Nutritional Supplements vs Prescription Meds
Vitamins and minerals work differently from prescription meds. Vitamins and minerals support our bodies to do all they need to do. They ease their way in and offer to help. Our bodies stay in charge.
Prescription meds, on the other hand, march in and take over. Working with the body isn’t part of the deal. They just issue orders and start breaking the furniture. This can be necessary from time to time, but every day, all day assaults are tough on the old bod.
But somehow or another, we got the idea vitamins, minerals and prescription drugs are interchangeable. That they work the same way and do the same things-an idea that can get us into a heap o’ trouble.
Now, if you’ve been reading my stuff for very long, you know I’m big on vitamins and minerals; they gave me my life back. And I’m not a fan of prescription meds.
But I would never, ever say to completely avoid prescription meds. Sometimes they’re the ticket we need to reach a safe haven.
That said, we need to know how they differ so we can be smarter health care consumers.
Not everybody needs prescription meds
• Everybody-as in e-v-e-r-y-b-o-d-y, no exceptions-needs vitamins and minerals all the time, but not everybody needs prescription meds.
Once upon a time they believed we could get all the nutrition we need from a good diet, but those days, if they ever existed, are long gone. Especially since the low-fat, low-protein diet promoted by medicine, dietitians, magazines and the like actually takes us down the fast track to disease. Knowing what “good diet” means gets tricky when we hear misinformation all the time.
• A lot of meds, such as antibiotics, are short-term affairs. You get, say, a week’s worth of pills and send them down the chute every day until they’re gone. Then you’re done.
Vitamins and minerals are for life
Vitamins and minerals, though, are for life. As time goes by and you become less and less deficient, you might be able ease up on how much of a vitamin or mineral you take, but completely stopping everything is a bad idea-because you start sliding backwards down the hill you just climbed.
Some years back, my youngest brother decided to stop taking nutritional supplements because he didn’t see where they were doing much good. As his downhill slide picked up speed, though, he realized he had simply forgotten how deep in the ditch he had been. So he started back up, and now he sticks with his program. We’ve probably all been there and done that.
You might read about taking vitamin/mineral “holidays.” Perhaps take weekends off, say. This nonsense was written by somebody who needs to catch a clue about how vitamins and minerals work.
The time-limited approach comes from thinking of nutritional supplements as similar to prescription meds. But vitamins and minerals are about giving our bodies what they need, to avoid deficiencies leading to disease. Nobody ever has a prescription med deficiency.
• Prescription meds will never win a Miss Congeniality contest; they’re not intended to cooperate with other meds, and they don’t. When you take multiple meds, each prescription aims to stamp out something it doesn’t like, which is different from what all the other meds are trying to stamp out, so they’re all in there playing king-of-the-hill and pushing each other around.
Vitamins and minerals, on the other hand, work together. It’s not a matter of taking every vitamin and/or mineral known to mankind, but putting together a program customized to what your body needs. As you listen to your body, you can put a solid program together so magic happens.
But magic doesn’t happen overnight. Helping your body heal itself takes time. Not as much time as it took to get into your mess, but more than you might hope. Encouraging signs will show up fairly early on, but maximum results can take months.
At which point you might be tempted to stop taking nutritional supplements, so remember the long, downhill slide that awaits if you do. I mean, do you wake up one day and decide you’ve already eaten enough food to last the rest of your life and go on a permanent fast? Nutrition’s an everyday thing.
• Anybody with a whacked endocrine system needs to be on high alert with prescription meds. Vitamins and minerals give major support to a whacked endocrine system; prescription meds don’t. In fact, they often go the other way.
For instance, virtually all prescription meds do me in. I went through quite a few disasters back in the days when I was more open to taking prescriptions. Because doctors hadn’t previously seen the kind of conniptions my body went into, they insisted my reaction was due to something else. What else, they couldn’t say, since the med was the only new thing on the scene.
And it’s not just me. It’s a lot of endo people. Maybe most.
So, if, like half the population, your endo system can’t keep the beat, be very, very wary of prescription meds. Many-perhaps most-are murder on the endocrine system.
Support of prescription meds
• Vitamins and minerals support prescription meds, but prescription meds lay waste to our vitamin/mineral levels.
For instance, vitamins and minerals add great support to cancer treatments, although that might not be what you hear. Vitamin C, for instance, not only enhances healing, but also protects your brain. What’s not to like?
On the other hand, statin drugs, antidepressants, diuretics-and I could go on-make vitamin/mineral deficiencies worse. If you take prescription meds, then, ramp up your vitamin/mineral intake to compensate as best you can.
• Finally, the better you take care of your vitamin/mineral deficiencies, the less likely you are to need prescription meds. This may make pharmaceutical companies unhappy, but it sure is good news for everybody else.
God is good,
Copyright by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved
P.S. Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be She’s a patient who’s been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth 12-month subscription program, “Moving to Health” about living well with endocrine issues. She explains how things work-or don’t, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at Information is power.