The internet is full of information and it takes some clear headed thinking to weed through all the information and separate the fact from the hype. If you have a question about pretty much anything these days we Google to find the answer and yes it is a fantastic and quick way to learn about new things and gather information: Right at our finger tips anytime of the day or night.
When it comes to health, it can be overwhelming and a long rabbit hole of information.
It can also be dangerous!
Dangerous! In what way you might ask?
Well, bear with me as we dig deeper into the act of being a self prescriber and what it means to your health.
Self prescribing is the act of seeking help via the internet/friends/family for a particular ailment/disease/condition and prescribing supplements/treatments for yourself. Now we have all done it and it can be super helpful sometimes. Need some remedy to soothe your sore throat, sure, Manuka honey does the trick. Need something after a bout of gastro, ok, coconut water will do the trick. You have a pain/discomfort/rash and you need something but you are already on prescription medication or a handful of supplements, that’s not ok.
I’ve had clients see me and they are taking multiple supplements. One for this, one for that and the list goes on but is it the right thing for you? Does it help you or is it detrimental? Do those supplements work with each other or against? Do you know when you are supposed to take them, on an empty stomach? with food? after food? before bed? Doesn’t that make your head spin? Often the client isn’t 100% sure why they take it and how long they should be on it and even if it’s beneficial but they heard from a friend or a family member was taking it.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (2011) states that at least 29% of people take at least one supplement, with women taking more and the elderly taking the most . These are not new statistic either and I would be right in guessing, that percentage has risen.
Supplements are necessary when you want to enhance a pathway, support production of other nutrients or correct deficiencies so it’s really important to know if this is the case. This is done through blood tests and genetic testing if deemed necessary. It takes the guess work out what supplements are needed. Remember we are all individuals and no two prescriptions are the same be it medication, supplements or herbal mixtures
Choosing the best possible supplements are crucial to actually make the shift that you need to happen at a cellular level. Now I’m sure all of you have walked into Chemist Warehouse or something similar and have seen the rows and rows of supplements available. Surely there are some good ones among the many? There are a few brands that are reasonable, many are not and can be full of excipients (often referred to as fillers, bulking agents or diluents) such as sugars, steric acids, carrageenan, titanium dioxide, lanolin and glycerin are just some of the ingredients used. How many pills do you need to make the necessary changes in your body? Probably quite a few.
So you can understand why the use of supplements should be considered carefully and occur in conjunction with an experienced practitioner. Someone who understands where and how the vitamins and minerals are used in the body and what influences deficiencies, excesses and balance.
Just this week I have been working along side a Dr in the care of a mutual client and I listed the supplements and herbs I was prescribing and why. This Dr didn’t understand what they specifically were but was confident in my ability and was happy to work with me. Naturopaths are trained in this area specifically.
What do we prescribe?
Practitioner only products are super quality products without harmful and unnecessary excipients and are more bioavailable (more easily absorbed and effective in the body). The doses are therapeutic and can be reached more readily. There is often talk about the expense of these supplements prescribed by a Naturopath or Nutritionist, but the quality is superior as is the efficacy.
Taking supplements while taking prescription medication can be detrimental and dangerous. Some can enhance the action of the medication while others can slow down or even block the action of the medication. This is why self prescribing is really not the way to go even if you are not taking medication. Foods can often block the action of a vitamin or mineral and if you don’t know this you are basically throwing your money in the bin. You wont achieve what you are aiming to do and you most certainly wont fix that deficiency.
I’m all for empowering individuals to take their health into their own hands. You decide how you want to do it, western medicine, herbal medicine or a combination of both but I implore you to do it right. Take the steps to make sure you are helping your body not hindering it.
Don’t be a self prescriber. Find a natural practitioner who is the right fit for you and utilise their skills and knowledge to guide you on the path to wellness, ‘so you can be a healthier version of you’.
You can book in to see me or we can set up an online consult, so you can be at home in your Pj’s if you want!
Here’s to health