when to take a break from supplements...

The overall strength or dosage level if single ingredient makes a huge difference how often to take breaks. If your dosage is very low, you can take supplements for prolonged periods with hardly any breaks. If the dosage is high, you need to take more frequent breaks.

Certain fat soluble supplements, for instance Vitamin E, can accumulate in tissues. Some accumulate without harm - such as beta-carotene leading to orange-coloured palms (carotenemia) - but others may continue accumulating and potentially cause problems. Overstimulation can occur. For instance, the effects of SAMe can continue building up in the body and cause restlessness, insomnia and irritability if a high dose is taken over several days or weeks.

Many herbs, hormones and supplements have a stimulatory nature. Some of these include Acetyl-L-Carnitine, CoQ10, DHEA, DMAE, Ginseng, Lipoic Acid, Pregnenolone, Rhodiola, St. John's Wort, Tongkat Ali and most sexual herbs, Trimethylglycine and Tyrosine.

Taking too many in high doses can potentially cause heart rhythm irregularities, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, early morning awakening, especially when combined with other stimulants such as caffeine.

We just don't know enough about the long term effects of many supplements and herbs if taken daily for periods of months or years.

Some of the supplements may interact with the medicines you may be taking or interact with over the counter drugs or even interact with other supplements.

Certain supplements may benefit the immune system in the short term, but when used daily for many months may be counterproductive. For instance Echinacea is helpful in stimulating the immune system. If taken daily for several months or years, it lowers the immume system and in rare cases it may initiate an autoimmune condition. Long term, high dose, daily use of hormones - such as DHEA and Pregnenolone - could stimulate tumour growth or lead to scalp hair thinning. Taking "hormone holidays" is likely to significantly reduce the risk.

Tolerance can develop. For instance, Melatonin and Tryptophan may not work as well for sleep if taken every night and you may need a higher dose for the same effect.

Certain libido herbs may work by stimulating testosterone release or release of other substances in the brain and body and the body may need a break for a few days to replenish these substances so the herbs can be effective again.

Another form of tolerance is that you may get used to the feelings that the supplements provide and not realize how well you are feeling until you stop them for a few days.

Certain supplements may influence the endocrine system (hormonal balance) in ways we do not yet fully understand.

There may be impurities in the products or the binders and fillers that could be tolerated by the liver or other organs if consumed occasionally, but toxic if consumed daily for prolonged periods. Or, an allergy could develop. 

Supplements That Can Be Taken Almost Daily
» The B vitamins (less than 30 mg daily of B1, B2, B6)
» Vitamin C (less than 1,000 mg)
» Vitamin E (less than 200 units a day)
» Vitamin D (less than 600 units)
» Vitamin A (less than 15,000 units)

Most minerals such as Calcium and Magnesium; Carotenoids, Flavonoids, Fish Oils, Green Tea, Probiotics, Psyllium, Stevia; herbs used as spices such as Basil, Curcumin, Fennel, Ginger; most supplements used for joint health such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin; most herbs used for prostate health such as Saw Palmetto and Pygeum; most herbs used for menopause support such as Black Cohosh, Chaste Berry and Red Clover.

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