice of a botanical is appropriate to the health care goals and compatible with any prescription and over-the-counter medications or other dietary supplements. Do not self diagnose any health condition. Work with your health care provider to determine how best to achieve optimal health and always check with your health care provider before taking a supplement, especially when combining or substituting them with other foods or medicine.
Investigate the quality of the manufacturer whose product is being considered. It is important to know that the retail suppliers carry only manufacturers that adhere to high-quality standards or that the health care professional recommending a product is knowledgeable about the quality of dietary supplements.
Investigate the potential for pesticide contamination, which can be minimized by choosing organically grown herbs whenever possible.
Use products, where the part of the plant used to prepare the product, confirming that it is the part that contains the active components.
The concentration of the botanical or nutrient and whether the concentration is appropriate for obtaining the reported benefits of the product.
The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods.