Saturday, July 27, 2013

Reducing the need for prescription drugs

A recent report from the Mayo Clinic provides a staggering statistic. Seventy percent of Americans are taking one prescription drug, fifty percent are taking two and twenty percent (that’s one person in five) are taking a massively expensive and potentially lethal cocktail of five or more prescribed pharmaceuticals on a regular basis. The most common prescriptions are for antibiotics, antidepressants and painkillers, which would suggest that depression, as was predicted at the end of the 90s, has overtaken heart disease as the most common chronic condition. 

But how many of those costly (and potentially harmful) pharmaceuticals could be replaced if diet and lifestyle measures were the first line of defense? “Plenty” is the very simple answer. More robust immune systems courtesy of improved gut health would reduce the need for antibiotics. Improved mental and emotional health courtesy of regular exercise, which is at least if not more effective than antidepressants! 

But there’s another, more insidious driver at work here. Even were an enlightened government to develop compelling incentives for consumers to bypass their prescriptions in favour of diet or lifestyle solutions, I fear that the massive influence and commercial interests of Big Pharma would hold sway. One way for the pharmaceutical industry to retain its power is by the acquisition of natural product companies and through its ongoing campaign for more stringent regulation of natural medicines. It’s the fox in charge of the hen-house, and this particular fox is exceptionally wily. 

I’m not optimistic about reducing the Western world’s current dependence on prescribed medication,but I am optimistic about reducing the next generation’s likely need for it! All you need to know about creating the healthiest eggs and sperm for the healthiest possible baby ... 

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