Care and usage of natural health supplements

The research base demonstrating the benefits of natural health supplements is expanding exponentially, and more people than ever are using a wide variety of vitamins, herbs and nutritional support products to receive the healthy benefits that such supplements confer.

I will briefly discuss some of the most widely used products and recommend some tips in usage as well as best way of storing those supplements.

Fish oil is most probably the most important supplement for healthy aging since the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have been shown to protect cardiovascular function.

Researchers at the State University of New York indicate that supplementing with 465mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and 375 mg of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) can significantly improve the triglyceride level in most people.

This important essential group of fatty acids is also important for fetal development. Fish oil should be purchased in small volumes and if used in a liquid form must be stored in the fridge in order to keep it from going rancid. If the fish oil is encapsulated, it should be kept in the dark and cool to optimize its efficacy.

Multivitamins are the most commonly used supplements and provide the assurance that the daily minimum requirements are met as long as the product is of high quality and not a cheap generic one.

It is recommended that you take your multivitamin with your food to increase the absorbability of the nutrients. As with most nutritional supplements, storing your vitamins in a cool, dry spot is optimal.

Glucosamine sulphate is one of the most effective supplements for the relief of joint discomfort. It is recommended in dosages of 1,500 mg daily which is best divided into three portions to maximize absorption.

CoQ10 is a naturally occurring antioxidant in the body. However, research has indicated that taking statin drugs to reduce cholesterol in the bloodstream reduces levels of CoQ10. CoQ10 is a powerful anti-oxidant therefore it is important to store it is a dry, dark, cool place in a tightly sealed container to avoid oxidation.

It is also best to use it in an encapsulated form for this same reason. CoQ10 is best taken with food at each meal for optimal absorption.

St. John’s Wort has been substantiated as an effective anti-depressant with fewer adverse side effects than many standard anti-depressants.

As with most supplements, it should be stored in a dry, cool place. Naturopathic physicians recommend that because St. John’s Wort is such an effective anti-depressant extreme caution should be exercised when taking it with other anti-depressants or with heart medications.

It is always best to consult with a naturopathic physician when considering a supplement with known medical functions. The recommended dosage of St. John’s Wort is an extract standardized to 0.3 hypericin content taken three times a day.

Garlic has a multitude of health benefits, including heart health, lowered blood pressure and improved immune system function. There is newer evidence that garlic can inhibit gastric cancer cell growth which may be because of its antioxidant effects.

Acidophilus, particularly lactobacillus acidophilus, is a group of bacteria known as probiotics which are known to improve gut health. For best intestinal functioning it is recommended to take between 5 and 10 billion colony forming units per day.

Acidophilus is very important to take after a course of antibiotics in order to restore the proper flora in the intestinal tract. Acidophilus and probiotic supplements are best store in the refrigerator.

Echinacea is most commonly used during the winter for its immune system boosting properties. Echinacea purpura is the type most commonly used and it is recommended by herbalists that it should be consumed every three hours when the first signs of a cold occur for a total daily dose of less than three grams.

Vitamin C is important in wound healing, immune health and anti-aging because it is the primary nutrient associated with collagen synthesis.

Vitamin C is sensitive to oxidation, so skin serums and creams containing vitamin C should be stored in close fitting containers or those fitted with pumps, and edible nutritional supplements should be kept dry, cool and in the dark.

Although experts vary in their advice on the most advantageous daily amount of vitamin C, it is generally agreed that a minimum of 200 mg is needed to acquire the immune boosting effects.

Always check the label of any product that you are purchasing for the expiration date. Also, look around to see that the product has not been sitting in the sunlight or under a bright light.

Dark glass bottles or opaque bottles help preserve freshness to nutrients as well. Although many physicians used to say that you can get everything you need from eating well, the unfortunate reality is most us don’t eat well and many don’t even try.

The American Medical Association reversed their stance on this issue decades ago and now recommends a good quality vitamin for most people because food that is currently produced is grown for the most part on depleted soil and the food itself is assaulted with pesticides, herbicides and sundry other chemicals.

For that reason you should consider taking a good and pure nutritional supplement to optimize your health. Always, to your health!


Dr. Jane Riley, EdD., is a certified personal fitness trainer, nutritional adviser and behavior change specialist. She can be reached at, (808) 212-8119 cell/text., and


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.