Doctors receive almost no training on the clinical application of natural hormones and receive almost no training on the use of supplements to enhance health. Very often they are told that supplements only give you “expensive urine” – a thought frequently passed on to their patients.

And yet, the nutraceutical business represents a 40 billion dollar per year industry. This figure is of concern to the pharmaceutical industry who feels their business is infringed upon and also may be a concern to the business of medicine, an entity which appears to thrive on disease and illness. As I have been known to say, there is no preventive medicine in this country because it is not good for business.

Along these lines, it can be said that many vaccines, including flu shots, are of questionable benefit. Mammograms and pink ribbons (a device started by a drug company that manufactures chemotherapy for breast cancer) do not prevent breast cancer.

Supplement manufacturers, by law, are not allowed to make specific health claims about their products, although there have been thousands of studies that have demonstrated effectiveness. However, what can be generalized is as follows: our bodies throughout every day are continuously making free radicals. These are chemical entities that flow through our circulatory system that are missing an ion. They are unstable and are capable of inflicting damage to blood vessels, the heart, and the brain. They can actually speed up the process of aging.

Fortunately, we are able to counter-act these free radicals by providing anti-oxidants provided by certain foods or by taking supplements. In a perfect world we could probably get everything we need by eating healthfully but it is not a perfect world. Many foods are processed which can eliminate many benefits; we now have genetically modified foods, as well as the fact that preparing of foods by cooking can leach out anti-oxidants.

I am a great believer in preventive medicine. It has been stated that there are certain diseases that can be prevented, or helped, by the use of certain supplements. This includes: Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, cancer, diabetes, acid reflux, fibromyalgia, the flu, heart disease, and the list goes on. At the very least it is safe to say that even if one does not achieve these benefits, supplements can rarely be harmful. This is because they are natural, not synthetic like prescription medications, so they are easy for the body to eliminate. It has been said that prescribed drugs are the fourth leading cause of death and are responsible for hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations every year.

If you go to my website, www.plattwellness.com, I have an article about the particular supplements that I like, and why.

A final thought: if supplements are not beneficial, why is there a bill in congress to eliminate them – thanks to our friends at the FDA.