As you may have heard on the Natural Health Show this last Saturday I talked about prescription medications and natural alternative compounds. Most of you may have been shocked by my approach, but as a Medical Doctor I am aware of the serious side effects of all prescription meds. Of course some have more serious potential side effects than others but they all have them to some degree. It is the art of the medical profession to weigh the pros and cons of any medication to determine if the beneficial effects of treating certain conditions outweigh the negative effects of these medications.
The problem is that this art takes years of clinical experience and a clear understanding of the positive and negative effects of prescription meds. Another problem is that in general there is a tendency on the part of physicians to over-prescribe medications especially in situations where the medical condition is not as serious as to warrant the use of such medications. This applies especially when there are alternative more natural solutions with either no side effects at all or side effects which are much less serious and burdensome to the patient.
So for those of you who have not heard my talk on the Natural Health Show this last Saturday here is the recap of the topic:
The three most common medications used in our western society are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (in short NSAIDS like Ibuprofen or Tylenol), statins for lowering cholesterol, and anti-depressants.
The most concerning side effects of NSAIDS taken over a prolonged time are stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as liver damage, especially from Tylenol.
Statins on the other hand can cause muscle damage which can cause the release of a substance called myoglobin which is very toxic to the kidneys.
The antidepressants from the SSRI family such as Prozac can cause a myriad of side effects like nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, sleep disturbances, weight gain, decreased libido and suicidal thoughts. Other antidepressants can cause serious heart rhythm disturbances, blurry vision, memory impairment and constipation.
These are the most serious potential side effects of these medications but keep in mind that the list is much more extensive if you include the less serious side effects which may also bring substantial discomfort.
Obviously it makes sense to look for natural remedies which are much safer and cause little or no side effects.
So here are my recommendations. Turmeric and Ginger are both excellent anti-inflammatory and thus anti pain medications. Fiber, Garlic, and Oyster Mushrooms are excellent in lowering cholesterol. A low fat diet and exercise are also essential in keeping cholesterol at bay. Furthermore St. John’s Wort and certain strains of Medical Cannabis have been shown through numerous studies to be effective for depression.
Of course keep in mind that over the counter and prescription medications are helpful for many serious medical conditions. My intention is not to discredit them. Rather in the early stages of many medial conditions we can try natural compounds and healthy foods instead. In many cases we can also add these natural compounds to our medical regimen at more advanced stages of many conditions in order to decrease the dose of prescription meds and thus to reduce the occurrence and intensity of side effects. And we should always remember that the pros and cons of prescription medications should be weighed to make the most practical and rational choice. But as a general rule they should be the last resort, not the first.