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Integrative Medicine And It’s Future

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NBC National News quoted The Washington Post in March 2000 about FDA concerns about mixing dietary supplements and conventional drugs. There has been concern that millions of people are taking dietary supplements (considered herbs, homeopathics, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and some diet products) and are experiencing reactions when mixing these things with common and prescribed medications.

I have studied this phenomenon for over 20 years and I know very well that these reactions are quite common with conventional drugs. The AMA is asking the FDA to reverse its 1997 decision on dietary supplements.

Is that really the best approach?

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Many universities across the country have closed their ethno-botany and botany laboratories, denying many with talent in the field permission to help find new cures and determine which plants have side effects when combined with other chemicals

A good example is the treatment of gout.

Medications prescribed by mainstream medicine are usually Allopural or Zyloprim and colchicine (which, by the way, is a homeopathic remedy made from autumn crocus bulbs), which reduces the reaction that causes uric acid in the blood. Allopural and colchicine can be boosted with a special diet and the elimination of some supplements that can cause elevations of certain enzymes in the diet. Both drugs can also cause serious side effects and toxicity when taken in high doses and/or for long periods of time.

Deficiencies in certain nutrients can trigger a gout attack, people taking antibiotics can increase the risk of an attack, and a person’s diet can certainly affect not only the severity of an attack but also the frequency of attacks.

There are also other reactions that need to be taken into account and that is that after 6 months of use, allopural and colchicine have a negative effect on the liver, making it harder for these drugs to work effectively. Adding some supplement to the system as well, even a regular multivitamin, when the liver is already struggling to keep up with the demands of the system can result in an adverse reaction to the liver, partly because the liver has to work harder absorb the micronutrients contained in the multivitamin.

The balance between conventional medicine and alternative medicine is delicate. At the moment, both schools of thought refuse to work together, and the general public is suffering.

For some who were suffering from allergies when Seldane was prescribed, this was a very worrying issue. When taking Seldane, patients were not told that taking the drug along with certain micronutrients could be fatal, which has been the case in some cases in the United States.

In 1993, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article in which researchers estimated that up to 60 million people had accessed alternative medical care. A follow-up study to this, published in a 1998 issue of JAMA, estimated that visits to alternative health practitioners increased by more than 47 percent between 1990 and 1997 and that spending on alternative medical services exceeded $21 billion in 1997.

In our small town we had a family doctor who attended to the needs of the community. He was a wonderful man who was always willing to lend his time, energy and knowledge. A week after being diagnosed with gastric cancer, he called me for advice. I asked him why he would call me and ask for help. He told me that he had watched the patients he had diagnosed with the same disease die a slow, painful and miserable death even while taking conventional medication. He said he knew the traditional drugs and protocols weren’t working, he had diagnosed cancer, informed the patients, watched them slowly die and he wanted something different. I treated him for 9 months; the cancer hasn’t progressed during this time, it hasn’t gone away, but it hasn’t progressed. I asked him to do both treatments together, traditional and integrative, but he refused. He had a friend who was an oncologist and this friend eventually convinced him to do some clinical trials at some universities. In order to do this, the GP had to discard any other protocols he had been taking. They waited a few weeks for the nutrients to leave his body and then started him on a protocol called PP6 and thalidomide. A few days after the first treatment, he said to his closest friend: “I killed myself”. Within a few weeks he was completely unable to work. He died about 5 months later in great pain and agony.

Conventional medicine isn’t always to blame… A cancer patient in stage N was treated by both a conventional doctor and a naturopathic doctor. Because the patient had been put on prednisone, he had developed edema. The naturopath told the patient to stop taking the drug immediately, then left town on a business trip. A few days later I got a call, the patient was breathing heavily and he had fluid in his lungs. The masseur who called explained what had happened. I told her to call the man’s GP immediately, not to stop reducing the prednisone immediately without repercussions for the patient. The patient paid the ultimate price for bridging alternative and conventional medicine. There is so much that can be integrated into both schools of thought and treatment. These stories are why the public is turning to other treatments, most using a combination which, as the previous story shows, can be harmful to health unless the healthcare provider has knowledge of both fields and an understanding of chemical reactions, that can occur.

It is always best to be responsible for your own health and treatment. No healthcare professional should be given total and complete control over another man’s life. The need for knowledge is a necessity when deciding to integrate different treatment modalities for the healthcare provider involved, it can mean the difference between life and death of a patient.

Thanks to D. S. Epperson

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