What Are Natural Health Products?
Natural health products are non-prescription or over-the-counter products that consist of mostly natural or pure ingredients. These products are generally milder with fewer additives. This, in turn, could mean fewer side effects or allergic reactions. Many are manufactured from plants or algae that are found in nature.
Other natural products come from the sea or other animals. Many are made from microorganisms. These products are sold in pill form, topical creams, liquid form, or drops. Many are meant to be ingested at certain times of the day, according to the dosing instructions.
Alternative medications fall under the category of natural health products. Natural health products also encompass products we use daily such as deodorant, shampoos and conditioners, toothpaste and mouthwash, and many lotions and moisturizers.
Are Natural Health Products Regulated?
Natural Health Products Regulations sets high-quality standards for all products manufactured as “natural”. The products are inspected for purity and stability before being marketed to consumers
Each country’s governing body must decide on the best way to ensure safe, effective, and high-quality products. The public is continually demanding easy access to these natural products, while at the same time following the necessary safety regulations. The goal is to minimize any customs issues with exporting or importing products that are safe to sell to the public.
The term “Natural Health Product” describes specific groups of over-the-counter products. These may include:
• Vitamins and minerals
• Herbal medicine
• Plant-based health products
• Traditional medicine
• Homeopathic medicine
• Essential fatty acids
• Amino acids
• Personal care products that contain all natural ingredients
The responsibility for ensuring the safety of all natural health products lies with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A determination is made as to whether a product is in fact “natural” and can be sold as such, or regulated as a drug.
Consumers are always looking for the best way to alleviate symptoms of illness, or to get healthier. For this reason, there is always a supply of new products competing in the marketplace. Natural health products are often desirable to reduce health risks that come from stronger, man-made ingredients.
Are There Health Risks To Using Natural Health Products?
There is a smaller percentage of incidents related to side effects from natural health products. Although the FDA approves these products for distribution, human error can occur. For instance, a product may become contaminated during processing or packaging. There could be a mix-up in the ingredients or a mistake in printing the label.
Other concerns are unsubstantiated health claims from the product. This could lead a consumer to take the wrong medicine for the wrong health condition. Misleading or incorrect labeling can take away an informed choice on the part of the consumer. There is always a possibility of a drug interaction that was not warned about.
As with any medication, let your doctor know about any natural health products you take. Even over-the-counter substances could counteract your prescription medications or affect any health condition you have.
To minimize any risks of taking natural health products, use only products that have been approved by the FDA. If a manufacturer makes claims to cure a disease, research the claim. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be sure to use the product as intended and do not exceed any recommended dosage.
For a product to be approved for distribution in the United States, it must be deemed safe, effective, be of high quality, and include detailed information about the product. Only then is a product allowed to be licensed in the U.S. Just a reminder, government agencies inspect natural health products for safety and purity before allowing them into the American market. Follow-up monitoring is also performed to guarantee companies remain in compliance with FDA regulations. Always do your homework and ask: Is this product safe and is it okay to take with my overall health conditions?