NHPs are safe to consume and generally have less side effects than traditional drug medications. However, NHP are not risk free and have potential for some risks. These may come about from manufacturing problems (contamination, incorrect dose), misrepresented or unproven claims on the label, unexpected side effects (allergic reaction), or interaction with other medication/NHPs also being consumed. It has been reported that 12% of Canadians have experienced unwanted side effects due to the consumption of NHPs. It is recommended that you do your research and consult a health care professional if you are concerned with the potential risks.
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Natural health care products are currently regulated under the Natural Health Product Regulations, under the authority of the Food and Drugs Act. The regulations address the sale of natural health products, manufacture, packaging, labelling and importation for sale of natural health products, the distribution of natural health products, and the storage of natural health products. Under the regulations, all natural health products require a Natural Product Number (NPN), analogous to the Drug Identification Numbers (DINs) used to identify and monitor drugs in Canada.
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Personal health depends partially on the active, passive, and assisted cues people observe and adopt about their own health. These include personal actions for preventing or minimizing the effects of a disease, usually a chronic condition, through integrative care. They also include personal hygiene practices to prevent infection and illness, such as bathing and washing hands with soap; brushing and flossing teeth; storing, preparing and handling food safely; and many others. The information gleaned from personal observations of daily living – such as about sleep patterns, exercise behavior, nutritional intake and environmental features – may be used to inform personal decisions and actions (e.g., "I feel tired in the morning so I am going to try sleeping on a different pillow"), as well as clinical decisions and treatment plans (e.g., a patient who notices his or her shoes are tighter than usual may be having exacerbation of left-sided heart failure, and may require diuretic medication to reduce fluid overload).