drug doctors are quacks."
Once upon a time there was a young couple with two children in diapers. Across the hall from their ground-floor apartment lived a pharmaceutical salesman. He was a nice young fellow, quiet and easy to talk to. Since he was obviously single, the couple asked him over for some home-cooked meals now and again, and they all became good acquaintances.
The pharmaceutical salesman, also called a "detail man" in the profession, was on the road a lot, and not home to receive the many shipments that his employer sent him. Most of these were cases of drug samples to give away to physicians to promote the latest and greatest medicine of the month. Large trailer trucks would somehow negotiate their way through the narrow apartment complex access roads, twist their way around cars in the parking lot, and back up to the apartment building. Up went the back of the truck and off came boxes and boxes of drug samples, addressed to the man who was rarely home. Did the truckers go away with the cargo undelivered? Not likely, when there was a stay-at-home mother with two toddlers next door. Again and again they would knock on her door, explain that the delivery was for 5-B across the hall, and ask her to sign for the shipment. She figured, why not? and accepted a handtruck or two of prescription chemicals. Sometimes they left them in the unlocked apartment hall closet outside her door. Sometimes it was full, so they left the big cartons stacked in her living room, as the kids waddled around.
If some military supplies mail-order warehouse delivered a few crates of guns and ammunition like this, there would be a public outcry fed by 60 Minutes reports. The legal drug pushers get away with it.
So just who are the quacks?
"Oh, lighten up, fella!" you may be thinking, or, at this point, hollering. ""Don't be so hard on the pharmaceutical people. Be sure to mention all the good they've done."
Why? Did Bram Stoker tell how vampires have their good side? Did Steven King spare you any details in his gory stories? Where is my obligation to be objective, in a world dominated by a medical-industrial complex holding a trillion dollar monopoly that makes Microsoft look like a lemonade stand?
The medical emperor is stark naked; apparently nobody else has the guts to stand up and tell you, so I will.
There are a couple of hundred thousand drugs on the market, yet the World Health Organization itself admits that two hundred would be enough to cover all the bases. The extra tens of thousands are money makers, pure and simple.
As Carl Pfeiffer, M.D., said, There is a nutritional alternative for most drugs. You have to dig a bit for the details, but the work has been done. You will find very few negative effects from vitamins in the PDR, but you will see column after column and page after page of side effects, contraindications and warnings for drugs. For example, I give you Coumadin.
You can often use vitamin E instead. Vitamin E potentiates the effects of Coumadin (Warfarin sodium), and at up to 3,200 IU or less daily, it can completely and safely substitute for the drug. That is just plain true. I've seen it again and again. The case of the Big Trucker stands out in particular.
Bob was a big guy: tall, wide and heavy. He had a lengthy history of thrombophlebitis and most of its possible complications. One day he came to see me, wondering what options he had to forever taking Coumadin.
"You need to lose weight, Bob. That's the first thing. You need to stop smoking, too. There's no way any therapy, drug or anything else is going to really work for you unless you do those things first."
He listened thoughtfully.
"OK," he said. "I'll try. What else?"
Pleased that we'd
even gotten this far without his wiping the floor with me, I proceeded to
tell this man of few words about vitamin E as a "blood thinner."
Drs. Wilfrid and Evan Shute of
Vitamin E is vastly safer than warfarin, the generic name of Coumadin. Warfarin is the active ingredient in rat poison. Rats are pretty smart, by the way. They must be poisoned subtly and long-term, like patients. A cumulative moderate overdose of Coumadin causes their blood to be too thin, and the little bastards hemorrhage and die. A cumulative overdose of vitamin E, even extreme megadosing, has never killed anybody. Check the US Poison Control Centers’ data, or the DAWN statistical series if you don't believe me. So vitamin E has a Coumadin-like effect without a Coumadin-like danger.
Bob's prothrombin (clotting) time was 16 seconds without medication. His doc wanted 20 to 22 seconds, and got it with the drug.
"Will I get the same results with vitamin E?" he asked.
"You might," I said. "E is certainly safer than Coumadin. Ask you doctor to try a gradual reduction dosage of the drug while gradually increasing the vitamin dosage. I've seen that work well before."
Weeks later I saw Big Bob again. He had stopped smoking and lost weight. He looked noticeably trimmer and was, in fact, nearly 20 pounds lighter.
"How are you doing?" I asked him leadingly.
"Pretty good," Bob admitted. "Still on the Coumadin. Not taking the vitamin E yet."
"Why?" I asked.
The answer really surprised me.
"Well," Bob said, "I really don't want to talk to the doctor about this. He'll think I'm stupid and get upset if I question him about the Coumadin. He says I have got to take it."
"You can't talk to your doctor about this?"
"Nope. I didn't even finish high school," Bob said, looking down and to the side past his knees. "He'll just make me feel like a jerk for wanting to not take my medicine."
In the health education field you see a lot of things, but witnessing a big strong man shrink childishly away from confronting his own doctor was a new one for me.
"You can talk to your doctor, Bob. You've got to be able to discuss your own body with your doctor. What did he say to you when he observed that you'd lost weight?"
"He said just keep doing what I'm doing."
"And stopping the smoking?" I added.
"He said that was good, too," Bob answered. "He never brought that up before, but he said it was good that I'd quit."
The great majority of patients who smoke have never been told to quit by their doctor.
"But our credit isn't good enough for vitamin E, huh?" I said with a half smile. "You know, you're not offering anything foolish when you ask for a tapering drug dosage schedule and willingly come in for regular monitoring. The safer alternative is always worth a therapeutic trial; any doctor should know that."
Oddly enough, I wasn't getting anywhere with this argument.
Bob shook his head. He paused, then shook it again.
"No," he said. "Don't want to bring it up with him."
There was a pause.
"I'm just going to take the vitamin E anyway," Bob said quietly.
"I'd prefer that the doctor was in on this," I responded, “but if you are going to do it, do it right. Increase the dose over a period of weeks. Most people start with 200 IU daily, and eventually get to between 1,200 and 2,400 IU daily. Do it gradually, and here's a way to tell how you're coming: Go in to your doctor regularly, as you always do. Have him check your protime, as he always does. If you get the numbers he wants, he won't care how you got them."
"Could I increase the vitamin E and still stay on the Coumadin?" Bob wondered.
"More or less, but the more E you taking, the stronger the Coumadin's effect. You'll probably get to the point where your protime is too long, and he'll have to cut back on the dosage of Coumadin."
Bob thought about that for a bit.
"So I can just show him that I don't need the drug any more," he said.
"That's about it," I said. "If your protime is on the long side, he'll have to cut you back on the medicine."
Well over a month later I saw Bob for a follow-up visit.
"I did it," he said. The last time I saw the doctor, my clotting time was 23 or so. So he asked me, 'What are you doing?' I told him I was taking vitamin E. He said, 'Stop taking that vitamin. It is interfering with the Coumadin.’''
The doctor preferred to thin the blood with rat poison.
Copyright C 2004, 2003 and prior years Andrew W. Saul.
Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at http://www.doctoryourself.com/review.html ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html )
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