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By Joseph Serio R.Ph. Registered Pharmacist

Money for nothing. Americans pop pills, but proof is lacking. (Boston Herald, Sept. 23, 1998). An article on drug therapies in the US you wonder? But no, it's yet another article trying to put a negative spin on holistic care, when the theme would have been more apropos for Americans seemingly insatiable appetite for prescription medication. Why is it that every article written tries to soft peddle the logical benefits of supplementation (something that supplies a want or makes an addition- Webster), when as the definition illustrates it is first and foremost a addition to doing things like eating correctly, not in place of as the media tries to report.

The fact of the matter is that 9 out of 10 Americans are deficient in 1 or more essential nutrients which by the way is a governmental fact (not an oxymoron by the way); which are necessary for optimal physical life, so hence the logical reason for supplementation. It make good common sense and it is much more logical than the millions we spend on medical insurance which provides some of the poorest holistic care in the world. Limited evidence is a line you would expect to read on the front page as escaping from the lips of our illustrious leader, but if your talking about nutrition products having little you're either not reading incredibly scientific studies such as the German Commission E report or discounting ten's of thousands of years of evolution. Your grandmother was right by the way in her wonderful intuitive way about how to take care of ourselves best. We just don't follow her advice enough in our overly busy world and therefore the reason for supplementation.

If there's limited evidence for anything it is the less than a few centuries laboratory science that somehow has become the gold standard for medical care. But is it? Those who practice more of the whole spectrum of medicine (I'd like to include myself in that group) know better. Here we have a society that spends 89 billion dollars on prescriptions and that number is expected to rise to over 100 billion this year (thanks Viagra). What do we get for that amount of money is debatable as the health and quality of life of Americans ranks way down there in world health as the majority of treatments are symptomatic in nature and not looking at causative factors.

The most disturbing number, particularly when you read the countless articles like the Boston Herald health article is the trumping up of the dangers of supplementation . . . side effects, adverse reactions and even deaths, where the real story is that over 100,000 Americans die each year from adverse reactions to prescription medication.

Why do our western medical professionals have their blinders on when it come to making statements like "If people can afford them and feel better when they take them, that's fine. But it's not science" states Dr. Marion Nestle (head of nutrition at New York University). My question to Dr. Marion would be how do we as a medical community address the fact that 9 out of 10 are missing an essential ingredient? How are you going to resolve that, with something more practical than saying the silly statement that you can get all your benefits from food. If that's the case Dr. Marion,stay home and eat 3 squares a day, and while your at it between courses look up the word supplementation in Websters. PS, while your at it look up medicine. The prevention and treatment of disease. Why do most practitioners practice only half of the definition?

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