Boston Women’s Journal - June/July 2004

Supplements

As a medical intuitive I often see clients who have chronic illness or problems that are difficult to diagnose. They are looking for answers beyond the traditional treatments their medical practitioner can offer. Sometimes it is because that treatment isn’t as effective as they would like, and sometimes it is because they are experiencing uncomfortable side effects from the treatment. Often it seems that the medications are not working well as well as they expected. In these cases I often suggest various supplements as an alternative to allopathic or traditional drug treatments.

Often traditional drugs have liver and kidney side effects because the chemicals are too harsh, and the body is not easily able to cleanse itself of them, causing a build up that can be worse than the original problem. The liver and kidneys are often the site of long term problems as they cleanse the body of toxins and cannot keep up the pace of clearing out the chemicals in some prescription drugs. This is not to say that many people do not need prescription drugs, but rather that often the same or better results can be obtained with herbs and supplements, and that these results are often achieved in a gentler manner.

How do you know if supplements are a good choice for you? I profess a bias for natural herbs and substances that are either already present in the body and can be used in an increased dosage to heal, such as antioxidants, or herbs that are more similar to food substances and easier for the body to manage. In my thirty years of practice I have seen excellent results and reversals of “untreatable conditions” using a gentler path. But how do you know who to go to and what is safe? We all hear reports of people taking herbs and getting sicker and practitioners that do not have a good working knowledge of the body and supplements. There are a lot of choices out there.

I suggest that an educated consumer is always the best answer. If you are taking a prescribed drug, read the side effects and get information and ask questions about alternatives. You should do the same with supplements. There are many good web sites that will detail research and give you as much information as you need. Dosage is also an issue. Despite what you might think, for traditional drugs and supplements the precise choice and dosage is an art as much as a science. It is dependent on your personal circumstances and may be affected by stress, lifestyle, eating habits, exercise and many other things. That is why getting to know the whole person is so essential for a practitioner.

Make sure that the doctor or alternative practitioner has experience with your condition and has a good working knowledge of all of the choices open to you as a patient. They should also know about any other drugs or treatments you are receiving. They should have access to a good traditional and alternative pharmacist who can help them keep abreast of the new trends and discoveries that are occurring each day.

Supplements also vary by brand and with some brands may not achieve the desired result. Specific dosage in different brands may be different. That is why anyone who only carries one brand of supplement may not be able to give you the best product to meet your needs. Don’t treat yourself. It is easy to get carried away by all the ads and claims for supplements. Go to a practitioner who has experience and review your current status and work with them over a period of time to find just the right set of medications and supplements that can best give you optimal health.

Go to someone who diagnoses and treats, not just someone who sells supplements. Although I don’t have a problem with practitioners providing supplements, I do not sell any products myself. I offer different resources for people to buy supplements. Supplements may also take longer to work than prescription drugs. They may require a month to show an effect. In an emergent situation they may not be the best choice. It is a great new world out there. We are making enormous strides in healthcare and wellness and should expect to live longer, healthier lives than prior generations. ** Be well and choose carefully.**