Be careful about substituting a vitamin supplement and herbs for a balanced diet. Some vitamin supplements can be toxic when taken in excess. Although some herbs are wonderful to cook with you don’t want to rely on them when you have a condition that merits a visit to the doctor.
Take garlic for example. Garlic is a member of the onion family and no cook should be without it. Some people refer to garlic as the natural antibiotic.” These are the same people however, that take a handful of processed garlic pills when they feel a cold or some perceived or real infection coming on instead of seeing their doctor.
Now I don’t see my doctor for every cold. But if I think I need an antibiotic I’m going for the real McCoy. Besides, garlic has blood thinning capabilities and we get enough of the good stuff by cooking with it. Yet I know people who pop those garlic pills to ward off anything they think they are coming down with without any regard to the possible interaction of these garlic pills with another vitamin supplement and herbs and/or their prescription medicine.
Another thing to consider regarding garlic: Even if you aren’t taking blood thinning medication, you don’t want to have consumed a lot of garlic before you have surgery because you need your blood to clot. That doesn’t mean you can’t have your favorite spaghetti sauce before having surgery, but it could be harmful to take a lot of garlic supplements before surgery.
If you believe you need a vitamin supplement and herbs daily you should check with your doctor before consuming large amounts of any supplement as some of these can have toxic effects. Manufactures of vitamin supplements and herbs, unlike manufacturers of drugs, do not have to prove that their products are safe before they are put on the market. The FDA regulates these dietary supplements as food and not as drugs and so after a product like this causes a problem or is unsafe then the FDA can take action.
The FDA is watching though. In December 2005, they sent out warning letters to nine companies that were promoting their dietary supplements could prevent, treat or cure bird flu. When the label reads like that, then the FDA has to look at it like a drug and not food. That is why on all or nearly all vitamin supplement and herbs labels you’ll see the disclaimer that says something like, These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and we’re not saying they will cure you.” That’s a rough paraphrase but you get the idea.
In the end, we are the ones responsible for what we put into our bodies. Check with your doctor before you believe any outrageous vitamin supplement and herbs claims.