M.D. is a world renowned expert on supplements and highly regarded for his wide
range knowledge and cautious approach to supplements. Dr. Sahelian is the best
selling author of more than a dozen books, including Mind Boosters and Natural
Sex Boosters, and has been quoted by Newsweek and seen on CNN and major networks.
He is head of product development at Physician Formulas. The following is a
sample issue from April. PLACE YOUR EMAIL ON THE LEFT. ==========================================================
SUPPLEMENT RESEARCH UPDATE - by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Vol. 2, Issue 4 -- April 2005
When to take breaks and for how long.
We've had several questions this month such as:
I read on one of your web pages that you should take a break from supplements,
why is that?
As a rule, I
recommend taking breaks from supplements. Here are my reasons:
Note: The dosage makes a huge difference how often to take
breaks. If your dosage is very low, you can take supplements for prolonged periods
with hardly any breaks. If the dosage is high, you would need to take more frequent
Certain fat soluble supplements, for instance Vitamin E, can accumulate in tissues.
Some accumulate without harm -- such as beta-carotene leading to orange-colored
palms (carotenemia) -- but others may continue accumulating and potentially
cause problems. 2. Overstimulation can occur. For instance, the effects of
SAM-e can continue building up in the body and cause restlessness, insomnia
and irritability if a high dose is taken over several days or weeks. 3. Many herbs, hormones and supplements have a stimulatory nature.
Some of these include acetyl-l-carnitine, CoQ10, DHEA, DMAE, ginseng, lipoic
acid, pregnenolone, rhodiola, St. John's wort, tongkat ali and most sexual herbs,
trimethylglycine and tyrosine. Taking too many in high doses can potentially
cause heart rhythm irregularities, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, early morning
awakening, especially when combined with other stimulants such as caffeine. 4. We just don't know enough about the long term effects of
many supplements and herbs if taken daily for periods of months or years. 5. Some of the supplements may interact with the medicines
you may be taking or interact with over the counter drugs or even interact with
other supplements. 6. Certain supplements may benefit the immune system in the
short term, but when used daily for many months may be counterproductive. For
instance echinacea is helpful in stimulating the immune system. If taken
daily for several months or years, it is possible that in rare cases it may
initiate an autoimmune condition. 7. Long term, high dose, daily use of hormones -- such as DHEA
and pregnenolone -- could stimulate tumor growth or lead to scalp hair thinning.
Taking "hormone holidays" is likely to significantly reduce the risk. 8. Tolerance can develop. For instance, melatonin and tryptophan
may not work as well for sleep if taken every night and you may need a higher
dose for the same effect. Certain libido herbs may work by stimulating testosterone
release or release of other substances in the brain and body and the body may
need a break for a few days to replenish these substances so the herbs can be
effective again. Another form of tolerance is that you may get used to the feelings
that the supplements provide and not realize how well you are feeling until
you stop them for a few days. 9. Certain supplements may influence the endocrine system (hormonal
balance) in ways that we do not yet fully understand. 10. There may be impurities in the products or the binders
and fillers that could be tolerated by the liver or other organs if consumed
occasionally, but toxic if consumed daily for prolonged periods. Or, an allergy
that can be taken almost daily (I still suggest you take at least a day off
each week): The B vitamins (less than 30 mg daily of B1, B2, B6), Vitamin C (less
than 1,000 mg), Vitamin E (less than 200 units a day), Vitamin D (less than
600 units), Vitamin A (less than 15,000 units); most minerals such as calcium
and magnesium; carotenoids, flavonoids, fish oils, green tea, probiotics, psyllium,
stevia; herbs used as spices such as basil, curcumin, fennel, ginger; most supplements
used for joint health such as glucosamine and chondroitin; most herbs
used for prostate health such as saw palmetto and pygeum; most herbs used for
menopause support such as black cohosh, chaste berry and red clover. Products
from Physician Formulas that fall into this category include Prostate Power
Rx, MultiVit Rx, Mind Power Rx, and Joint Power Rx.
Take frequent breaks from the use of Eyesight
Rx and Passion Rx since their effects carry over for several days.
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