I caught most of a really interesting segment on 60 Minutes on Sunday night. If you want to have a look at it, it was called, “Trick or Treatment,” and it pops up fairly easily on Google.
It highlighted one of my growing fears.
You have to understand that my fear doesn’t come from insecurity. I’m not worried that you’ll go and buy something off the shelf and I’ll miss out on the couple of dollars I’d get from selling product. I run a lovely busy Naturopathic Clinic and that doesn’t worry me at all.
The problem that 60 minutes highlighted is found in their blurb about their segment. To quote: “Could Australia’s obsession with so-called ‘wellness’ actually be causing us harm? Some scientists and doctors are growing increasingly concerned about the alternative products we’re taking. They say they’re not only a waste of money, but in some cases might also be deadly.”
And they’d be right.
If I decide I want a pool in my backyard, I don’t go and start digging a hole and go and mix myself some concrete… I ring a pool guy. If I have a sore tooth, I don’t go and grab a hammer and see if I can knock it out in front of the mirror… I see the dentist. But we seem to think it’s okay to have a bit of a google and then if we want to sleep better, or lose weight, or have less anxiety, or have more energy, we jump online or grab something at the shops that says, ‘Hey, I’m natural, give me a go!’
And we ingest it.
Sometimes that goes horribly wrong.
There’s a reason that a qualification that allows you to prescribe ingestibles is full of chemistry and biochemistry and takes years to complete. As a practitioner we need to know that your body, with all its idiosyncracies, will treat anything prescribed as a benefit and not a toxin. That all depends on the dose, the delivery and the combination. We also need to be certain that the pharmaceuticals that you need to take, will work in with anything we would prescribe. You can’t get that level of investigation into your body and health when you google.
The other problem highlighted by 60 minutes was that the products that had caused these extreme reactions weren’t listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). Australia is well-known for having one of the strictest regulatory systems for complementary medicines in the world. Qualified health professionals aren’t going to recommend ingestibles that aren’t listed on the ARTG.
When you grab something off a shelf or online and it’s a bit cheaper, there’s a reason for that. Practitioner supplied products aren’t pricier because our mark-up is greater, but because our product is more effective. It might be that the Vitamin B complex is methylated, it might be that the ingredients are more bioactive, it might be that they are sourced from somewhere we feel meets a more stringent quality testing, or it might just be the amount of testing and investigation that has gone into a product before it is released to clients is greater.
Aside from the useful stuff, there was also a claim in this story that there was no evidence of herbs and complementary medicines working. For a list of pharmaceutical drugs based on plants and herbs, check out the list at http://www.rain-tree.com>drugs.
Prof (Dr) Ciddi Veeresham in his article, “Natural products derived from plants as a source of drugs,” tells us that many plant compounds, “serve as chemical models or templates for the design, synthesis and semi-synthesis of novel substances for treating humankinds’ diseases.” He goes on to list important pharmaceutical drugs and their herb origins.
Another claim 60 Minutes heard was that we don’t need any outside supplements because we should get everything we need from fruits and veggies. They are quite right. We really should be able to. And yet things still go wrong in bodies and people still end up with blood pressure imbalance, blood glucose out of whack and anxiety is collectively through the roof. People with amazing diets still end up with awful health states. That’s why health practitioners exist and why all types of medicine: western, herbal, complementary, chinese… have all come into existence. The aim of all the practitioners of all these styles of treatment is to prolong and improve your life and health state.
So go and see someone qualified. Go and see someone who spent years of their life bogged down in biochemistry, clinical case studies, nutrition and pathology. It might cost you an extra $80 and your products might be slightly more expensive, but you’ll take better quality products and they’ll be the right ones for your body at this point in time… saving you money, time and avoiding the worst case scenarios that 60 minutes so well sensationalized.