"Why would medical professionals have a negative bias against
nutritional supplements? Several reasons come to mind. Most doctors
receive no more than a few hours of nutritional training during their
medical education. They know little about nutrition and the important
role it plays in human health. Second, many express concerns that
their patients might use supplements as an excuse to eat poorly. This
concern has proved to be unfounded. Surveys show that supplement
users tend to be health-conscious and to follow generally healthy
habits. Third, many doctors have a low opinion of the nutritional
supplement industry - and rightfully so. Too many supplement
companies sell substandard products that fail to meet pharmaceutical
standards for potency, purity, and efficacy. Too many companies fail
to pay sufficient attention to safety. And too many companies make
false and outrageous health claims for their products. Clearly this
industry needs an overhaul to win the respect and confidence of
doctors and the general public. But just as clearly, there are very
reputable supplement companies in business today; companies that have
adopted pharmaceutical standards for product quality, safety and
efficacy; company’s that deserve the public’s trust.
These issues aside, I believe that the most significant barrier to the
open consideration of supplement use in mainstream healthcare is the
closed mind. Primary prevention, the focus of keeping healthy people
healthy, lies outside the acute-care paradigm, and so it is ignored.
Some in the mainstream pay lip service to prevention, but few base
their practices or research careers on it. And sadly, because primary
prevention is “alien”, it is often derided as “ineffective”, “too
slow”, “unreliable”, “clinically unproven”, and “only partially
Unfortunately, these attitudes carry over to nutritional supplements.
As tools of primary prevention, nutritional supplements also lie
outside the acute care paradigm. When they are evaluated within that
paradigm for short-term treatment / curative benefits, one or two
nutrients at a time, on chronically ill people, they often fail.
These failures, in turn, are judged as evidence that supplements have
no benefit whatsoever.
Clearly it’s time to challenge these notions and views. Change may
begin at the grass roots level, as rising healthcare costs threaten to
close the doors of access to good medical care. Today, too many
Americans literally can’t afford to get sick. Our alternative is
primary prevention. We can choose to take charge of our health by
adopting prudent lifestyle strategies and habits for staying healthy
long-term. Nutritional supplementation can play an important role in
this endeavor. The science, when approached broadly with an open
mind, is convincing on this point. As components of healthy living,
nutritional supplements can help people add years of health to their
Thursday, February 12, 2009
"The Case for Nutritional Supplements"
I'd like to share an excerpt from Dr. Tim Wood's "The Case for Nutritional Supplements" which I found highly educational. I would love to post the whole study but it was pretty long, and don't want to bore those of you who may not be interested...If you would like to read the whole study, just let me know and I can email it to you.