SOLVING HEALTH PROBLEMS OR COVERING SYMPTOMS?
"There is no way to correct a crappy diet simply by taking more supplements. The same can be said of medications." From Dr. David Seaman's article on anti-inflammatory diets in Practical Pain Management
I love WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS. With few exceptions, they are an integral part of getting and staying healthy. The truth is, even with the very best organic farming methods, it is difficult to overcome our chronically depleted soil. With all of this being the case, why don't I recommend more supplements to my patients? It has to do with the fact that I firmly believe that supplements are just that -- "supplemental" to a balanced, healthy diet. We'll deal with what constitutes a balanced, healthy diet in another post. Today we are going to address monotherapies.
A few days ago, my Blog Post was on ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIETS. I was commenting on an incredible article by one of the world's foremost experts on the topic, Dr. David Seaman. In his article, he made an interesting observation. He stated that, "'Dietary Injury' [is] a term that may be helpful to appreciate how diet can cause chronic inflammation and pain. Dietary injury should be viewed as a cumulative and chronic event, such that monotherapies with nutritional supplements or medications are unable to counteract the 'hits' delivered by a pro-inflammatory diet...." Although we may be able to infer the meaning, his quote begs the question. What are "monotherapies"?
By using the term 'monotherapies' Seaman is essentially saying that the this-drug-for-that-symptom way of practicing medicine is not working. And he is saying the same thing about supplements. This is because, as he says, the affects of a poor diet are cumulative and chronic. In other words, the old saying you learned in grade school ("You are what you eat" is not quite accurate. According to what we now know about nutrition, a more accurate way of saying this would be, "You are what you ate". Your weight and health problems that you are struggling with today are a combination of the things that you were doing / eating 1 year ago. 5 years ago. 10 years ago. 30 years ago. Not just last night.
The thing is, we are easily fooled. We look in the mirror and do not realize how much weight we have actually gained over the years. We continue to eat TRANS FATS not realizing that they are actually being incorporated into every cell in our body giving us 'stupid cell membranes' that cause all sorts of health problems, including Diabetes. We fail to understand that UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR is responsible for almost every disease process we can possibly imagine. We do not understand the physical / neurological toll that GLUTEN takes on our bodies (and brains) over time. And if and when the light ever comes on and we realize that something has to give, what do most of us really want? Most of us go looking for a monotherapy.
What do people really want when they tell me they are interested in something for their (insert any health problem you choose here)? They want the magic bullet --- a (cheap) supplement that they can take that will take away all their symptoms --- yet allow them to continue living and eating in the same manner that got them to this point in the first place. It is exactly what people want when they go to their medical doctor --- only they want that magic pill instead of the magic supplement.
This is the failed promise of medicine ---- the pipe dream that says that we can somehow change a person's health by covering / modulating their symptoms. Sorry; that's not health. Supplements should be used to fill in the blanks of a healthy diet; not in place of a healthy diet. Or to make up for a CRAPPY DIET. To have a basic idea of what constitutes a healthy diet, simply take a few minutes to read the links on this post (I personally prefer the PALEO DIET). Like I said, supplements are great --- I both take them and recommend them. But there is no time like today to begin changing the way you eat.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).