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Maximizing the effectiveness of your natural health products

By Audrey Couture

M.Sc. Pharmacology


Natural health products have been much maligned in the media for a number of years. Debunking the myth that says “if it’s natural, it’s harmless” was not an easy task! That is not to say that natural health products don’t belong in your medicine cabinet. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth!


In general, medications are prescribed to treat a problem, whereas the majority of natural products are intended to prevent problems. For example, Omega-3s help to “maintain your heart health”, which means that they can prevent or delay the onset of heart disease. Natural products that relieve the symptoms of a disease are effective at the early stages. For example, saw palmetto relieves urinary problems related to an enlarged prostate.

When the severity of the symptoms justifies treatment with prescription medication, it is often too late to turn to natural products. Therefore, they should be considered as a first line of treatment, to be used before the disease is diagnosed or before the symptoms become too severe.

Self-medication is not always easy, especially faced with the vast selection of products that are available to us. In light of this, please do not hesitate to consult us in order to determine which products are best for you, or if you experience any side-effects caused by a product.

Here are some simple tips for maximizing the effectiveness of your natural health products:

  • Read the label carefully before purchasing a product. The law requires all warnings to be indicated on the label. If you are in doubt, consult your pharmacist or ask a member of our team.
  • Do not increase the recommended dose thinking it will be more effective, because this increases the risk of experiencing side-effects.
  • Similarly, do not decrease the recommended dose thinking it will be enough for you. The recommended dose represents the effective dose as recognized by Health Canada.
  • Finally, never replace a prescription medication with a natural health product without first discussing it with your doctor or your pharmacist.

In short, the best way to determine whether a natural health product can enhance your health is to contact our team or consult your pharmacist. By doing so, you will receive expert advice with respect to the advantages of these products and the precautions that must be taken when you consume them!

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