Herbal medicine and dietary supplements—the good, the bad, the ugly - Ep. 05

March 1, 2021
Categories: Physical health
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Can vitamins, minerals and supplements improve your health? Does complementary and alternative medicine help cure disease? Why do so many western healthcare providers feel uncomfortable recommending alternative medicine to their patients?

More than half of adults in the U.S. have reported using supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc.). Are multivitamins good (or necessary) for you?

Integrative medicine practices such as meditation and herbal treatments are becoming more mainstream, but how much (and who) do they help?

With a dizzying array of dietary supplements to choose from, figuring out what works and what’s safe can be daunting. Is it even worth researching?

Of course, supplements are not magic pills. No one thing will lead to your healthiest life — that takes a mix of healthy mental, physical and spiritual lifestyle choices.

But there is a place in a healthy lifestyle for supplements and alternative medicine. In this episode, Dr. G and his guests, Julia Afridi, DO, and Ashwani Garg, MD, will discuss common herbal remedies, dietary supplements and alternative treatments and provide insight on how they can support wellness.


Myths vs. Facts

"There is scientific evidence to date that suggests mindfulness meditation may help reduce symptoms of stress, including anxiety and depression." – Fact
Studies have found that mindful meditation could reduce general pain and anxiety, curb migraines and even improve mental connections in people experiencing mild memory lapses. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health studies have shown meditation practice may lower blood pressure and relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia.

"Herbal medicine is not supported by research." – Myth
There are many research articles about herbal medicine.

"Doctors and patients do not need to discuss the use of natural therapies." – Myth
It’s so important to discuss them with your doctor. Some natural therapies can be blood thinners, for example, and may be contraindicated for certain patients. Your doctor knows your health history and will be able to help prevent negative interactions with any medication you are currently taking.

"Herbs such as valerian, chamomile, and kava are effective for insomnia." – Both
There is good evidence for kava, less evidence for valerian and chamomile. They do work well together.

"Few Americans use natural medicine or other forms of complementary and alternative medicine." – Myth
Americans spend billions of dollars on natural and alternative medicine.

"There is no evidence that garlic supplements prevent heart disease." – Myth
There’s some evidence garlic supplements (which is different than eating garlic) can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

"Natural products have no place in conventional medicine." – Myth
Visit pubmed.gov and you’ll see many studies on the use natural medicine.

"Turmeric (curcumin) and Ginkgo biloba supplements can prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease." – Myth
Used alone, they won’t prevent it. It’s a mix of healthy lifestyle habits that will make a difference.


Listener healthy OH-YEAH!

“Been on plant-based foods only since November and feeling great. Lost 12 pounds.” – E.P.

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