Last Updated on 6 June 2022 by Ray Plumlee

Herbal Supplements
Herbal Supplements

Dad and mum were checking out some products online. Dad clicked on an ad which popped up on the site he was on. A video came up in which a user of the same product was overjoyed because the product completely cured him of Alzheimer’s disease. Now based on this testimony, dad and mum are considering purchasing this product too.

The AARP in a report claims that more than 50% of seniors use supplements. A large number of older persons spend a fortune on minerals, botanical and herbal preparations, vitamins, enzymes and related products. In recent times, supplements are commonly found in our drugstores and grocery stores. Many consumers lack basic knowledge of the preparations and pills they consume daily. So how can we guarantee our safety and determine the health benefits of consuming these products? And how are we sure we are not wasting our cash? Consider these five general myths:

Myth #1: I have no cause to doubt the claims of producers of supplements.

The truth is: Though companies market their products with legal backup, supplements are mostly not regulated. A lot of producers sell substandard products with tags “lose weight fast”, “stop aging- age slowly” and numerous other products that claim to cure various diseases; milking dry those who can do whatever it takes to get the desired result, including the aged. Such producers put better resources in infomercial, highly sophisticated classic websites and adverts in cover pages of top magazines, than they invest on enhancing the standard and worth of the content of their products. These companies could even fake up ‘before use’ and ‘after use’ pictures and stories, or could as well get a famous personality to emphasize on the benefit of using the product of which the character has never used.

Myth #2: A supplement may not do what it claims to do, but still doesn’t pose any risk.

The truth is: We ignore the fact that the drugs we consume have gone through standard test and regulation. However, FDA does not regulate supplements and so, they are not approved by the regulatory body. So, unlike drugs, these supplements hit the market with no relevant test been carried out on them. The FDA are only concerned when there is a specific suspicion of the safety of a product on consumer health which may take a considerable amount of time to determine and a longer period to see the product off the market. Besides the US regulatory body, there are numerous supplements in other countries which their manufacturing activities are not also regulated. You have no guarantee that the supplement you are purchasing and consuming has the acclaimed content; some have harmful ingredients. Although a couple of them are healthy, some can lead to grave health dangers.

Myth #3: There is no need discussing the herbal products and vitamins I take since the supplements are not prescribed.

The truth is: If you are asked by your physician the drugs you take, you should always report not just prescribed medications, but other self-medications as well as your intake of supplements. Make sure your health expert knows each drug you take, how they are taken and the reason for each supplement you take. Better still, seek professional advice before using any supplement. These experts are in the best position to assist you in making a decision on the specific supplements and probably other vitamins that would be beneficial to you or worthless as the case may be, or that can even pose a significant threat to consumer’s health.

Myth #4:  As we approach old age, it’s nice to use more supplements in order to enhance our health at old age.

The truth is: As a senior, your physician may see the need for you to take some dietary supplements and vitamins, mostly in cases when you have a situation that stops your body from collecting the needed nutrients from meals. However it’s worthy to note that the more we grow old, the less efficiently our body system processes substances. The elimination of vitamins and supplements from our body may become slower as we grow older, hence the accumulation of toxic dosage. Unfortunately, old adults consume up to five different prescribed pills; this increases the chances of them having an unhealthy combination of supplements, prescribed drugs, and non-prescribed drugs.

Myth #5: I could broaden my source of income if I am introduced into marketing of supplements.

The truth is: A colleague, friend or family member may suddenly get obsessed with and starts talking good of a particular diet product or nutrition shake, and you may be invited to a social event where you will be pressurized to buy the product. There, you may have the opportunity to sign-up and become a member of the sales force. Such seemingly enticing schemes may particularly be welcomed by the retirees who have some savings and a lot of time. However, the FTC warns that consumers should not opt for any scheme if they promise income which is derived from introducing others, giving you a percentage of the amount of the product they sell, rather than from the supplement you personally sold. The FTC has warned that such schemes are referred to as “Pyramid Schemes” and that they are illegal, and most of the participants ignorantly get into it and lose money. So, do a thorough research before you engage in this.

Store shelf of supplements
Store shelf of supplements


My aim was to study articles that explains herbal supplement usage by seniors as well as to have a summary of key areas of some specific studies which involve common supplements, type of study, location of study and likely dangers of the use of herbal supplements.

Only 16 out of 1297 researches made met the standard requirement for selection. Of the 16, 12 which forms 75%, of such studies were carried out in North America. 9 of the studies which form 56.25% of the studies were carried out in the United States. 7 were cross-sectional forming 43.8% of the studies. Of all the substances, ginseng, gingko Biloba, spearmint, chamomile, ginger and aloe vera were mostly reported. Among them all, garlic and ginseng are used most by community-dwelling seniors. Both supplements can cause severe bleeding or may lead to bruises as a result of the possible interaction of such supplements with anticoagulants.

Herbal supplements are mostly used by the aged. The elderly happens to consume a lot of prescribed medications far more than that consumed by the younger populace. These studies revealed a deficiency in the interaction between patients and medical experts about patient’s herbal supplement’s usage. Professionals in giving a prescription, ought to put the use of herbal supplements for consideration and dialog same with their aged patients in deciding about appropriate pharmacological treatments to be administered.

What’s Really in Herbal Supplements?

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Retired USN "Mustang"(Enlisted to Officer) Officer. World traveler, been to 38 countries.

After retiring in 1994, I kept myself busy traveling as an online web programmer. Maybe you heard of me, Have Web Sites Will Travel? I then retired for a second time in 2010. Recently to keep busy I started a 3rd career, a career dedicated to me. My full time dedication is to my health and fitness. My job is to research everything to do with health and fitness (Yes, sexual health) and everything else related. I workout 6 times a week, closely monitor my diet and nutrition. I have started an online blog dedicated to the health and fitness of men over 60. So you can see I keep myself very busy, a very necessary component of the life extension goal.

Tagged on: AARP    Aloe-Vera    botanical    Chamomile    dosage    enzymes    FDA    FTC    ginger    gingko Biloba    Ginseng    herbal    medications    minerals    nutrition shake    senior    spearmint    supplements    toxic    Vitamins
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Velma Thomas

The use of herbal supplements is a very common practice among senior citizens and doctors advise them to take supplements to stay fit. But I recon, herbal and organic supplements are far better than prescribed medicines by doctors.

Brandon Johnson

I always thought that regardless of how you felt about a supplement, you should be taking them if your body is low in one way or another. Wouldn’t that be a good way of thinking about it?

Will Wright

Ray I think this is the best of the 5 supplement for seniors series you have created. Great information and useful to your audience for sure.

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