Is Your Doctor Supplement Savvy?
Is Your Doctor Supplement Savvy?
If you are an intelligent, educated adult with a concern about modern healthcare- specifically your own- you've probably heard the news about the dangerous side effects of modern pharmaceutical drugs. You've probably even heard the long list of side effects connected to each drug announced on those television ads touting “new drugs to ask your doctor for”. What does this mean to you? Does it make you think that taking these medications is something akin to playing Russian Roulette? If so, you are right.
All those dangerous side effects should make you think. Why aren't there remedies out there that will alleviate my (fill in the blank here- diabetes, high blood pressure, gout, headache, PMS, allergies...) without my having to worry about ending up in worse shape than when I started? Isn't there a way I can feel better without somehow paying a drastic health price for it in a different area?
If you have been searching for more natural, gentler remedies, you are not alone. Your mother or your grandmother could probably steer you in the right direction by telling you what THEY did for healing and relief. You might discover that they knew about apple cider vinegar to speed up weight loss, mixing it with honey to soothe a cough, peppermint for indigestion and ginger tea for nausea. Whoever you get your information from, the biggest appeal it holds for people is the lack of dangerous side effects. Well, in this case, Grandma's advice is excellent. Those gentle remedies worked back then, and they still work today. Modern medicine has steered us away from what has worked for centuries, replacing it with chemical solutions that suppress symptoms but also cause a slew of unwanted complications.
On your next doctor visit, you might consider asking your doctor about natural solutions for your particular condition. You might get a blank stare before he or she suspiciously asks, “And just exactly what is it you've been taking”? You might get some good naturopathic advice, if your physician keeps up with the trends in medicine. The fact is, more and more people are exploring the gentler, more natural options in self-care. Doctors are hearing these types of questions more often- and some of them are sitting up and taking notice. Your doctor may have some pretty good advice to give about home remedies, if you're lucky.
Home remedies and natural healing is not a fad. It is a quiet rebellion by millions of people all over the country against modern medicine's reliance on treatments and therapies that they perceive as being more harmful than helpful.
Doctors are there to serve your needs and help you feel better. They are truly trying to fulfill a desire by their patients for the fastest relief possible. The drug companies send them products that supposedly do just that. What you must realize is that drugs have both positive and negative effects. On the one hand, according to Dr. Mercola, " the most commonly used prescription drugs...now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined." Natural remedies, on the other hand, are gentle on your body and have few if any side effects. You do have to be aware of possible interactions with pharmaceutical drugs, though, so if you are taking a scrip be cautious about adding even a natural medicinal to it.
For years medical schools have taught new doctors a certain method of healing that concentrates on chemical manipulation of body systems with the use of pharmaceuticals. They also teach attacking disease after it has occurred instead of preventing its occurrence. Very few medical students are required to study nutrition, but that is changing. The demand these days is for doctors to have a broader knowledge base. Patients are asking questions and trying things on their own. The best doctors are now the ones with both a conventional and homeopathic education.
These days the alternative medicine business (which includes holistic, homeopathic, chiropractic, naturopathic practitioners as well as Chinese and Oriental Medicine practitioners) has gained so much popularity that it seems it is making a comeback. Alternative medicine practices are thriving because people recognize the difference between "building a solid health base with gentle, non-toxic treatments that treat the whole person" approach versus "treating the symptoms by manipulating bodily systems with chemicals and drugs" approach. It's becoming more important for professionals to consider as they recognize the drawbacks and limitations of drug-based medicine.
As the failures, side effects, toxicity and drawbacks to drug-based medicine drive more people back to proven natural remedies and preventive techniques, alternative medicine is coming back into its own. Its popularity is fueled in no small part by dissatisfied patients- or friends and families of patients- who have fallen victim to the drawbacks of modern medicine (I.e.: side effect damage). There is a growing awareness of the wide range of chronic diseases that are preventable with the proper dietary nutrients and readily available supplements. It's becoming evident that conventional doctors need to become more familiar with dietary interventions, therapies and supplements so they can knowledgeably (and impartially) discuss them with their patients.
Some of the concerns expressed about dietary supplements by mainstream medicine regarding ingredients and quality may actually have some validity. The companies manufacturing and bottling herbs and vitamins should definitely have to conform to a standard requirement for purity and for content, and just like any other drug manufacturer they should have to meet quality and potency control requirements. There are good supplement companies out there, who are follow stringent guidelines regarding the potency and quality of their products. They should be FDA registered and GMP (good manufacturing practices) compliant. Finding them (and weeding out the others) is the tricky part. But a bit of research today can pay off for years down the road- drug free and healthy.
Eliason BC, Kruger J, Mark D, Rasmann DN. Dietary supplement users: demographics, product use, and medical system interaction. J Am Board Fam Pract 1997;10(4):265-71.
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