Nutritional & Botanical Support
In addition to making lifestyle recommendations, such as dietary changes or increased exercise, many naturopathic doctors (NDs) prescribe certain supplements. These may include commonly known nutrients, such as vitamin C and zinc, or less familiar supplements, such as the herbs rhodiola and butterbur. An ND will prescribe supplements based on your symptoms and lab test results, with the goal of addressing the root cause of the problem and restoring health.
Naturopathic medical training uniquely integrates scientific studies of natural medicine efficacy and drug interactions with knowledge of the usage history of the particular substance. This allows NDs to create safe and effective treatment plans suitable for all patients, including those who may be currently taking prescription medications.
Supplements prescribed may include:
- Vitamins (such as vitamin C or folic acid).
- Minerals (such as magnesium or zinc).
- Amino acids (such as glutamine or lysine).
- Antioxidants (like Coenzyme Q10).
- Essential fatty acids (such as fish oil and evening primrose oil).
- Probiotics (friendly bacteria for the gut).
- Digestive enzymes and other digestive aids.
- Herbs in the form of teas, tinctures or capsules.
- Essential oils.
- Homeopathic remedies.
In therapeutic doses, these substances can restore and revitalize health. They do this by a number of different mechanisms. Sometimes the use of supplements will correct a deficiency of a substance caused by inadequate intake, increased need or depletion from toxins and/or drugs. Other times, supplements can restore equilibrium to the body by acting as cofactors or antioxidants or by balancing hormones or neurotransmitters. They can also boost the function of parts of the body, such as the liver or the immune system.
Naturopathic doctors commonly stock a number of supplements in their offices. This is for two primary reasons: 1) convenience, and 2) to ensure that you have access to high quality, therapeutic dose supplements. You are not obligated to purchase supplements from your ND, but it may be difficult to find equivalent quality and dosage at a retail store. If you prefer to purchase supplements in your local community, ask your naturopathic doctor about additional resources for purchasing professional grade supplements.