1. Corbie, Wicked Auntie of Death says

    “You know what they call ‘alternative medicine’ that’s been proved to work? Medicine.” Tim Minchin (probably elsewhere before him)”

    Yeah, yeah, I know. Except that mainstream science doesn’t seem interested in stuff that can’t be patented. If you were paying attention, it’s not like I’m advocating reiki or homeopathic medicine (both of which I know to be bullshit). I’m simply saying that there’s ample reason to be sceptical of big pharma’s motives (profits above everything else). See also: Celebrex, Fen-Phen, Vioxx… I could go on. And legitimate cures that do work are ignored; doctors — who should know about these things — don’t. Instead they know about the latest drug. Which will eventually be recalled for causing heart attacks or something.

    Interestingly, the site you linked to doesn’t like cohosh, a natural remedy for night sweats that I know works very well from my own experience. I’ll personally wake you up at 2 AM the next time I forget to take it, ok? Results in clinical trials cohosh seem to be mixed, and the NIH summary says that more study is needed, but the bandwagon here seemed intent on dismissing any possibility that it might work at all.

    Let me restate my points.

    I would like less corporate influence in my medical science so that when I read about a clinical trial, I don’t have to wonder if the funding is biasing the results.
    I would like to see actual clinical trials of interventions that might be cost less and equally effective.
    I would like doctors to actually try to find the root cause of diseases instead of throwing a pill at problems.

    To cite my particular hot buttons — food allergies / intolerances and vitamin deficiencies are not woo. They’re all established medical science. But because these things don’t profit big pharma — because you don’t have a drug rep going in to doctors’ offices pushing the benefits of a gluten-free diet or taking Vitamin D — people continue to suffer from ailments that are imminently fixable. They have to educate themselves and sometimes their doctors about all these things. It shouldn’t work that way.

    @David M,

    “Wheat allergy and gluten intolerance aren’t the same thing. I have (a very mild case of) the former, but no trace of the latter. There are plenty of proteins in wheat that you can be allergic to.”

    I know that. I’m allergic to one of the proteins in wheat, not gluten-intolerant, myself. OTOH, I seem to be allergic enough to whatever protein it is that I also can’t have spelt, oats, or other related grains.

    “”A gluten-free diet only makes sense for people who are gluten-intolerant, and that can be tested. For everyone else, it’s a waste of effort and money.”

    Here I (and my former case of IBD and achy joints) vehemently disagree with you. I’m glad you don’t have symptoms from your allergy, but some people do, and for them, eliminating wheat from their diets is helpful, and much easier to do now than it used to be. I don’t think the entire population should be tested, but given that it’s such a common trigger for autoimmune diseases, I think it (and other food allergies) should be eliminated as a possible cause for those with such diseases before proceeding on to other things like steroids.

    “”Vitamin deficiencies are pretty difficult to contract in a First World country nowadays. Vitamins C and E are added to things like cookies as preservatives, the precursor to vitamin A is added as a dye…”

    Yet many people don’t get enough Vitamin D — rickets is experiencing a resurgence in northern latitudes, moreso as children increasingly drink soda and fruit juices instead of milk. We sit inside all day, then slather on sunscreen when we go outside. I have several friends whose doctors did (bravo) catch their Vitamin D deficiencies, and they’ve seen a number of aspects of their health improve since starting supplements.

    Magnesium deficiency is increasingly common as well, and has a number of consequences that are treated with pills that have their own nasty side effects.

    The shift from grass-fed to grain-fed meats has also shifted the Omega-3 to Omega-6 balance of our diets dramatically, and there’s evidence (nice that it’s being looked into!) that Omega 3 supplements help correct a number of the so-called “diseases of civilization” along with a host of other things including depression as mentioned above.

    So no, sorry, you’d think we had this nutrition thing all figured out but I don’t think living in a First World country means you’re getting all the vitamins you should be getting.