People urged to check facts on complementary medicines

COMPLEMENTARY medicines, such as vitamins, have come under fire, with some suggesting the treatments may not work and may even pose a risk to health.

But Michael McGeorge, the owner of Go Vita in Urangan, said vitamins played a vital role in staying healthy for many people.

He said people were deficient in many vitamins and minerals because vegetables and fruits grown in the same soil over many years were often depleted of their value in terms of nutrients.

That meant supplements such as vitamins were needed to maintain a healthy intake of antioxidants, magnesium and other nutrients essential to health, he said.

Mr McGeorge said taking vitamins could reduce stress, improve sleeping patterns, result in better general health and help people recover more quickly from colds and flu.

He said a multivitamin was a good way to start and a lot of his clients had noticed the changes in their health and wellbeing.

But Carol Bennett, Consumers Health Forum chief executive, said complementary medicine products might not actually work and might have side-effects.

"Australians spend a lot of money on these products each year, money which may be wasted," she said.

Ms Bennett said while there was a role for complementary medicines in health care, people needed to get the facts.

"I would strongly urge anyone taking or considering a multivitamin, supplement or natural therapy to know what they are taking, why they are taking it and any potential consequences of their medication," she said.

Topics:  vitamins

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