Why your neighbour’s advice on supplements might not be okay for you.

It's great that our family and friends care for us so much that they are willing to give up the secrets to their health and well-being. In many cases the information they give you will be sound. On occasion however, this is not the case and may actually have a negative effect on your health.

Natural medicines in general can be very beneficial provided you take the right one for you.

Lacking energy is a common topic of conversation and a friend might suggest you take an Iron tablet every day. What you need to know is whether Iron is the CORRECT supplement for you. It is not recommended to take one every day without a blood test to check your levels. It would be better to get to the bottom of why you are lacking energy. Are you sleeping OK? Is there added stress in your life now? Are you deficient in iron or maybe vitamin D? Or are your iron levels too high? Do you have a thyroid issue? There are a whole host of reasons that can cause low energy that you might need to check first. A healthcare professional can help you work through the possible causes.

Did you know that too much iron in your body can make you feel just as tired as too little iron? and in the right conditions can cause toxicity e.g haemochromatosis.

SPECIFIC brand is another issue that concerns me when it comes to taking the advice of loved ones. When someone recommends a product that in my professional opinion is not good quality, or is just not suitable for the condition, but because the lovely lady next door said it was good, and nothing else will do, I get concerned that the person is at best wasting their money, or at the worst putting their health at risk.

Unless the person is a trained professional, seek a second opinion from your healthcare professional.

Many supplements can interact negatively with your regular prescription medicines too, sometimes by preventing their absorption or by increasing their action.

Some common examples I see where people have been recommended a natural supplement that could interact with their medicines are:

• St Johns Wort with a prescription anti-depressant medication - St John's Wort can prevent the anti-depressant from working.

• Ginkgo Biloba with a blood thinner - Ginkgo Biloba also thins the blood.

• A product containing liquorice extract with blood pressure medicines - liquorice increases blood pressure.

• Taking a probiotic at the same time as an antibiotic - antibiotics kill the probiotics and not the infection so allow 2 hours between taking your antibiotic and your probiotic.

My advice to you is; Take everyone else's recommendations with a thank-you and then seek professional advice, don't take a chance with your health.

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