What Do You Choose, Drugs or Supplements?

Okay, maybe you don’t have a choice. Say you’re being treated by your doctor right now for high blood pressure, or diabetes, or any of a hundred other conditions. You need to follow doctor’s orders, and doctor’s orders often involve taking prescription drugs for the duration of the problem. We all know that. We see the doctor and follow the recommendations and hope for the best.

But what about supplements? You know, vitamin and mineral supplements, herbal remedies, and the myriad of other products available for solving any kind of health problem you might be experiencing. Do supplements have a place in your ongoing efforts to improve your health and so your ability to enjoy life to the fullest?

What Do You Choose, Drugs or Supplements?Does it matter to you that you have a choice, regardless of whether you’re exercising that choice at any particular point in time? Like some of us who routinely supplement with vitamins and minerals, and who sometimes use herbal remedies for specific conditions, does it matter to you that at any moment you choose you have the option to stop by your natural food store and pick a remedy from the shelves? The Food and Drug Administration oversees the efficacy of all supplements sold in the United States. And as anyone knows who pays much attention, the FDA is proactive in guarding us from any harm related to supplementation. If you really pay attention, you might have noticed the focus, in fact, on supplements. This is surprising considering the high usage of supplements and low rates of associated problems as compared to prescription drugs.

Here’s the thing. More than two-thirds of adults in this country use supplements in one form or another, mostly vitamin and mineral supplements, but many others as well. Just scan the shelves in any natural food store and you’ll quickly understand that many people are using many kinds of products for many reasons. It’s a booming industry.

No statistics exist to prove the case either way, but people don’t necessarily use supplements to cure health problems. Many people routinely use supplements in an effort to stay healthy, for example, by using a multi-vitamin or by taking an herb like burdock root to support the immune system.

What Do You Choose, Drugs or Supplements?Yet there are problems associated with the use of prescription drugs, and you’d think the FDA would have their hands full guarding us from that. Read the drug information included with almost any prescription and you’ll find a lot to worry about. You’ll see warnings for possible side effects that can make the original health problem seem benign in comparison.

And take a look at the death rates in any given year associated with the use of prescription drugs. Well over a 100,000 people die each year after taking such drugs. And those are drugs taken as ordered. Those aren’t drug deaths associated with misuse.

Some people are starting to ask why there is so much focus on supplements when they have proven to be much safer than prescription drugs. In most years, for example, there are no deaths associated with the proper use of supplements.

What it comes down to it we need prescription drugs and we need supplements. What we need is the FDA is use their resources to keep both drugs and supplements available and safe. A world without drugs doesn’t work, and a world without supplements doesn’t work, either. What we need is for the FDA to get that message.