NIH gives tips on complementary practices

March 7, 2012 at 2:31 AM
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BETHESDA, Md., March 7 (UPI) -- A series of online health tips is designed to provide consumers with easy-to-read information on complementary health practices, U.S. health officials said.

The series highlights specific health topics, such as the safe use of dietary supplements, natural products used for the flu and colds, and mind and body approaches used to manage symptoms of a variety of conditions.

Dr. Josephine P. Briggs, director of National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, said the series will include simple tips -- such as, taking vitamin C regularly does not reduce the likelihood of getting a cold but may weaken some cold symptoms, and some dietary supplements may interact with prescription or over-the-counter medications, or other dietary supplements.

"An increasing number of consumers and patients use the Internet to answer health questions, yet the information they find can be overwhelming and is not always relevant or credible," Briggs said in a statement. "This series will give people evidence-based facts to help them make more informed health care decisions."

Nearly 40 percent of Americans use some form of complementary health practice, a 2007 National Health Interview Survey indicated.

Tools and resources such as wallet cards and tip sheets -- designed yo help patients and healthcare providers talk about the use of complementary health practices -- are available for free at

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