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Archive for June, 2014

authorphotoHello and welcome.  I’m glad you’re here.  Thank you for stopping by.

This week we’re discussing omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

I consider these a must for myself because I hate seafood in any form or fashion.  I can’t even get it past my nose.  Being from Massachusetts originally, my family consider me the family embarrassment due to my loathing of all things seafood.  What’s worse, my girlfriend considers lobster to be a major food group so I frequently find myself having to order one of the two non-fish items on the menu at Red Lobster-and eat it while breathing through my mouth! Thankfully, they have Sam Adam’s Boston Lager on tap…in the 20 oz, mug! Considering that fatty fish such as salmon, trout and tuna, and shellfish like crab, mussels and oysters are the most common source of (EPA) Eicosapentaenoic Acid, and (DHA) Docosahexaenoic Acid, (two of the three omega-3 fatty acids) I definitely need to supplement.  Throw in the third ringer, that I rarely eat fried foods-canola and soybean oils being the main sources for the third of the three fatty acids, (ALA) Alpha-Linolenic Acid, and I’d be out of luck without a supplement.

Before even considering an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, (commonly known as fish oil) there’s a few things you need to know.

1) If you’re taking any medications that effect blood clotting such as blood thinners or NSAIDS,  do not start an omega-3 supplement without first speaking with your healthcare provider.  Omega-3 supplements are contraindicated for people taking any medications that affect blood clotting due to their penchant for extending bleeding times.

2) If you have a seafood allergy, omega-3 supplements can possibly cause you to have an allergic reaction.

3) If you are pregnant, planning on becoming pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with your healthcare provider before starting an omega-3 regimen (or any supplemental regimen for that matter).  Seafood is recommended only in small amounts during pregnancy, and supplementing may provide too much EPA and DHA.

4) If you’re a Vegetarian or Vegan, there are algae and krill oil supplements that can be taken in place of fish oils.

I’m a firm believer in the health benefits of omega-3 supplementation, but a lot of the studies I’ve read lately are inconclusive regarding the cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation-my main reason for taking it.  There seems to be more positive results regarding the effect of omega-3’s for the relief of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and for lowering triglyceride levels.  It would seem to me that if it’s capable of lowering triglyceride levels and slowing down clotting times, it must have some cardiovascular benefit, but I’m no doctor. For me personally, I opt to believe (and I have done extensive research) there is cardiovascular benefit from omega-3 fatty acids and I’ll continue to supplement.  And I’m a little fish in the fish oil believer pond.  Read on.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends everyone eat fish (particularly fatty fish) at least twice a week. While foods are your best bet for getting omega-3’s in your diet, fish oil supplements are available for those who do not eat fish.  Further, the AHA states that taking up to 3 grams (3000 milligrams) of fish oil supplements daily is considered safe (most of the available supplements contain between 1000-1400 milligrams with a recommended dosage of between two to three capsules per day). They strongly recommend that you don’t take more than 3 grams daily unless you discuss it with your doctor first. If you have heart disease, you may need even higher doses of omega-3 fatty acids. Ask your doctor if you should take higher doses of fish oil supplements to get the omega-3’s you need. (source webmed.com)

Obviously the AHA believes there’s some cardiovascular benefits from omega-3 supplements-and their business is all about hearts!

Dr. Oz had this to say about omega-3 fatty acids: “Omega-3 fatty acids are the brain-boosting, cholesterol-clearing good fats.” Dr. Oz lists omega-3’s as 1 of the 5 critical supplements every woman should take (along with a multivitamin and additional vitamin D supplements), 1 of 5 daily nutrition needs and as one of the most important steps expecting mother’s can take to promote their baby’s healthy development. (source: Dr Oz.com)

Obviously Dr. Oz believes in the cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 supplements.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.  While I am in no way one of those conspiracy theorists who believe the AMA rejects any claims about the beneficial properties of vitamin and herbal supplementation due to their inability to control them, I do believe that anything that doesn’t have to be prescribed by a physician is poo-poo’ed by a great many mainstream practitioners and considered notions, potions and snake oil.  This certainly isn’t meant to include all mainstream doctors.  Mine seems to be very open to supplementation and the benefits they offer; but we haven’t discussed it any more in-depth than to weigh my own supplementation choices.  There just isn’t time.  “Take off your clothes, say ah, bend over, thank you, that’ll be $125.00,” is what most of us experience during an office visit.  Rarely do we have time for chit-chat in these times where the insurance companies have doctors offices turned into mass production assembly lines.  It just seems to me that many doctors prefer to be reactive instead of proactive and would prefer to deal with the end result rather than being more open to alternative means to prolong or prevent that end result.  Again, that’s just my opinion.

But I digress.  Let’s get back to omega-3’s.

Omega-3 fatty acids are are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are considered essential nutrients,  They can’t be synthesized by the body.  This means that it must be added either through diet or supplementation.  Studies are inconsistent for many of the beneficial claims of fish oils, but there haven’t really been enough controlled studies to state conclusive evidence pro or con. Unfortunately, that’s the case with most herbal supplements.

However, studies have proven that omega-3 fatty acids may lower triglyceride levels in the blood, lower blood pressure, increase circulation, increase the breakdown of clot and scar forming fibrin, (again, seems like cardiovascular benefit to me) reduce inflammation such as that seen in Rheumatiod Arthritis as well as NSAID’s do, and reduce the risk of the onset of dementia among other, yet unstudied, conditions.

Sound like it might be worth a few dollars a month?

Unfortunately, alternative medicine is woefully short on conclusive studies, mainly due to the fact that they are considered by all too many mainstream medicos to not be worth the effort.  I believe that’s due in large part to the fact that the vast majority of supplements aren’t controlled, aren’t ridiculously expensive and don’t require a prescription.  That’s incredibly evident now that it was found that millions of Americans are vitamin D deficient, a deficiency that can lead to weakened bones, cancer, asthma, cardiovascular disease, MS and other autoimmune diseases.  Once conclusive studies were out proving this, many doctors immediately started testing their patients for vitamin D deficiency and started writing scripts for prescription vitamin D which, believe it or not, has been proven to be inferior in quality to over the counter vitamin D supplements…and a whole lot more expensive. The prescription formulation vitamin D is generally a D2 (Ergocalciferol) compound which is the same D vitamin used to fortify milk and cereals.  Most of the better supplements contain D3 (Cholecalciferol) which has been proven to be at least 50% more effective than D2.  We’ll discuss vitamin D3 supplements next week.

Now the hard part: finding a good quality supplement.

There are literally thousands of them out there of varying degrees of quality.  It has been my experience that dollar store vitamins are definitely out.  I rarely go into the dollar stores, but had the “opportunity” to venture in to one a few weeks ago.  While I was in there, probably out of boredom while my girlfriend shopped, I wandered into their vitamin section and started reading labels.  When the fillers and additives consist of names you can’t pronounce, they’re definitely something you want to stay away from.

GMO’s are also something to avoid.  In my humble opinion, anything genetically modified scares me and I don’t care to knowingly ingest anything that has been genetically altered.  Many of the garden variety vitamins contain GMO’s.

As for content, I prefer to take a supplement that contains omega-3’s from different sources.  The one I’m currently taking contains Borage Seed Oil, Fish Oil and Flax Seed oil, all natural sources.  All the omega-3 bases are covered, no GMO’s and all contained in vegetable capsule.  Always read the label thoroughly.  All of the better supplement manufacturers show the full label on their website or in their catalog.  Last week we discussed some of the scary additives used in the bargain supplements and the lower quality sources they extract the actual vitamin, mineral or herb from.

Well, I believe that about sums up my soap box sermon on the benefits of Omega-3 supplements.  I hope this information has been useful and that this blog has been enlightening on some level.

Next week we’ll discuss vitamin D3.  I hope you’ll stop back by.

As always, feel free to leave comments below, (good or bad) or send an email if you have a comment or question you’d rather not post on a public forum.

Until next week, I wish you good health, much happiness and a whole lot of smiles.

Brian

Disclaimer:  This blog is intended for informational purposes only and is in no way meant to diagnose, treat or cure any medical conditions and should not be construed as such.  Always discuss any ailments or supplement regimen with your healthcare provider

 

 

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authorphotoIt’s funny how things kind of flow together when you get on a subject that’s near and dear to your heart.  I am probably one of the world’s biggest advocates for herbal supplementation and alternative therapies.  There’s just something about natural healing that sparks a happy place in my brain.  That thirst for knowledge keeps me digging and searching for any and all the information I can find to keep learning and sharing new and exciting developments in the alternative medicine world.

As we were discussing last week, the American diet frankly leaves a lot to be desired.  Most of us just don’t eat enough of the right foods every day to maintain our bodies in the style preordained in the master plan.  And what happens when we aren’t nice to our bodies?

Mayhem!

Oh, I’m not pointing fingers.  Nor am I pontificating or pretending to be the paragon of good health.  Far from it.  Truth be told, I love red meat entirely too much, love my beer even more and definitely don’t get enough exercise.  What’s more, I can lay claim to at least two cigars every weekend.  I cook big, well balanced meals on the weekend, but after Wednesday when the last of the leftovers have left the microwave, it’s catch what catch can until Saturday.  And, *head bowed in shame* that often includes Big Mac’s (another of my guilty pleasures) and a large order of fries…but in my defense, I wash it down with a Diet Pepsi!

The sad part is that I’ll probably be accused of being an accessory after the fact because sharing those leftovers with me is the love of my life.  When I hit McDonald‘s for a Big Mac on the way to work, she’s hitting some fast food place for her dinner, too (she hates to cook).  Thankfully she, too, has been brought into the light and is swallowing her vitamins every day right beside me.

And I’m definitely not saying that you can eat whatever you want, drink whenever you want, get no exercise and then take a hand full of vitamins and supplements to cancel out the evils of all your excesses.

But wouldn’t it be great if you could?!

Meanwhile, back in the real world, it’s time to face a few realities.  In sad summary, we have terrible eating habits, we’re getting older and most of us gave up the three minute mile a few years back.  It only makes sense that we have to replenish and nourish ourselves and offer up our best defense against the offense we, and the aging processes, are inflicting on our bodies on a daily basis.

One of the first weapons in your arsenal should probably be a multivitamin.

But which one?  The supermarket, drug store and vitamin shops are loaded with them, right?

For starters, those $300 a month “Super-Duper-Mega-Multivitamins” you see flashing across your TV screen on a daily basis aren’t really necessary, nor are they all they’re cracked up to be.  I’ve built up a chart with vitamin and mineral descriptions and their “DRI’s,” (Dietary Reference Intake-the revised measurement for the long outdated vitamin and mineral RDA’s, (Recommended Daily Allowances) that were originally put into place in 1968 and had remained unchanged ever since.  The DRI was introduced in 1997 in order to broaden the existing Recommended Dietary Allowances guideline to better reflect our changing lifestyles through newer science. The DRI values are not currently used in nutrition labeling.  The older Reference Daily Intakes (RDI’s) are still used.  Given that even the “fast food” diet includes some nutrients, most high quality daily multivitamins will meet these requirements.

Please keep in mind that these DRI’s are intended for healthy individuals.  For those with medical conditions, these requirements may vary and should be discussed with a medical professional.  Conditions such as anemia, Crohn’s Disease, intestinal absorption deficiencies, liver and kidney disorders, cancer and a myriad of other blood or digestive diseases bring some very specific supplementation issues to the table and should be maintained and monitored by a healthcare professional.

The most important thing to consider when choosing a multivitamin is the quality of the ingredients.  Always look for a supplement manufactured by a company that meets or exceeds the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) requirements and who use only high quality, natural ingredients with no GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms).  There are a lot of red flags concerning GMO’s.  I personally steer clear of them.  Buying from an established American GMP approved company definitely improves your chances of getting a supplement that was manufactured in a sterile environment with the correct amount/measurement of the vitamin or mineral you’re buying in it: and without dangerous, unregulated fillers or binders.

Some of the more reputable vitamin, mineral and herbal manufacturers that come to mind are Swanson’s, Nature Made, Puritan’s Pride and Nature’s Sunshine.  I personally order through Swanson’s and have had nothing but good results, but that’s my experience.  Do some research before deciding on a supplement and choose the one that best suits your needs: and make sure they’re manufactured entirely in the United States.  Many vitamin/supplement companies claim to sell all American products, but get their ingredients from overseas.

If you are a Vegan, your need to supplement is ten-fold.  The lack of meats and dairy in your diet and the nutrients they contain has to be replaced by supplementation.  All of the good quality supplement manufacturers offer Vegan specific and Vegan compounded supplements made without animal byproducts and containing the vitamins and minerals lacking in your diet.

When you’re doing your research, make sure to read  all the way to the bottom of the component list.  Find out what the manufacturer is using for fillers and binders, what their capsules are made of, etc.  These fillers and binders can effect the absorption rate and health benefits of the vitamin or mineral by as much as 65%.  Many of the less reputable manufacturers use anything and everything for binders, or to add filler to their vitamins-much of which is not compatible with a healthy supplement.   Magnesium stearate, for instance, is a widely used filler. Studies have shown that it suppresses immune function. Titanium dioxide is a whitening agent that is often used in some supplements and has been shown to be a potential carcinogen.  Parabens are a group of widely used preservative and anti-microbial agents used in many supplements. There is concern that parabens can cause hormone disturbances and have been found in high concentrations in breast cancer tumors.  MSG, (monosodium glutamate) is a very common flavoring agent in supplements and is widely used in processed foods.  Many individuals have had adverse reactions to MSG, not the least if which is migraine headaches.  It is a known neuro-toxic agent and should be strictly avoided when choosing supplements.  These are but a few things to look out for and avoid.  There are many other potential toxins/allergens used as fillers, binders and capsule material.  I find it best to always look for all natural Vegan/Vegetarian compounds.

For those of us over fifty, some additional supplements to consider in a multivitamin might be Lutein (6mg a day) for eye health, calcium for the prevention of osteoporosis, Vitamin D because as we age, we lose a great deal of our ability to absorb vitamin D from the sun through our skin, the B vitamins, (B12 and B6 especially) for healthy red blood cells, and a high quality fish oil (usually a separate supplement and not often supplied in a multi in sufficient quantity) to help keep your arteries clean.  Most manufacturers carry age-specific compounds tailored to the needs of those of us in our “prime.”

Below is a link to my list of the DRI for the most common vitamins and minerals your body requires on a daily basis with a short explanation of each further down the list.  This list is by no means all inclusive.  It is intended purely as a guideline.

Most Common Vitamins and Minerals and their DRI’s

Everyone’s personal needs differ, so no one vitamin supplement is perfect for everyone.  However, starting with a high quality multivitamin is a good place to get your feet wet.  I, myself, take an over-fifty multivitamin, 1000mg of vitamin C, 1200mg of fish oil for cardiovascular health, 400IU’s of vitamin D-3 because I eat very little dairy and work indoors, a herbal prostate combo that contains saw palmetto, pygeum and stinging nettle (nettle is also believed to lower blood pressure), and a flax seed capsule for roughage.  While some may say that sounds excessive, my annual blood work would disagree.  I am on no cholesterol lowering statins, I rarely get sick, and I have never had any prostate issues (thank God): a common infirmity in those of us fellas over fifty.  I also occasionally self-administer a 1200mcg shot of B-12 because I work nights and, try as we may, the body just isn’t made to be up all night and sleep during the day.  We’re not bats. On those mornings when I’m having a hard time falling asleep, I often take a Valerian capsule which usually eases me into a peaceful sleep.  As you can see, I practice what I preach and keep a wide variety of herbal remedies on hand at all times.

As I’ve stated before, this blog is posted for information purposes only and is in no way, shape or form intended to diagnose any medical conditions or be construed as medical advice.  I am not a medical doctor, nor do I claim to be.  Always consult a health care professional before beginning any diet, supplement or exercise regimen.

To boil it all down:  Unless you’re someone dedicated to eating a perfectly balanced diet every day, exercising regularly and sleeping eight or more hours a night, chances are you’re lacking in one nutrient or another.  That, unfortunately, is life and the older we get, the more common these deficiencies become and the more severe the consequences.

If you live a Vegetarian or Vegan lifestyle, you will definitely need to look into supplementation in one form or another.  If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or have plans of becoming pregnant, discuss a vitamin regimen with your doctor.  Pregnancy and breastfeeding bring with them their own special set of nutritional needs, warnings and contraindications.  It is extremely important for you to discuss your personal nutritional needs with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Well, I guess I’ve spouted enough for one day.  I hope this week’s blog has given you some food for thought.

As always, I welcome your comments, good or bad, and I can always be reached via email if you should have any comments or questions you don’t want posted on a public forum.

And, as always, I wish you peace, happiness, good health and a long and happy retirement.

See you next week,

Brian

 

 

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me_grass_skirt_avitar I know.  Some of you are shaking your heads and saying,   “Hey!  Isn’t this that goofy guy in the grass skirt and coconut bra with the lower half of a woman in rather racy attire as his side kick?  The one who built that Tiny Travel Trailer?  What does he know about herbalism?”

Fear not, my friends.  Tis I.  When you get to be as old as I am, you do manage to pick up a few various and sundry other tidbits of information along the way.

Truth be told, aside from being that clown in the grass skirt, I have been a practicing, mainstream medic for many, many years, a certified massage therapist (please don’t call us masseuses!)and have, for most of my life, been an avid believer and student of herbal remedies, supplements and alternative medicine.  My herbal library would rival some of the most coveted herbal and homeopathic libraries out there.   I have both participated in and conducted many herbal studies over many years and I love to spread that acquired knowledge (those few tidbits that my age addled gray matter has managed to retain, anyway) whenever and wherever it’s requested.

The main reason for the change in the blog’s subject, aside from the fact that the Tiny Travel Trailer (Nosty’s Nook) has long since been finished and has traveled many a mile and seen quite a few camp fires, is two fold. One, because I honestly believe I may have some valuable information to share and, two, because I’m aghast over some of the television commercials and magazine ads I’ve seen lately regarding the “Latest and Greatest Herbal Sensation, guaranteed to cure whatever ails you.”  The level of hogwash allowed to be perpetuated to the public is scandalous at best…and deadly at worst.  It’s high time someone came out and brought some unbiased facts to life in a no-nonsense, understandable format.

“Quick!  Into a nearby vitamin shop!  It’s a bird…it’s a plane…It’s Herbal Man!!”

Let’s face it.  There are a few, unfortunate,  human weaknesses that advertisers prey heavily on:  Promise an aging man an instant solution to his male pattern baldness or erectile dysfunction, or a “gracefully aging” woman a miracle salve or pill that’ll eliminate wrinkles or reduce her dress size without diet or exercise, and many will be calling that one-eight-hundred number, stuttering out their credit card number to cover the requested, exorbitant fee, plus processing and handling, before you can say quinquagenarian!

Unlike mainstream pharmaceuticals, the majority of herbal supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA.  They’re actually classified as dietary supplements and cosmetics.  Unfortunately, this leaves the field wide open for scam artists and Quick Buck Charlie’s” to mass produce and distribute, (usually in China) for no small fee, useless and often harmful snake oils under the guise of miracle cures.  Not that I favor FDA/AMA intervention in herbal matters, but I’d love to see the formation of a quorum of responsible herbal manufacturers, those who have gained the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices)  seal of approval for tight standards and sanitary production conditions, mass together to squeeze these charlatans out of the market permanently.

I do not, in any way, intend to imply that those who fall into the trap of sugar coated promises spewed by these purveyors of useless miracle cures are, in any way, fools.  Misguided, perhaps.  Reaching for a star?  Possibly.  It’s hard not to try something that claims to have sold, “Over Six Million Bottles and Counting.”  And then there’s that clincher:  “Call now before it’s all gone and, with it, your chance to live a longer life!  Call in the next thirty seconds and we’ll double your chance for a longer life!  Just pay separate processing and handling.”

Before I go any further, let me place a disclaimer here.  This blog is not intended to, in any way, shape or form, diagnose or cure any diseases, or make any implications to that effect.  I am not a medical doctor and do not claim to be.  Common sense dictates that you should never stop taking prescription medications prescribed by a medical doctor for an herbal alternative without consulting your physician first.  Always consult a medical professional before beginning any exercise or herbal regimen.  Always, always, always research any supplement or holistic remedy you wish to try before taking it.  Check for contraindications and possible side effects.  Oh, and let me further add that I’m not selling anything here.  Relax.  This isn’t a sales blog.  I do not necessarily endorse any brand’s products, nor have I been offered any compensation for endorsements.  I write this for no other reason than to, hopefully, enlighten and share my experiences, including personal experiences from the results of my years long, now tweaked, daily regimen, as well as the results of the many studies I have participated in and conducted.

Did I mention that I’m a voracious researcher of all things medical/herbal?

More to the point, let me state emphatically that herbal remedies are not going to cure the clogged arteries that your doctor says you need to have stented.  Nor can they be even remotely considered to be the magical route to take instead of doctor recommended chemotherapy if you’re diagnosed with cancer, (Heaven forbid).   If you’ve reached that point, allopathic (traditional) medicine is your only responsible choice, and quite possibly your only chance for continued breath on this side of the sod.  By this point, your condition has advanced to a level where your only alternative is advanced, competent, medical intervention.  If anyone tries to sell you a bill of goods to convince you otherwise, make sure you have all your affairs in order.  In such case, both practitioner and patient, (you) are fools flying down the fast lane to the long dirt nap.  Following such advice will never end well.

Herbal supplements are just that: supplements.  Their purpose is to enhance your overall wellbeing and, when used responsibly, very possibly help make that transition into your twilight years that much more pleasant and painless.  Simply stated, they can, in many cases, help you avoid some future condition by, for instance, strengthening your immune system.  This is just one example.

Something that I’m often asked, and that always makes me cringe is this: “But they’re all natural so they can’t hurt me, right?” 

Wrong!

For starters, numerous herbal and homeopathic remedies have been proven to interact unfavorably with many prescription medications.  This includes, but is not limited to, decreasing the efficacy of the prescription medication.  Many others can cause severe allergic reactions in some people.  This is just touching the surface of the downsides of uninformed self-medicating.  Choosing the wrong combination could be fatal.  Keep in mind that almost all prescription medications are a synthesis of herbal remedies.  Aspirin, Digitalis, and Opium (to name but a few) were all derived from herbal remedies before they were synthesized.  Would you just decide to eat some Foxglove bulbs (known to most as an ornamental plant) from your neighbor’s garden because your heart skipped a beat and your Aunt Gladys said Foxglove was good for that?  Another case of your having an idiot for a doctor.  Digoxin, an extremely potent drug used to treat cardiac conditions such as atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure, is derived from an extract (digitalis) of the Foxglove plant.  The entire plant is toxic.  Ingesting it would probably punch your ticket on the Hallelujah Express; yet I have seen Foxglove extract for sale on one of the shadier sites under a different name.

Is any of this making sense?

On the other side of the coin, a responsible herbal regimen, comprised of quality supplements can, without question, help relieve joint aches, add vigor and vitality to your gait, help with memory and depleted vitamin and mineral levels in the aging body, be an excellent sleep aid and many, many other wonderful things.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, as of 2006 over half of the population of the United States were taking vitamin/mineral/herbal supplements in one form or another.  Fifty percent of the people can’t all be wrong.  Those fifty percent must be getting some favorable results from supplementation or we wouldn’t be wasting the approximately $4.4 billion dollars per year the National Institutes of Health claims was spent on “dietary supplements” in 2005 alone.  I’m sure that amount has increased exponentially in the nine years since these results were compiled.

Let’s face it.  We American’s live life in the fast lane.  The old days of getting up to a balanced breakfast, stopping for a leisurely, nutritional lunch and sitting with the family for a nice, balanced dinner every night seem to have gone by the wayside.  Moms and dads are both out in the work place these days to keep the lights on and food on the table.  There just isn’t time!  All too many of us are opting for packaged foods, microwave dinners and the everpresent allure of fast foods.  Somewhat tasty, but most of it definitely lacking the recommended daily nutritional requirements and filled with fats and fillers that we don’t need.  Supplementation has become more of a necessity than a whim.

Want a laugh?   I can assure you that if any, older,  allopathic doctors are reading this, they’re shaking their heads and tisk-tisking, waving the naughty finger at me as they read.  Not because I’ve donned the grass skirt and coconut bra again, but because a great many old-school, mainstream doctors have had the bogus idea that OTC vitamins and minerals are useless and dangerous pounded into their heads from their first day of medical school.  Fortunately, modern medical schools now require their students to take classes in herbal medicine, and to become somewhat familiar with the Materia Medica-the bible of herbal and homeopathic medicine.  If your doctor is one of those stodgy, old school sawbones, it may be time to find a more enlightened practitioner.  The old ways have been proven wrong time and time again.  Doubt me?  Have you ever seen a Cancer Treatment Center’s of America commercial?  Traditional, cutting edge medicine combined with alternative medicine, commonly referred to as CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine).  In other words, the whole person, mind, body and spirit, is treated as one.  That means the inclusion of all modalities-herbal, homeopathic, spiritual, massage/body work and all other complimentary therapies.  I’ve visited their website and was rather impressed with what I read:  although I pray none of us ever require their services.

There.  I’ve stated my case for this week.  I hope that I’ve planted a fertilized seed in your mind regarding herbal supplementation substantial enough to bring you back next week, and for many weeks to follow, as we delve deeper into some of the many viable herbal supplements, vitamins and minerals as well as some suggestions-and some not-so-suggested-thoughts for safe, responsible, herbal supplementation.  All in my humble, yet studied, opinion, that is.

In the meantime, if you haven’t been to the see your doctor in a while, make an appointment soon.  We no longer have the invincibility we had in our twenties.  We’ve reached an age where we should be looking forward to spoiling our grandchildren, contemplating retirement and all the things we want to do when we don’t have to get up every morning and drag ourselves into the office to toil for the man.  Medical emergencies can happen in the blink of an eye.  “Help!  I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”  Having a solid baseline and a thorough assessment now can possibly save you that early heart attack or stroke we all feel gnawing at the fringes of our nightmares as we squeal our slightly worn tires and burn rubber, smoking tail pipes and all, into our twilight years.  While you’re there, discuss a responsible supplementation regimen with your doctor.  It’s costing you a fortune to be there.  Why not get your money’s worth?

Next week we’ll delve into some basic supplementation and a few simple ways to get started.  Later on we’ll discuss more specialized supplements you might consider for specific ailments. As is always the case with my blog, the comments section will always be available for you to leave thoughts or opinions, good or bad, or share an opinion.  You can also reach me via email should you have a question or comment you’d like to make on a less public forum: doc@bgreenleaf.com  (the “doc” does not imply medical doctor.  It’s a nickname).

Until next week, here’s wishing you good health and a very long lifetime filled with laughter.  May all your retirement dreams come true.

Smile, life is grand!

See you next week!

Brian

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