Australia’s answer to the American war on supplements

I often look to the world press to see their thoughts on important health issues. Especially issues generating headlines stateside. (You know, the sound bites that blaze across our country into everyone’s home–often without a stitch of credible truth–courtesy of the biased American press.)

The latest study concluding that vitamins are a waste of money is one of my favorite recent examples of this brand of spin doctoring. Because it’s just so blatantly wrong.

Wrong enough, in fact, that people in other countries are pushing for the use of more complementary medicine to offset the heavy cost of chronic disease in coming years.

According to a news story I came across recently, more and more people in Australia rely on alternative medicine–including multivitamins–to maintain their general health. As well they should, since recent statistics indicate less than 10 percent of adults down under actually eat enough fruit and vegetables every day.

So naturally, the Australian Complementary Healthcare Council is gunning for more government resources to finance credible research in this field. Research that will absolutely help to make the country healthier.

But can you imagine this taking place in America? Never in a million years.

Every pharmaceutical company gets government support for research. So why doesn’t the supplement industry? Think about it.

The fact is, our government doesn’t care at all about prevention. Because if they prevented illness, how would Big Pharma be able to sell their drugs? And how would Big Agribusiness be able to peddle their sorry excuse for “food”?

Making money is what America is about. And the sooner we all realize that, the better.

I had this very discussion with a new patient just this week. The subject was canola oil. Like so many people, she thought it was a healthy choice.

And who could blame her? That’s exactly the story this country has sold.

Our government pays farmers to produce canola. So of course they’re going to tell you it’s the best oil to buy. Because the USDA cares about agriculture, not your health.

The end result is a wealthy country that paradoxically has one of the least healthy populations in the entire world. We are as undernourished as we are overfed–no doubt about it.

And that’s just according to the piddly RDAs. Can you imagine how many people are deficient once you factor in the level of nutrition required for truly good health?

Maybe I’m beating a dead horse–but it really does bear repeating. The supplement study that I shared with you last Monday was egregiously flawed.

It didn’t include children. It didn’t include pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers. It also didn’t include people with chronic illnesses, people who were hospitalized, or people with clinical vitamin deficiencies.

That’s a whole lot of people who were left out of this supposedly conclusive analysis. And they also happen to be the people who have the most at stake when it comes to good nutrition.

So don’t tell me that supplements are a waste of money if you’re not even going to design a study that accurately represents this nation’s population.

And while we’re at it, how about we stop designing studies for the sole purpose of axe grinding? And start designing them in a way that accurately shows effectiveness–pure and simple.

Because personally, I like to give advice based on science–not personal agenda. It’s called being a doctor. Something a few of my modern associates in the field might want to try doing for a change.

Whitehead, RJ. “Oz government should provide more support for complementary medicine.” 14 Jan 2014.