Self Health Care

Articles about alternative ways of treatment and self health care

How Safe Are Natural Health Products

Natural health products are often promoted as safer, more effective, and less likely to have side effects than prescription drugs. It should be noted that internationally, natural health products are regulated on the basis of safety and quality and to varying degrees, efficacy. They are defined (in Canada) as: Vitamins and minerals, Herbal remedies, Homeopathic medicines, Traditional medicines, such as traditional Chinese medicines, Probiotics, and other products like amino acids and essential fatty acids. Natural health products are closely related to drugs, and have begun to be regulated in order to control health claims being made by products not classified as drugs, but are taken for reasons above and beyond simple caloric intake.

There are many more aspects of the body’s health and well being that can be enhanced when nutritional natural health products are added to a balanced diet. Natural health products are your fresh organic food products, fruits, vegetables & meats, food (dietary) supplements, preparations for skin and hair care. Unlike pharmaceuticals that must undergo rigorous testing and analysis, natural health products are not governed by the same regulations.

Incidences of harm caused by natural health products are statistically pretty insignificant, less than one in 100,000 by some measures, and extremely rare even by the numbers of the Fraser Institute. That’s because natural health products are, though physiologically active, not drugs. They are available for self-care and self-selection, and do not require a prescription to be sold. Natural health products are regarded as dietary supplements and are not required to pass strict registration processes as would be expected of prescription drugs. In 1997 the Canadian government conducted a public review of natural health products and developed a separate regulatory framework to supervise them. As a result Health Canada created a new category called Natural Health Products and a new regulating authority was established to govern the sale of NHP’s in Canada called the Natural Health Products Directorate.

Natural Health Products can have potent effects on the body. Although herbal products are advertised as “natural,” they aren’t natural to the human body. They include supplements which, in many cases, are made from traditional or specialty crops, seafood and aquaculture. Natural health products in the US are generally regulated as dietary supplements and fall under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). Natural remedies are sold in grocery stores, pharmacies and health food stores and they do not require prescriptions from a doctor. Will changes to the Food and Drugs Act result in a ban on natural health products. Will this change mean a prescription will be required for natural health products, like Vitamin C. Sometimes the most natural solution is a healthy diet and taking the time to rest when you are sick.

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