There’s perhaps not a more important time to be more scrupulous and selective about what we are putting into our bodies than when you are pregnant, lactating, or looking to conceive. With so many conception and pregnancy products on the market, which ones do you need to take? And what brands should you choose? I hope this article may shed some light on what can be a confusing matter, and help you to make the most considered, informed choices that you can for a healthy, happy pregnancy and beyond.
Have you ever wondered what the real difference is between the supplements you pick up from your local supermarket/chemist/healthfood store and those your Natural Health Practitioner (Naturopath, Nutritionist, Chiropractor etc) prescribe you?
Practitioner-only products are nutritional and herbal supplements that are only available by prescription through consultation with a qualified health practitioner. These products are not available for self-selection or over-the-counter (OTC) sale.
The reason why Practitioner-only products need to be prescribed for use by qualified health practitioners is because they contain more concentrated, therapeutic doses of key ingredients and co-factors needed for maximum efficacy. This includes co-factors to ensure nutrient absorption, ready uptake and utilisation at a cellular level (even down to a particular type of a specific nutrient -for example a magnesium is not just a magnesium…); as well as synergistic effect -that is, having the necessary components for the desired therapeutic outcome that together, interact in such a way that they actually increase the overall effect.
These products are highly researched and developed so treatment can be more targeted, rather than generic. Your Practitioner will have an understanding of your unique needs, as well as a comprehensive working knowledge of the nutrients, herbs and formulas they prescribe. Qualified Health Practitioners attend numerous courses and seminars, and partake in various other forms of continued professional development each year to ensure their knowledge is up-to-date and they can give their clients the best healthcare options available to them.
The select few Practitioner-only company products that I personally use (both in clinic for my clients, as well as for myself and my family) are dedicated to not only the innovation (e.g. upgrading product formulas to reflect new knowledge), research and development side of things; but to sourcing the highest quality raw materials, and placing products under stringent quality-assurance assays (e.g. for purity and stability), and follow strict manufacturing processes in order to confirm both the raw materials and the final products are the purest and most efficacious. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Over-the-counter products.
There is so much information out there, freely available -online especially. Which in many ways is wonderful that we can just ‘Google’ something to find out more about it, and can educate ourselves in countless ways. But often, when it comes to seeking advice on our health it can be confusing -there’s a lot of conflicting information out there; who or what can you trust?
It seems there is an epidemic of unqualified or poorly qualified health “bloggers” out there; spouting health information with next to no accountability for the advice they are giving out. Not to mention crafty marketing tactics that are “informing” our choices. Indeed, there are so many products available at the local chemist, supermarket or healthfood store -that what it really comes down to for most consumers IS the marketing-the brand positioning, buzz words and ingredients, a celebrity endorsement or commercial on tv…
According to the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), which is a Government initiative for complementary medicine research -over 70% of Australian adults use over-the-counter complementary medicine products. Of that 70% who are using these medicines, it is estimated that only 5% of these people consult a qualified health practitioner; and rely instead on word-of-mouth recommendations from friends or family members, or indeed self-prescribe after checking with ‘Dr Google’.
There are definitely benefits and much empowerment that comes from being able to research our health and wellbeing, and I am all for people having the knowledge and being empowered to take care of their health. But is this really how we choose to take care of our health? It is possibly where the supplements being “expensive urine” and Natural medicines “don’t work” arguments stem from; generic advice (often given by Dr Google) combined with the use of substandard, over-the-counter products that are ultimately ineffective.
Using Practitioner-only products also minimises the risks associated with OTC products, such as the use of low grade raw materials, lack of purity (especially when it comes to fish oils!), substitution or contamination, manufacturing standards or misleading labelling.
To me it’s about maintaining a certain level of integrity, and my commitment to my clients to provide the best healthcare options and support available. It’s important that these recommendations are made specifically for an individual, by a professional who has an in-depth, working knowledge and the ability to be discerning with regard to technical information on exactly why specific types of nutrients, herbs or formulations will be beneficial to the individual’s physiology -that is, the treatment is personalised, based on health history and context of a person’s life, work, mental/emotional/physical stressors etc; rather than a cookie-cutter or protocol approach.
I personally consider the use of pure, high-potencyproducts of crucial importance in my practise. As a healthcare practitioner, I want to know about the latest research and developments and how it translates into better, more effective therapeutic products for my clients. I also want to be assured that the ingredients are pure and of the highest quality.
Shanna is a qualified Naturopath and EFT Practitioner, and member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA).
Shanna's interest in natural medicine came about through her own health challenges. She has a special interest in helping people with natural fertility, hormone balance, stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue and general wellbeing.
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