Over The Counter Supplements- What's the right dose?

It is becoming common practice for physicians to recommend over the counter supplements to their patients when medication therapy, diet, and exercise alone have failed in the management of several disease states. The one thing patients do not know is that to achieve therapeutic concentrations of these compounds, they need to read carefully the supplement information label often found in the back of the bottle.

Although many natural remedies have benefits in the treatment of several cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular disorders, they also have unknown side effects and drug-drug interactions. Some of these popular supplements are fish oil, CoQ-10, and glucosamine with chondroitin. Fish oil is mainly use to treat hyperlipidemia and inflammatory disorders. The suggested dose is based on the two main ingredients found in this remedy, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

The suggested amount of DHA and EPA for the treatment of hyperlipidemia is 2.2 grams daily and 1.8 grams once a day for rheumatoid arthritis. CoQ-10 is used for hypertension, periodontal disease, and congestive heart failure. The recommendations are 150 mg in divided doses daily for the treatment of congestive heart failure, 100 mg once a day for hypertension, and 25 mg twice a day for periodontal disease. Glucosamine with chondroitin is use to treat osteoarthritis. The suggested dose for glucosamine is 500 mg three times a day and chondroitin up to 1200 mg daily, but not less than 800 mg.

All these supplements are commercially available in a variety of formulations with a wide dosage range. It is very important that patients check the supplement label for amount of tablets or liquid needed to achieve therapeutic concentrations. Regardless of the alleged benefits; further studies are needed to establish optimal doses in different conditions as well as potential drug-drug interactions. Always consult with your doctor or pharmacist before adding any over the counter medication or supplement to your prescription regimen.

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