Written by Melbourne Naturopath Bree Jenner
You may have seen or heard about the recent screening of the story ‘Trick or Treatment’ which aired on 60 Minutes regarding the safety concerns of complimentary supplements, namely Valerian and a Green Tea extract.
As with all supplements and medications, we recommend seeking advice from the relevant health professional before self-prescribing, be it your GP or specialist, or a degree qualified naturopath or nutritionist.
In an ideal world…
We do agree that in an ideal world, with a healthy diet, you shouldn’t need nutritional or herbal supplementation for good health. According to the ABS in 2014-15, 50% of adults and 68% of children were eating the recommended serves of fruit per day… however just 7% of adults and 5% of children were eating the recommended serves of vegetables per day. We would LOVE these stats to be higher, and we spend lots of time with our patients to find ways that work for them to add some colour from fresh foods to their diet with meal planning, shopping lists, education, recipes and healthy tips.
In the meantime, we aim to support health and wellness with the aid of well-researched supplementation. All of the products that are stocked and recommended by our naturopaths at The Health and Wellbeing Studio have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA is the regulatory body for therapeutic goods in Australia).
We are aware that many health supplements are available over the counter and at supermarkets, and there can be a misconception that just because something is labelled ‘natural’ or readily available at the supermarket, that it is inherently safe. Anything, even natural products can cause harm if taken at the wrong dose, or in a situation that the product is not warranted. A readily available pharmaceutical drug can also have serious health repercussions if taken incorrectly or at the wrong dose.
Our naturopaths spend time to understand your health history, including diagnosed or underlying health conditions, and any medications or supplements you are already taking to ensure that there are no contraindications prior to prescribing nutritional or herbal supplementation. Our team of naturopaths are consistently and actively refreshing their knowledge of new research and changes in the field of natural medicine.
If you are proactive with your own self-care, we have put together some tips to help guide you in choosing the best quality:
- If you’re buying over the counter health supplements from Australia, buy from a reputable retailer where you can seek advice from a qualified staff member that can offer advice or support.
- Ensure any product you purchase holds an AUST-L, AUST-A or AUST-R number, which confirms that the product has been manufactured under strict Australian quality controls.
- Avoid purchasing from unregulated overseas websites – Australia has the strictest regulatory system for complimentary medicines in the world. This means that Australian products are manufactured at a pharmaceutical standard in terms of safety.
- Seek natural health advice from an appropriately qualified naturopath or nutritionist (a Bachelor of Health Science degree, minimum) and ask about their range of Practitioner Only products.
By doing this, you can rest assured that your health will be managed appropriately, and any prescribed supplementation will be done so in accordance with your individual health needs, any medications or supplements will be checked against to ensure safety, and testing can be sought to ensure the dosage and effect is appropriate to your dynamic ongoing health needs.
In many cases, practitioner only products adhere to even tighter, self-imposed safety and efficacy guidelines, above what is set out by the TGA.
If you do experience a rare adverse reaction, your health team can not only help to offer advice to support your care and recovery from the reaction, but they also are required by law to report the reaction to further improve the understanding of the supplement and improve the ongoing research into the industry.
Should you have any questions about the story, about the products we use, or the way we can help to support your wellness journey, please give us a call, we’d be happy to chat with you.
© The Health & Wellbeing Studio Camberwell, Melbourne 2019