Did you know that some of the most widely used medications originally came from plants? One example, paclitaxel, comes from the bark of the yew tree and is currently used as a powerful chemotherapy agent for several types of cancer.
Though many are now synthetically reproduced in the lab, the long list of medications based on plant phytochemicals includes morphine (from the opium poppy), aspirin (from willow bark), digoxin (from foxglove), and quinine (from cinchona bark).
Natural supplements also contain active phytochemicals that improve your health. However, considering their powerful effect on your body (and their ability to interact with medications), it’s important to be careful about choosing the right supplement for your unique needs.
Behnam Khaleghi, MD, at Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center has special expertise in natural supplements. He knows how they work and which ones will benefit your health. As your rheumatologist, he can also recommend the optimal dose you need to achieve therapeutic results.
Though natural supplements offer many possible benefits, four of the most essential include reducing inflammation, supporting your immune system, serving as antioxidants, and restoring nutrient deficiencies.
Our patients struggle with pain caused by chronic inflammation. Rheumatic diseases cause inflammation that’s often treated with anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, these medications can cause serious side effects if you take them too long.
To protect your health, we try to minimize medications by supplementing with natural substances proven to fight inflammation. We keep several high-quality anti-inflammatory supplements in the office, including:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
These supplements reduce inflammation in a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diabetes, and heart disease.
We also provide cannabidiol (CBD) oil, a natural product that comes from hemp. CBD reduces inflammation by activating your body’s endocannabinoid system.
Supporting your immune system
Your immune system needs a wide range of vitamins and minerals to fully function. Additionally, many phytochemicals found in fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants have the ability to stimulate and strengthen your immune system. Some phytochemicals also have the ability to suppress your immune system, which may be beneficial for some autoimmune diseases.
If you need immune support, we recommend supplements tested and proven to contain a specific dose of the ingredients you need to support your overall health.
Serving as antioxidants
Phytochemicals have the ability to regulate the way cells respond to inflammatory triggers. They also protect healthy cells from damage caused by out-of-control molecules.
Normal metabolism creates byproducts called free radicals that harm healthy cells. Some phytochemicals are antioxidants that neutralize these substances, protecting you from inflammation and damage that leads to chronic health conditions such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Restoring nutrient deficiencies
Natural supplements also include the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to produce energy, heal wounds, fight disease, and keep all your vital organs working.
You may run across information insisting you should get all the nutrients you need through your diet — and that’s the ideal way to stay healthy — but few people get enough vitamins and minerals from the foods they consume.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating 2 cups of fruits and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily for a reason: That’s the minimum amount you need to obtain enough nutrients.
Only 10-12% of adults meet those goals. As a result, most people are at risk of being low in vital nutrients, such as antioxidants and magnesium as well as potassium, which is essential for your nerves, muscles, and heart.
We may recommend dietary supplements or IV vitamin therapy to increase nutrient levels. IV therapy delivers a precise dose directly into your bloodstream, bypassing potential problems in your digestive tract and rapidly restoring nutrient levels.
To learn more about the benefits of natural supplements, call Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center or book an appointment online today.