Be careful when taking herbal supplements, doctors

By Roi Lomotan


Dr. Kenneth Coo, a nephrologist discuss tips on how to avoid renal disease in a Kapihan sa PIA forum held on June 29 at Bethel Guest House, Dumaguete City. (PIA7-NegOr)


DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – Health experts in Negros Oriental are reminding the public to be careful in taking herbal supplements because this may bring negative effects to the kidneys.

Speaking in Kapihan sa PIA forum on renal health care today, Dr. Kenneth Coo, a nephrologist of Holy Child Hospital, noted that the primary function of the kidney is to filter wastes from the blood.

When a person drinks herbal capsules, its particles enter the blood and the kidneys will have to filter that.

The risk comes in if the kidneys are already weak and it gets overworked because it have to filter waste residues coming from the herbal supplement that got mixed with the blood.

“Your kidneys deteriorate easily if it gets overworked,” Dr. Coo said.

He advises the public to regulate their intake of herbal supplements and not to get enticed by commercials that feature people claiming that these products have cured them from their ailments.

“The term ‘Maayo ko’ is cure. The way we say it in Bisaya is ‘Naayo ko.’ That’s cure, that’s medicine. It’s not supplement. Supplement and medicine are two different things,” he added.

However, he clarified that nephrologists are not totally against the idea of taking herbal supplements, saying that they have a neutral stand on the issue.

“On our part as kidney specialists, we do not tell you herbal medicines are bad for the kidneys but we cannot tell you that herbal medicines are good for your kidneys,” he pointed out.

Dr. Coo advises that herbal capsules can still be taken if creatinine level is normal but if it shoots up then it is the time to go to the doctor and have a check-up.

On the other hand, he also cautioned kidney patients in taking pain relievers because some pain relievers, like all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are not good for people with kidney problems.

He explained that the mechanism of action of pain relievers is to constrict blood vessels.

However, the medicine does not constrict blood vessels on the specific part of the body that experiences pain but all throughout the body including the blood vessels in the kidney, which could damage the kidney if it is weak.

Meanwhile, Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) Renal Disease Control Program (REDCOP) Focal Person Judith Vailoces also underscored that part of keeping kidneys healthy is avoiding the intake of herbal supplements and other medicines that can harm the kidneys.

Vailoces disclosed that some of these can leave a negative side effect to the human kidney.

She noted people should be more careful since some food products like coffee are mixed with some herbal components. (rmn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was originally published at PIA website on June 29, 2016)


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