This rant has been building for some time now, but it took a recent personal experience I had with my husband’s elective surgery, for me to express my frustrations with healthcare professionals (and lay people) who think they know best about what nutritional supplements someone needs.
Nurses & Doctors are a HUGE Part of this Jungle of Misinformation:
As with any surgical procedure, you are requested to provide a list of all the medications and supplements that you take. Even my husband didn’t know all the supplements I was giving him so I emailed the list to him to give to his nurse during the intake session. This very long list soon became the talk of that medical practice and eventually the hospital staff where he had his procedure. I admit that I knew there would be an alarmed reaction because I knew that they knew nothing about these supplements and their purpose. Bottom line, their reaction was, “What the heck are you doing on all these supplements. You don’t need all this.” I wonder if they would have said this if his list was conventional prescription medications (which there was not one on the list), instead of nutritional supplements?
I wonder if they even realized why he was having the procedure he was having through their practice? You see, my husband had an elective fundiplication procedure to repair a severe hiatal hernia that has caused him to have acid reflux for over 25 years. During this 25 years, he has been addicted (as millions of Americans are thanks to BigPharma) to proton pump inibitors (PPIs), such as over-the-counter omprazole, to prevent the acid burning that occurred due to this structural defect. These PPIs have eroded his health. Did conventional medicine ever address the potential risk of his health to chronic PPI use? The answer is an absolute NO. (It took me to bring it to his attention). And that’s because most conventional doctors and nurses have no clue, or no time to educate the patient on the risks of PPIs. All they care about is knowing there is a pill for that and if I can get the patient out of my office quickly, that is what I will prescribe!
If I have learned anything in my very long journey in the healthcare field, is that most doctors and nurses know NOTHING about nutrition or the biochemical processes that allow our body to function like God intended it to do.
If you don’t know me, I am a registered dietitian and nutritionist, as well as a registered nurse and family nurse practitioner, as well as a concerned wife. I became a registered dietitian before I became a registered nurse. Nutrition has always been and will always be my first “go-to” in treating health conditions. I have been through the registered nurse curriculum in which there was only one course in nutrition and none in biochemistry (the basics of nutrition). I have two masters degree (nursing and nutrition) and have taken pre-med courses, countless health certifications, including functional medicine, and have worked with medical doctors all my carreer, and they admit to having maybe a total of 8 hours (if that) of nutrition courses on their very long road to becoming a doctor. Really? 8 hours? I think the Greek physician, Hippocrates, “Father of Medicine” is rolling over in his grave—-after all, “Food is Medicine and Medicine is Food,” in his book.
Nutrition, Weight Management, Diabetes and Functional Medicine are my professional specializations. I know what I am talking about in these areas. Yet many MDs (and nurses) continue to disregard the benefits of certain nutritional supplements and a healthy diet since they know nothing about it, and because the person promoting it doesn’t have “MD” behind their name. Having the “MD” credential doesn’t mean you know everything about everything. But, unfortunately, despite all of my training and experience, the public still trusts a “doctor” who knows nothing about nutrition, over someone like me who knows a great deal more in my areas of specialization. I don’t pretend to know what other specialized doctors know and I will definitely seek their assistance if I need it, but I would not trust my overall nutritional wellness to a doctor or nurse who has not been legitimately trained in this area.
To make matters worse:
A nurse with an angle: So when my husband’s hospital nurse saw the list of all his supplements, he saw someone who was willing to spend money on his health. He asked my husband how much money he was spending each month on all of his supplements. My husband answered, “A lot.” Well, guess what? The nurse took this as an opportunity to tell him of a better way—his way! He said I can save you a bunch of money—take a look at this product (the multi-level marketing [MLM] supplement that he promoted). So, here was a professional registered nurse who has been taught nothing about nutrition in his nursing curriculum, but only what he has learned from his MLM about his products. So, basically, this registered nurse, in my opinion, in telling my husband to get off of his current supplements and switch to his supplements, is practicing medicine without a license. I know he would not have told my husband to get off of any conventional drugs that he may have been taking, but he apparently doesn’t know that many of the supplements my husband was taking were to correct legitimate health deficiencies and would further deteriorate his health condition if he were to not take them.
So, who can you trust when it comes to getting legitimate nutrition, health and supplement information?
Continue reading and you be the judge.
More Jungle of Misinformation: TV & the Internet
I hope you will also come to see the absurdity of getting your health advise from TV commercials and the internet. Please ignore those stupid pharmaceutical commercials that depict happy couples on their drugs running through fields of genetically-modified crops, or the cereal and other food television advertisements claims on the nutritional benefits of their products.
If you are getting your nutrition and health advise here, count on spending a lot of time in your doctors offices or in the hospital for the remainder of your days. You won’t see paid advertisement on the benefits of whole healthy foods, unadulterated foods because no one can patent nature. There is no money to be made on God’s creations. Just remember, “if man made it, eat it at your own risk.”
If you are someone who googles, “Dr. Google,” for their nutrition and wellness advise, a word of caution here as well. You are not getting the full answer. Dr. Google doesn’t know YOU. Dr. Google doesn’t know your health history, your lifestyles, your genetics. There is not one answer for everyone. A supplement for Joan, will not be the answer for Jill. And purchasing any supplements on the internet or at Costco or Wal-mart, or where ever, is also asking for trouble. You might think it is cheaper, but in the long-run, you will pay costly for this mistake. Please click the link above (trouble) for more details.
What about the MLM supplement jungle?
MLMs (multi-level marketing) have become a very popular marketing method for nutritional supplements. Not all MLMs are bad. I actually use to be part of an MLM. But I quickly learned what a mistake that was. First of all, I am interested in saving my patients money while providing them a good product, therefore being part of a MLM is a contradiction to this since most MLM products are priced significantly higher in order to pay that middle-man. Plus the science behind the product is not necessarily sound. And guess what? Not all people selling MLMs know anything about nutrition and wellness, other than what the MLM company has taught them, along with their marketing angle. So, I have chosen to research various pharmaceutical-grade supplement companies that are backed by scientific research and not patronize one single supplement company, since my patients needs are varied and multi and may require options not found through one company. These products do cost more, but you can’t expect your body to run like a Cadillac, if you are using supplements purchased at Wal-Mart or Costco designed for a Pinto–Quality Matters.
About PPIs & Conventional Medicine:
In getting back to PPIs and my husband’s health condition: Our body needs acid to absorb the nutrients from the food we eat, as well as prevent pathogenic bacteria from harming us. With chronic use of antacids (that counteract the body’s normal acid production), my husband had severe nutritional deficiencies that resulted, which subsequently led to other health concerns. These nutritional deficiencies were determined through specialized lab testing (which is not something a conventional doctor orders). Believe it or not, diseases are not a deficiency of not having a cholesterol or blood pressure drug, or not having an anti-depressive drug, or not having an arthritis drug, or not having an antibiotic, or you name it—whatever drug conventional medicine wants to give you to treat a symptom. Instead, diseases are caused from the inappropriate intake or absorption of nutrients—those nutrients being vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
There are four other key issues that lead to disease: trauma, inflammation/infection, autoimmunity and toxins. And these last three are often contributed by the food we take in (or don’t take in)—specifically the Standard American Diet (SAD). Despite your genetics, it is lifestyle that leads to disease—if you are genetically prone to certain diseases, your lifestyle can either trump the disease or contribute to it. Seems to me we need to focus more on lifestyle than just giving more drugs.
In my husband’s case, his long list of supplements that I prescribed were required to reduce his many nutrient deficiencies, and therefore allow normal body metabolism to occur. If he did not have the fundiplication procedure to close the gap that allowed acid reflux and thus malabsorption of his nutrients secondary to PPI use, he would have continued to malabsorb his nutrients and suffer with a deterioration of his health. I refused to sit back and see that happen and have him become yet another statistic of our “slap a pill for that symptom” conventional healthcare. HOWEVER, it is the fundiplication procedure that will ultimately allow him to come off all of these supplements. This is where conventional medicine shines and is a blessing and where I do not have the expertise in. Believe me, I tried and tried to get my husband off of his antacids without having surgery, but it could not work because of the severity of his structural defect. There are many people, however, that suffer with acid reflux that do not have a hiatal hernia as severe as my husband did and who can therefore come off of antacids using natural and healthful means. But, I know my limitations as a healthcare professional and I understand physiology, so I knew that my husband could not begin to have a healthful life without first correcting this structural defect through surgical means. Thus, “conventional” medicine has its place, BUT so does “functional medicine” and nutrition. So, for every conventional healthcare provider out there, know your limitations and know that conventional medicine is not the only way. We can work together, but don’t undermine another knowledgeable healthcare professional, and don’t undermine the importance of nutrition and “functional medicine.”
We need to be a team and work together for improving the health and wellness of our patients.
Now that my husband has had this conventional medical procedure, there will be no need for him to remain on all the supplements I had him on. Now, with being able to absorb his nutrients because he will no longer require PPIs, and along with providing him a healthy diet and lifestyle prescription, he is on the road to recovery. I admit that both patience and time are needed for recovery. It is not an overnight fix. It took over 25 years for him to have his health slowly suffer, but the body is remarkable in healing itself when it gets what it needs.
So who do you trust when it comes to getting your nutrition, health and wellness advise?
No wonder the public is so confused about who to believe when it comes to health, wellness and the use of nutritional supplements.
It truly is a jungle out there!
I admit that I can get overwhelmed and confused myself. We have all been brought up to believe that the doctor and nurse are always right. I love doctors and nurses, as I am a nurse myself, but first know that a doctor and a nurse are “human” too. We all have the same hours of the day to work with. In our current healthcare system where we run patients through every 10 minutes and get our pharmaceutical training from a 5-minute session with a pharmaceutical drug rep who provides us lunch, and than have to go home at the end of the day to chart on the patients we have seen that day, as well as squeeze time for ourselves to eat, exercise and spend time with our family—when is there time to become educated on knowing the in’s and out’s of any specialty? It takes someone who has made a decision to sacrifice their personal time to do this. Surgeons and doctors and nurses (and dietitians/nutritionists and other health professionals) have all made these sacrifices in some form or fashion to learn their specialty. So trust the professional who has done this. Seek out a professional who knows the specialty that you require. I sought out a specialty surgeon who was qualified in the procedure my husband needed. I am so thankful to all of his knowledge and expertise and the countless hours that he sacrificed to become the surgeon that he is. I can’t expect him to know what I know in nutrition, just as I don’t know what he knows. But, I am the specialist in what I do, so I hope that conventional healthcare and the public come to realize this and come to respect that not everyone who sells supplements, are specialists. And you want a SPECIALIST to help you in this arena, for without appropriate nutrition, you can count on leading a life full of illness. And face it—staying healthy is costly. Budget for it and make it a priority and be willing to pay your specialist what they deserve, as they have given up a lot in their personal life to become this specialist. Be glad that someone has. I know that I am thankful and happy to pay for the professional expertise of someone who has made a difference in my health and the health of my family. We may be able to get a new i-pad, car or other new gadget, but there is no substitution for a healthy body—budget for your health and trust only those professionally and passionately-trained in the area of expertise that you need.