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September 14 2018

Thank you for your interest in contacting Dr. Sahelian.

We would be glad to hear from users of supplements who have good or bad results, benefits or side effects. We will post these anecdotes anonymously on our web site for the benefit of others.

If you have a general question about a supplement or general natural treatment options for medical diseases, my research staff and I will do our best to answer. Partly due to legal reasons we will not respond to questions that ask for advice regarding how to diagnose or treat a specific and personal medical condition, what supplements you should take, the dosage, whether there are interactions between the supplements and medications you are taking, or whether a supplement is safe for you. Many herbs and supplements are potent and can have side effects, especially if taken in a high dose or combined with certain drugs. Always use a low amount of any supplement if it is your first time using it, even if it means opening the capsule or breaking a tablet and taking half of it.

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Doctor, which supplements should I take?
Some of the most common questions my research staff and I are asked relate to how often a supplement should be taken, whether it is safe to use for prolonged periods, and whether a particular supplement can be taken the same day as another supplement or combined with prescription medications. There are no easy answers. It is difficult to give guidelines that would apply to everyone since there are many factors that influence your need or response to supplements. These factors include your age, sex, overall health status, your mental status, your sensitivity to supplements, activity level, climate you live in, diet, what time of day you consume most of your food, types of fluids consumed, alcohol, tea and caffeine use, body weight, whether you are currently on prescription medicines, the dosage of the medicines you are taking, whether the herbs are whole herbs or concentrated extracts, whether the supplements are taken with food or on an empty stomach, the time of day they are taken, the dosage of the supplements, how long the supplements will be used (days, weeks, months, years) and the quality of the products.

One point I would like to emphasize: When you take a supplement you have never been exposed to before, do your best to try it a on day when you are not using other supplements or medicines. This way you can better tell what kind of effect this new pill has on you. Also, if you are sensitive to herbs or supplements, at first use a portion of a capsule or tablet to avoid any potential harmful effects, particularly if you are taking pharmaceutical medicines or are taking hormones.
     If you disagree with any of the information presented on this website, and you wish to present your point of view, do so in a polite manner and if possible include published research that supports your position. If we deem this information to be valid, we will make appropriate changes. We readily admit that we don't know it all... nobody does. This website is constantly updated and our viewpoint could change as more research is published or our understanding becomes clearer.
My research staff deletes emails that are disrespectful or have a negative tone. Almost all of the emails we receive are from very nice people who deserve a response, and these are the ones that are forwarded to me. We don't feel the need to waste our time with the tiny minority who write to us in a rude manner.

Never completely rely on any nutritional information from any source, whether this information is on a medical website, major news website, a medical textbook, official government website, medical university web site, etc., or even my website. Nutritional research is in its infancy, and many varied opinions exist. It is impossible to update the thousands of pages on a website to keep them always current. There could be misspellings or wrong interpretations. Some sources may purposely provide false information in order to sell a product or damage the reputation of a competitor (this happens on the Amazon site). There are no guarantees that any information written anywhere is correct.

Frequently asked questions
One of the most common questions we are asked is whether a particular supplement is safe to use. The answer mostly depends on the dosage. Is wine safe to drink? Yes, if you drink one or two ounces, but not if you drink a whole bottle or two.

Q. If the data on dietary supplements is limited, how can one be sure of its positive effects on human beings. I don't want to take something that's going to hurt me.
   A. Data are limited on a large number of vitamins, minerals, supplements, herbs, medications, etc. It is up to each individual to decide how comfortable they are with the research regarding the benefits and risks of anything they ingest.

Q, How is one to tell which supplements to take? There are literally hundreds of them out there and they all sound good. They all claim to be antioxidants or have beneficial properties.
   A. There is no easy guide or formula regarding supplementation that will apply to everyone.
Research in the field of nutritional supplementation is very early and many products are on the market that have hardly been tested in humans. Every doctor, herbalist, nutritionist, or scientist, is likely to have a different opinion on what supplements a person should or should not take and in what dosages. Some health care providers don't believe any supplements are necessary while others recommend their patients take a dozen or more. I fully recognize the fact that many consumers want precise answers, but you have to accept the fact that no such thing is possible. Life is full of uncertainty. Does anyone know exactly what benefit or harm would occur if you took, for instance, a vitamin E pill every day for 60 years? No. What about if you took 20 units compared to 100 units or 400 units? What if you took a synthetic vitamin E capsule versus a natural vitamin E complex? How do we know whether it is better to take a curcumin capsule versus resveratrol, grape seed extract, green tea extract, or the hundreds of herbs or nutrients that are available to us? Just consider now the countless possibilities of various combinations of vitamins and herbs in varying dosages. And since many people are taking pharmaceutical medicines in varying dosages and combinations, imagine the endless potential interactions that could occur.
   The reason I am vague in my discussion on this topic is because I want to be scientifically honest. I could easily make a list of several supplements and suggest that everyone should buy these particular products. But that would not be right or honest. You have to accept the fact that science does not have such answers at this time and is not likely to have them in the near future. If you happen to be the type of person who wants exact recommendations, I am sure there are websites or marketers out there that will ask you to fill out a questionnaire and then make recommendations for to you to buy their particular products. It is up to each person and their health care provider to learn all they can about diet, exercise, supplements, and other lifestyle factors and then decide which products appeal to them. As a general guideline, if you are sensitive to herbs, are female, are older, or taking pharmaceutical medicines, begin with low dosages. One option is to try different supplements by themselves for a week or two to see how they make you feel. Over time, experiment with different ones and then you can find a few that you really like. Once in a while you can add a new one. I actually enjoy the process of trying out different supplements and I pay attention to how they make me feel in terms of mood, energy, wellbeing, concentration, relaxation, stimulation, clarity of thinking, vision enhancement, vitality, appetite suppression or enhancement, libido effect, etc. Much, of course, also depends on whether you are treating a particular medical condition such as high blood pressure, joint problems, prostate problems, etc., and this could lead you to particular supplements that specifically address these conditions.
Some people may not need any supplements, others may do fine taking 10 or more different ones. However, as a general rule, there should be a good reason for taking more than 5 to 10 supplements each day (such as treating a medical condition). Think of supplements the same way as the produce section of your grocery store. There are dozens of healthy vegetables and fruits available to you and each one of them has a unique set of vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, flavonoids, and other beneficial substances. However, this does not mean you should eat them all every day. A few a day should be fine. Same with supplements, there are literally hundreds of products that have antioxidant and potential health-benefiting properties. But it is not reasonable to take them all every day.
   One way you can tell if you are taking too many pills is if you notice your heart rate going faster, your body temperature going higher, feeling overstimulated or anxious, having uncontrolled or restless energy, and very importantly, if you find your sleep is disturbed. Many herbs (for instance ginseng, aphrodisiacs, and herbs that increase energy) and nutrients (for instance B vitamins) can cause alertness. You may have trouble falling asleep or perhaps experience shallow sleep. Or, you may wake up in the morning an hour or two earlier than usual. If this happens to you, take a break from these supplements and resume a couple of days later at a lower amount. Also, keep in mind, that the effects accumulate over time. If you take a pill on the first day, some of the effects may last into the next day. So, when you take the same pill the second day, it is already adding on to some of the remnants of the first day.

The dosages you recommend for some products are lower that what is used in actual studies. Why is this?
   Many people get bad side effects from high dosages that are used in research settings since those studies are often done for short periods of time such as a few days or weeks whereas people take these supplements for much longer periods such as months or years thus making it more likely for the side effects to manifest themselves.

Emails from readers
Your reports and advice are like a fresh breeze in the rank atmosphere of the internet. So much hype out there.

This is the most informative and honest site I have ever found that details so much about so many supplements! In one hour I've learned alot about the supplements that I have been taking for years and others I may add. Thank you for the time that you and your staff have put into the research to bring this site to the public.

I must say I have the utmost respect and praise for the wonderful research and contributions you are making to life. It is people like you that truly are the unappreciated heroes of everyday life. I am currently finishing my degree with emphasis in BioChem and hope to follow the same path.

Love your website - I have read hours of materials from many sources. I have to say you are my favorite due to you exhaustive research and thorough information.

Your representation on the internet is the most friendly and helpful information about supplements and related issues. Allow me to thank you for your knowledgeable and respectful approach.

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Dr. Sahelian is in private practice in southern CA. He writes articles for several health magazines and has a popular and widely read newsletter called Natural Healing Secrets. His popular formulations include  Eyesight Rx for healthy vision, Passion Rx, an herbal product which enhances sexual pleasure and stamina in men and women, Diet Rx as an appetite suppressant without stimulants, Mind Power Rx brain enhancer, Joint Power Rx for healthy joints, and Prostate Power Rx.