Self-Treatment Is Not Free

I have been hearing a drum beat of negative supplement news in the popular media lately.  Make no mistake… This is a thoughtful planned attack an the herbal and nutritional supplement industry. News release after news release is coming out stating that this or that supplement isn’t just worthless… it is getting in the way of good medicine and doing more harm than good. Rest assured that this is a campaign to get congressional approval for the pharmaceutical industry to seize control over the nutritional supplement market. Help make sure this doesn’t happen by screaming loud when you hear the subject come up.

There are many in this economy that are taking their health into their own hands these days. It is important that we all consider keeping professionals involved, even if at a consultation level. There are mistakes that will be made so it is important that we are vigilant to recognize when such mistakes have serious negative potential. That said then, even as we filter such news for ulterior political motivation, we should be listening to the reports and news releases and take heed. For example, the quote below was part of a recent story and tries to indict supplements as being a big health threat. Truth is, it is as much an indictment of the medicines as the supplements – it just depends on which side you are on…

The review noted that many of the most popular herbal supplements in use today can result in serious side effects when used in conjunction with prescription medications.

Feverfew, ginger, cranberry, St. John’s Wort and ginseng, for example, reportedly interact with warfarin.

Other examples cited in the release include:

  • Feverfew, ginger and gingko, which can interact with aspirin;
  • Valerian, which can intensify anesthetics;
  • St. John’s Wort, which can reportedly interact with immunosuppressive drugs and potentially lead to transplant rejection;
  • Glucosamine, chondroitin and flavocoxid, which can affect clotting agents;
  • Black cohosh, which can interact with tamoxifen; and
  • Cat’s claw, which can interact with clotting agents.

Bottom line: You shouldn’t try to wing it. Keep the professionals on board with what you are doing, taking, etc.  It is for your own good. If too many of us ignore this responsibility, then the right to make these personal health decisons will be removed through legislaiton the way a parent disposes of a dangerous toy.

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