Posted By: Allison Walker
Studies show nearly half of you don't think natural supplements are worth buying. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't even regulate them. But a Southern Tier woman who could barely walk because of intense knee pain decided to give supplements a try. The woman says she's now pain-free for the first time in 30 years.
"I was in so much pain, took so many drugs, (and) I'd get up in the morning, take a shower, and fall asleep drinking my coffee," said Belva Felker, 49, of Corning. Felker has lupus. That means for 30 years, her immune system's been attacking her body's tissues. The disease has nearly destroyed her joints and has caused extreme fatigue. "I was on 13 different drugs for lupus."
Today, she's on none. Instead, she's taking a natural antioxidant supplement called Isotonix OPC-3. It's supposed to improve your circulation and fix your cells that oxygen has damaged.
Felker says she never knew what a "leisurely" stroll was because she was in so much pain. But she says only 3 days after taking the antioxidant, she noticed a big difference. "I noticed right away I could walk up the steps, you know, normally."
Debra Coggins is a wellness consultant who sells the product. She says the supplement brought back a kind of fluid to Flecker's knee. "(It's) kind of like greasing a joint on the axle or something... It reduced the inflammation and it got all the blood flowing properly."
Coggins says there are no risks or negative side effects. The powdery antioxidant is made up all natural stuff - like pine bark, and wine and grape-seed extracts. "It's the most powerful antioxidant in the world," Coggins claimed.
Felker wasn't always convinced a supplement could work. "I'm very skeptical." So when her pain started going away, "I thought it's probably something else. So I quit taking the product, then the pain came back."
Doctors say natural supplements won't cure you or prevent a disease. But Flecker's sold on it."I do not take any prescription drugs at the moment."
It won't hurt to ask your doctor before taking supplements. They're not known to react with medications, but doctors prefer that you check in with them first.
You don't have to feel sick or have a disease to take supplements. In fact, many healthy people take them to make sure they're getting all the nutrients they need. Supplements can also supply amounts of nutrients larger than the diet can provide. Larger amounts of some nutrients may help to protect against future disease.
So what can you get from a supplement? A group of experts in Sacramento, California - who are trained in both conventional and alternative medicines - have come up with a "Top 10 List:"
1. Omega-3 fatty acids: they're important for healthy heart, nerves, blood vessels, skin and hair-and they reduce inflammation anywhere in the body.
2. Ginkgo biloba: It's one of the world's most popular herbal products. Known as the "smart herb," ginkgo enhances blood circulation and increases the supply of oxygen to the heart, brain and other body parts.
3. Saw palmetto: This one's mostly for men who have to urinate a bunch of times at night or who notice that their "flow" is weaker than it used to be.
4. Black cohosh: Ladies, it's your turn. This can alleviate hot flashes and night sweats.
5. St. John's wort/Tryptophan: May treat mild to moderate depression.
6. Echinacea: Known for its ability to boost the immune system; strong ally during cold and flu season.
7. Glucosamine sulfate: Commonly used by osteoarthritis sufferers seeking pain relief; better tolerated than anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
8. Coenzyme Q10: A powerful antioxidant that helps to maintain a healthy heart and healthy cholesterol levels and boosts cellular energy.
9. Feverfew: Migraine sufferers may find relief from this herb.
10. Garlic: It's one of the most health-promoting of all the herbs; it's used to kill bacteria and viruses, boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, treating fungal infections, and aiding circulation and digestion.