Benefits of Herbal Supplements

For thousands of years, plants have been used in many ways, shapes and forms as medicinal remedies for a variety of ailments. Today, many people turn to Echinacea to help prevent colds, flaxseed to help lower cholesterol, St. John’s Wort for depression and more.

Here are two of the most common supplements today that may have a very positive impact on health issues:

Fish Oil

What is it?

Fish oil is derived from oily fish and contains high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. The supplement comes in the form of capsules that are swallowed.

What are the benefits?

Fish oil is reported to have several different benefits, including:

  • Cholesterol Moderation
    Reports have found that consuming the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can help regulate healthy ratios of HDL and LDL cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. It has also been reported to aid in maintaining healthy triglyceride levels.
  • Bone Health
    As you grow older bone density begins to decline—especially in women. Studies have noted that those who have a healthy intake of calcium and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may slow the loss of bone density.
  • Aid in Depression and Anxiety
    Research indicates that incorporating fish oil into a healthy diet may help limit depression and anxiety. Fish oil helps support your natural levels of serotonin release which may help better manage stress.
  • Blood Clotting
    It is widely reported that fish oil exerts an anti-inflammatory effect. Additional reports have shown that fish oil may also be an anticoagulant that can aid in blood clot disorders. Be sure to let your healthcare providers know if you are taking fish oil, especially if you have a biopsy or procedure scheduled. You may be asked to stop taking the supplement to reduce the risk of bleeding complications.

Evening Primrose

What is is?

The herbal supplement Evening Primrose most often comes in the form of oil. The oil is derived from the seed of the evening primrose plant.

What are the benefits?

Evening primrose oil is reported to several different uses, including:

  • Treat skin disorders.
    Many people use the oil to help treat skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.
  • Alleviate PMS discomfort.
    Evening primrose is reported to help alleviate cramping and breast discomfort often associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • Breast health.
    The pain associated with fibrocystic breasts may be lessened by evening primrose oil. Recent research has shown that supplementing with vitamin E at 1,200 IU per day, evening primrose oil at 3,000 mg per day, or a combination of vitamin E and evening primrose oil can help reduce breast pain that is experienced monthly.

As reported by Breast Cancer Wellness, the omega-6 fatty acid (GLA) found in evening primrose oil may offer a defense against breast cancer. They go on to state:

“In laboratory tests conducted at Northwestern University and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in November, 2005, GLA was found to inhibit the Her-2/neu gene and increase the tumor-cell killing ability of the anticancer drug Herceptin by 30 to 40 times!” 

To learn more about breast health, contact Southtowns Radiology

Are All Herbal Supplements Safe to Take?

Herbal supplements are regulated by the FDA, but not in the same way as food and drugs. Manufacturers of herbal supplements aren’t required to seek FDA approval before putting the supplement on the market. Also, recommended “doses” are not well studied.

In some cases, herbal supplements can present unintended health risks. Combining supplements with prescribed, or over the counter medications could be harmful so it is extremely important to check with your physician before taking any herbal supplements.

To discuss the potential benefits of herbal supplements and to determine if these are right for you, reach out to the team at Southtowns Radiology today to schedule an appointment.

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