Have you ever gone to your doctor with a problem, talked for 10-15 minutes, and have them write you a prescription and send you on your way? Or tell you that there is nothing wrong, without any suggestions for healing what ails you? If so, you are no different than 95% of all people that go to the doctor. Doctors are on very tight schedules and there are lots of sick people out there. Our current system is crisis-based and if you are not the crisis of the moment, what are you to do?Go to your local health food store, that’s what. A high quality, family owned health food store will have lots of information and advice for you. They can arm you with information and products that are useful and possibly eliminate the need for a prescription.
I can’t tell you the number of customers that come to our store AFTER they have taken multiple drugs, AFTER they have had surgeries, or AFTER they have been to multiple doctors that gave them no answers. If you are not about to die, know what your issues are, and you will not be harming your long term health, go to the health food store FIRST. A quality health food store will hire employees that are well-trained in nutrition, have lived a natural lifestyle for many years, and can suggest foundational nutrition and specific nutrients that can help your condition. Health food stores cannot give you a diagnosis. Your doctor must do that. But if you have a diagnosis, they can recommend nutrients that will support your recovery.
We all want a quick fix. But if it has taken years to get in the shape you are in right now, it will likely take some time to improve upon it. Natural products can begin to repair the body at the most fundamental level. All disease relates back to fundamental dysfunction in the body, whether it is the inability to properly digest your food, a breakdown of the immune system, or an overload of your body’s detoxification mechanisms. Vitamins, minerals and herbs can help you to recover these functions. Can this be done with proper diet alone? Perhaps, but usually if disease is already present there is an increased need for certain nutrients. If those nutrients are provided in supplements then recovery will be faster.
It is difficult for me to understand why anyone would take a drug to fix what a drug did to them. That is a red flag to me. People need to use their common sense and not put their health fully in the hands of their doctors. After all, it is YOUR body. You feel the sensations, you know if the drug is making you tired or slowing down your metabolism. Don’t let someone else tell you it isn’t. And don’t accept side effects as being “normal”. There is nothing normal about getting a new problem from something that is supposed to help you.
According to research done by Jeffrey Bland, PhD, author of The Disease Delusion, the following are true about prescription drugs: 1) Prescription drugs do what they are designed to do for about 40% of the people who take them 2) Side effects are listed for a reason–you will likely get one or more of them 3) No drug has ever been studied for long term use and 4) No drug has ever been studied for safety in combination with another drug. So read between the lines: YOU ARE THE EXPERIMENT. If I had a dime for every time someone says that they are on “the lowest dose” of a medication, I would be a rich woman. I once looked up the supposed low dose that someone told me they were prescribed and it turns out to be the typically recommended dose. Sure, it was .5 mg, which seems low, but a small dose doesn’t mean it is a low dose.
Drugs do damage to the body over time. When I suggest to someone that an issue may be caused by a drug they are on, their reply is “But I’ve been on this drug for years and never had a problem”. Isn’t it logical that something can cause damage over time? The body has many compensating mechanisms. It will use these mechanisms until it no longer can, and that’s when the real problems begin. Many drugs cause nutrient depletions and here are a few examples: Statin drugs for cholesterol control deplete CoQ10, Metformin for diabetes depletes B12, Birth control pills deplete B6, and PPI’s used for acid reflux severely deplete magnesium. Ironically CoQ10 is ultra-important to heart health, B12 deficiency can cause anxiety (which can also occur with blood sugar swings), B6 is needed to make many of our calming neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, and magnesium is used in 300 biochemical reactions in the body. No wonder so many people are walking around feeling strung out! So why then, aren’t doctors recommending supplementation to buffer against these known depletions? Simple, because they are not trained in nutrition. Often they are not aware of these depletions and the fact that they can be directly related to side effects.
Many people do not want to know what is wrong with their drugs. It is just too overwhelming for them to get information about their own health. But if you’re not willing to educate yourself about your own health then who is? With the state of the current health care system you need to be your own advocate. Your local health food store is an excellent resource for this. It’s a place to learn about foundational nutrition, support for specific conditions, and information you can discuss with your doctor if need be.
Some view supplements as “just another pill” but the main difference between a supplement and a drug is that a supplement contains substances that are normally found in your body. A drug is a chemical that your body must treat and process as a toxin. A local MD that I know likes to say that when she gives her patients a prescription drug, frequently one thing gets better and something else gets worse. When she uses a supplement or homeopathic medicine, one thing gets better, and something else gets better too.
Another common misconception is that we should be able to get all of our nutrients from food. If I thought our food supply was excellent, and that we were eating diets rich in vitamins and minerals as our ancestors did, then I might agree with this. You could have the “perfect” diet and still benefit from certain supplements. If you are already ill, trying to become well just by eating a good diet could take a long time. Supplements speed up the healing process. Just remember they are called supplements for a reason–they are intended to be an adjunct to a healthy diet.
The RDI, or recommended daily intake, also causes confusion. When people see that a supplement provides 200% of the RDI, it often scares them away. What they dont’ know is that the RDI was designed only to prevent overt deficiencies and by no means reflects optimal levels of the nutrients. Quality supplements provide well-absorbed forms of the vitamins and minerals at a level that can correct dysfunction in the body. Taking in the RDI level of nutrients may prevent certain diseases like scurvy and pellagra, but does little to promote optimal health.
Foundational supplements are great for preventing issues before they arise. Many diets are deficient in key nutrients that are needed for numerous functions in the body. Fatty acids like omega-3, found in fish oil and flax seeds, have so many benefits that it would be hard to list them all. They fight inflammation, improve the integrity of every cell membrane, lubricate the joints and other tissues, fortify the skin, provide the building blocks for brain tissue development and repair, protect the nerves, and more. Probiotics, the good bacteria in our digestive systems, bolster immunity, assist in the digestion of our food, help with cholesterol control, help us make certain vitamins, assist in neurotransmitter production, and more. A multivitamin provides vitamins and minerals to make sure our bodies have a base level of nutrition to perform optimally. A multi can help with everything from hormone balance to digestion to response to stress. Get a good health food store brand, not Centrum or the like. These brands do not have the correct forms of the vitamins, contain dyes, have fillers like corn starch, and are very low quality overall. The only decent thing in many is the Vitamin D3, so save your body the processing of all the other garbage and get a bottle of Vitamin D3.
If you want good health, the best place to start is with good nutrition, not a prescription. Many of us do not get the nutrients we need to function optimally through our diets. That is where supplements can make all of the difference in the world. I personally would love to think that everything I eat is nutrient-rich and that each and every day I get all of the vitamins and minerals I need. And while my diet is better than most, the demands of daily life sometimes prevent it from being so. Like many people I grew up eating the wrong foods, and that takes its toll over time. Not to worry though, we start where we are and give ourselves the best chance at vibrant health going forward. Changing to healthier diets and adding the right supplements can put us back on track. So visit your local health food store and start asking some questions. That’s what we are here for and if we don’t have an answer we will try to help you find one!