Recent Concerns About Natural Health Products: A Response by Dr. Odessa Gill

In response to the recent news articles on natural health products, I think they highlight some important questions for the natural health industry. Since the recent study performed by researchers at Guelph showed contamination and many binders and fillers in the herbal supplements, it definitely shows the need for stricter guidelines. As a Naturopathic Doctor, this is one of the reasons I use professional supplement lines that are third-party tested, research-based and have a long history of safe use.

As a general practice, I have patients in their first visit bring in any of their self-prescribed supplements. This allows me to look at the medicinal ingredient list for dosing and the particular form of the vitamin/herb and also the non-medicinal ingredient list. This list is just as important to me as it tells me how ‘clean’ a supplement really is. Oftentimes I encounter a natural health supplement that has many dyes, binders, fillers, salt and even sugar added to them. These are usually unknown to the consumer. I usually advise patients to look for this list and if the non-medicinal ingredient list has many ingredients and substances that they cannot pronounce, it is usually not a good sign. In comparison, the professional lines of supplements, have very little binders and fillers added to them.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained to advise patients on supplementation and choose appropriate forms, dosages and brands. If you are unsure of whether a supplement is right for you, consider talking to your Naturopathic Doctor for an individualized health care approach.

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