When I see a new patient often they come in with the complaint of “I am on too many medications. I want off them”. Then they will show me 20 different supplements they are on that a health food store has them on so they can stop the prescription drugs. I assume they are doing well but they tell me they still have the same medical problems and all these supplements are costing them a lot of money.
It is called compartmentalizing.
In our training to be a M.D. we are taught for evert complaint these are the prescriptions you use to treat that complaint. So the more complaints or abnormal labs you have the more prescriptions you will have. The alternative doctors will often say their drugs are terrible with all the side effects etc. I will reduce the drugs with a supplement for each complaint. But what I see in my practice is that the supplements start to outnumber all the prescription medications they were on and there are so many supplements 15-40 that they are to take daily that they can’t remember to take all of them and even the supplements cause side effects!
There has to be a better way to practice medicine.
In my practice we started looking at patients, not as a person with 5-10 individual complaints, but as a whole person. For example, a person came in yesterday with complaints of diabetes, hypertension, fatigue, and obesity. He brought in some recent labs. He was told he had an elevated blood glucose level, increased triglycerides and cholesterol and everything else was within range. I went back to my first year of medical training and looked at him as a total person looking at him biochemically.
His diet was the typical American diet. His blood sugar was up, A1C was up, and he had a large belly. He had this because his fatty insulin was over 5. So, I increased his protein intake to 1 gram for every 2.2 lbs of body weight and watched over the next 12 weeks. His insulin dropped, his blood sugar number came to the low 90’s and his stomach was getting smaller. Why is this? Because, protein causes the body to burn belly fat, which is a sign of insulin resistance i.e. type 2 diabetes. We then started to wean him off the diabetes medicine. With his hypertension all I did was follow the 1998 noble prize in medicine. The blood vessels make a gas called nitric oxide which causes them to dilate which decreases the blood pressure. To do that the receptors in the blood vessel walls need 1 gram of protein for every 2.2 lbs of body weight. Sure enough 12 weeks later off the blood pressure medicine and the supplement he was taking.
He had low vitamin D but it was within the range but low normal. Basic philosophy and the first year of medical school tells us that in the mitochondria the energy unit in a cell so that first of five steps to make energy you need a lot of vitamin D. One shot of vitamin D along with taking 10,000 units of vitamin D3 daily and he was the Energizer Bunny!
His triglycerides were elevated which usually means his diet was filled with a lot of carbohydrates. Salads, vegetables, fruit which are all good but it all turns to sugar. The carbs you don’t burn for energy are stored as triglycerides. We increased his protein intake and decreased the carbs and his lipids were fine. No more statin prescription and no more natural red yeast rice. On his CBC the MCV- the size of a red blood cell was in the normal range of 80-100. His was 85 yet if you realize that the ranges are very large then 85 may not be good for him. His iron saturation level was checked and it showed poor iron absorption by his blood cells. We could have given him an iron IV but we started with increased protein. This is because in the physiology textbooks without enough protein in your diet you can’t hold onto iron. We increased the protein MCV elevated and his exercise endurance increased because with more protein you hold onto more iron and the iron allows you to carry more oxygen on your red blood cells.
4 months later he was a new man. He was off all his medications and most of all his supplements. Saved a lot of money and never felt better. If you feel your supplements and prescription drugs are getting out of hand you can do something about it. The average 65-year-old in Pinellas County is on an average of 23 different drugs. Ask your doctor to look at you from a biochemistry or physiological view and see if he or she can help you. All the doctors know basic medical skills. They can do it and you can too!