Studies show that 77 percent of Americans take at least one dietary supplement, but interestingly, 74 percent are concerned that these supplements aren’t backed by trustworthy research. 1 With 29,000 options available to US consumers and more HCPs exploring holistic practices, it’s important to know how Natural Health Supplements work and what to look for when evaluating products. It’s also important to know what to expect when first taking botanical supplements and how to cut through some of the noise.1
Finding Formulas You Can Depend On
There are endless choices for supplements in the marketplace. So how do you know who to trust? Here are some key pieces to evaluate.
1. Personalization for Patients
Understanding an individual’s unique needs is imperative to building a botanical medicine protocol that provides the comprehensive support to effectively address the wide breadth of environmental insults they may face. Having a holistic view of an individual’s genetic makeup, biomarkers, external environmental factors, and lifestyle influences gives insight into the root cause(s) of issues patients face. What’s trendy or “hot” may not be good for everyone. While some formulas are beneficial for all patients, adding personalized treatment protocols that complement the body’s innate healing ability lead to improved patient outcomes.
2. Purity and Potency
Professional-quality supplements provide access to pure, high-potency, evidence-based extracts otherwise not available to patients. These formulas can supply many agents in one dose, replacing the need for higher numbers of capsules or more bottles of liquids and powders. Vetted and tested to ensure they’re free of inferior raw ingredient alternatives, fillers, and contaminants, these supplements are certified for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).
Formulated with digestion, absorption, and assimilation as top priorities, high-quality health supplements use the latest research and technologies to add elements that help integrate the nutrients and phytochemicals from the formulas with the body. For example, the body more readily recognizes food-grown nutrients versus synthetics, leading to increased absorption at lower doses. Botanical formulas may include absorption synergists, like ginger or piperine, to help deliver targeted therapeutic value from other bioactive compounds. Select products formulated with these principles to be confident that even when it’s unnoticeable, the body is reaping the benefits.
4. Clinically Proven
The principles of Ayurveda, TCM, and Eclectic medicine have long embraced the healing power of nature and the ability of the body to heal itself. With advancements in clinical studies and scientific research, plant medicines rooted in tradition from these medical systems and practices from around the world have found validation for clinical effectiveness. Look for formulas containing ingredients whose specific genus and species have been studied for herb activity, interactions, and mechanisms of action. 3 Repositories like HerbMedPro provide neutral access to the data underlying the medicinal use of herbs and available scientific publications. This gives you the knowledge and confidence you need to feel empowered partnering on your patient’s health journey.3
Benefits Take Time
“Sometimes it is better to treat a patient the way a gardener nurtures an ailing plant than the way a mechanic fixes a broken machine.” — Dr. Victoria Sweet 2
In a world of instant gratification, botanical medicine requires a shift in mindset from a quick fix to a slower, holistic approach. While with some formulas—like nutrients addressing a deficiency—you might see more immediate results, with others, the effects may not be obvious. This is because certain formulas work to correct imbalances at the molecular, cellular, and organ system levels. Natural health supplements work
with the body rather than telling the body what to do. They enhance function and address the root causes of issues to encourage wellness and vitality rather than “fixing” what might be “broken.”
These changes are subtle, occur over time, and build upon each other to help the body achieve optimal wellness.