I’m a family doctor and I love to interact with my patients. If they want to know how to help themselves I’m all over that. I can encourage them. I can instruct them. I can treat their illnesses. When a patient shows interest in their health we can have a conversation and we both win.
Outside the office, interestingly, people don’t ask about their health. They often want to teach me. I’m learning to listen, but it is amazing what passes for “knowledge” about health in the marketplace these days. When did eating a meal become so complex? To hear some people, we need to spend double the money to buy protected meat, special vegetables, and pure, unadulterated, ingredients (of course only found at exclusive stores).
Granted, there are people who have special dietary needs, but they are not the majority. Some basic restraint and good judgment goes a long way in healthy eating. I am not and have never claimed to be a nutrition expert, so I have much to learn, but I strongly believe that anyone can health a healthy diet without spending a king’s ransom on special food.
One of the most common questions I get from patients is “should I take this supplement?” It is usually some formulation of vitamins and a dozen or so alternative medicine ingredients. My usual answer is that “no one knows for sure.” It is true that, if you are DEFICIENT in a vitamin, you need a supplement. We don’t test for most vitamins, but few of us today are deficient in most vitamins. Some, like vitamin D and vitamin B 12, are recognized as commonly deficient. We can test for these and it is wise to take supplements if the deficiency exists. Mega-doses aren’t needed and the medicine is cheap. But others can be harmful and most are not necessary. Treatment should be based upon knowledge of deficiency, not paranoia. What is also true about over-the-counter preparations is that the claims made by their distributors are often inflated or out-right fabrication. There is usually little actual research done to substantiate such claims.
What do you think about supplements? Do you take them? What prompted you to start? Are they expensive? Are you healthier now that you are taking them?by