A not-so-silent war has been going on for years between advocates of orthodox, chemical-based, allopathic medicine and those of so-called natural, alternative, holistic or complementary medicine.
The western allopathic approach to medicine, which is the only healing modality officially recognized by the Philippine government, has consistently been against alternative and indigenous healing treatments, regarding them as pseudo-science, if not plain quackery.
On the other hand, the growing number of practitioners in the field of natural healing have struck back with studies of their own, proving their methods to be effective and much better than chemical drugs.
The current battle going on is between orthodox medical doctors, who believe multivitamins and food supplements are unnecessary and even useless, and alternative health practitioners (who may or may not be medical doctors) who believe otherwise.
The latest bomb against food supplements was hurled by Time magazine. In its Oct. 10 issue, the US magazine, in a four-page article written by John Cloud, concluded, based merely on his own experience, that most supplements don’t work.
In that article, Cloud said he subjected himself to a regimen of “nutraceuticals” as opposed to pharmaceutical drugs. “I took 22 pills a day, protein bars, power drinks and enough psyllium fiber to regulate an elephant.” At the end of the five-month period, he had his lab tests checked by two doctors and found he was only slightly better off from the time he started the regimen.
Cloud even pointed to the dangers of vitamin and supplement overdose and quoted a certain Dr. Eduardo Marban, director of Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, who allegedly found that “extreme doses of antioxidants can cause genetic mutations in stem cells.” Marban, according to Cloud, virtually never recommends supplements.
On the opposite side of the fence stands the alternative, natural medicine practitioners who cried foul. No in-depth, scientifically controlled studies, according to them, have been conducted proving the dangers of natural and plant-based supplements.
On the other hand, a number of approved drugs, which passed the rigid US Food and Drug Administration’s stringent tests, have been recalled from the market because of deaths resulting from their use by patients.
Last week, I attended a very informative seminar by Jack Tips, a doctor of naturopathy and homeopathy and licensed nutritionist from Texas, who was invited by Beth Acosta-Micaller, head of Comprehensive Iridology Practitioners Association of the Philippines, at Club Filipino.
Destruction of the cell
Tips emphatically defended the value of supplements in the battle against diseases. He said all diseases begin with the destruction of the cell membrane, mainly caused by radicals, which the proper nutrients, vitamins and supplements can correct.
Dr. Ray D. Strand, author of the best-selling book “What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You,” agrees. According to him, “Oxidative stress is the underlying cause of almost all chronic degenerative disease.” Antioxidants neutralize free radicals at the cellular level and can therefore restore the cells’ health. If you have a healthy cell, according to Tips, you have a healthy body.
But what exactly is an antioxidant? According to Strand, “An antioxidant is any substance that has the ability to give up an electron to a free radical and balance out the unpaired electron, which neutralizes the free radical.”
It is true that if we eat the right type of food, which is free of chemical pollutants and whose nutritive elements are not destroyed by processing, we will not need vitamins and supplements.
But where in our modern busy world can we find such nutritious food, which our ancestors used to eat and therefore kept themselves healthy until old age? One can hardly find such a restaurant. And that’s why the right type of vitamins and supplements are necessary for us to maintain our health.
Pharmaceutical companies, seeing their traditional market being swallowed up by nutraceuticals, have been waging a largely losing battle against them.
Any time you read an article condemning natural products and nonchemical supplements, ask yourself the question, “Who stands to gain by this?” The ones paying for it, most likely the pharmaceutical companies, which have the means to order a demolition job. Should we take vitamins and supplements? I would be wary, but I would.
Note: Attend the next Basic ESP & Intuition Development seminar on Oct. 29-30, 9 a.m.-
5 p.m., and the next Inner Mind Development Seminar on Nov. 19-20, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at Rm. 308 Prince Plaza 1, Legazpi St., Greenbelt, Makati. For schedule of seminars, reservation and appointments for personal consultancy, please call 8107245, 8159890, 0920-9818962.