Is Natural Really Better?

Compliment and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is used by 42% of people in the United States, and we fork out over $40 billion a year out of pocket for it (which is more than is spend out of pocket for hospital visits). So what is CAM? Simply put, it is unconventional modalities, in combination with or without traditional medicine, including natural products, mind-body medicine and manipulative practice. It can be anything from the consumption of vitamins and natural supplements to aroma therapy and naturopathy. People who are dissatisfied with their healthcare system, and those who think “natural is better” are some of the most frequent users of CAM. That sounds pretty good though, doesn’t? Natural botanicals, such as Echinacea and Ginseng must be a better treatment for aliment than synthetic drugs, right? Not so fast.

Here is the truth about all those natural supplement and bottles of natural pills you see sitting on the shelves of health stores. First, and probably most importantly, you need to know that they are NOT approved or regulated by the FDA, and adverse reporting by manufactures is completely optional. Since these products are not regulated, it means that the companies producing them are 100% responsible for ensuring that the contents are safe and labels are not misleading. Additionally, since there are no regulations to follow, production is often inconsistent- active ingredients aren’t always known, supplements may not be pure, and doses could vary from bottle to bottle, or even pill to pill. Synthetic drugs on the other hand require a prescription are are rigorously tested before they are marketed. Additionally, they are strictly regulated to ensure quality and consistency.

I am not telling you to swear off Complementary and Alternative Medicine Completely…in fact I am a user of it myself! So What Would Jessica Take? Firstly, I take a daily multivitamin. It is important to remember that vitamin and mineral needs should be met, first and foremost, through the diet. I just take them as a “safety blanket” to ensure that I am adequately meeting all my requirements…plus they are gummy and fun to take!
Is 21 too old to be eating teddy bear shaped Vitamins?

I also take Omega 3s supplements. And yes, they are also gummy. I was completely amused when I opened the bottle and found that they were shaped like sea critters. Leave to to a nutrition nerd to think that is totally clever.

And Calcium. Notice they are real adult Calcium pills. Definitely not as fun to take.
I recently discover another great supplement product that has been standing in for my usual Omega 3 supplement lately. Coromega’s Omega 3 squeeze packs! These little packs are easy to take, and not to mention tasty! I was a little wary of the Chocolate Orange flavor at first because it sounded like it could have a totally artificial taste, but it completely shocked my taste buds. Delicious! Every time I have one I find myself wishing there was more in the packet! So what’s so special about these little guys? They are absorbed 300% better than other soft-gel pills, and just one pack meets your daily requirements! How easy is that?

11 thoughts on “Is Natural Really Better?

  1. Thanks for the post – I have been seeing a naturopath and was having a real hard time with the Omega 3-6-9 pills she gave me because they were so big and kept making me feel nauseous after swallowing them! But she switched me over to an EFA oil – Omega 3-6-9 oil blend, which you just add a tablespoon of to yogurt, smoothie, cereal, soup – anything really (you just can't heat it, so add it to hot stuff after it's been cooked/heated).If you ever decide to switch, you can always give that a try! In case, you know, they stop making them in gummy form or something 😉

  2. Thanks for commenting on my blog so that I could find yours :-)This is a great article – really informative!I get a bit worried about vitamins and other supplements as I don't know what's safe to take or what's worth taking as I know some are pointless!I love that loads of the supplements you take are gummy 🙂

  3. Awesome post! I'm SO happy that you are into evidence based decisions. Some wise person once said that the strength of our belief should be proportional to the evidence supporting it. Saying CAM works since "it worked for John" is little different than saying "John got better after buying a white Honda, so you should do that!"Joel

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