Many individuals hold the belief that if a product or substance is labeled as "natural," it automatically guarantees safety. Unfortunately, that's not the case. "Natural" is an unregulated word in the FDA world, so it could mean just about anything.
I carefully suggest a wide range of natural products and supplements to my patients, always with a specific purpose and utmost caution. It's important to approach these recommendations thoughtfully and with care.
Even seemingly harmless natural products can pose risks under certain circumstances:
X Taken by the wrong person
X Taken for the wrong reason
X Mixed with medications that interact
X Contaminated with potential toxins
As an example, the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) recently published an update regarding the safety of probiotics:
Extra caution should be exercised when using probiotics in newborns, during pregnancy, in individuals with short-bowel syndrome, and in those who have compromised immune systems
It is important to subject probiotic supplements to rigorous testing to ensure their purity, potency, and absence of any potential contaminants.
I am of the belief that when a natural product holds the capacity to bring about positive impact, in terms of enhancing one's health, it also possesses the capacity to cause harm. One cannot exist without the other!
To ensure the safety of my patients, I prioritize recommending products that adhere to the highest quality standards. This includes selecting those with the most potent ingredients and subjecting them to third-party testing for purity. By doing so, I strive to provide optimal recommendations that instill confidence and trust.
We should acknowledge and honor the inherent therapeutic power of natural products. Let's embrace their potential and respect their ability to promote health and well-being.
Merenstein D, Pot B, Leyer G, et al. Emerging issues in probiotic safety: 2023 perspectives. Gut Microbes. 2023;15(1):2185034. [link]