Last year, pharmacists filled close to five billion prescriptions, and that number is only expected to rise. While many prescription medications save lives, some simply mask symptoms and don’t get to the root of the problem.
Nearly ⅓ of Americans, many at the suggestion of their doctors, have tried alternatives to pharmaceuticals. In fact, Americans spend close to $50 billion on dietary supplements every year. Of those that have tried different treatments, more than half preferred them to traditional drugs. There are many supplements available including the following.
Your brain secretes melatonin hormone to regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Up to 80% of all American adults suffer from sleep issues. The most common reasons for not getting enough sleep include:
- Health problems
- Schedule changes
To battle insomnia, get better sleep, and ultimately feel better, nearly 90% of those who tried a sleep aid take a melatonin supplement.
To improve heart-health, over 20% of Americans consume fish oil supplements. While it’s best to eat 3½-ounces of fatty fish like salmon and sardines twice a week, fish oil has been shown to slightly decrease the risk of dying from heart disease, particularly in those who already suffered through a heart attack or experienced heart failure. Here is a good source to know more about its potential.
Other benefits of Omega-3 include:
- It helps fight anxiety, depression, mental decline, and Alzheimer’s.
- Improves eye health
- Promotes fetus and infant brain development
- Reduces ADHD and asthma symptoms
- Lowers Metabolic syndrome symptoms
- Fights inflammation and autoimmune diseases
- Boosts skin appearance
- Decreases the amount of fat in your liver
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort is a flowering plant used to make liquid extracts, pills, and teas. This supplement helps ease the symptoms of depression. Those with mild depression often prefer St. John’s Wort to traditional medications because it is available at most health food stores and doesn’t require a prescription.
Another benefit of St. John’s Wort is its strong antiviral properties that help promote wound healing and repair.
When taken with a particular form of black cohosh extract, St. John’s wort help lessen hot flashes and other menopause-related symptoms.
Americans spent over $2 billion on probiotic supplements to try and improve the health of their guts and microbiome. While most often found in yogurt, kombucha, kefir, and tempeh, probiotics are pharmaceutical alternatives that contain microorganisms that help restore balance to the bacteria in your gut.
The most common types of bacteria found in probiotic supplements are from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium groups.
Probiotics help protect you against:
- Antibiotic-related diarrhea
- C. diff infection
- Inflammatory bowel disease or IBD
Probiotics also help you maintain regular bowel function.
There are many contradictions of using vitamins and supplements for a variety of health concerns. Some work fine, some do not work at all, and some may interact badly with your concurrent treatment. Therefore, it’s best to never start, stop, or change your medications without first talking to a medical professional.