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  • 18 Apr 2023 1:04 PM | Anonymous

    I wanted to personally share the news with you of my decision to retire from Complementary Medicines Australia. A new Chief Executive Officer is coming on board on 13 June 2023.

    After 10 years of service as your Chief Executive & Public Officer, and a career spanning nearly 40 years, it is time for me to retire and hand-over CMA to new leadership.

    I am excited to let you know that an appointment has been made and an announcement is coming very soon on the new CEO; you will be pleased to hear it is someone who is youthful, passionate, and extremely capable.

    I leave CMA in good health and in good hands. 

    Click here to read the announcement 

  • 21 May 2021 11:02 AM | Deleted user

    Complementary medicines are one of the high value-add groups identified for growth opportunities. 

    To support a globally recognised Australian medical products industry with the capability, capacity and expertise to locally manufacture advanced and high-value medical products using sophisticated processes, complementary medicines are one of the high value-add groups identified for growth opportunities in the Medical Products National Manufacturing Priority road map.

     National Manufacturing Priorities Road map

    The Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth has released its report – Pivot: Diversifying Australia's Trade and Investment Profile.

    The report examines how the Government can support Australian businesses to diversify our trade markets and foreign investment sources, including the ability to pivot at short notice, opening new export markets, supporting sustainable economic growth and support for domestic manufacturing. CMA is proud to say that many of the objectives cited in the report are already major priorities for Australia's complementary medicines industry. 


    Pivoting to meet the needs of Australia  

    South Australia based natural health company, Brauer, which operates TGA-licensed manufacturing facility operates in accordance with the principles of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) out of the Barossa Valley. 


    The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation created significant shortages of hand sanitiser, so Brauer worked collaboratively with several South Australian manufacturers to produce hand sanitiser to WHO standard. Brauer’s first shipment of 30,000 units left for Services Australia, the Federal Government agency that supplies Centrelink.  


    “This is an extraordinary opportunity for our advanced manufacturing sector to not only diversify their supply but produce incredibly important products for Australia in its time of need, said Carl Gibson, CEO of CMA. 


    “We’re in a unique position to manufacture essential products – with the required federal licences, access to raw materials and critical expertise, he added. 


    New export markets, trade, and investment opportunities 

    CMA strongly supports the growing number of free trade agreements and continued trade liberalisation with Australia; they present significant opportunities for the Australian complementary medicines industry.  


    One opportunity is India which has a long history of traditional medicine use. India is experiencing a rise in demand for nutritional supplements resulting from a rise in lifestyle diseases and a focus on health and nutrition. Higher disposable incomes, access to information, and the strong reputation of Australian products being high quality, 'clean and green' facilitate a growing interest among consumers for Australian health supplements, vitamins and minerals, and sports foods. Further, Australian businesses can access other free-trade agreements with China, Japan, Korea, and Indonesia. 


    Supporting long-term sustainable economic growth  

    As the world turns to make more ethical choices, our industry is committed to effectively integrating environmental, economic, and social responsibility. 


    Our industry is making important decisions regarding ethical and sustainable practices for present and future planning. The industry actively measures and manages the elements that matter in sustainable development, which begins with truly understanding, assessing, and addressing risks across the supply chain. 


    Research suggests that there will be a greater convergence of consumer trends and sustainability solutions for carbon sequestration – for example, plant-based diets. We are also likely to see the transformation of energy markets supporting the transition to renewables and more robust dialogue about climate change resilience and biodiversity impacts leading to positive change. 


    Consumers are very focused on companies taking responsibility for their impact and giving greater transparency about products. Our industry is taking the challenge seriously,” says Carl Gibson. 


    Domestic manufacturing 

    Australia's complementary medicines industry has continued to buck national manufacturing employment trends by recording an increase in job numbers over the past 10 years. 


    "Australia's complementary medicines industry is a $1.1 billion[i] export success story, and with diversified international and local demand continuing to grow, it's pleasing to see that local manufacturing is holding its ownOur great reputation for producing high-quality complementary medicines is one of the reasons why official exports rose 15% pre- COVID and why an increasing number of Australian jobs rely on our ongoing success," explains Carl Gibson. 


    Made in Australia 

    CMA has strongly advocated for medicines manufactured in Australian facilities regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to use the Made in Australia logo.  

    "The ability to use Made in Australia claims for complementary medicines manufactured in Australia to the highest standards in the world has become a significant competitive advantage for Australian companies. Our reputation for quality and safety means that our products are recognised and sought after globally. We are proud that consumers around the world look to and trust these Australian credentials," ends Carl Gibson.   

  • 15 Jan 2021 1:43 PM | Deleted user

    Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient that supports general wellbeing, This fat-soluble vitamin:

    Maintains bone and muscle strength

    Helps boost calcium absorptio

    Supports bone mineralisation

    Maintains healthy immune system function.

    Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient that supports general wellbeing and immune support

    A recent study published in The Lancet suggests that vitamin D does not protect most people from developing colds, flu and other acute respiratory infections. Yet many studies have linked low vitamin D levels to increased susceptibility of respiratory infection. Vitamin D is known to affect the function of immune cells, including T cells and macrophages.

    Low vitamin D levels have been associated with increased susceptibility to infection, disease, and immune-related disorders in several studies.

    Several studies show that low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of respiratory diseases.

    The Queensland study did not target people with low vitamin D levels – the study population was obtained randomly form the Australian general population, using the Commonwealth Electoral Roll.

    The authors reported that supplements may shorten the length of infection slightly and help ease the severity of acute respiratory infections. Lead researcher and head of QIMR Berghofer's Cancer Aetiology and Prevention group, Professor Rachel Neale is quoted: “Our findings about reduced length and severity of respiratory tract infection suggests there could be some benefit to the immune system of taking a vitamin D supplement, particularly in people who are deficient."

    A recent study published in The Lancet suggests that vitamin D does not protect most people from developing colds, flu and other acute respiratory infections. Yet many studies have linked low vitamin D levels to increased susceptibility of respiratory infection. Vitamin D is known to affect the function of immune cells, including T cells and macrophages.

    Low vitamin D levels have been associated with increased susceptibility to infection, disease, and immune-related disorders in several studies.

    Several studies show that low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of respiratory diseases.

    The Queensland study did not target people with low vitamin D levels – the study population was obtained randomly form the Australian general population, using the Commonwealth Electoral Roll.

    The authors reported that supplements may shorten the length of infection slightly and help ease the severity of acute respiratory infections. Lead researcher and head of QIMR Berghofer's Cancer Aetiology and Prevention group,

    Professor Rachel Neale is quoted: “Our findings about reduced length and severity of respiratory tract infection suggests there could be some benefit to the immune system of taking a vitamin D supplement, particularly in people who are deficient."

  • 12 Nov 2020 3:15 PM | Deleted user

    Research published in the British Medical Journal this week has attracted headlines in the consumer media. However, experts have questioned the validity of the study, Self-reported health without clinically measurable benefits among adult users of multivitamin and multimineral supplements: a cross-sectional study.

    Several limitations in the research have been cited including by Andrea Wong, PhD, senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs from the US's Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), who called the research a "disservice to the public."

    Several research shortfalls have been identified in a recent study on the multivitamins 

    A significant nutritional shortfall exists

    Numerous studies, including the largest study in Australia to date by the CSIRO, have found that most of us do not consume enough vegetables and fruits. The Australia's Health (2018) report supports this which found that more than 99 per cent of children and 96 per cent of adults don’t eat the recommended intake of five serves of vegetables a day. 

    These provide multiple vitamins including A, C, D, E and K, minerals such as calcium, magnesium potassium and fibre. All of these are deficient in the Standard Australian diet.

    Convenient and affordable

    Over 145,000 adults were surveyed, and CSIRO found only 24 per cent of women and 15 per cent of men were consuming the recommended five vegetables and two fruits daily. Encouraging people to consume adequate vegetables and fruits is the preferred course of action. However, since a nutritional shortfall exists in most people, there is a strong justification for the valuable role of multivitamins and mineral supplements in filling these nutrient gaps.

    Most multivitamin products contain many of the shortfall nutrients identified. Taking a multivitamin is a convenient and affordable way to ensure consumers get the nutrients they need. Multivitamins and minerals are not – and never have been – intended to prevent or treat disease (except in the case of folic acid in the prevention of neural tube defects in pregnancy).

    Study shortfalls

    - Several research shortfalls have been identified. These include:

    - All measured outcomes are self-reported and therefore, less reliable.

    - The results of the study are based on survey data and have not been determined individually by a clinicia.n

    - The researchers did not measure the duration or frequency of multivitamin consumption.

    - There is no information about the kind of products used. There is a wide variety of multivitamins and mineral supplements, including those based on age and gender. Thus, the researchers were casting an extensive net by suggesting they are a uniform product with uniform ingredients. Such a product does not exist

    - The cross-sectional design of this study only provides a snapshot in time of multivitamin use and health outcomes and this prevents any determination of causality. In other words, it does not have a before or after. The only way to follow subjects is through a longitudinal study.

  • 12 Oct 2020 3:38 PM | Deleted user

    Choosing a wholly or partly plant-based diet, less meat and less dairy are gaining fast momentum in Australia. Research conducted by Roy Morgan showed that 2.5 million people (12.1%) of Australians are now eating all or mostly vegetarian. Plus, a growing number of people describe themselves as flexitarian – they primarily eat a vegetarian diet but occasionally eat meat or fish.

    The vegan-friendly complementary medicines industry is flourishing

    Australians are currently one of the top five biggest meat consumers in the world. According to Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), we consumed 26 kilograms of cow each in 2017 plus nine kilograms of lamb on top of that each year. But data from the charity, Animals Australia, showed that in 2018 there was continued growth in people choosing kinder, more sustainable eating, increasing from 2.1 million people (11.2%) eating all or almost all vegetarian in 2016, and 1.7 million people (9.7%) in 2012. That is equivalent to an additional 400,000 people choosing meat-free meals in Australia since 2016 alone or one person deciding to eat less meat or go meat-free every five minutes. And while millennials lead the trend, it is also increasingly being seen in other age groups.

    And the trend is global

    In the UK, the number of vegans has quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. In the USA, a report by trade group, Plant Based Foods Association and market research company SPINS found sales of plant-based foods increased by 90 per cent during the height of pandemic-buying in mid-March 2020 compared to the same time in the previous year spiking by 148 per cent. In a July report, online resource HappyCow found that more vegan restaurants opened than closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    With the surge in plant-based and eco-sensitive eating, Australian restaurants – including fast-food chains – are introducing new products to meet peoples' changing needs from plant-based meats schnitzels to dairy and ice creams. So, what is behind this increased interest in plant-based eating?

    Concern about animal welfare

    We are more aware of animal welfare, and people are reacting by eating fewer animal products. Images of live exports and media coverage have revealed shocking scenes of animal abuse that are, for many, impossible to unsee.

    Concern about the environment

    Increasing awareness of the carbon footprint that meat and dairy industries are responsible for is another reason. Production of meat and dairy together account for 18 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions, one of the largest in the world. And, taken with a clearer understanding of deforestation to provide grazing for animals bred for slaughter. Research published in Nature stated that millions more of hectares of Brazil's Amazon rainforest was in danger of being logged to grow soy to feed China's beef cattle. The greenhouse gas costs of Australia's red meat industry account for over 10 per cent of our total annual emissions.

    In 2016, another study found that the three of the world's largest meat producers were responsible for the release of more greenhouse gases than those produced by the whole of France.

    Concern about health

    Together with asbestos and tobacco, the International Agency for Research on Cancer recently classified processed meat as a Group One Carcinogenic. The saturated fats in milk and dairy products mean that people are looking for healthier alternatives.

    Obesity and related illnesses are common in western societies, including Australia. Manufacturers of plant-based foods are increasingly producing foods that are lower in calories and saturated fat to meet the increasingly health-conscious needs of Australians.

    What about the supplement industry?

    The vegan-friendly complementary medicines industry is flourishing. Those who choose a wholly or partly plant-based diet may require vitamin B12, iron, calcium, vitamin D and zinc. And this industry has made all of these and more nutritional supplements available including as well as protein powders, hair and skin products including vegan collagen.

    The majority of Australians trust in complementary health products, and the industry is keen to help meet their health in a way that is protective of precious of natural resources. The sector is committed to more ethically sourced ingredients, adopting key initiatives such as the adoption of a clean energy strategy, and the choice of more ethical packing and packaging with a keen focus on reusing and recycling.

  • 18 May 2020 11:05 AM | Deleted user

    Complementary Medicines Australia has warmly welcomed the Government’s commitment to introduce new rules which will boost innovation, with the protection of intellectual property.

    Australia is set to become the Innovation Nation for Complementary Medicines

    Australia is set to introduce five years protection for clinical trials for complementary medicines; which will boost Australia’s research base and lead to greater innovation of world-class Aussie complementary medicine products. 

    Carl Gibson, Chief Executive of CMA said; “This initiative is truly ground-breaking. Australia is leading the world by rewarding investment and protecting research.  In a world first Australia will protect clinical trials for complementary medicines.  So no more copycat cut and paste -  but rewards for companies with the evidence base. 

    Taken together with the recent introduction of market exclusivity for new propriety ingredients, and a new “Aust-Listed Assessed” Registration pathway which provides higher level claims for higher levels of evidence; Australia is set to become the Innovation Nation for Complementary Medicines.

    Industry has been campaigning since the 1980s for better protection of clinical trials and this is fantastic news, a real boost for the industry for the next generation.

  • 04 May 2020 11:01 AM | Deleted user

    Experienced, award-winning naturopath, mentor and keynote speaker, Keonie Moore, is the pioneering founder of ReMed, one of Australia’s leading naturopathic clinics. She and her team are committed to lifting the standards of naturopathic and complementary medicine in Australia and meeting the individual and changing needs of each individual.

    "Many people are battling stress and also exacerbation of stress and anxiety, whether directly or indirectly due to the pandemic,"

    Keonie’s first career was in the Australian army where she worked in electronics systems. The mum of four now-adult children, Keonie recalls that her second child often needed hospital treatment for gastroenteritis; part of his treatment included antibiotics. 

    “I read a lot about the condition and then consulted a naturopath in search of help for my son. The naturopath did a full consultation and recommended herbs, zinc and other nutrients. We were all delighted when his condition improved.”

    Thirst for knowledge

    Inspired, Keonie continued to read and her thirst for knowledge led her to studying naturopathy at Southern Cross University. That was 14 years ago and Keonie has built on her passion for paediatrics which is now her professional speciality.

    Keonie and her team are seeing patients via video conferencing and the practice remains busy. While Keonie’s patients have taken to this new form of consultation, the team has observed a few changes to patient needs.

    Direct and indirect impact of the pandemic

    “Many people are battling stress and also exacerbation of stress and anxiety, whether directly or indirectly due to the pandemic. Some people have had their whole life turned upside down.

    Take for example, two working parents with two children trying to manage their work and online education. Families have lost their support structures and have needed to rapidly adapt, which naturally causes stress for everyone involved,” Keonie says.

    “A lot of the families I work with have multiple children with one or more affected or unwell child. The family may be trying to manage home-schooling and both parents working from home all at the same time,” she adds.

    Individual treatment for individual needs

    From the treatment of constipation, eczema and food intolerances and other more generalised approaches to children’s health over years, Keonie became interested in neurological conditions which has led to her passion for treating the Clinical Management of Paediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS). She also specialises in working with children with OCD, anxiety ADHD and those on the spectrum.

    Each person is treated according to their individual needs. But the focus is on a full, healthy diet including a variety of fruit and vegetables. Other dietary changes may include the removal of food allergens and MSG in particular if there are behavioural challenges. Treatment may also involve supplementation and the use of herbal medicine as well as the use other principles of naturopathic medicine.

    Working with specialists and GPs 

    “From my perspective, it is important to take a holistic approach to treatment focussing on the many components of health. Finding the underlying causes and understating that the body is always doing the best it can, our strategies help it do that.” Keonie says.

    For her it is not a case of natural vs. conventional health – it’s about doing the best for the individual – and working with specialists and GPs can be a part of that.

    “Working together is important,” stresses Keonie. “Different modalities bring different strengths, so if I need to get another professional involved, then it is important to do so for the patient. GPs, for example, are great at diagnostics and that is out of the scope of a naturopath. Building strong cohesive relationships equips the patient with what they need. Real strength comes from helping patients to build better diet and correct lifestyle behaviours,” Keonie says.


    Conducting and publishing more whole-practice research 

    “Certainly there significant global evidence for complementary medicines but what is going to be called complementary medicine – it’s not just one thing, there are so many modalities involved. Evidence already exists for herbs and nutrients such as fish oils and cardio vascular health but we need more a whole-practice research in a real-life setting with multiple strategies involved – as that is how we practice. We need to get better at conducting and publishing more whole-practice research to show the results of how we manage health conditions clinically,” ends Keonie.

  • 21 Apr 2020 2:42 PM | Deleted user

    The repeated publication of newspaper articles based on a study result published almost exactly one year ago have made a number of blanket statements about dietary supplements. The articles reference a US National Institute of Health study published on April 18, 2019, Dietary Supplements Aren't Associated with Lower Mortality.

    Supplements should be taken as recommended – at the recommended dosage as advised on the label or as prescribed by a healthcare practitioner.

    Clearly, there are many beneficial roles for supplements, particularly when used to address a specific deficiency or health requirement. However, supplements should be taken as recommended – including in the recommended dosage as advised on the label or as prescribed by a healthcare practitioner.


    A healthy diet – the cornerstone to good health

    The first-line of defence against disease is a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle. But certain nutritional supplements are important for those of us who don’t consume the recommended daily nutrients from diet alone – and this is the vast majority of Australians.


    Most Australians don't consume the recommended intake of fruits or vegetables. A nutritional short-fall can occur due to several reasons, including the sheer variety of foods and the large number of calories that must be consumed to meet the complex requirements, which also change with ages and stages. Nutrient requirements can vary according to ages, stages, lifestyle factors, cultural requirements (such as the covering of skin due to cultural reasons) and even the existence – and the treatment of – chronic conditions.


    CMA reiterates that an integrative approach to taking medicines including complementary medicines, rather than one over the other, speaks to the fundamentals of Quality Use of Medicines principles.


    The correct dosage

    Just as with conventional medicines, the correct dosage and length of supplementation is essential. A concentration that is sub-clinical will not have the claimed effect.

    Similarly, as with conventional medication, it is important not to consume concentrations that are higher than recommended – unless specifically prescribed by a healthcare practitioner. Following the recommendations as directed by the healthcare practitioner is vital, given many people – especially people who are older or unwell – may also be taking concurrent conventional medicines, sometimes more than one prescribed medication and may or may not have issues with absorption. 


    Recommended supplements 

    Numerous large random controlled trials have confirmed an essential role in the reduction of the occurrence of neural tube defects (NTDs). Whether women can get sufficient folate in their diets is debatable thus government experts recommend a folate supplement, ideally before conception and during the first three months of pregnancy when the neural tube and other organs are being developed. For women taking certain medicines (e.g. for epilepsy) this requirement is much higher. 

    In Australia, there is no question that certain supplements are recommended for groups of people, including:

    • Pregnant women
    • Breastfeeding mothers
    • Those who drink alcohol more than the limit approved for reducing the risk of disease (i.e. one standard drink per day for non-pregnant women and two for men)
    • Smokers
    • Those who take illegal drugs
    • Those who are consuming severely restricted diets and those crash dieters or low-calorie diets long-term
    • The elderly (including those who are disabled or chronically ill)
    • Vegetarians or vegans (some)
    • Women with excessive bleeding during menstruation
    • Those with allergies to certain food/food groups
    • Those who have a health condition that means the body can’t absorb nutrients needs (for example, chronic kidney disease/ people on dialysis)
    • Those with malabsorption problems such as diarrhoea, coeliac disease, pancreatitis and more.

    Examining study results

    The participants in the referred to study were U.S. adults who answered questions on their dietary supplement use in the previous 30 days, and about nutrient intake from foods and supplements. However, the reporting of dietary supplement use is subject to recall bias. 

    Plus, poor diet in those already diagnosed with cancer in the past was a major confounder in the study. Participants were more likely to be cancer survivors, smokers, physically inactive, diabetic, and in poor general health.

    Even in a sample size of 30,000 people, the trend associating risk of death with number of supplements did not achieve statistical significance. The study itself concludes: “Use of dietary supplements is not associated with mortality benefits among U.S. adults,” – it does not state that that supplements are harmful.

    The positives

    Some of the study results were positive – such as the role of lycopene in reducing cancer risk. In the study, the use of vitamin E supplements in combination with multivitamins was associated with lower risk of death. These facts were not included in the article.

    Last word

    CMA CEO Carl Gibson ends by saying: “To conclude, there is no question that certain supplements are recommended for people according to their ages, stages, and lifestyle and medication intake. In Australia, it is recommended that people seek the advice of a healthcare practitioner to guide individuals about their personal needs.” 

  • 03 Apr 2020 4:09 PM | Deleted user

    Our ancestors used plants as medicines at least 60,000 years ago. Several ancient remedies are now used as conventional medicines – here are three of them.


    Ancient roots: willow bark

    The ancient physician considered to be the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates (460–370 BC), described many diseases and their treatment. He prescribed chewing willow-tree bark to lower fever and pain. He also recommended a tea brewed from willow bark for women to lessen pain during childbirth.


    Modern medicine: aspirin

    It wasn’t until the 1970s that scientists begin to uncover the chemical makeup extracted from willow; it contains salicylic acid a pre-cursor to aspirin (methyl salicylate).

    Sir John Robert Vane FRS (1927-2004), an English pharmacologist, led the way to the understanding of how aspirin produces pain-relief and its anti-inflammatory effects. New treatments for heart and blood vessel disease and the introduction of ACE inhibitors were developed as a result of his work. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1982.


    Ancient roots: foxglove

    As early as 1250, a Welsh family, known as the Physicians of Myddvai, collected different herbs for medicine. One was extracted from the flowering European plant, foxglove. The flowers can be fitted over the tip of a finger (digit) which relating to the scientific name Digitalis purpurea, given to the plant by German botanist Leonard Fuchs in 1542.


    Modern medicine: digoxin

    In the 18the century, English physician and botanist, William Withering, isolated digitalis from the foxglove leaf, which later became a standardly prescribed drug in medical practice. It was used to primarily treat “dropsy,” which medical texts explain as a cardiac malady causing irregular or weak heartbeats. Affected patients’ drowned’ in their fluids due to the build-up oedema.


    In the 1800s, William Withering went on to publish a monograph describing the clinical effects of the extract of the foxglove plant.


    Later, in the twentieth century, health practitioners linked foxglove and congestive heart failure (CHF), and medicines derived from the plant were then developed into prescription drugs.


    One of the active ingredients is digoxin, a cardiac glycoside, was approved by the USA’s FDA in 1954.


    Ancient roots: wormwood  (Artemesia annua)

    For more than 2,000 years, it has been used to treat fevers and was part of a herbal medicine formulated in the fourth century AD. Wormwood or qinghao is derived from the Asian plant Artemisia annua, an aromatic plant with fern-like leaves and yellow flowers. In 1596, Li Shizhen recommended a tea made from qinghao to treat malaria.


    Modern medicine: Artemisinin

    In 1972, the Chinese chemist Tu Youyou announced the discovery of a substance, artemisinin, derived from Artemesia annua, which inhibits the malaria parasite. This discovery saved millions of lives and earned Tu Youyou the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2015.



    This article is a historical snapshot and for informational purposes only – we do not encourage anyone to use therapeutic agents, including herbs or medicines, inappropriately.  These herbal remedies are no longer used for the treatment of serious conditions. However, many plant materials continue  to show promise for use in future complementary or prescription medicines.




    2 See

    3 Shi Q.W., Li L.G., Huo C.H., Zhang M.L., Wang Y.F. Study on natural medicinal chemistry and new drug development. Chin. Tradit. Herb. Drugs. 2010;41:1583–1589



  • 23 Mar 2020 4:28 PM | Deleted user

    A recent feature in the Daily Telegraph suggests that vitamins are a waste of money because people can get all the nutrition they need from a healthy diet. The article, Supplements No Magic Pill, But Play a Beneficial Role, is not only misleading, but it overlooks several factors. It ignores the many ways that people use supplements to meet their health needs – to bridge nutritional gaps yes, but they are also used preventively and therapeutically.

    Australians use vitamins and supplements for a wide variety of reasons - not only to bridge nutritional gaps

    1.      Bridging the gaps

    A healthy mixed diet is the most critical factor in healthy nutrition, but many Australians don’t meet the recommended requirements. In 2014/15, almost half (49.8%) of adults aged 18 years and older reported consuming the recommended two or more servings of fruit daily while just 7.0% met the guideline for daily vegetable intake.1 Also, less than half of all Australian adults get their recommended daily intake of calcium.2 Vitamin D deficiency in Australia is said to affect over 30% of adults having a mild, moderate or severe deficiency according to Osteoporosis Australia, and which can be addressed through various means including safe sunlight, diet, and supplementation.3

    2.      Preventive health

    Various life stages alters the need for certain nutrients. Pregnancy, for example, increases the need for antenatal folic acid and in the first trimester. Folic acid and folate (the naturally occurring form) through dietary means and/or supplementation at the required dosage helps reduce the incidence of neural tube defects (NTDs). Women may also need to take extra calcium and iron in individual cases.

    3.      Dietary choices and lifestyle factors

    Vegetarians and vegans may benefit from supplementing with vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, iodine, iron, calcium and zinc. Increased stress, whether physical (such as intense exercise) or other may trigger increased excretion of magnesium and thus increased dietary need. Males aged 19 years and over are more likely than females of the same age group to have inadequate intakes (41% compared with 35%).6

    Vitamin C and other antioxidant vitamins defend against free radicals, neutralising them and helping to prevent or minimise damage.7

    4.      Correcting a deficiency

    Nutritional deficiencies can occur for a variety of reasons. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the nutrients of particular concern for women include calcium, with three in four women not meeting requirements, as well as vitamin D and iron.8

    5.      Offsetting losses caused by lifestyle or medication factors

    Some healthcare professionals recommend particular nutrients that are indicated to address lowered levels associated when clinically indicated, also taking into account patient preference and choice.9

    6.      Therapeutic uses – CoQ10

    The antioxidant CoQ10 produces energy and stabilises cell membranes. The average Western diet provides around three to six milligrams per day10 (organ meats and oily fish are good sources). Clinical studies have used supplemental doses of 100mg daily or more. 

    Researchers report that CoQ10 may have benefits for heart health.11 

    CoQ10 has also been shown to benefit migraine patients in clinical studies taking 100 mg CoQ10 three times a day over the three month study period compared with those who took a placebo.12

    7.      Therapeutic uses – omega-3s

    One of the most investigated chemical groups are fish oils. Rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs), they may help to reduce inflammation in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids may benefit  heart health.13

    1.5 g/day of EPA + DHA daily is equivalent to 100g of salmon.

    Final word

    As with all supplements, it is important for individuals to seek the advice of their healthcare practitioner. With much clinical research having occurred and still underway, many consumers choose to purchase complementary medicines due to a range of factors including personal awareness and choice and healthcare recommendation, and use them as part of their healthcare routine.





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