Lots of reasons pop-up as to why people believe natural supplements are safer, better, and healthier than pharmaceuticals… But, are natural supplements really safer than synthetic drugs or are they as harmful as pharmaceuticals? Let’s find out below.

Whether it is a medicine for a certain illness or as a part of a daily healthy diet, people have always believed that a product labeled as natural, is the best choice. The general belief is that natural supplements can be as effective as pharmaceuticals, synthetics, and are much safer, healthier, and more readily available and of course, nature is best.

But, are natural supplements really safer or better than a synthetic drug or are they just as harmful as pharmaceuticals? Let us find out below.
Many reasons come to mind as to why people believe that natural supplements are safer, better, and healthier than pharmaceuticals. One of these reasons is based upon the belief that since natural supplements are in fact… all-natural, that these natural supplements are made without adding any chemicals which are known to be harmful to our health.

It has long been known that nature offers only the purest and the most potent gift of health and wellness to both humans and animals. Many natural plant-based remedies have been used for centuries to heal a wide array of illnesses and health conditions. Not to mention the significant role plants play in improving and maintaining our health. Moreover, many of the essential ingredients in different pharmaceuticals are derived from plants like morphine, which is known as the strongest painkiller, and aspirin, which is used to reduce inflammation and fever and to relieve mild to chronic pain.

Natural does not always mean safe!

The most common misconception people have about herbal products is – they are natural and free of added chemicals, therefore, they are safe. Subsequently, this belief is where the danger may abound. Nature is powerful and yes, some extracts derived from nature can actually be harmful. The fact is, natural does not always mean safe. The word natural means just that, comes from nature but buyer beware, some natural extractions can be harmful to you and your health, just like some pharmaceutical products can be harmful as well. Here are some reasons why:

1.Under Reported Ingredients

Most, if not all, natural supplement manufacturers don’t report all the ingredients of their product. Some only include the beneficial herbal ingredients and omit those that are not. In a recent study, researchers have found that more than 700 over the counter natural supplements contain potentially harmful pharmaceuticals especially in diet supplements like libido enhancers, weight loss supplements, and muscle builders.

Some natural dietary supplements also contain prescription drugs such as anticonvulsants like phenytoin and anticoagulants like heparin, apixaban, warfarin, dabigatran, and rivaroxaban. Unfortunately, these ingredients are typically not included in the report and are also not written in the label’s list of ingredients. They can only be detected when a certain natural supplement is submitted for further tests.

2.Less Strict Regulations

Unlike pharmaceuticals, natural supplements do not need to go through thorough tests and are not strictly regulated. Natural supplements do not need to undergo rigorous scientific studies using controlled, randomized clinical trials before they are made available to the market. This is why many natural supplements attempt to make certain claims to enhance their sales, all without violating any law or FDA regulations.

Although natural supplement manufacturers follow good manufacturing practices to ensure that their products meet the quality standards, they are not subject to in-depth scientific scrutiny. Natural dietary supplements do not need to get approval from the FDA. They can be sold right away with or without the FDAs approval.

3.Labels Do Not Always Guarantee Quality

Having the words certified, standardized, approved, or verified in the labels does not always guarantee the product’s consistency and quality. Having these words does not necessarily indicate the product has gone through these test. Manufacturers can add such terms to attract more consumers and to encourage people to trust their product. Again, there are less strict regulations on this, which is why there are unscrupulous companies in the market today that will attempt to sell the consumer on over-embellished wording.

4.Overemphasized Benefits

There is no denying, natural supplements do offer many health benefits. However, some natural supplements claim to provide many benefits but are actually not as beneficial as these manufacturers have described. In a government study done in 2012, wherein 127 dietary supplements were studied, it was found that 20% of weight loss and natural supplements for immune system support made illegal claims.

Some natural supplements also failed to show the benefits claimed when studied by scientists. For instance, supplements containing ginkgo biloba as one of their primary ingredients claimed that such herb can reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of psychiatric disorders, dementia, and cognitive decline associated with aging. A study of over 3,000 older adults taking ginkgo biloba supplements, however, showed that the said supplements did not mark a reduction in the rate of cognitive decline in people with dementia- they do not help prevent it or slow it down either.

Another natural supplement that claims to offer many benefits is the Echinacea herb. Echinacea is said to be helpful in reducing symptoms of common colds and flu. However, several major studies revealed that there was no evidence found that shows Echinacea is beneficial against the common cold.

5.Underemphasized Side Effects

If you take a look at the labels of natural supplements, you will notice that only the benefits of the product are enumerated. You seldom see side effects being mentioned in the label. Some manufacturers even claim that their product is 100% safe and free of side effects since they use all-natural ingredients. The fact of the matter is, contrary to what many people think, these supplements also come with side effects just as a pharmaceuticals drug. Some even pose serious risks and safety concerns. The only difference is that they have lesser adverse effects than synthetic medicines.

Another study in the United States done in 2015 revealed that taking natural dietary supplements resulted in approximately 23,000 emergency room visits and 2,000 hospitalizations each year. Among those who have visited the emergency rooms were older adults who suffered from swallowing problems due to consuming large amounts of natural vitamin pills. Whilst the majority of these emergency patients are young adults who suffered from different health problems, mostly related to the heart, caused by taking either energy products or weight loss supplements which were all labeled as “natural”.

Author's Bio: 

At More Natural Healing our passion and focus are to bring you cutting-edge products made from natural healing herbs that will nourish generations of healthy lives. We source our herbs from the fields of certified growers to ensure their potency and healing benefits. Our healing remedies are doctor formulated from Eastern, Western and Ayurvedic herbs and are designed to improve your wellbeing!