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Which Natural Health Supplements to Boost Your Immune System Do Doctors Say to Avoid?

Image: Which Natural Health Supplements to Boost Your Immune System Do Doctors Say to Avoid?
Different echinacea plant products. Pills, tea and dried plant. (Rcpsi | Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 20 Mar 2015 01:12 PM

Days lost to sickness can be frustrating, and many people turn to natural health supplements touting the ability to boost their immune systems in order to stay as healthy as possible.

While some health organizations express concern over the number and quality of studies done to determine if any supplements to the immune system are necessary, traditional medicine recommends numerous products that may shorten or stop a cold in its tracks.

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Here are four natural health supplements that doctors advise taking with caution:

1. Echinacea: This is a popular supplement promoted for its immune health benefits. While it is generally considered safe, RXList reports that people with allergies to ragweed should avoid it as Echinacea may cause a similar allergic reaction, and people with autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, should not take it.

2. Licorice root: This traditional medicine is often recommended for stomach ulcers, bronchitis, and viral infections. However, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health advises pregnant women not to take it. In addition, large amounts of the natural supplement may cause "high blood pressure, salt and water retention, low potassium levels which could lead to heart problems."

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3. Asian Ginseng: Many claims surrounding this popular supplement says it will improve immune function. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, it is likely safe in recommended doses for short-term use. However, some studies have found longer-term use may cause problems. The most common side effects are headaches, sleep and gastrointestinal problems. Some people have seen lower levels of blood sugar and high blood pressure when taking it, and anyone with diabetes should use it with caution.

4. Garlic: Promoted as a way to boost immune functions, and sometimes even as a way to avoid certain cancers, garlic is a popular supplement. While considered safe, it may have minor side effects such as heartburn, but it can also may interfere with clotting. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, people with bleeding disorders should use it with caution. In addition, it has been shown to interfere with an HIV drug, saquinavir.

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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Days lost to sickness can be frustrating, and many people turn to natural health supplements touting the ability to boost their immune systems in order to stay as healthy as possible.
Natural Health Supplements, Boost, Immune System
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2015-12-20
Friday, 20 Mar 2015 01:12 PM
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