Health food stores here are reporting a rise in the number of Barbadians with chronic non-communicable diseases who are looking for all-natural alternatives to prescription drugs.
Officials at Amaze, Fresh Vitamins and Jenn’s Health and Beauty Supplies all said an increasing number of customers were complaining about the side effects of the medicines prescribed by their doctors – including nausea, pain, acid reflux, and other stomach problems – and wanted products that would treat their condition effectively without any negative effects.
Some of the products in high demand included L-Arginine, for which Amaze is the sole distributor. This product is a natural plant-based supplement which claims to regulate cholesterol, dissolve blood clots and plaque on the walls of the arteries, and helps prevent heart attacks and strokes.
At Fresh Vitamins, which has several branches around the island, Blood Pressure Wellness, Blood Sugar Defense, Blood Gluco Success and Hawthorn, a herbal product, are among the most popular for diabetic patients and those with high blood pressure.
A representative confirmed that these products had met the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards.
Jenn’s Health and Beauty Supplies carries a range of products to treat these conditions as well, including Gynema Sylvester, which claims to lower blood sugar, diabetic multivitamins and Alpha Lipoeic Acid which claims to help people to manage their blood sugar.
The retailers contended that their customers were reporting “more side benefits than side effects”.
Nevertheless, the health food stores all stated they did not advise people to stop using their prescribed medicines, and they recommended consulting a doctor before taking an all-natural product.
When Barbados TODAY contacted the Barbados Drug Service, Director Maryam Hinds indicated that she would be working through the Ministry of Health and the Barbados Government Information Service to speak on the matter.