This blog is intended to provide a discussion forum on topics surrounding pregnancy, labor, birth, breastfeeding and family health. The purpose is to review research studies, articles and highlight the buzz in health news. But please remember, I am not your health care provider and do not intend to give medical advice.:)

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Wisdom in Taking Supplements - Excellent NCCAM Resource

I am on a medication kick today...Sometimes we make assumptions that dietary supplements are 'more safe' than pharmaceuticals and that they carry 'less risks.' While these assessments can at times be accurate, it is highly on an individual, substance-by-substance basis. Dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, protein, amino acids, exogenous hormones and others which come in oral or supplemental form--including suppository and topical, etc--(i.e. not ingested as a result of directly consuming whole foods). As much as with any pharmaceutical substance*, use of wisdom and discernment is vital prior to putting any supplement into or onto our bodies, naturally occurring or not. Natural is not synonymous with safe, natural is not even synonymous with "more safe" than synthetic. There are lots of naturally occurring substances that are in fact quite unsafe. And not all products that are sold as natural are in fact natural. Not all products, brands and manufacturers are equal. Despite what companies may claim on their products, there are in reality very loose standards when it comes to the manufacturing, production and selling of supplements. Sometimes it can be difficult to decipher which are the most effective, purest and safest. This article can be a helpful general tool when considering adding supplements to your diet.

Article: "Using Dietery Supplements Wisely"

The A-Z topic page is also a helpful reference for supplements. If you are looking to see if there is any research about individual vitamins, herbs, etc, many of them are on this list. It is a slowly growing body of research, so many substances have not been evaluated. This does not mean they are therefore not effective or safe, but that we simply don't know for sure. List: Cheers! Or Bon appetite?!

*Please note that I am fully aware of the side-effects, adverse-effects and potential risks with pharmaceutical medications as well. This is not a discussion of which "kind" is safer. I apply strong scrutiny to each regardless of how it is sold, packaged, advertised, researched or not researched. 


  1. Interesting to read this. Andre was subscribed Vitamin D supplements, and I hadn't done research on the supplement yet. Thanks for posting the link!

  2. Interesting, I have heard that recently being a more common recommendation with practitioners, especially in northern regions. Curious what his/her specific concerns are for you guys. There are differing opinions on this recommendation. One thing that has been found is that babies are born with high levels of Vit D in their livers (as Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, it has the ability to be stored by the liver for many months. Consequently, it is also possible to reach too high of levels since it is not quickly utilized by the body--same with vits A and E, also fat soluble.) Breast milk does not have tremendously high levels of vitamin D, but it is still present and usually for healthy babies and moms without extraneous circumstances, the combination of the vitamin D storage in the baby's liver and the amount he receives from breast milk are more than adequate.

    Dr Jack Newman, a breastfeeding guru addresses this in his 'Myths of Breastfeeding'article, I believe # 6

    Also, you may be familiar with (she is an international board certified lactation consultant--IBCLC) and has an article on the same issue. She addresses when a breastfed baby might be at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.

    Hope some of that is also helpful:)