26 Reasons Why You Should Forgo Prescription Drugs and 14 Reasons Why You Should Take Natural Medicines
by Bill Sardi
Recently by Bill Sardi: Counterfeiters In Our Midst
Prescription drugs — more than 100 million Americans take them, often without question. But why? Despite decades of studies showing Rx drugs are potentially harmful, sometimes prompting drug recalls and news reports of needless deaths, most patients never question their doctor when given a prescription for an FDA-approved drug. True, many senior Americans are forced to forego filling their prescriptions for financial reasons, but they aren't forgoing their medications because they perceive their medicines are problematic.
Americans love to take pills. The average 75-year-old has three chronic conditions and uses five prescription drugs. Americans feel blessed they live in a country that has miracle drugs that are the envy of others all over the globe, and often feel they want the best that modern medicine has to offer. Newer drugs are often avidly preferred after hearing about them on television ads even though their safety record will not be fully known for a few years.
It has not been difficult for drug companies to coax doctors to treat every disease as if they were a drug deficiency. Americans almost patriotically embrace pills made by Merck, Pfizer, Bayer — brand names that exude confidence.
Oddly, even though dietary supplements often exhibit fewer side effects and lower costs and have the same biological action as a prescription drug, when informed they may benefit from taking a dietary supplement patients oftentimes say they will first have to ask their doctor if supplements might interfere with their drugs, not the other way around. Drugs are not essential for life, vitamins and minerals are.
The lure of prescription drugs is that they are largely paid for by insurance. A $240/month prescription-only fish oil pill to treat high triglycerides with an insurance co-payment of $25 is obviously preferred over the exact same pill that costs ~$130/month as a dietary supplement. This is how patients unwittingly drive up the cost of health care.
The troika of drug-loving patients, prescription happy doctors (that's what brings patients back to the office) and pill-pushing drug companies along with their FDA front-man who pretends to put an independent seal of approval on drugs, represents a system that gouges Medicare and private insurance plans in a business-as-usual manner.
Why take vitamin D which has many of the same properties as statin cholesterol-lowering drugs without the toxic liver side effects @ ~$8.40 for a 3-month supply when you can get a statin drug for a small co-payment of $4.00?
Most patients feel assured their doctor knows best when he/she prescribes drug for them. However, there may be good reasons to back away from prescription drugs altogether. Here are a few with links to references:
- They may not be as safe as other alternatives or older drugs.
- They may deplete your body of essential nutrients (you will never get well)
- They are designed to treat disease, not promote health. There is no such thing as a wellness drug.
- They often are intentionally designed to create rebound side effects if you quit. Example: heartburn medications
- They often can be supplanted by dietary supplements. Example: olive oil works about as well as Herceptin anti-breast cancer drug. Fish oil slows heart rate about as well as beta blockers.
- They are often approved as single drugs when many Americans take untested drug combinations.
- They don’t address your problem; they may be inappropriate. Example: blood pressure drugs (diuretics, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors) do not address the reason why blood vessels lose their ability to widen (dilate) with advancing age.
- They are often ineffective; the FDA approves ineffective drugs; example: only 27% taking a single blood pressure drug achieve control.
- They may be deadly. Prescription drugs kill far more people than illegal drugs.
- They may be prescribed because your doctor is "on the take."
- They may be ineffective and problematic because you have the wrong set of genes
- They address narrow gene targets for diseases that involve many genes.
- They are excessively priced.
- They may, when used with other drugs (polypharmacy), induce premature death.
- They may be approved by the FDA based upon faulty data provided by a drug company.
- They may induce drug resistance.
- They may induce seemingly unrelated symptoms and other diseases which cause you to need even more drugs.
- They may not perform as advertised.
- They may impair your ability to think.
- They may be genotoxic (toxic to your genes).
- They may be "FDA approved" but their safety record is unknown.
- They may be prescribed for an off-label use (never approved by FDA)
- They may not have been properly dosed for children or women or certain genetic groups.
- They may not be appropriate in advanced age.
- They may adversely alter the pH (acid/alkaline) status of the body
- They may actually induce life-threatening diseases.
14 Reasons Why You Should Take Natural Medicines
Natural medicines are frowned upon by most physicians who dismiss any accounts by their patients that a vitamin or herbal product resolved an otherwise unremitting health condition when their prescribed drugs did not.
Patients have gotten so used to doctors rolling their eyes when theyt inform their doctor of all the dietary supplements they take that they often don't disclose their use to the doctor for fear of being belittled. Some doctors feel so backed into the corner by so-called vitamin fanatics that they threaten to abandon care of the patient if they persist in taking supplements in lieu of Rx drugs.
Patients frequently tell me they don't initially disclose to their doctor that their condition improved only after halting their drugs and taking supplements. During their office exam the patients wait for the doctor to confirm with laboratory data, x-rays, electrocardiograms or other measures that their condition has improved. Only then do they pull their vitamin pills out of their pocket and say they only got well after taking them. This is quite a humiliating moment for a Mayo Clinic-trained doctor, but it is repeated time and again. Doctors are simply in denial when supplements work better than drugs.
There are some good reasons for taking natural medicines. Here are some of them:
- They represent the medicines of the future.
- They often exhibit the same biological action as drugs, oftentimes mimicking the same action as many drugs in one pill. Example: fish oil instead of 7-drug "polypill."
- They are proven to be safe over a longer period of time in large population groups than prescription drugs.
- They promote wellness rather than treat disease.
- They may more appropriately address the cause of your disease.
- They often side-step treatment resistance.
- They may reverse treatment resistance.
- They may increase natural endogenously produced antioxidants.
- They may enhance the effect of drugs
- They may replace depleted nutrients
- They often work synergistically, working at lower, safer and less costly doses.
- They address many gene targets and diseases in a single molecule; broader biological action; many drugs in one.
- They may protect against drug toxicity.
- They may save out-of-pocket healthcare costs for consumers.
Not All Doctors Shun Natural Medicine
Not all doctors avoid the most dreaded and unspoken word in medicine — prevention. Following in the steps of Robert S Mendelsohn MD, author of Confessions Of A Medical Heretic published in 1979, and Ivan Illich who damned modern medicine with his 1975 classic Medical Nemesis, 81-year-old Stanford-trained medical doctor Walter Bortz, author of the newly released book Next Medicine, candidly describes the sad state of modern medicine.
"It's expensive, it's unfair, it's dangerous, it's corrupt, it's inefficient. But the big one is it's irrelevant. My profession wants you to be sick for one reason: We can send you a bill," Dr. Bortz said in a recent interview.
Claiming modern medicine needs a revolution, Dr. Bortz goes on to say: "The revolution has to go to prevention from repair," he said. "The body-shop gang is not going to like it if you don't bring your car in. Their country club memberships depend on it. Ninety-five percent of our $2.8 trillion is [spent on] body work," he says, noting that virtually none of it goes to good health maintenance. Those are biting words. Oddly, patients keep coming back for more.
Dr. Bruce Ames, noted researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, advocates the use of natural molecules to prevent disease, particularly nutrients like folic acid which are required for DNA repair. Dr. Ames says a deficiency of folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamins C and E and other nutrients will produce DNA mutations to the same degree observed among individuals exposed to toxic doses of radiation. Dr. Ames also advocates nutrients which rev-up aged mitochondria, such as lipoic acid and carnitine. Mitochondria are the atomic power plants of living cells.
Recently while traveling on business in Chicago I recently met a lady physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. She could not maintain a sufficient flow of patients to stay in practice. The patients all want natural medicines, no drugs, no vaccines. It was refreshing to hear. This doctor sought retraining in herbal medicine and has transformed her medical practice away from prescription drugs. This is the kind of patient-driven reform that will truly revolutionize modern medicine.