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 Nutritional Medicine: A Revolution in Health Care: Dietary Supplements 
Your Health at Risk
Your health may be at risk if you believe the current medical and food industry myths that assert that you do not need extra vitamins and minerals if you eat properly (what is commonly called a balanced diet). For decades, this has also been the position of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which appears to have had an antagonism to dietary supplements since early in its history.

As of 1995, the FDA does not even allow supplement manufacturers to use in their sales literature quotes from other governmental agencies (such as the USDA[US Department of Agriculture]) or from medical research, even if the quotation accurately and favorably portrays the value of a dietary supplement. This is a political, not a scientific, position.

If you accept this inaccurate information, you will probably be left in an average state of poor health, or what most doctors call average good health. This is the condition in which the "average" person lives. You will have the "average" profile of frequent colds and other infections, headaches, fatigue, gum disease, menstrual disturbances, anxiety, poor sleep, obesity, and accelerated aging, leading to early heart disease or common cancers and premature death. You do not have to accept this situation.

Changes in Medicine
Significant changes are taking place in health care. Doctors are increasingly becoming interested in the use of high-dose dietary supplements in the treatment and prevention of disease. They are, in fact, taking supplements themselves, even though they may not yet be recommending them for their patients. A recent survey showed that eight out of 10 physicians report taking vitamin E. Researchers sometimes have a curious position-for example, one researcher's studies show the value of vitamin E, but he says, "there is not enough research to recommend it to the general public, but I am taking it myself!" Why should you, as part of the general public, have to wait for scientists and doctors to give you the go-ahead for what they are already doing?

Recently a colleague asked me what dose of a particular nutrient I would use in a patient with heart failure. He had tried everything else and was now willing to try a dietary supplement in the face of failure of the medical treatment. I hope that in the future he will consider using supplements before the situation is dire, so it may not get that way. Unfortunately, many mainstream practitioners worry about the ridicule of their colleagues if they consider using dietary supplements instead of the usual medication.

Dietary supplements are an integral part of a comprehensive health program. I have been taking them myself since 1971 and recommending them as part of my medical practice since 1976. When I graduated from medical school in 1970, I knew virtually nothing about the field of nutrition. At that time, a common joke was that the average physician knew as much about nutrition as the average secretary, unless the secretary had a weight problem, in which case the secretary knew more than the doctor!

Unfortunately, things in medical school haven't changed much. Most medical schools do not go into detail about nutrition during the entire 4 years of training. However, changes are just beginning in medical education, mainly due to public demand for more nutrition information and more choice of therapies. For the most part, this is not being initiated by the medical schools, but is coming primarily from physician self-education groups such as the American College for Advancement in Medicine, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and the American Holistic Medical Association.

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 About The Author
Michael Janson MDMichael Janson, M.D., is past-president of the American College for Advancement in Medicine and the American Preventive Medical Association. He founded one of the first holistic medical practices in New England......more
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