This year there has been a real assault on supplements and trying to dissuade people from using them. Major media outlets have been publishing reports that various supplements don’t work. In the June edition of The Life Extension Magazine ( http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2006/jun2006_awsi_01.htm ) they deconstruct all of these reports and give you the facts. Many times what a study says when you read it is very different than what is reported it says. For instance they recently reported that glucosamine and chondrotin sulfate do not help arthritis. The study was done by doctors on the payroll of Pfizer (who makes Celebrex) and Merck (who makes Tylenol). It was published in the New England Journal of Medicine along with an editorial condemning those two natural products. The doctor writing the editorial was also paid by Pfizer. The editors at the Life Extension Foundation took the time to read the study and it showed that patients with moderate to sever knee arthritis actually responded better to glucosamine and chondrotin combined than to Celebrex by a statistically significant difference. This was not reported by anyone in the media.
LE Magazine goes on to analyze the other big reports that came out this year condemning calcium and vitamin D for bone health, saw palmetto for prostate health, vitamin E for heart health and B vitamins to lower homocysteine levels. Each one of these studies was poorly run and was set up in advance to make the supplement fail. In spite of that, many of the studies still showed a significant improvement using the supplement but that fact was hidden from the public. The New York Times wrote this headline, “Big Study Finds No Clear Benefit of Calcium Pills” but failed to report that the woman following the protocol had a 29% reduction in hip fractures which is better than most drugs have done in the past. This study was flawed in that 40% of the women assigned to take the calcium and vitamin D did not keep up their recommended doses. The study states, “Participants were followed for major outcomes, regardless of their adherence to the study medication”. That medication was the calcium and vitamin D.
Also the placebo group was allowed to continue taking whatever vitamin and mineral program they were currently on. Many were already taking calcium and vitamin D yet were “officially” counted as not taking it. So how can you compare the efficacy of a drug or supplement if both groups are taking it? Of course the outcome is going to be no difference between the tested product and the placebo. Yet, they concluded in the study, “Among women who were adherent (i.e., those who took at least 80% of the study medication), calcium with vitamin D supplementation resulted in a 29 percent reduction in hip fractures…” How does that conclusion match up with the Times headline? It’s obvious that no one bothered to read the study but just promoted sensational headlines.
Confusion the Goal
For over 10 years, more people have sought alternative care then traditional medical care when it comes to their health. This has caused a large growth in the nutrition industry and has hurt the drug companies directly. They are fighting back by funding these bogus studies to confuse the public and to create apathy toward natural health care. I believe it is working because people tell me all the time that they gave up on taking any vitamins because it is all too confusing. I can’t blame them because it is confusing! And to compound the problem there are unscrupulous companies out there selling supplements that have little or none of what it says on the label. That should be stopped as it was in Australia. The labeling laws in Australia for supplements are as tough as they are for drugs. If the label says there is 500 mg of echinacea per capsule then that is what should be there on assay. A study was done in Denver a few years ago where echinacea was purchased at several health food stores and tested. Only 20% had in the capsule what they said on the label. Another 20% had no echinacea in it at all. The rest had less than the label said by a little or a lot. That is why I don’t recommend just any brand of echinacea from the health food store when you are sick. GAIA Herbs and Eclectic Institute are pretty fair products that you can buy in stores. Most of the supplements we use in the office can only be sold by doctors and other health care providers because those companies are more interested in product quality and having someone trained to guide you in their use.
Summer can be a hectic time with holidays, vacations and kids sports camps so we are trying to make it easier for you to get in to see us when you need us. We are expanding our staff and hours to better accommodate you. We will be closed for the July 4th holiday (Tuesday) but will have normal hours on Monday July 3rd. I have no set vacation plans made yet for the summer but will probably be out of the office sometime in August.
Email Only Please
Please make sure we have your email address so that we can email you our newsletter and cut down on our mailing costs and the staff hours it takes to do the labeling and sorting. If you do not have access to email then contact the office and we will mail you a copy but we can’t keep mailing nearly two thousand of these newsletters every month like we do now. We promise we will never give out your email address to anyone and we won’t email you a ton of junk. Thank you if you already get this by email. If not, send us your email address to email@example.com and we will add you to our emailing list.
Friday and Saturday Hours
I know many of you would love to be able to get treated on Friday or Saturday mornings again. I have enlisted the help of Dr. Cari Brown to make care available on those days from 9-1. She recently had her first baby and is only available to work a limited schedule right now. Our own Annie Sutton had her little boy Devin on May 8 just 2 ½ hours after working at the office for the day. Now that is one tough lady! Not wanting to get too rusty working at home with the kids all week, Annie has asked to help out on Saturdays until she is ready for a full work schedule again. So the two moms will be at the office on most Saturday mornings to help anyone who needs to get treated. Dr. Brown will not be in the office one Saturday a month to attend an acupuncture seminar. Please call the office for an appointment to make sure we are open that day. We may also be doing spinal decompression with the DRX 9000 for herniated discs on these days if needed.
While Annie is mostly out of the office I am getting help in the treatment rooms by Dr. Carolyn Dobbins. Dr. Dobbins has practiced in Longmont for many years but has wanted to learn more about muscle testing and the nutritional aspect of treating patients. She is helping me in the office for the next several weeks to get more experience in this area. Since muscle testing is an art that is developed through practice, she will be testing your muscles more than you may be used to in the past. This will help her learn and will give us more information about your body at the same time.
The other new face in the office is Kelly Baucum at the front desk. Kelly is new to Colorado in the past few months moving here after graduating from college in Georgia. She and Deirdre will be at the front desk Monday through Friday. My daughter Amber will be helping out some in the office over the summer again but on a part-time schedule. We still have Tirza operating the Thermogram Center out of the office on most Fridays and Saturdays as well. If you don’t know what thermograms are then be sure to check out her web site at www.thermogramcenter.com.