For those of you who watched the news on Monday 16th of May on ABC program’s Four Corners story on vitamin supplements I would like to set your mind at ease.

 This story was primarily based on what is happening in the United States which is quite different to the Australian vitamin industry. In the US supplements are regarded as foods and therefore regulated in the same manner as foods by the FDA. In Australia the vitamin industry is regulated by the TGA and we have much stricter guidelines, on a similar level to pharmaceutical drugs.

 This is why I don’t generally recommend that people buy their supplements over the internet .The difference in quality between practitioner only products prescribed by naturopaths and over the counter vitamins available at supermarkets can be huge especially when it comes to products like fish oils. Whilst it may seem like you are grabbing a bargain you may pay the price with rancid, oxidised oils that are higher in heavy metals and pesticides.

 Another take home from story is that it can be dangerous to self prescribe and a consultation with a professional trained in nutritional and herbal medicine is imperative to ensure you are taking what is needed for your personal health issues at the optimum dosage. Too little or too much can be just as harmful. When used therapeutically vitamins and minerals can have a drug like action, ie they have a physiological effect on the body and need to be treated with respect.

 If you have any concerns about your prescribed supplements please contact your practitioner.

 Sharyn Hocking

Naturopath at Lotus Wellbeing Centre