Category Archives: Big Pharma

What You Need to Know about Your Multivitamins

What You Need to Know about Your Multivitamins
Discover things that you probably do not know about multivitamins and learn how to choose the right multivitamin brand that’s best for you.

It does not come as a surprise if almost everyone you know has their supply of multivitamins stored safely in their homes. Since the purpose of supplements is to provide your body with nutrients it needs that you cannot provide with just your regular diet, many people turn to multivitamin capsules to complete their recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals.

Types of Multivitamins

There are various types of multivitamins that caters to a specific preference or addresses the needs of a certain age group.

  • Basic Multivitamins – These are those one-pill wonders that claim to offer 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamins, the guidelines of which are suggested by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Many brands today also include essential minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium but fall a bit short of the RDA because the size of the pill would be too large to swallow if the RDA is to be followed.

  • Food-Based – These types of multivitamins are basically powdered whole foods that are combined with vitamins and shaped into capsules. Since this variety is very much like real food in terms of consistency, they are absorbed much more easily and minimizes the chances of gastric disturbances. They can also be taken on an empty stomach.

  • Adult Chewables – If you are the type that has difficulty swallowing those large multivitamin capsules, then chewables are for you. It also lowers the occurrence of gastric distress when pills are swallowed as a  whole.

The Lowdown

These vitamin supplements are promoted by so many multivitamin manufacturers to be one of the best ways to obtain all the essential nutrients without having to eat so much food. The truth, however, is less than pleasing to the ears, as these compact nutrients are frequently processed using petroleum derivatives or hydrogenated sugars.

Even though they are often called natural, many of these vitamins are made of isolated substances that are crystalline in structure. This characteristic is the exact opposite of those vitamins that are naturally found in food, which are definitely not crystalline and are never isolated.

Vitamins that are naturally found in real food differ in its chemical and structural composition. This is why many naturopaths consider chemically produced multivitamins as imitations and not actual vitamins.

Oftentimes, brand manufacturers place so many ingredients inside a capsule or a pill because there is no regulation that explicitly lists down what kinds of nutrients or ingredients are allowed to be put on these supplements. This is why it is always so important to read between the lines and be vigilant about what you are taking.

When a product lists so many good ingredients, it is naturally tempting to think that you have found your wonder-supplement. The best thing to do is to check the label from the top to the bottom of the list. It is usually the first ingredient that has the most amount. As you start getting to bottom of the list, the concentration of vitamins and minerals diminishes. When you get to the very bottom you would usually find essential herbs listed as a proprietary blend of a particular extract or what not.

Many individuals frequently ask why a conventional one-a-day vitamin is not really a good supplement. The answer is that these one-a-day pills are not as good as the manufacturers claim them to be because all the essential nutrients that a person needs simply cannot be compressed into just one pill. Fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, and E, should be placed in a gel capsule, while other vitamins and minerals are better in capsules because it allows for faster dissolution when ingested.

Since it will be very confusing to determine which exactly is the best multivitamin supplement, it would be better to ask for professional help, particularly a nutritionist, a naturopath, or a pharmacist.

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Drug Shortages in America: Patients are becoming victims

Two years ago a scientist and close friend told me there was about to be a drug shortage in the United States. I did not believe him and actually smirked at the idea. In my opinion, the drug industry is a multi billion dollar if not trillion dollar business in the United States. I could see a drug shortage of one or two drugs but I am amazed at what has actually happened. He was right.

Hospitals, pharmacies, and doctor’s offices around the US are finding they have big problems. There are unknown and known numbers of patients dying from the drug shortage.

Click here for an interesting look at drug shortages in America from Fox News.

The American Society of Anesthesiologist reports that seven US anesthesiologist have reported that drug shortages resulted in deaths of their patients. Some of the anesthesia drugs are fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid used to knock patients out and to treat operative and post-op pain. Another is the “Michael Jackson drug”, propofol, which is a intravenous sedative and anesthetic drug that works in just 40 seconds.

Emergency Rooms are complaining that they have been hit hard. Some of these drugs include epinephrine that helps restart the heart during a heart attack. Others are seizure drugs and who would ever believe that even antibiotics are in a shortage crisis?

Oncologist are complaining they can’t get the chemotherapy drugs they need to prescribe. They are encouraging people not to worry but they are worried. Dr John Maris, Chief of Oncology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia testified on Capitol Hill in the Senate House about the the problem of drug shortages. He stated “ For complicated reasons, many of the drugs that we as physicians rely on each day – anticancer drugs, antibiotics, anesthetics, medicines that go in IV nutrition – simply are just not available.” He continued to say, “ These are generally generic, so called sterile injectable drugs, difficult to manufacture, often very, very commonly used around the world, but for reasons of manufacturing, regulation, and many other issues, many of these are just not available today.”

I was a nurse before I went back to medical school to get my doctorate in Natural Medicine. I have been on both sides of the track and I believe both types of medicine has good parts to it. Traditional medicine is very important for emergencies that can not be effectively handled quick enough by natural medicine. Natural medicine is wonderful and great as a preventive lifestyle. Both, working in conjunction with each other is the best of both worlds.

To get back to this article, I am still amazed there are shortages. My personal belief is that it has to do something with money. If not just because of not being profitable, maybe it is to scare us in order to bring about more profits. My father was the purchasing agent for a large hospital. I worked in the emergency room at the same hospital at the time he worked there. I remember going on break and going downstairs to see him. I was amazed that one shake down thermometer that you could buy at the drugstore for $6. would cost that patient $29. A small aspirin would cost the patient $26. You could buy several bottles of aspirin for that cost. If you have in been in the hospital lately, look over your bill. You may be amazed also.

Yes, I believe health care has gotten out of hand. This is one more reason we should do our best to take care of ourselves before we get sick. Health care is really “sick care”. We need to change that and consider more “preventive care”.

Do not leave your doctor’s office until… (part 3)

Image Source:wikimedia.org

Image Source:wikimedia.org

Medical records are not created equal. Just as you, your records are unique to you and only you. Medical records are created when you receive treatment of any kind, whether it is a simple look at a mole to see if it’s ok, or if you received a dreaded diagnosis. It’s all in your records and there’s a blueprint of the past. Your records can include personal subjects you trusted your doctor to never tell, like stress you are having because of something you did, and are not proud of or high risk sexual acts. I am just using these examples to explain why your records are important for you to gather instead of someone else doing it for you. Also, it explains the reason why we are glad there are laws to help protect our records from being given out to just anyone.

I need to cover that there are certain diagnoses that law requires the doctor to report to the health department and other government facilities like the CDC. These diagnoses include those like HIV-AIDS, Tuberculosis, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis, Mumps, Shigelloses, and Lyme Disease, to mention only a few. We,as citizens, have no say in this because reportable diseases are diseases considered to be of great public health importance. Reporting helps track potential health problems in communities and keeps us safe.
All states have a “reportable diseases” list. It is the responsibility of the health care provider, not the patient, to report cases of these diseases.
There may be times that you are forced to share your medical records even though you would rather not. An example is when you are applying for Health or Life Insurance. Most insurance companies require you to give them your medical records or they will not issue a policy to you. Insurance companies are considered financial institutions under the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB). Banks, brokerage houses and Insurance Companies must provide you of notice of how they gather and use your information.
A potential employer may ask for your medical records before hiring you as a part of their background check. To learn more on employment background checks and an employer’s obligation to you under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), read PRC Fact Sheet 16: Employment Background Checks and the FTC’s website on background checks.
In part 1, I explained that it is important that you get your records before you leave the office. Most of the time it will cost nothing or less than the normal charge. I do want to mention that if ever a office or medical facility wants to charge you for your records and you do not have the money, They can not refuse your access to them. In some states you are required in your own handwriting to write that you can not afford to pay. Regardless, you can get your records.

Make it a habit to request your records before leaving your doctor’s appointment. I hope now you are better equipped with the knowledge of your patient rights and protection.

Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You

Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You
Every so often, you hear how someone gets a message out to the public and you wonder, how did they do it without getting fired, black balled, or sued. Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H. is just one such person. He works with John Hopkins hospital and is the author of several books on public health, surgery, patient safety, quality of care, and different health policies.

Dr Makary is a full time surgeon specializing in advance laparoscopy, gastro-intestinal tumors, pancreas surgery, and special problems with the elderly population.

His latest book entitled Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care.

This makes for an interesting read. Click here to check it in Amazon.Com

The following is a video where he was interviewed on The Doctor’s show by Dr Travis Stork.

Many doctors will tell you, if you want to get sick, just hang out around a hospital that does not have a good record for cleanliness, and which has a lot of reports for MERSA.

Keep your immune system up.

image c/o: SM Mcroberts

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There Goes The X-ray!

There Goes The X-ray!

A news release by McKesson Speciality Health to physicians just came out today, January 21,2013, concerning health care budget cuts for oncology practices. Their team stated that “Our innovative Practice Services team wants to make you aware that with the recent passing of the Biden-McConnell compromise by Congress that averted the fiscal cliff, there are many changes that will affect oncology practices.”

I’m sure you are wondering what that means to the patients. We were all excited we did not fall off the cliff but knew we were not off the ledge yet. The bill did delay the 2% sequestration cuts to Medicare and did implement a one-year freeze to the Medicare physician payment rate, which helped prevent the 27% cuts that were scheduled to take place on January 1, 2013. Whew, I know, it’s hard to understand. However, McKesson reports that the 25 billion dollar fix will be paid by working on additional healthcare spending cuts.

This means if you are on Medicare, your doctor may think twice if you will get an advance diagnostic imaging (an x-ray like a CT scan, MRI or PET scan). If your doctor performs the x-ray in his/her office, they may lose revenue tied to the procedure.

In the past, I have seen many times where the insurance companies have already refused to do a PET scan or one of the other x-rays because of the cost. I do not believe that the x-ray companies should be the one to say what is or is not needed to help see where the patient is in their journey of wellness or sickness. That should be left up to the doctor. It is my opinion that we are going to see a lot more of the insurance companies saying what treatments can be done or not. After all, it’s going to take a lot of the government’s money to enforce the Obama Care so the budget will have to be watched.

As I have always said, at least Obama is trying, but Obama Care in my opinion is not the answer. We need good health care system which starts at a different level.

image sourtesy of: www.amberusa.com

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Be Careful When Taking Drugs With Grapefruit

Be Careful When Taking Drugs With Grapefruit

 

Warning! People are trying to lose weight with many different methods. One way is by ingesting a lot of grapefruit. This information came to me and I felt I needed to share it with you.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal has recently published findings that a number of drugs can be detrimental to our health when eating or drinking grapefruit. Apparently, this is due to an influx of new medications and chemical formulations.

It is believed that grapefruit contains furanocoumarins which blocks an enzyme that usually breaks down certain medications for the body to use. If the medications are not broken down correctly, the medication levels can grow toxic in the body. This can cause an overdose and possibly death. Some other foods that contain furanocoumarins are Seville oranges, limes, and pomelos.

Prescription drugs that interact with grapefruit are taken by mouth and the degree of the grapefruit effect can vary. Just one serving of grapefruit with some drugs can make it seem as if the person is taking multiple doses of the drug. This could be very dangerous especially if one is taking several of these type drugs.

There is supposed to be more than 85 drugs on the market that can interact with grapefruit. Some of the drugs are statins that lower cholesterol such as lovastatin, atorvastatin, and simvastatin. There are some antibiotic, cancer drugs, heart drugs,  cardiovascular drugs, and hormonal type drugs.

It is better to be “safe than sorry”. Double check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if you have one of the drugs that could react with grapefruit. You can also try checking on the internet. Prevention is very important!

image courtesy of: www.katu.com

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How Much Money And For Whom?

How Much Money And For Whom?
I’m sure you as I have always heard how much the Pharmaceutical companies are making. We all gripe and complain that our medications are too expensive and we can’t really afford the high cost of healthcare. We all agree that we have a broken healthcare system and a band aid is not going to heal it.If you look at the World Charts and the news breaking reports, it’s clear that our great country is no longer the leader in healthcare. Our quality of care has fallen. However, the United States is still the leader in healthcare costs.

This morning I received one of my newsletters that goes out to doctors and healthcare professionals. Never before have I ever actually seen the numbers in black and white till today. I want to share this with you so you can see for yourself and come to your own conclusions as to how to respond.

 

It appears that healthcare organizations and physicians are major forces behind campaign contributions. According to the nonprofit Center
for Responsive Politics (CRP), the healthcare industry has spent over $147,136,594.00 for the 2012 political events. Now, those numbers were posted the first of September so we know it is probably more than that now. Also, the CRP mentions that not all money is posted.

The CRP is a non-profit, non-partisan research group based in Washington, D.C.. This company tracks the effects of money and lobbing on elections and public policy. Their data base can be found on www.opensecrets.org.

Below is the top 20 healthcare-sector contributors to Federal candidates, parties, and outside groups.

Rank

Organization

Amount

1 Adelson Drug Clinic $22,040,800.00
2 Cooperative of American Physicians $2,699,245.00
3 American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons $1,467,800.00
4 American Dental Association $1,343,649.00
5 P?zer,Inc. Pharmaceutical Company $1,287,136.00
6 Select Medical Corp $1,132,450.00
7 American College of Radiology $1,127,134.00
8 American Society of Anesthesiologists $1,109,150.00
9 American Health Care Association $1,093,695.00
10 American College of Emergency Physicians $1,060,500.00
11 American Hospital Association $1,051,122.00
12 Amgen Inc $1,017,312.00
13 McKesson Corp $991,325.00
14 Abbott Laboratories $878,980.00
15 Medco Health Solutions $833,120.00
16 Stryker Corp $819,464.00
17 American Physical Therapy Association $816,600.00
18 AstraZeneca PLC $795,075.00
19 American Medical Association $785,437.00
20 Merck and Co $763,935.00

 

The next table gives the percentage each company gave to each political party.

Rank

Organization

Democrats

Republicans

1 Adelson Drug Clinic
2 Cooperative of American Physicians 2% 2%
3 American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons 25% 75%
4 American Dental Association 40% 60%
5 P?zer,Inc. Pharmaceutical Company 52% 48%
6 Select Medical Corp 5% 7%
7 American College of Radiology 29% 71%
8 American Society of Anesthesiologists 37% 63%
9 American Health Care Association 44% 55%
10 American College of Emergency Physicians 41% 59%
11 American Hospital Association 58% 42%
12 Amgen Inc 51% 47%
13 McKesson Corp 40% 60%
14 Abbott Laboratories 39% 61%
15 Medco Health Solutions 47% 53%
16 Stryker Corp 7% 1%
17 American Physical Therapy Association 54% 46%
18 AstraZeneca PLC 44% 55%
19 American Medical Association 45% 55%
20 Merck and Co 51% 49%

 

I am thankful that we live in a country where there is Free Speech. That being said, I would like to say that in my opinion, a lot of that money could have been used to support people who are struggling with no money or insurance and need assistance in their health care. Instead, it appears that it went to the political parties and to lobbying efforts. Are most of this money spent to influence government, and for what reason? Why can’t the pharmaceutical companies and health care providers lower their cost for the true American, their customers? It is now obvious that there is a surplus that can be given away to the government. Yes, I’m sure there must be a tax break for them somewhere.

 

 

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Side Effects Of A Sick Health Care System

Side Effects Of A Sick Health Care System

 

Image Source: Pexels

Image Source: Pexels

This is a wonderful era to be living in. There are so many advances in technology and science that we are experiencing daily. New improvements in building materials, road and bridge designs, transportation, new types of appliances, and much more.

Technology has brought about wonderful ways to speak or communicate to someone around the world in only seconds. No more land line phones or “party lines”. No more having to wait weeks for a love letter to get to a war torn country. It can go in an email in seconds.

If we take the time to sit and think of all the advances we have experienced over our lifetime, it may amaze you. It matters not how old you are. Yes, us older folks may be able to remember TV as ‘black and white” TV and the younger ones may be able to remember when they couldn’t get Netflix on their color flat screen TV. Regardless, we all have experienced a glorious advancement in our lives.

Our society is experiencing a remarkable awakening in our health care abilities. People are realizing that they have choices in the type of health care they receive. They are realizing there are other treatments that are working in other countries that are not available in the US. The internet has opened tremendous opportunities for people to learn what is available throughout the world.

Mainstream medicine communities have been very closed minded to the fact that there may be other ways of healing and that not just one way is the best way.  It saddens me every time I see Dr Sanjay Gupta on CNN or other doctors of authority to say that the United States is losing our rankings on the World Health Care charts. If you look at the World Health Care Chart, you will see that there are third world countries ranking higher than we are for health care, at this time. How sad is that? We are America, not a third world country!

So what can we do to fix it? Oh if I only had the answers. I feel our health care system is in such turmoil and in a down slide. I must not be the only one to feel this way. President Obama is trying to change things, congress seems not to know what to do, and doctors all over the US are becoming disillusioned with medicine. It seems like insurance and money dictates the treatment given.

If only we could all come into agreement and consider the patient first and not the money first. If only people could get the treatment they wanted in the United States and not have to go to Germany, China, Mexico, or Israel for the treatment. Patients go out of country seeking treatments that are not FDA approved but treatment that have been used  safely for decades in first world countries. If people were allowed to stay in the US for the treatments of their choice, this would be easier on the patients and their families. It would also keep US dollars from going out of the country.

I may sound harsh but I daily see the “side effects” of a broken and sick health care system. One that somewhere has forgotten that we as America has to become better in our love for our country and mainly our love for each other.

Please do not misunderstand. I am in no way pointing fingers at the FDA. We have to have in place the abilities to rule out what is safe and harmful. There has to be guidelines for us to follow. I am talking about changing the ability for Old World used, tried and proven, science based treatments, to be re-evaluated so people are not left to die with no other place to turn.

In our treatment facility, we are being bombarded with people giving us stories about how they are left with nothing else to do. They come to us seeking treatments that are done in other countries and have heard about the successes. We are happy that we are allowed to help them to try to recover on their journey of health. Some go in remission and some do not. We have an 80 percent recovery rate for life extension. We love what we do, however we hate that our patients have to travel to get to us. It would be wonderful if all the doctors in the US could work as a team for the benefit of the patient instead of telling them there is nothing more to offer.

We need a new CEO for health care in the United States!

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New Research Proves Vitamins Help The Brain

New Research Proves Vitamins Help The Brain
Recently a series of new studies were published in three medical journals, the British Journal of Nutrition, Human Psychopharmacology, and Psychopharmacology. Teams of British neuroscientists investigated the effects of multivitamin supplementation on mood and cognitive function and found that taking a multivitamin daily can improve cognitive performance in both children and adults.

Their conclusion indicated that not only did the vitamin and mineral supplementation improve the cognitive performance, it only took a few weeks for the improvement to occur.

British researchers monitored healthy groups of  men, women and children who took “over the counter” vitamin and mineral supplements daily for 4 to 12 weeks. The researchers tested the group’s cognitive performance through tasks requiring attention, accuracy, memory, and/or multitasking ability. They also tested for mood and stress levels.

Its interesting that men taking high dose B-complex vitamins showed improved performance on cognitive tasks and were less mentally tired. These men also showed improved vigor.

Women taking multivitamin/mineral supplementation, demonstrated on several different batteries of test, to have increased accuracy and speed on multitasking.

Children aged 8 through 14, proved to have increased accuracy in attention-based tasks.

It is wonderful to read studies such as these. For so long we have heard such negatives from the pharmaceutical companies, universities and media, concerning how bad supplements are. It is a-shame that we have to rely on studies from other countries such as these British studies to identify the possibilities of health improvements. I would to add that these studies were accepted by the British medical profession as legitimate studies.

Although I am excited about these studies,(and I feel confident these are reliable studies), we still have to be very careful about running out to the store and buying up a load of vitamins to take. It is imperative that you choose good quality vitamins and do not buy junk. When you buy lesser quality vitamins, a lot of your money is going into buying fillers and other possible harmful ingredients. If you buy from a reputable company, you need only the prescribed dosage and should never take more than suggested unless suggested by your health care provider.

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What is your opinion of this hospital?

What is your opinion of this hospital?

 

I just heard a lecture presented by Art Caplan from the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. I was left with a big WOW. I would like to know your thoughts on this matter.

A hospital in Texas, Citizens Medical Center, has said that they will no longer hire anyone who is overweight. That includes doctors, nurses, secretaries, any health staff. They defined that overweight for them means a body mass of over 35 kg/m2. What this means is that if you are a man 5’10” tall and weigh 250 pounds, you will not be hired by this institution, so do not even apply. They say “ We are not going to hire overweight people.”

The hospital representative said, “ Look, if you are going to come in and counsel people about health, you need to have a staff that is slim and fit.” Mr Caplan said that it is certainly the case that it is hard to have someone say, “Follow what I say, don’t do what I do.”

Mr Caplan mentioned that it is also the case that overweight staff sometimes requires special equipment and furniture. If that happens, it means extra cost involved for the hospital. Also it turns out that overweight people may be absent more because of health related problems.

Caplan made a good point when he said, “ I can think of a major problem, and that’s treating healthcare risks equally. If you want to go after overweight, then who is going to sit in the hospital parking lot and see who is speeding when they come in? Who is going to make sure that someone arriving on a motorcycle or a bicycle is wearing a helmet? Who is going to make sure that they are wearing their seat belts when they come to work? And to take this a bit further, in Texas, who is going to make sure that they are not riding horses at home because it is dangerous; or own a gun, which turns out to be a big health risk? There are a lot of other risky things besides weight that doctors or nurses or healthcare staff might do, and the question is, are we going to control that?”
I might add, what about those employees who smoke?

Now, you may think as I did, wow. But, did you know this is not illegal for them to do. It turns out that there are no laws against discrimination against overweight people except in Michigan. They have the right to hire who they want to and can discriminate if you are overweight.

I personally think that if I or any of my family members needed medical attention, I do not care if it is a skinny person or an overweight obese person taking care of us, as long as they are educated and know what to do. I would be grateful for anyone of any size, shape or color to save a life. Nurses have always been scarce and now they may turn down great qualified people because of their weight. I know some fantastic health care people who are the best, just overweight.

Our health care system has already fallen on The World Health Care Charts. Now its, getting to the point that you have to look a certain way. Do not get me wrong, being overweight is a health concern and we all should try to keep our weight in check. But is it right to disregard those who may be highly qualified to help care for others?

What do you think about this?