How natural are dietary supplements?
It is becoming more and more common for individuals of all ages to take dietary supplements, especially when they are tagged ‘natural’ or ‘herbal’. These supplements are taken for a wide range of reasons, including, but not limited to, weight loss, extra energy, sexual enhancement and treatment of health conditions. One of the main attractions is that they are termed natural.
A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine however, sounds a cautious note. Their findings reveal that dietary supplements are responsible for 23,000 hospital visits in the United States. This prompted director of Pharmacy for the University of Rochester Medical Center, New York and a past-president of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, Curtis Haas, to say “the idea that something that’s ‘natural’ is not necessarily safe, and these products do not come without risk.” (Online Reuters article dated October 15, 2015). The Council for responsible Nutrition counters this assertion by saying the figure of 23,000 when compared to the 150 million Americans who take dietary supplements, shows that they are safe to use.
Regardless of the position taken, the bottom line for those who use dietary supplements is improved or better health. For those whose underlying reason is to take something natural, there is nothing more natural than spirituality, which cuts out material products, whether chemical or herbal, and has no risk, however slight, of contraindications that might complicate health. Mary Baker Eddy addresses this in her book, Science and Health with key to the Scriptures. She makes the distinction between using diet, climate, hygiene and so on to recover health through natural means, rather than using chemical, prescription drugs, but insists that any material method is inferior to the spiritual, which is based on gaining a deeper understanding of God, as well as spiritualising thought. She makes the point further that no good can come from mixing two opposite methods.
It does take spiritual courage to rely radically on invisible Deity, but if the spiritual method can be found reliable and unfailing, this bolsters courage and would reveal that it is not foolhardy to make it the healthcare of choice, especially for those wishing natural means. The 23,000 patients were mainly between the 20 – 34 year age bracket, and developed heart problems and other cardiovascular problems. They would retroactively heed the fact that dietary supplements are not strictly regulated, since safety testing and FDA approval are not required before they are marketed. In weighing the pros and cons, at least for these 23,000 patients, the cons outweighed the pros.
The spiritual method is neither unnatural nor supernatural. It is natural, and supremely so. There is no risk of side effects but is 100% safe. Many individuals who truly desire to trust their health to natural means, are finding it to be reliable, especially when the rules of healing, written out in Eddy’s book, are adhered to. They are reporting that the enjoyment of consistently good health, is actually quite natural.
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