An easily understood reference to vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements—what they are and how they work—that soundly emphasizes the need to hook up with a knowledgeable health care practitioner. The Prevention Health Book editors set out the basics of nutritional supplementation: explaining the differences between adequate and optimal nutrition and emphasizing safety with supplements" (always start treatment with a low dose, "consult a knowledgeable physician or heatlh practitioner" before taking supplements, avoid all supplements while pregnant or nursing). They then describe 61 separate substances, from the now-familiar vitamins, St. John's Wort, and saw palmetto to the relatively obscure, such as cayenne (because of its diaphoretic action, "it was an herbal mainstay for general cleansing of the body, breaking fevers, and fighting infection"), and Royal Jelly—food for bee larvae in nature, but also treatment for human infants who fail to thrive. In Part three of this guide, "Fighting Disease with Supplements," the authors examine potential help for disorders from Alzheimer's disease to yeast infections. The possibilities are myriad and complex (hence, work with a health care practitioner who has a sound knowledge of the field); those struggling with menopausal problems, for instance, can pick and choose among soy isoflavones, dong quai, black cohosh, licorice, natural progesterones, vitamins E and C, and ginseng for symptom relief and problem prevention. A reliable guide, then, to what is currently understood about nutritional supplements.
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