Which is More Important? Nutrition or Prescription Drugs?

Many years ago, when man was much more primitive in nature it has been said that he did not have the technological medicinal resources as today’s modern man. While this statement could be argued, what cannot be argued is that the human race is much more accustomed to look for help or healing from prescription drugs rather than from nutritional healing resources such as plants.

In many ways, the body is already the perfect healing machine. We take for granted what happens when we get a cut on our arm. One day later, we see the skin has rejuvenated itself. Better yet, clip your fingernails and toenails and check them one month later to see if they have grown again.

Drugs do not heal people. They stop systems in the body from working that are signaling that something is wrong. There is not a single drug in the world that heals people. Drugs are beneficial if you have a life-threatening issue and you need to knock out one of the systems of the body, but only in a temporary fashion. Why we look to drugs as our first option for natural healing is something that has become a part of our thinking through medical dogmas and propaganda. Hundreds of years ago, people cured sicknesses with natural remedies not with doctored man made formulas.

Both for prevention and chronic condition management, better nutrition is one of the best things you can do to help your body to heal. Many nutrients like selenium, calcium, zinc, essential fatty acids and other nutrients can play a big part in restoring the body through nutritional healing. When you lay down to sleep at night, your body will be at work regenerating and rebuilding itself. If you’re lacking any key nutrients it will search itself and find the missing nutrients in your body and immediately replace them. As a result, you will wake up hungry in the morning.

The most important nutrient that gets depleted of when we sleep is protein. When most people wake up they eat carbohydrates (sugars) in the morning like bread, muffins, bagels and cereals. These things further deplete the body of key nutrients because they require a lot of work for the body to assimilate. The top three nutrients that the body needs are: proteins, fats and then carbohydrates.”

The nutritional healing that you are seeking from any sickness will not be found in any drug. You were created as a perfect being that has the capacity to heal itself given that the proper infrastructures are set in place.

The Origin of the Pharmacy

Drugs do not do anything to help the body’s system to rejuvenate, only to disguise. Drugs were not made to heal people. They were created to stop systems in the body from working that signal that something is wrong (i.e. anti-inflammatory). Most drugs are derived from plants, and if they are not derived directly from plants, they are analogs, or something that is similar to a chemical component in a plant. Germans were the first people to make analogs and use them to treat people, most notably aspirin. It is a myth that we are now living longer than before because of the advent of drugs. Infant mortality and early death was such a big issue a long time ago and as a result the average age was brought down tremendously. Hundreds of years ago people routinely lived into their hundreds. Just over the last seven decades since the advent of antibiotics does the lifespan appear to be creeping upwards.


How the body heals itself is all chemistry. It’s all how molecules interact with this divine system of ours. Drugs, allopathy and pharmacy are all limitations compared to what nutrition does for us. Drugs are the way that man has decided our bodies should heal and in essence it is a very intelligent system. A simpler yet more efficient system would be through nutrition. The reason to stay away from drugs is clear. The side effects are deadly (i.e. vomiting, nausea, headaches, nosebleeds, liver problems, etc). Why take anything that makes your body react in such a way? It should be mentioned that one of the leading causes of death in the united states is the side effects of drugs. When you are prescribed medicine by your doctor it would be wise for you to speak with the pharmacist about the pros and cons of the medicines. A pharmacist is a healer not someone that takes orders from the doctor and puts pills in a bottle. Generally, the pharmacist will be able to tell you more about a drug than a doctor could. The ancient art of pharmacy involved making medicine specifically to fit a person’s ailment. The real fundamentals of pharmacy is called medicinal chemistry. That is how you shape a molecule so that it can be medicine for the body.


Pharmacy comes from the same word as poison. The way pharmacy works is that it poisons key systems of the body and the logic is that by strategically poisoning those systems in the body, we can affect symptomology. Problem is that it is very dangerous to play with poison as strategic as it may be. With drugs you get one benefit and perhaps a long list of side effects. With nutrition you get one benefit and perhaps a whole list of side benefits. The western world’s first noted physician Hippocrates said, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be they food.” This nearly means that we should be healing any ailment through nutrients. The fourth leading cause of death in America after cancer, heart disease and diabetes is prescription medicine. The interesting part is that the prescription medicine deaths stem from taking the drugs as prescribed by the doctor not in overdose.


The issue is that everyone wants a magic bullet or a secret pill that will cure them immediately but nutrition is not a magic bullet. However, it does work magically!  It is a gradual process when the body rebuilds itself through nutrition. There are times where you may need to give your body pharmaceuticals for short term symptoms but it is always best to choose nutrition in the long term to rebuild the tissues. By putting in basic supplements or raw materials you will heighten your chances that these symptoms will not occur.


Another issue I would like to touch on is that of antibiotics. When broken down you will see that antibiotics simply means “against” your own “biology.” So these medicines actually make the body work against itself. Antibiotics underscore the inappropriate strategy that we have with healing. For example, when you get a cold and have the sniffles, mucous or a fever you don’t want to take antibiotics for this. These are symptoms showing that the body is trying to heal. Mucous is a good thing because it is a protective mechanism that allows the body to protect itself against pathogens, which are disease causing agents. A fever raises the body’s response to an assault, so we want to encourage these symptoms not knock them out. When you understand your body’s response to sickness it makes it easier for you to understand how it works and therefore you are less likely to try to modify or change anything during the healing process.

Practical Tips for Alternative Medicine: Melatonin Supplements

Melatonin supplements are commonly used as a sleep aid, managing jet lag, high-blood pressure, endometriosis, anxiety, and certain other situations. It even works as a sunscreen. Generally speaking, there’s a popular misconception that because melatonin is a “supplement” and because it’s naturally-occurring in the body, that it’s relatively harmless. Nothing could be further from the truth.


Even apart from a list of side effects that includes headaches, daytime drowsiness, dizziness, cramps and irritability, it’s hard to know exactly how your body will react. Made by the pineal gland, melatonin is a hormone that’s a little like but not quite a neurotransmitter. It definitely has an effect on the uptake of neurotransmitters including serotonin. Melatonin can have complex physiological effects based on its ability to affect other things in the body.


Now, we’re not saying that the benefits won’t outweigh the adverse effects. Moreover, there is something you can do to make smarter choices about your long-term melatonin use:


  • Practical Tip—Your thyroid is one of the things that can be affected by melatonin use and chronic use in particular. This can be a good thing for one person and a bad thing for the next person. So next time you’re at the doctor’s office, and ideally before starting a regimen of melatonin, have your thyroid levels checked. This should give you something of a baseline to measure future thyroid activity, a notoriously difficult thing to track.



Alternative Medicine: Naturopathy

Naturopathic medicine emphasizes prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances. This form of alternative medicine employs an array of pseudoscientific practices based on vitalism and folk medicine. Naturopathic practitioners often recommend that patients refrain from utilizing modern medical practices, which include medical testing, drugs, vaccinations, and surgery. Rather, naturopathic study and practice rely on unscientific beliefs. As a result, many in the medical field believe naturopathic medicine to be ineffective and possibly harmful.


On its own, naturopathy is not harmful. Methods include herbalism, homeopathy, acupuncture, applied kinesiology, color therapy, cranial osteopathy, hair analysis, psychotherapy, reflexology, and massage therapy. Nature cures are very common in this form of medicine; this includes exposure to the natural elements, such as sunshine, fresh air, or natural heat and cold, as well as nutritional advice like following vegetarian and whole food diets. Naturopathy preaches “mindfulness” through meditation, relaxation, and other methods of stress management. These methods, while potentially ineffective, are not dangerous.


However, the beliefs associated with naturopathy, such as antivaccination stances and advising against the use of Western medicine, can be incredibly harmful to patients. The advising of individuals to refrain from medical treatment and diagnosis has brought up several ethical questions within the medical community. There is concern that naturopathy as a field tends toward isolation from general scientific discourage; natural substances, known as nutraceuticals, show little promise in treating severe diseases—especially cancer. While recreational use of naturopathy is not harmful, adopting its hardline positions on Western medicine can cause significant harm.


Naturopaths represent a diverse group of practitioners: those with a government-issued license, those who practice outside of an official status, and those who are primarily another type of health professional who may also practice naturopathy. Licensed naturopaths must pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations, which is administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners.


Alternative Medicine: Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the most popular and in-vogue forms of alternative medicine. In this practice, thin needles are inserted through the skin into the body at various points. Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine, though techniques vary depending on the country. In the United States, acupuncture is most often used for pain relief, but it is also applied to treat a wide range of other conditions. Acupuncture has little scientific support and is often only used in conjunction with other forms of treatment. While some research suggests the acupuncture can alleviate pain, the majority of research suggests that its effects are mainly due to the placebo effect.


Increasingly, acupuncture is being used for overall wellness and stress management. Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy—known as qi (chi)–believed to travel through pathways within the body. Inserting needles into specific points along these meridians is said to balance the flow of energy. However, many Western practitioners of acupuncture view these points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissue.


Acupuncture is used to relief discomfort associated with a variety of diseases and conditions. This can include anything from chemotherapy-induced nausea and labor pain to dental aches and menstrual cramps. Acupuncture is generally safe when performed by a trained practitioner using clean, single-use needles. When properly delivered, it has a low rate of mostly minor adverse effects, and most accidents and infections are associate with practitioner neglect. However, individuals may be at risk for complications if they have a bleeding disorder, have a pacemaker, or are pregnant.


In traditional acupuncture, the practitioner decides which points to treat by observing and questioning the patient. There are also several related practices, including acupressure, moxibustion, and cupping therapy, most of which are common in traditional Chinese medicine.



Alternative Medicine: Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a medicinal system with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent. Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems—it was developed more than 3,000 years ago. The system of medicine is based on the believe that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Ayurveda is preventative; the goal is to promote good health rather than fight disease. However, certain treatments may be geared toward specific health problems. In the United States, Ayurvedic medicine is considered to be a form of complementary and alternative medicine.


The main Ayurveda texts include accounts of the transmission of medical knowledge from the Gods to sages. This information was then passed to human physicians. Ayurveda therapies have varied and evolved over more than two millennia and are typically based on complex herbal compounds, minerals, and metal substances. Ancient texts also taught certain surgical techniques, such as rhinoplasty, kidney stone extraction, sutures, and the extraction of foreign objects.


Those who practice Ayurveda believe every person is made of five basic elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth. These combine in the human body to form three life forces, called doshas, which control how the body works: Vata dosha, Pitta dosha, and Kapha dosha. Individuals inherit a unique mix of these three doshas, though one of often stronger than the others. Each controls a different body function. Vata dosha, the most powerful, controls basic body functions, such as cell division. It also controls the mind, breathing, blood flow, heart function, and intestinal processes. Those who have Vata doshas as a main energy are allegedly more likely to develop conditions like anxiety, asthma, heart disease, skin problems, and rheumatoid arthritis.


Pitta dosha is said to control digestion, metabolism, and certain hormones linked to appetite. If this is an individual’s main life force, they will be more likely to develop conditions like Crohn’s disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, and infections. Finally, Kapha dosha is said to control muscle growth, body strength, stability, weight, and the immune system.


While the benefits of Ayurveda have very limited scientific support, the system appears to promote generally healthy lifestyles. If adopting this system is what a person needs to develop healthier eating and living habits, it is an excellent option for preventative action.


Practical Tips for Alternative Medicine: CBD Oil

CBD oil is an increasingly popular alternative medicinal substance. Cannabidiol, known colloquially as CBD, is one of the many compounds (cannabinoids) in the cannabis plant. Until recently, the best-known compound in cannabis was delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, the most active cannabinoid in marijuana. Recently, researchers have been searching for therapeutic uses of CBD. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive; it does, however, appear to produce significant changes in the body, suggesting medical benefits.


CBD offers a natural alternative to pain relief and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil and Ibuprofen. Authors of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD significantly reduced chronic inflammation and pain. The research also suggested that the non-psychoactive compounds in marijuana, including CBD, could constitute a new treatment for chronic pain.


Researchers have also discovered a link between CBD use and certain conditions characteristic of epileptic seizures; a low dose of CBD may ease seizures. In fact, in June of 2018, the FDA approved CBD for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. The most common side effects were very mild, including sleepiness, sedation and lethargy, elevated liver enzymes, and decrease appetite.


Several studies are ongoing regarding the potential effect of CBD on certain neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as a variety of anxiety disorders. According to a review from Neurotherapeutics, CBD may reduce anxiety-related behaviors in people with panic disorders, PTSD, general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.


Most recently, researchers have begun to unpack the connection between CBD and Gastrointestinal disorders, such as IBS. While these studies are in their preliminary stages, early findings suggest that CBD can play a vital role in the neuromodulatory function of the GI system. Certain reactions can lead to inhibiting the secretion of digestive fluid and inflammation. While these studies are far from complete, we are looking forward to the results.


Practical Tips for Alternative Medicine: Chiropractic

Chiropractic is perhaps one of the most well-known and wide-spread forms of alternative medicine. The practice if primarily concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders, especially those associated with the spine. The primary chiropractic treatment technique involves manual therapy—spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) and manipulations of other joints and soft tissues.


Several controlled clinical studies or chiropractic treatments have been conducted, but results are often conflicting. Spinal manipulation, though potentially ineffective at treating conditions, may be a cost-effective for sub-acute or chronic lower back pain. However, there is not sufficient data to establish the safety of chiropractic manipulations.


Chiropractic is very established in North America and Australia, often overlapping with other manual-therapy professions like massage therapy, osteopathy, and physical therapy. Most seek chiropractic help for back and neck pain, which are considered to be the specialties of the practice. In the past twenty years, it has gained legitimacy and greater acceptance among conventional physicians and health plans in the United States.


In 2009, a review published in Prev Med stated that spinal manipulation was routinely associated with considerable harm, further reporting that there was no compelling evidence to indicate that it adequately prevented symptoms or diseases. In 2012, a systemic review found that the risk of death from manipulations to the neck outweighed any potential benefits. These statements, though bombastic, should not be disregarded. If you enjoy chiropractic, we recommend that you do so in limited quantities; rather than seeing a chiropractor every week, consider switching your appointments to every month to reduce the risk of injury.


Alternative Medicine: Knowing Your Terms

Alternative medicine is often loosely defined. It can be a set of products, a set of practices, or a set of theories believed to have the same healing effects of Western medicine. However, there are differing types of alternative healing practices. Before embarking on your own alternative medicine journey, read up on the necessary terminology to get set on the right path.


Complementary Medicine—Also known as integrative medicine, this is when alternative medicine is used in conjunction with functional medical treatment with the believe that it improves the practice.


Allopathic Medicine—This is commonly used by homeopaths. It was used to describe traditional European practice based on the four “humours”: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. Allopathy refers to the use of pharmacologically active agents to treat or suppress symptoms of diseases or conditions.


CAM—Known professional as Complementary and Alternative Medicine, this practice often utilizes the terms “balance,” “whole,” and “holistic.” This is an umbrella term for alternative medicine.


Traditional Medicine—This refers to pre-scientific practices of certain cultures. It is used as both a healing tool and a as a strategy for understanding and acknowledging cultural heritage.


These definitions were generated by the writers of the Alternative Medicine Channel. Definitions vary from organization to organization. For further reading on the difficulties in defining these medicinal practices, we recommend sifting through the website of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.



The Relationship between Yoga and Alternative Medicine

Stripped down to its bare essentials, yoga is an unobtrusive exercise that can deliver an array of health benefits and preventative buffers against many types of ailments. This fact is heralded by pretty much every health professional you’ll meet. Yoga, as a primary treatment for medical conditions, is a more controversial topic that almost always depends on the individual context.


Yoga is a great complementary therapy with any number of other health treatments. Got anxiety, for example? Talk to a therapist AND sign up for a yoga class. Have gastro-intestinal distress? Start a probiotic regimen AND sign up for a yoga class. Just don’t expect two or three beginner level classes to cure your Crohn’s. It doesn’t *usually* work that way. Indeed, when yoga is prescribed as a primary treatment, it’s almost always because more widely used methods have failed, and yoga is all that’s left. Even then, it’s often more about managing the symptoms of a disease more than curing it.


The Complicated Place Yoga has in Our Culture

Yoga sometimes finds itself in a certain amount of conflict with people of faith who see yoga’s secular meditation as a threat to the power of prayer and communion with their Creator. There is a spiritual element that many people bring to yoga, but you can really bring any number of religious beliefs to the practice. There is nothing that says you can’t pray—either with a short mantra or an open dialogue—at the end of a yoga practice, for example.


There’s also a lingering tension within the yoga community itself between those who believe Americanized yoga is ruining the original art form and those who believe that these yoga purists are hoity-toity nincompoops. There are those who swear by a specific sequence of poses and those who prefer to dabble in as many different forms of yoga they can find.


There are those who find yoga to be a slightly more effective form of exercise than other types of weight resistance training, and there are those who see yoga as a crucial component to their overall health plan and ability to get through the day and week without losing it altogether.


Here’s the thing, though. No matter what place you belong to within the greater culture and general practice of yoga, there are few stories of people who practiced yoga for any real length of time without improving their health in some substantial measure.