A too uncommon theory of medicine

Are your health care providers trained in integrative medicine? It’s not an area of medical specialization, like gynaecology or gastroenterology. Think of it as a theory of medicine.

Doctors practicing integrative medicine respect the roles of prescription drugs and surgery when the situation calls for these treatments. But they also study and embrace the potential for natural remedies, lifestyle modifications, nutrition, and traditional practices in both health promotion and disease treatment.

Hippocrates, born in 460 BC, was the most influential philosopher of integrative medicine. He believed the human body should be treated as a whole, not as the sum of its parts.

Benedict Lust, born in 1872 in Baden, Germany, is regarded as the “Father of Naturopathy”, a form of alternative medicine whose legitimate members promote evidence-based natural remedies.

Then there is Linus Pauling. Through his research, he advanced the prevention and treatment of disease by studying how the body benefits from optimized amounts of substances which are natural to the body. Pauling was a molecular biologist.  His practice of orthomolecular medicine acknowledges the body’s biochemical pathways and genetic variabilities that interact with diseases such as atherosclerosis, cancer, and brain-related conditions.

Dr. Andrew Saul was the founder of the Orthomolecular Medical News Service, and with his death earlier this year, we lost one of the world’s foremost advocates for evidence-based natural therapies. He made it his life’s work to pass on a wealth of knowledge, including the message that natural remedies never killed anyone.

Prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs can’t make that claim.

Saul practiced what he preached. His home included a garden full of vegetables, and he stressed that for a few dollars it would produce thousands of dollars of fresh produce for his family.

Saul’s news service shares research papers from esteemed scientists from around the world. But it’s the simple messages that stick, and his reminders about the importance of vitamins are worthy of note.

Take the 80-year-old tennis player who had to stop playing his favourite game due to severe leg cramps. He wasn’t getting oxygenated blood to his leg muscles. After taking natural vitamin E, he was back on the court. Vitamin E increases the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. This is the other reason E can stop anginal heart pain.

Saul chastised dermatologists for telling patients to keep out of the sun and to use sun block. He championed the need for 3,000 to 5,000 units of vitamin D daily to decrease the risk of multiple sclerosis and maintain our sense of balance as we age.

What irritated Saul the most? It was the failure of doctors to accept that vitamin C carries out so many vital health functions, and that it fights the number one killer, heart disease. He pointed to medical studies showing its effectiveness in fighting viral diseases such as pneumonia, hepatitis, meningitis, polio and even the lethal bite of a rattlesnake.

He repeated over and over that no one had ever died from an overdose of vitamin C. If you take more than you body can use, it is excreted in the urine. Another fact he underscored was that the dose is so important – the greater the degree of infection the greater amounts of C needed to cure it.

Saul reported that in patients desperately ill with infection, in the process of dying, one decision could save them – that is, huge doses of vitamin C, such as 300,000 milligrams administered intravenously.

His final advice? Hospitals are the locus of death. So stay away, or get out of them quickly.

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