Safety of supplements

By law, the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that their dietary supplement products are safe before they are marketed. Unlike drug products that must be proven safe and effective for their intended use before marketing.

It is a legal requirement that all nutritional supplements must state what is contained in them, including inactive ingredients, and the amount stated in the correct unit of measurement.

Nutritional supplements have sub-therapeutic and toxic doses, they can cause adverse reactions and interactions with other medication.

Adverse reactions
People most likely to suffer from an adverse reaction to a nutritional supplement are the same as those who are at greater risk of adverse reaction to pharmaceutical medication such as: the elderly, atopy, compromised liver or kidney function, anxiety or depression, serious illness or those on other medication (Braun and Cohen 2005).


If toxic is associated with causing death or a serious adverse reaction then only some nutrients are of concern. e.g. vitamin A and D and iron. The effects would be dose related.

According to the Lancet, (Palmer et al, July 2003) a third of adverse events associated with dietary supplements were of greater than mild severity. Both new and previously reported associations included: myocardial infarction, liver failure, bleeding, seizures, and death. Increased symptom severity was associated withthe use of several ingredients, long-term use, and age.

Nutritional Supplementation

A supplement is a product intended to supplement the diet, not to be use as a food or as a sole item of a meal or the diet. Nutritional supplementation may include vitamins, minerals, essential nutrients, accessory nutrients or neutraceuticals.

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
RDAs have been set since 1940s by various Food and Nutrition Boards; they were originally intended to reduce severe states of nutritional deficiency e.g. scurvy, rickets and beriberi. RDAs were designed to assess diets in groups of people not individuals, because individual RDAs vary depending on diet and lifestyle. “Individuals with special nutritional needs are not covered by the RDAs.” (National Research Council, Recommended Dietary Allowances, National Academy Press, DC, 1989)

Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
RDI are “the levels of intake of essential nutrients considered, on the basis of available scientific knowledge, to be adequate to meet the needs of practically all healthy people.” (Braun & Cohen 2005). Based on preventing nutrient deficiency signs in healthy people, they do not take individual requirements into account. E.g. tannin/phytates and iron. Often known to change when new evidence emerges and can vary from country to country, so not a definitive guide. They have limited clinical use. RDAs and RDIs do not reduce the risk of developmental or degenerative diseases such as CVD or neural tube defects.

Daily Value (DV)
Food product labeling. Two sets of references: Daily Reference Values (DRV) and RDI. DRVs are a set of dietary references that apply to fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, carbohydrate, protein, fibre, sodium and potassium.

Optimum Daily Intake (ODI)
The amount of nutrients needed for vibrant health (Balch & Balch). Higher amounts than RDA. This is generally where nutritionists/naturopaths prescribe. Scientific research shows the optimal level for nutrients are much higher than RDAs. RDAs do not take into account lifestyle factors, such as smoking, where is has been ascertained (by the Food and Nutrition Board), that they require at least twice as much vit C as nonsmokers.

Flower Essences

The flower essences work on an emotional level in the body, aiming to balance negative emotions by transforming them into positive ones.

The remedies restore emotional balance before physical ailments appear.
There are a couple of theories as to how they work:
Theory 1: the flower remedies work by subtly changing the energy or vibration of the person.
Theory 2: the flower essences trigger neurotransmitters which affect the emotions.

Flower essences should always been diluted before they are taken, unless this has by been done by a practitioner before hand.