The War on Natural Health Freedom
The attacks on Natural Health Freedom are coming from all directions - Codex Alimentarius, The Traditional Medicinal Products Directive, and the very frequent media attacks on Homeopathy.
There is a concerted effort World Wide to denounce all forms of Natural Medicine as being worthless or dangerous. Surely if a person has the free will to purchase cigarettes, alcohol and guns legally, then we should have the free will and right to purchase natural medicine. Yet at the same time science, usually funded somewhere down the line by the pharmaceutical industry, is conducting countless trials and studies into Natural Medicine namely Herbs investigating their medicinal properties. Skeptics belittle Homeopathy as worthless yet the pharmaceutical giant Merck sell homeopathic products. They own Seven Seas who own the New Era brand, who do biochemical salts. Do I need to say more??
I believe a person has the right to choose, if they choose pharmaceutical drugs for their ailments, that is their prerogative. And likewise if a human-being desires natural medicine then surely that is their personal preference and their right.
The importance of wellness among users of complementary and alternative medicine: findings from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey
This study developed and tested a sociobehavioral wellness model of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to differentiate predisposing factors, enabling resources, need, and personal health practices according to use for wellness, for combined wellness and treatment, or for treatment alone.
Data were from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a cross-sectional, nationally representative sample of 23,393 adult Americans. This analysis included people who used at least one CAM modality in the past 12 months (n = 7003 adult users). Prevalence estimates and multinomial logistic regression results were weighted and adjusted for complex sample design.
Overall, 86 % of CAM users reported reason for use as wellness (51 %) or wellness combined with treatment (35 %). White women had the lowest (48 %) and Asian men (66 %) had the highest wellness use. Compared to treatment only users, wellness users were significantly more likely to be older, more educated, in better health, and engaged in multiple healthy behaviors. There was support that those with health conditions were using methods for both treatment and to maintain health.
The findings underscore the central role of CAM in health self-management and wellness lifestyle. At a time of national health care reform highlighting the importance of health and wellness and employers turning to wellness programs to improve worker performance and well-being, these findings suggest a central role of CAM in those public health endeavors.
Source : BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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EU reform of the EU Novel Food Regulation: Will it present a lesser or greater barrier for non EU Botanicals
Throwing the toys out of the pram Among the ‘big 5’ pieces of European Union (EU) legislation that threaten natural healthcare – the others being the EU Medicines Code (Directive 2001/83/EC, as amended), the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD; Directive 2004/24/EC), the Food Supplements Directive (FSD; Directive 2002/46/EC, as amended) and the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (NHCR; No. 1924/2006) – the Novel Foods Regulation (NFR; No. 258/97, as amended) is like the annoying little brother.
Most of the time, it keeps out of the way and minds its own business, letting its rowdier siblings get on with the business of making life difficult for natural health products, manufacturers, retailers, practitioners and users. Every now and again, however, a product – usually a herbal product originating from a non-European country – catches its attention and it throws a tantrum. The only way the manufacturer can then calm the little ‘darling’ is either to prove that its product was consumed “to a significant degree” (and that’s open to wide interpretation) in the EU prior to 15th May 1997, or negotiate the obstacle course set up by the NFR and successfully win an EU novel food authorisation. Results of deliberations by the Member State competent authorities are reflected in the Novel Food Catalogue. Because the definition of a novel food is so wide, the NFR has been having a disproportionate effect, especially on food supplements containing botanical ingredients that were not consumed within the EU significantly prior to May 1997 – irrespective of whether these were commonly consumed outside the EU. Remodelling the Novel Foods Regulation Citing a need to “streamlin[e] the approval process,” for novel foods, the European Commission (EC) began discussions in 2009 on updating the NFR. Five years later, the proposals are finally on the table, but it’s been a bumpy ride: negotiations broke down completely in 2011 after EU Member States and the European Parliament failed to agree on issues linked to animal cloning – which has been shunted off into separate legislation.
The changes: Centralisation, more bureaucracy and EFSA-ing So, assuming the proposed legislation doesn’t change significantly before becoming law, what will the revised NFR mean for natural product manufacturers?
We also anticipate that the phenomenon of herbal products being hoovered up by the NFR will accelerate. In certain EU Member States, most notably Belgium, this is already happening; the existing NFR poses the single biggest obstacle to the sale of herbs associated with non-European systems of traditional medicine. This is likely to be caused by the expanded definitions contained in Article 2, made more acute by the existence of the “traditional foods from third countries” provisions.
When it comes to herbs of non-European origin used for healthcare, the following is a plausible, and uncomfortable, scenario of the combined effect of the revised NFR and existing medicines, food and food supplements laws in the EU:
Source : Alliance for Natural Health
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War on Integrative Medicine, Part One: Eliminate the Integrative Doctors
The basic idea is to preserve the conventional medicine monopoly by all means possible, including the use of state medical boards and physician credentialing groups. There’s a close-knit confederacy of three powerful conventional medical organizations in the United States. These groups work closely together and are allied with both federal and state government. One of their prime objectives appears to be to eliminate competition from natural health practitioners, especially integrative MDs and DOs, whom they seem to regard as traitors.
Decades ago, chiropractors sued the American Medical Association for similar assaults which they believed represented an illegal restraint of trade. The case went to the Supreme Court, which sided with the chiropractors. The present assault on integrative doctors seems to us to be just more of the same, motivated by the same crass business reasons—though it’s even worse this time.
If this sounds like a conspiracy theory, it’s not. Let’s look more closely at the AMA and its allies.
Until now, doctors who are board-certified by the AMBS must be recertified every ten years. That gives the organization considerable control over doctors, though the control is loose. But, starting this year, the AMBS is requiring that doctors go through “mini” recertification every two to five years. This would make it much easier to keep tabs on and rein in anyone daring to dissent from standard orthodoxy.
Fortunately this has been met by opposition. In April 2013, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), not an integrative but an independent and courageous group unaffiliated with the AMA, sued the AMBS for imposing “enormous ‘recertification’ burdens” that are “not justified by any significant improvements in patient care.” The lawsuit goes on to call the recertification process a “money making scheme:”
[AMBS’s recertification] brings in many tens of millions of dollars in revenue to ABMS and the 24 allied corporations. Though ostensibly non-profit, these corporations then pay prodigious salaries to their executives, often in excess of $700,000 per year. But their recertification demands take physicians away from their patients, and result in hospitals denying patients access to their physicians.
As noted above, we do not think this new proposal is simply a “money making scheme.” Nor just an intra-professional power play. We believe it is designed to stamp out doctors who dare to explore non-conventional treatments that go outside the bounds of FDA-approved drugs and surgery, no matter how commonsensical (such as changing one’s diet) they are.
In response to criticism, the AMBS has responded that certification is purely voluntary, and that doctors not willing to be recertified more often can simply opt out. We have already explained why this is disingenuous. In addition, on their Certification Matters website, AMBS itself implies that uncertified doctors are somehow less qualified and may not provide adequate care:
Being licensed does not indicate whether a doctor is qualified to practice in a specific medical specialty, such as family medicine, surgery or dermatology. One of the best ways to know if your doctor has the qualifications to provide care in a specialty is to find out if he or she is Board Certified.
On the same website, AMBS has a search tool to verify if your doctor is certified. Not surprisingly, the ABMS refuses to work with integrative doctors, and only includes ABMS-certified doctors in their database—not doctors qualified by other boards.
Integrative practitioners do have some certification boards either in existence or in creation. But none of these boards will ever be recognized by the AMA-allied medical establishment and its allies and overlords in government any more than integrative doctors themselves will be recognized.
The whole point of integrative medicine is to take the best aspects of both conventional and complementary/alternative medicine and integrate them into a sound healthcare approach. We work for a healthcare system that embraces both modalities with equality and respect. All of medicine has a common foe in greedy, monopolistic organizations that seem to us to have their own best interests in view—not those of physicians, and certainly not those of patients.
Source Alliance for Natural Health
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War on Integrative Medicine, Part Two: Eliminate Supplements
Why are the attacks on supplements becoming so loud? By now anyone not living in a cave has heard the message loud and clear: don’t use supplements. Either they are a harmless waste of money, or they’re a harmful threat to your health (note that these points are contradictory). This message has been repeated over and over both in journals and in conventional media outlets. It is, with very few exceptions, junk science. Even in the few instances when it is right, it is wrong.
Here’s an example of what we mean by being right and wrong at the same time. Journals and the media keep insisting on calling alpha-tocopherol “vitamin E.” This is incorrect.
Vitamin E is comprised of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols. Too much alpha-tocopherol can interfere with your body’s use of the arguably more important gamma form. Hence studies that supplement alpha alone and call it vitamin E are both inaccurate and doing something that does not occur in nature. In addition, in most instances the alpha-tocopherol being tested is dl-alpha-tocopherol, which is the fully synthetic form, also not something you will ever find in nature.
Similarly, studies suggesting there is a heart risk associated with supplementing calcium are both right and wrong. They are right because calcium needs some essential co-factors to move into the bones instead of the circulatory system. These include vitamin K2 in particular, along with vitamin D3 and other less important factors. This is one reason (among others) why the World Health Organization’s 2010 proposal to put calcium in the water supply was simply crazy.
Another way to be right and wrong simultaneously is to use a tiny bit of a supplement and say that it had no measurable effect. This is spending a great deal of money in order to state what should have been obvious. There is no point studying supplements if you don’t test meaningful doses. To do this, you have to do what researchers least want to do: actually consult with integrative doctors, the people with clinical experience using supplements.
Not understanding co-factors and proper dosages is perhaps excusable. The other tricks used to make supplements look dangerous are really dubious: the intentional cherry picking of studies, most of them with very questionable data, followed by all kinds of “clever” statistical manipulations, among other underhanded techniques.
For example, if you are allowed to see the underlying data (often not the case) and dig into it deeply enough, you find that people using supplements lived longer. But the researchers then “corrected” for lifestyle habits (e.g., diet), throwing in as many factors as they liked, until they could force the remaining data into a weak statistical result that now seemed to say the supplements actually hurt. Why does the researcher bother to go to all this trouble when he or she clearly had already decided on the answer?
Recently, more and more researchers have been going to more and more trouble to find evidence—any evidence, no matter how weak or falsified—to shore up conclusions they have already reached. Why? And why have reporters more or less done the opposite, going to no trouble at all, just parroting press releases? In the latter case, it can’t just be laziness.
This increasing phenomenon of underhanded attacks amplified mindlessly by the mass press suggests that the natural health idea, based on diet and lifestyle, not just supplements, must be reaching people. This seems to be a campaign of push-back, and it is getting bigger and bigger.
There is the old story about how new ideas emerge. First, they are scoffed at: “What a complete joke!” As the ideas advance, the entrenched interests who benefit from the old ideas lapse into a stony silence: “Shh! Don’t let any more people hear about this!” In phase three, there is a very vocal campaign of push-back from the entrenched interests.
Stage three seems to be where we are at now. Do you know how to tell we have reached the final, fourth stage, the stage in which the new ideas are finally accepted? It is when the former opponents of the new ideas say, “Oh, we knew that all along!”
During our current third stage of vocal attack on natural health, one of the oft-heard arguments against supplements is, “Hey, just eat well. You can get everything you need from food.” That seems reasonable. It at least nods in the direction of natural health ideas, because we do believe that diet is vital. But it is wrong, for a number of reasons.
Studies suggest that Americans are short of many essential nutrients. Dr. Bruce Ames, emeritus professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California at Berkeley, points out that 60% of Americans get too little magnesium, one of our most important nutrients. Magnesium alone is needed for over 300 biochemical reactions, according to the Life Extension Foundation. Dr. Ames estimates that not getting enough of the right nutrients in general is shortening the average lifespan by eight to ten years.
Partly this is because many of us don’t eat well. But there are numerous other reasons why we might not get sufficient nutrients from food alone. One of them is conventional medical treatment, especially medical mistakes. One of the gravest mistakes of modern medicine appears to be blocking the acid in people’s stomachs in the mistaken belief that this will control acid reflux or stomach pain over the long run.
As we have often pointed out, the evidence has always existed that people lose stomach acid as they age and it is often the lack of acid that contributes both to reflux and stomach pain. Even the FDA has only authorized the use of acid blockers for short periods of time. Yet doctors routinely prescribe them for years.
And what does the lack of stomach acid lead to—in addition to steadily worsening stomach problems for millions of sufferers? Malnutrition, of course (one example of which is vitamin B12 deficiency). How can we properly digest protein and especially minerals without the acid that is supposed to be in our stomachs? And don’t forget pneumonia: lack of acid lets the bugs through and has been shown by creditable researchers to lead to more serious illness and even death. The culprit is often the class of gastric acid-suppressing drugs known as PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors, like Nexium and Prevacid, among the most widely prescribed drugs in the US, with nearly 110 million prescriptions and $13.9 billion in sales in 2010, in addition to over-the-counter sales. In other words, a huge number of Americans are malnourished from PPIs alone.
Think about a doctor who both prescribes acid blockers for years and tells his patient not to take supplements. He or she may be literally starving the patient to death, however many years it takes to play out. Other drugs may also interfere with nutrition in ways that are barely understood, and surgical trauma certainly requires extra nutrients to heal.
Source : Alliance For Natural Health
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