A recent survey by Health Canada found that about 73 per cent of Canadians regularly take natural health products, including vitamins, minerals, herbal products and homeopathic medications. This number is steadily increasing as we look for new and natural ways to support a healthy lifestyle.
Taking a supplement may seem like an easy way to boost your health, but there’s more to it than just swallowing a pill or powder. If you’re taking or thinking of taking a natural health product, follow these tips recommended by the naturopathic doctors at Orange Naturals to make sure you’re getting all the benefits.
- What’s in a name? Look on the label for the full name of your supplement. The second part of the name actually tells you what the mineral is attached to, and this seemingly small difference can change how the mineral is both used and absorbed by the body. Some natural health products are specifically formulated to be easy to absorb, while others can cause stomach upset and gastrointestinal distress. For example, if you’re taking magnesium, look for magnesium glycinate (magnesium bound with glycine), which is one of the most absorbable forms of magnesium. It’s also the least likely to lead to an upset stomach.
- Pairing is caring. There are some nutrients that should be taken together, while others should be kept apart. A combination that boosts mood and improves sleep is 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), vitamin B6 and magnesium. 5-HTP is a crucial precursor for making both serotonin, our “feel good” brain chemical, and melatonin, which regulates sleep. To get the most out of a 5-HTP supplement, it should be paired with both vitamin B6 and magnesium. Complementary nutrients vitamin B6 and magnesium provide the building blocks for vital hormones.
- Time is of the essence. It’s also important to take your supplements at the right time. Supplements that help with sleep should be taken during the evening, while energizing herbs like rhodiola and ginseng are best taken in the morning to provide support throughout the day, and should be avoided in the evening as they might interfere with sleep.
You should always consult a healthcare practitioner about which supplements, pairings and dosages are best for your needs before starting a new health care regimen.
Find more information on natural medicine online at orangenaturals.com