Natural supplements have been around since the ancient times. They come in a range of forms, including pills, capsules, liquids, powders, extracts and gel tablets. Supplements are widely popular for their immense health benefits. However, some critics argue that supplements do not actually work. Far from it, certain supplements are as powerful as pharmaceutical drugs. Here are our top four natural supplements.
Derived from traditional plants such as Oregon grape, berberine is a bio-active compound with numerous health benefits. The compound works by activating an enzyme called activated protein kinase (AMP). The AMP enzyme plays a vital role in regulating the body’s metabolism. Berberine also treats Type 2 diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels.
Berberine is an ideal substitute for weight loss drugs. Research suggests that this compound helps regulate fat hormones such as insulin and leptin.
2. Red yeast rice
Red yeast rice is the result of yeast grown on white rice. It is a powerful alternative to drugs in that it is rich in compounds such as monacolin K. Monacolin K is a popular ingredient in drugs like Altoprev.
Raw garlic is commonly used to flavor foods because of its strong smell and delicious taste. However, the edible bulb is rich in essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C, selenium, manganese and vitamin B6.
Garlic supplements have been shown to reduce high blood pressure. Garlic also contains medicinal properties such as sulfur compounds. Garlic supplements are more commonly used to treat flu.
Curcumin is the active ingredient found in turmeric and to a lesser extent ginger. Its bioactive compounds contain medicinal properties in addition to essential nutrients. Its common uses are for treating fever.
The anti-inflammatory ingredients are effective at reducing pain and improving function in people with knee osteoarthritis. Scientists now believe that inflammation is the major cause for most chronic diseases.
Supplements vs. drugs
Regulation: Both supplements and drugs are used for medicinal purposes. They are regulated differently, though.
While drugs are heavily regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), supplements are not. This is because supplements are considered to be foods. The FDA only enters the picture when a certain supplement is reportedly causing health problems.
Effectiveness: Some people feel comfortable using pharmaceutical drugs because of their safety for use, effectiveness and quality, as the drugs are tested before being released into the market.
However, the chances of the drugs being clogged with artificial substances represent quite a drawback. Supplements, on the other hand, are purely made with natural ingredients. This means that the supplements do not contain harmful chemicals or additives.
Just because a supplement is labeled as ‘all natural ‘does not mean that it is truly all natural or safe for you. It is prudent to exercise caution before purchasing a supplement by confirming its ingredients. Better yet, consult your doctor before taking any natural supplement.