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Dietary supplements can help you get essential nutrients or enhance performance.  They are not regulated by the FDA and many supplements can interact with medication, so speak with your medical provider prior to taking any supplements.

Acai berries come from the acai palm in the Amazon basin.  It is a small berry with amazing health benefits.  It contains vitamins A, E and C and the minerals calcium, potassium, iron and sodium.  Acai berries contain anthocyanins which are plant antioxidants that helps lower cholesterol. They also contain plant sterols, which lower blood pressure.  Acai berries can lower fasting insulin and glucose, which can help with weight loss.  The polyphenols in acai berries can fight cancerous cells.  These little berries also fight free radicals which can cause aging in the body.  The fiber in acai berries also aids in digestion.  Acai is listed as a supplement because it is generally dried and found in powder or capsule form.



The gel from the leaves of the aloe plant has long been used for a multitude of skin aliments including psoriasis and sunburn, but aloe vera juice, which you drink, also has health benefits.   It can heal the gut lining and replenish good gut bacteria.  It aids the immune system in removing toxins and can lower cholesterol.  Unfortunately, aloe vera juice can cause diarrhea in some people..  Also, it should not be consumed by those with latex or pollen allergies.  You should only ingest aloe vera juice that was specifically formulated to be taken internally.

Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances which are related to testosterone, a male sex hormone. They promote the growth of skeletal muscle and enhance male sexual characteristics.  While testosterone can be prescribed by medical providers for hypogonadism (low testosterone) or delayed puberty, anabolic steroids are illegal, are used by athletes and bodybuilders to enhance performance. Use of anabolic steroids can lead to heart, liver, kidney disease, acne, and cancer. It can cause breast development, testicular shrinkage in men, deepening of the voice and growth of facial hair in women.


The roots of the Black Cohash plants have been used for centuries for a variety of woman's health issues.  It is used predominantly to allieviate menopausal symptoms and PMS symptoms.  Black cohash has also been used to treat arthritis pain and lower blood pressure as well as treat inflammation. Because it seems to have an effect on estrogen, it is not recommended for women with a history of hormone sensitive conditions like fibroids, endometriosis or breast cancer.  Some studies show a possible effect on the liver, so patients taking medications that also can effect the liver (like statins) should not take Black Cohash.


Botanicals are plants or plant products that are used for medicinal purposes.  As supplements, they are ingested in a dried, liquid or solid form.  Botanicals can be in tablet or capsule form, or can be made into teas, tinctures or extracts.  Different preparations have different strength, so it is important to follow the manufacturers directions.   Botanicals, like all supplements, are not required by law to be tested for safety or effectiveness, so they should be used with care.  They can also interact with medications, so it is always wise to discuss their use with your medical provider.


Butterbur is a ground plant with powerful medicinal properties.  It can be used to reduce the inflammation of gout or arthritis.  It is also used for headaches, specifically, migraine headaches.  Butterbur is an expectorant and an antihistamine, so it works well for seasonal allergies and colds.  It can also be used  for chronic pain and IBS.  A word of warning, butterbur used in high concentrations can be toxic to the liver and can cause cancer or liver failure, so it is important to get your butterbur from a trusted source.


Carnitine plays a critical role in energy production.  It transports long chain fatty acids into the mitochondria, to be used for energy, and transports toxins out to prevent build up.  Most people have adequate carnitine in their bodies, although vegans can sometimes be lacking, as our primary source of carnitine consumption comes from meat.  As we age, mitochondria function diminishes, and some studies have shown that supplementing with acetyl-l carnitine and alpha lipoic acid can improve mental function and reduce the deterioration of cognitive function in older adults.  It may also improve cardiac renal function and insulin resistance.  Those with mitochondrial disorders may benefit from carnitine supplementation.


Most cartilage comes from either shark or cow (bovine).  It is the active component in glucosamine and chondroitin, which is used for the pain of osteoarthritis.  There is a difference of opinions as to how helpful these supplements are. It has also been said that shark cartilage can reduce the inflammation of psoriasis.  Some say that it can be helpful to reduce tumors in cancer.  There are no real studies that corroborate these statements.  Shark cartilage interacts with many popular medications such as thiazide diuretics, thyroid medications, diabetes medications, and calcium as well as some antibiotics, so speak to your doctor before starting.


Cat's claw is a vine from the Amazon rainforest that has anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  It is used to reduce the inflammation of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  It can help with intestinal spasms and reduce blood pressure.  Its antioxidant properties help reduce circulating free radicals which contribute to heart disease and cancer.  Do not take cat's claw if you take blood thinners, diuretics or blood pressure medicine.  Use with caution if you take medications which are processed by the liver, because it builds up the immune system.  People on immune suppressants should not take cat's claw.


Chondroitin is commonly used in combination with glucosamine to help with the effects of osteoarthritis.  It is a chemical found in shark and cow cartilige.  It may also be used for bone and joint pain, interstitial cystitis, psoriasis and certain heart conditions.  There is insufficient evidence to know if these treatments will be beneficial.  Use with caution in asthma, blood clotting disorders and prostate cancer.  Do not take Chondroitin if you take coumadin.


Chromium transports glucose from the bloodstream into cells to be used as energy and converts carbohydrates, protein and fat to energy as well.  It can help regulate blood sugar in type 2 diabetes.  Supplementation can lower the risk of glaucoma and slow the loss of calcium. It may increase energy and help with weight loss.  Excess consumption can damage the liver, kidneys and nerves and may cause irregular heart rhythms. Use with caution.


Co Q 10 is a vitamin like substance that increases energy and has antioxidant properties.  It is considered a mitochondrial booster!  It protects the heart and skeletal muscle and boosts immunity.  It has shown the potential to help fight cancer, reduce macular degeneration and protect the brain by slowing neurodegenerative disease process.


Colloidal silver is one of our more controversial supplements.  Overuse can cause blueing of the skin, called argyria.  Colloidal silver is essentially liquid silver.  According to the FDA, it has no health benefit and poses serious health risks. It is a mineral, but not an essential mineral and deposits in vital organs causing damage.  It interects with medications like quinolones and thyroid medications.  Proponents of colloidal silver feel it can cure fungal, bacterial and viral infections and heal skin issues like psoriasis and excema. 


Dandelion is used as a tea for liver and kidney detoxification.  It is rich in Vitamins A and C as well as iron and calcium.  Dandelion is good for bone health and stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin, so it is also good for diabetics.  It is a known diuretic, so use with caution if you already take a diuretic.  The sap from dandelions is noted to help heal skin conditions like ringworm, acne and eczema.  Because of it diuretic nature, it can be used for weightloss as well.


Echinacea has long been used for immune support to fight colds and flu.  It works by attacking the enzymes in the disease shell and by boosting your own immune fighting cells.  It is healing to the gastrointestinal tract and has a mild laxative effective.  It has also been known to reduce inflammation and helps with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be made into a paste and used for a variety of skin ailments.


Ephedra, also known as ma huang, has been used for centuries to combat seasonal allergy and respiratory symptoms.   It increases energy and briefly became popular as a weight loss drug.  Ephedra was banned in the US in 2004 because of a significant risk of heart disease, stroke and death.  It can also raise blood sugar and lower the seizure threshhold.  It can still be found in some herbal supplements because they are not regulated by the FDA.


Evening primose oil is extracted from the seeds of the evening primrose plant.  It is used to treat PMS symptoms, eczema, gastrointestinal complaints and the inflammation of autoimmune disease.  It is an essential fatty acid and has been used effectively for diabetic neuropathy and osteoporosis.  It should be used with caution in people with bleeding disorders or who are at risk for seizures.  Evening primrose oil should be stopped at least 2 weeks prior to surgery and should not be taken by people taking phenothiazides.


Fenugreek seeds are used to lower blood sugar in diabetes and relieve painful menstrual cramps in women.  It helps alleviate GI distress and is used by men to treat erectile disfunction and infertility.  It may help with symptoms of Parkinson's disease and atherosclerosis.  Those with soybean, peanut, and green pea allergies should not take fenugreek as life threatening allergy symptoms may occur.  Use with caution if you take medication for diabetes or are on blood thinners.  Fenugreek can cause a maple syrup smell to your body.


Feverfew is used to treat and prevent migraine headaches.  It can help regulate irregular menstrual cycles and is used for tinnitis, psoriasis, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.  It is used in creams for itchy skin.  Feverfew should not be used in people who are allergic to ragweed or related plants.  It should be used with caution in people wh take blood thinners and should be stopped prior to surgery.  Fevefew can change the way the liver breaks down many medications, and should be used with caution.


Fish oil is an extremely beneficial source of Omega 3s.  Interestingly, our bodies cannot make Omega 3, we must rely on external sources.  Fish oil fights heart, kidney and neurologic disease.  It helps combat eye disease, GI complaints and women's hormonal issues.  It can help with both diabetes and autoimmune disease.  Fish oil is often prescribed to lower triglycerides and combat heart disease.  It may be helpful in neurological protection and we have seen some success with depression, autism and cognitive impairment in people who take fish oil.  Those with seafood allergies should use caution when taking fish oil.  Use caution when taking fish oil with antihypertensives and blood thinners.


Gingko improves blood circulation which helps the brain, eyes, ears and legs function better.  It is antiinflammatory, antioxidant and a stimulant.  It also improves circulation.  It is used for altitude sickness, erectile dysfunction and to improve libido.  It enhances memory and cognitive function.  Gingko is used to improve eyesight and vertigo symptoms.  It reduces the leg pain due to peripheral vascular disease.  Gingko may cause an allergic response in people allergic to poison ivy.  It should be used with caution in people who take blood thinners and those who take medications which are changed in the liver.  Gingko seeds are poisonous.


Ginseng is used to boost the immune system and lower blood sugar.  Combined with Gingko, it may improve concentration and mental performance.  It is used to combat mental fatigue and stress and is used as a detoxifier.  It is considered to be an adaptigen and is antioxidant and anti inflammatory.  Ginseng is an immune booster and can be used to fight colds and flu.  It also may improve the symptoms of ADHD.  Use with caution if you are taking blood thinners, psychiatric or pain medications.


Glucosamine is used to help lubricate the joints in the body.  It is generally combined with chondroitin to maximize its effects.  It helps combat the pain of osteoarthritis.  It may also help prevent the worsening of osteoarthritis.  Glucosamine is used to alleviate the symptoms of interstitial cystitis, TMJ and may help reduce the relapses that occur in multiple sclerosis.  Use caution when taking glucosamine with anticancer drugs or blood thinner.  Stop taking it 2 weeks prior to a proposed surgery.


Green tea's high flavonoid and catechin content makes it an antioxidant powerhouse.  It is quite possibly the healthiest drink on the planet.  It has both heart and brain benefits.  It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and blocks the plaque build up that causes Alzheimer's.  Green tea also stabilizes blood sugar. It can help with weight loss and fights cancer, specifically breast, prostate and colorectal cancer.  Green tea contains l-theanine which has anti anxiety effects.  It helps prevent tooth decay and bad breath.  It has even been said that drinking green tea can help you live longer.


Hoodia comes from a succulent plant and is thought to trick your brain into thinking it is full.  It is used as an appetite suppressant.  Common side effects are dry mouth and liver problems.  The actual researched benefits of Hoodia are slim.


Kava is a root from the South Pacific which has powerful calming effects.  It is used to relieve anxiety, restlessness, sleeplessness and muscle tension from stress.  It can be used instead of anti anxiety medications.  Kava can have serious side effects.  It can cause liver failure in otherwise healthy individuals.  Do not take kava with alcohol or psychotropic medication.  If you notice yellowing of the skin or eyes, stop taking kava immediately and seek medical attention.  Do not use kava for longer than 3 months.


Licorice root is used for it's antiinflammatory, analgesic, demulcent, anti viral and expectorant properties.  It is used extensively to combat gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcer, gastritis, heartburn and colic.  Because it thins mucous and acts as an expectorant, it is also useful to alleviate the symptoms in colds, flu and bronchitis.  It is used for the internal inflammation of autoimmune disease, and can be applied topcially for eczema and psoriasis.  Licorice contains Glycyrrhizin, which taken in large quantities can raise blood pressure and dangerously lower potassium levels.  It is recommended that you take DGL (deGlycyrrhizinated licorice) which has this dangerous substance removed.  Those with heart disease or hormone sensitive conditions should not take licorice.  There are many medications that interact with licorice.  Consult your medical provider prior to taking it.


Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body, made by the pineal gland.  It is available as a supplement and is used to alleviate a multitude of sleep issues, including disturbance of sleep wake cycle due to shift work, jet lag or blindness.  It is used for primary insomnia as well as insomnia induced by some heart medicines (betablockers), benzodiazapine withdrawl, ADHD and some developmental delays like autism.  Melatonin can also be effective in reducing the pain of endometreiosis and may lower blood pressure.  Use with caution if you have a bleeding disorder, depression, diabetes or a siezure disorder.  Do not take melation if you are taking blood thinners, birth control pills or sedatives.


Milk thistle contain powerful antioxidants that protect the liver from toxins, including alcohol and tylenol.  It is considered a detoxifier as well, and is used to alleviate gallbladder and kidney problems.  It is used as emergency medicine in mushroom poisoning and may have anti cancer effects.  Do not take milk thistile if you are allergic to ragweed or have hormone related cancer.  Use with caution if you take blood thinnners, antipsychotics, seizure or anxiety medication, statins or birth control pills.


Noni fruit is a rather unpleasant smelling plant that is used to reduce inflammation, boost immunity and repair damaged cells.  Noni  is used to reduce inflammation in arthritis, can reduce post operative nausea and may lower blood pressure.  Noni contains a large amount of potassium.  Use with caution in liver and kidney disease.  Do not take noni if you are taking blood thinners, diuretics (water pills), are on medication for high blood pressure or taking medications to control your cholesterol.


Omega 3's are essential fatty acid that cannot be made by the body.  Food sources include salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, herring, makeral, algea, krill, plant sources and nut oils.  Omega 3's play a crucial role in brain development and reduce inflammation.  They lower the risk of chronic diseases like arthritis, cancer and heart disease.  Most American diets are high in Omega 6 and low in Omega 3, which causes inflammation in the body, and predisposes people to chronic disease.


​more to come...

Probiotics, live bacteria in either supplement form or in fermented foods, boost immunity and help restore normal gut function.  A healthy gastrointestinal system has billions of bacteria living in it, protecting you from harmful bacteria, and aiding in digestion and immune function.  Probiotics restore the normal GI flora after gastroenteritis and assist with maintaining normal function in irritable bowel syndrome. and some types of colitis.  They may also be beneficial in maintaining genitourinary health.  Different probiotic bacteria are good for different issues.


Red clover can be used for both men and women's health issues. It has been used by men for hair loss and enlarged prostate.  It is used by women for breast pain, uterine cancer, menopausal conditions and post menopausal issues like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Use with caution in clotting disorders and hormone causing cancers.  Red clover may interact with birth control pills, estrogen and medications that are changed by the liver.


SAMe is a naturally formed molecule in the body.  It is used to make chemicals in the body to fight pain, depression, liver disease and other issues.  SAMe is used to reduce inflammation in osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.  It can help with HIV related nerve pain. It also improves symptoms of depression and liver function.  Use with caution in people with bipolar disorder,  Parkinson’s disease, and Lesch-Nyhan syndrome.  Do not take SAMe if you are taking antidepressants, dextromethorphan, pain medications.


Saw palmetto is used mostly for prostate issues.  It is used in benign prostatic hypertrophy, prostatitis and possibly prostate cancer.  It may help with male pattern baldness.  Some people also use it for cold symptoms.  Saw palmetto may affect blood clotting.  Do not take with birth control pills or estrogen.


St John’s Wort is most commonly used for depression, anxiety and sleep related disorders.  It may help with menopausal symptoms, ADHD, SAD, PMS, OCD and social phobia.  St John’s wort is not recommended in bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.  St John’s Wort has significant drug interactions and should be used with caution if you take medication.


Thunder God Vine is an anti inflammatory supplement that also boost immunity.  It is used in rheumatoid arthritis to decrease joint pain.  It also seems to be effective in kidney disease, specifically nephrotic syndrome in children and kidney disease associated with lupus.  Some also feel it decreases viral load in HIV.  It can weaken bones, so should be used with caution in osteoporosis.  Do not take Thunder God Vine if you are taking immunosuppressants.


Valerian is used for sleep disorders, anxiety, psychological stress states, depression, ADHD and chronic fatigue.  It can be used for joint pain and menopausal symptoms.  Valerian has sedative effects on the brain and nervous system.  It can be used for restlessness and mild tremors.  It may make you a little groggy in the morning.  Do not take Valerian with alcohol, sedatives or antianxiety medications.  Use with caution if you that medications that are changed by the liver.


Yohimbe contains a chemical compound called yohimbine which increases blood flow to the penis and vagina.  It is used to increase sexual arousal and may help treat erectile dysfunction.  It is used to combat the sexual side effects of some antidepressants called SSRIs. It can enhance exercise performance and may help with orthostatic hypotension.  Yohimbe has stimulant like effects and should not be used in people with mental health issues, heart, liver or kidney disease or those with BPH.  Those taking MAOIs should not take yohimbe.  Use with caution if you take antihypertensives, tricyclic antidepressants or stimulants.  Yohimbe interacts with many medications and can have a significantly adverse effect on the heart.


Yerba mate  is a popular drink in Brazil.  It contains caffeine and other chemical which act as stimulants in your body.  People drink it to improve mental alertness and relieve chronic fatigue.  It can help decrease blood sugar and cholesterol.  Because it is a stimulant, it may help with weight loss. It may also help prevent bone loss in post menopausal women.  Long term use is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, especially in those who smoke or drink alcohol.  Do not take Yerba Mate if you take stimulants or use cocaine.  There are many medications that interact with Yerba Mate.  Discuss it with your medical provider prior to using it.


Supplements containing white kidney bean extract are thought  to help with weight loss because they act as starch blockers, blocking the enzyme amylase from converting starch to sugar.  It seems to be mildly helpful if you take it prior to a starch heavy meal.  You may notice some gassiness and bloating. Overall, it is generally safe, but it’s effectiveness is questionable.


Raspberry Ketone is another supplement used for weight loss.  It works by increasing metabolism by affecting the hormone adiponectin.  It may also help with male pattern baldness when applied to the skin.  It may also lower blood sugar.  It is generally considered safe but, again, questionably effective.


You body produces pyruvate when it breaks down sugar.  It may promote weight loss by increasing the breakdown of fat.  Pyruvate is also used topically to reverse the signs of aging.  In it’s inhaled form, it may help reduce the symptoms of COPD.  Pyruvate may worsen the symptoms of irritable bowel disease.​


Guar gum is a fiber which is used as a laxative.  It may reduce cholesterol and lower blood sugar in diabetes.  It can be used in weight loss as it expand in the stomach, giving one a sense of fullness.  It can be useful in both diarrhea and constipation by increasing  the bulk and softening the stool.  It is important to take guar gum with 8 ounces of water to reduce the risk of intestinal blockage.  Guar gum can change how medication is absorbed in the body, so use with caution.


Glucomannan is  a sugar made from the root of the konjac plant that is used for weight loss and to combat constipation, diabetes, and cholesterol.  It works in the stomach and intestines to create a bulky fiber that reduces constipation and slows the absorption of sugar and cholesterol in the gut. Because of this, it can interfere with the absorption of some medications.  Increase your fluid intake to reduce the risk of intestinal obstruction.


Conjugated Linoleic Acid is a chemical found in linoleic acid.  It is found in dairy products and beef.  It is said to boost immune function and prevent the build up of fatty deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis).  CLA may reduce airway sensitivity in asthmatics and may reduce the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.  It may be associated with a lower risk for breast and colorectal cancer.  You should avoid CLA if you have been diagnosed with diabetes or metabolic syndrome.  Use with caution if you have a clotting disorder.


Chitosan is a sugar obtained from the hard outer shell of crab, lobster and shrimp.  It is a fibrous substance that blocks the absorption of fat and cholesterol.  Topical application can reduce gum disease and help with wound healing.  Chitosan helps alleviate some of the side effects of dialysis in kidney failure patients.  It’s effectiveness in weight loss has not been proven.  Use with caution in shellfish allergy.  The use of Chitosan and blood thinners is not recommended.


What caffeine does in the brain is to block an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. This way, it actually increases the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. Caffeine has been intensively studied before and consistently leads to improvements in various aspects of brain function, including improved mood, vigilance, reaction time and memory. Caffeine itself has also been shown to improve physical performance by mobilizing fatty acids from the fat tissues and making them available for use as energy. In two separate review studies, caffeine has been shown to increase physical performance by 11-12%, on average.  Caffeine in coffee reduces risk of stroke by 22% and the risk of mouth and throat cancer by 50%.