Why Patients Use Natural Remedies – Because Modern Medicine has No Cures

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Doctors look down their noses at patients who frequently take or inquire about dietary supplements.  The standard answer is that these natural remedies are unproven, while doctors prescribe FDA-sanctioned drugs that have undergone double-blind placebo-controlled human studies – considered the gold standard for safety and effectiveness.

What arrogance.  It has been revealed that pharmaceutical companies have been hiding results of negative studies from review and the Food & Drug Administration has been complicit in this.

Furthermore, the biological action of most prescription drugs can be duplicated with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbal products at far less cost and side effects.

But cost and effectiveness aside, the primary reason why so many people search for alternatives to prescription drugs is that while there is treatment for disease, often there are no cures.

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal almost four in ten adults and one in nine children use some form of alternative medicine.  These are not the uneducated nor fanatics.  Women with higher education levels and incomes are more likely to use alternative therapies.

Non-vitamin and non-mineral natural products (herbals, spices, amino acids) are the most commonly used alternative medicines among adults, such as glucosamine, Echinacea, fish oil, flaxseed oil, garlic and coenzyme Q10.

The most common ailments that alternative medicines are used for are pain (back, neck, joint pain represent ~32% of usage), anxiety, cholesterol, wintertime colds, headaches and sleeplessness.

The biased Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the National Center for Health Statistics report on the (in)effectiveness of natural remedies:

  • Only about a third of the treatments were shown to be beneficial (11%) or likely to be beneficial (23%).
  • 7% were rated as trade-offs between benefits and harms.
  • 6% were rated unlikely to be beneficial
  • 3% were likely to be ineffective or even harmful

However, it is well known that the FDA-approved drugs, properly prescribed and dosed in a hospital, cause over 100,000 needless deaths per year.  There are thousands and thousands of needless deaths from prescription drugs and few if any from dietary supplements.  Even if natural remedies aren’t effective, they aren’t killing anybody.

It is clear that the FDA has established an undeserved monopoly for drug companies that continue to promote new drugs that are less effective than old patent-expired drugs.

People who use natural therapies are not mindless fanatics or imbeciles.  They know prescription drugs don’t work and are even harmful and sometimes mortal.  People use natural therapies because frankly, there are no cures for the most common diseases.  There is treatment– but no cures.  Most often drugs don’t even address the cause of disease and only address symptoms.

In many instances natural remedies more appropriately address the many causes of disease, sometimes many diseases with just one remedy.

Given that safe and effective drugs for many diseases and disorders are currently not available and may be years away from development, many patients haven’t years to wait.

The following chart presents referenced information on the ineffectiveness of modern prescription medicines and natural alternatives, based upon best available evidence.

WHY PATIENTS USE NATURAL REMEDIES – BECAUSE MODERN MEDICINE HAS NO CURES

Common Diseases & Disorders For Which Modern Medicine Has No Curative Or Effective Treatment; With Best Documented Natural Remedies

Malady

Conventional Treatment

“Best Available Evidence” Alternatives

Sudden death heart attack (unstable arterial plaque)

Baby aspirin (81 mg)- ineffective (American Journal Medicine Feb 2010)Blood thinners – Coumadin, warfarin – deplete vitamin K which results in arterial calcificationStatin cholesterol-lowering drugs do not reduce risk for mortal heart attacks  (The Lancet Jan 2007) Unstable plaque is major cause of sudden mortal heart attacks (New England J Med Sept 28, 2000); vitamin C reduces unstable plaque (Circulation March 2002); also L-arginine (Proc Natl Academy Sci July 2006)  Low-dose resveratrol- activates cardiac antioxidant defenses, reduces damage if heart attack occurs; also thins blood like aspirin (J Nutritional Biochemistry June 2009);Garlic (allicin from fresh-crushed clove or buffered garlic tablet)- prevents clots, activates antioxidant defenses via hydrogen sulfide gas (Heart Circulatory Physiology Nov 2007)

Heart failure

Diuretics (reduce fluid load)- depletes minerals, vitaminsBeta blocker – slows heart rate- depletes CoQ10, induces fatigue.Digitalis (depletes vitamin B1 thiamin, which induces heart failure); none address cause Potassium + magnesium (Cardiology 1999), vitamin B1 thiamin (Congestive Heart Failure July-Aug 2013); vitamin D (Congestive Heart Failure July-Aug 2013); coenzyme Q10 (Euro Heart Journal Aug 2013); resveratrol (Am J Hypertension Feb 2010)

Cancer

“A wholesale cure for cancer remains elusive” (LiveScience.com) Chemotherapy produces 5-year survival 2-3% of the time (Clinical Oncology Dec 2004)Radiation Immunotherapy (new) Overlooked cancer cure from Japan/rice bran extract (Knowledge of Health); resveratrol blocks all 3 stages of cancer/ initiation, growth, spread (Science Jan 1997); vitamin D (Cancers Nov 2013)

Antibiotic resistant bacterium

Modern medicine is approaching “post-antibiotic era” (MedScape); thousands will die of infectious disease.  No options ?

Allicin from fresh-crushed garlic clove addresses antibiotic-resistant bacteria (Journal Nutrition March 2001); extracts from oregano and cinnamon inactivate antibiotic-resistant bacteria (Journal Food Protection Feb. 2010)

Multiple sclerosis

There is as yet no cure for MS (Nat’l Institutes of Health) Soil-based bacteria may trigger MS (Medical News Today); garlic kills this bacterium (Poultry Science Sept 2012)

Alzheimer’s disease – homocysteine

“There is no cure – yet.” (WebMD) Drugs include cholinesterase inhibitors Aricept, Exelon, Cognex, Razadyne (Alzheimer’s Org.); memantine.  Drugs do not improve cognition or function (Canadian Med Assoc Journal Nov 2013); “they are best avoided and have no therapeutic advantage” (Prescrire International June 2012) Vitamin B1 thiamin (Knowledge of Health); abandon cholinesterase inhibitors that cause delirium (Knowledge of Health); melatonin (Acta Pharmacology Sin Feb. 2006); resveratrol (red wine molecule), allow brain plaque to exit (FASEB Journal Jan 2011)

Alzheimer’s disease – heavy metals

Metals (Free Radical Biology Medicine Sept 2013); Iron accumulation (Expert Review Neurotherapy Dec 2012) Iron and copper chelators proposed (J Alzheimer’s Disease Jan 2013 and Jan 2013); resveratrol (Brain Research Reviews Sept 2006)

Diabetes

Insulin, metformin (Glucophage), sulfonylureas (Glyburide-Diabeta/ Micronase), thiazolidinediones (Pioglitazone (Actos); surgical cure/ reduction of size of stomach-gastric band $14,000 operation (Annals Surgery Oct 2013) Inositol (Knowledge of Health); vitamin D (Disease Markers 2013); reduction of iron stores via bloodletting (Diabetes Care Jan 2008); IP6 rice bran extract (Pharmacology Review Feb 2013)

Diabetes Type I- childhood

Insulin therapy. (Mayo Clinic) Cause is believed to be a mycobacterium in cow’s milk.  Natural remedies include garlic (allicin), vitamins A&D.

Diabetic retinopathy

Laser treatment, no longer standard of care (Clinical Ophthalmology June 2013); injected drug treatment (Current Diabetes Review Oct 2013); “Although these treatments are very successful in slowing or stopping further vision loss, they do not cure diabetic retinopathy.” (Wikipedia) Vitamin B1 thiamin (J Clinical Medicine Research June 2012); resveratrol (Pharmacology Reports 2012); resveratrol + quercetin (Nutrients June 2013)

Kidney failure

Diet, liquids, antibiotics, diuretics (water pills), dialysis (Medline Plus); no cure or kidney disease (Mayo Clinic) Flaxseed lignans (Am J Kidney Disease Aug 1993; Biological Trace Element Research June 2013); vitamin D (BMC Nephrology Sept 2013)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

There is no cure for COPD (Nat’l Institutes of Health); smoking cessation, bronchodilators, steroids (deplete vitamin C) Vitamin D (Clinical Respiratory Journal May 2013); resveratrol (Thorax Nov 2003)

Atherosclerosis (arterial plaque)

Low-fat diet, exercise, smoking cessation, medicines, open blocked arteries (angioplasty or endarterectomy (neck arteries).(National Institutes of Health); drugs to lower cholesterol (WebMD)  Calcium, not cholesterol, is major component of arterial plaque (Knowledge of Health); Blood thinners block vitamin K which results in greater arterial calcification (German Medical Weekly May 2013) Natural anti-calcifying agents are vitamin K (Journal Bone Mineral Research Nov 2012), vitamin D (British Journal Nutrition Oct 2005); magnesium (Magnesium 1984); IP6 rice bran extract (Frontiers Bioscience Jan 2006)

Venous failure (varicose veins, spider veins, hemorrhoids)

Surgical treatment (hemorrhoidectomy; vein stripping, sclerotherapy, laser treatment) None address the cause. Micronized citrus peel extract (Current Vascular Pharmacology July 2009)

Fibromyalgia (pain, fatigue, tender points, anxiety)

Antidepressants, local anesthetics, muscle relaxants.  “There is no cure for fibromyalgia”- American College Rheumatology Vitamin B1 thiamin (British Med Journal Case Reports May 2013); magnesium (Rheumatology Journal Sept 2008) vitamin D (Nutrition Clinical Practice June 2007). Special note: magnesium is needed for thiamin therapy (Evidenced Based Complementary Alt. Med June 2007)

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS (frequent bowel movements)

Lomotil diarrhea medicine; side effects are drowsiness, dizziness, headache, blurred vision, dry mouth. (WebMD); Alosetron (Lotronox) – has serious side effects; Lubiprostone (Amitiza) – side effects include nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain; “there is no cure for IBS” (Nat’l Digestive Diseases Info Clearinghouse) IBS may be induced by deficiency of thiamin vitamin B1 (Food Nutrition Bulletin Sept 2007);  E. coli infection may inhibit absorption of vitamin B1 thiamin (Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiology Oct 2009); Note: magnesium may be needed for thiamin to work (Acta Med Scandinavia 1985).

Age-related hearing loss

There is no cure for age-related hearing loss. (Medline: Nat’l Institutes of Health) Antioxidants, magnesium (Am J. Clin Nut Nov 6, 2013); lecithin (Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery Sept 2003); Sirtuin3 gene activator –resveratrol (Experimental Gerontology Oct 2013)

Peripheral artery disease

Aspirin (depletes vitamin C); smoking cessation (tobacco depletes vitamin C); blood thinners (deplete vitamin K); stenting; leg amputation Likely primary cause is vitamin C deficiency (Circulation April 2001); Gene for haptoglobin increases Vit. C shortage (Asians) and predisposes to PAD; Secondary remedies magnesium, vitamin D (Knowledge of Health)

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