Holistic Medicine & Supplements Are Magic

Alter of medicineDr. Paul Offit, an outspoken vaccine advocate, developer of the rotavirus vaccine & chairman of the infectious disease department at CHoPs, just published a book that holistic medicine and the use of supplements are magic and therefore nonsense. Dr. Topol, the physician-editor of Medscape, interviewed him and posted the discussion online. Physician comments were both for and against the book with most being against the premise of the book. Here is my comment:

I love the reference to the National Academy of Science’s finding that FDA-approved drugs cause well over a 100,000 deaths a year, the fact that medicine is only supported by science 15% of the time, the failure of Offit to acknowledge the proven benefits of fish oil, vitamin E and acupuncture, the fact that the US medical system spends more per capita on healthcare but ranks 34th in the world and fails to address health and nutrition, as well as the reference to the strawman argument proposed by Offit.

It is good to see that physicians can still think for themselves and understand allopathic medicine only addresses disease and fails miserably when it comes to health and wellness.

Healing is the result of an alignment with nature or God – depending on your value set. I recall a poem I learned at my white coat ceremony, “A surgeon must be careful, when he takes his knife, for underneath his fine incision, stirs the culprit, LIFE.”

Topol (the editor of Medscape) provided the Wizard of Oz backdrop for Offit’s politically-biased ramblings that are truly no better or worse than listening to the CAM proponents who state that allopathic medicine is evil. A wise man once said, “Follow those who seek truth and run from those who know the truth.”

Offit’s next book will likely tell us how his religion is the only true religion… wait a minute, science can’t prove religion so therefore religion is magic and nonsense.

Let’s look to a true thought-leader – C. Everett Koop, MD, the former US Surgeon General – he stated “During the 19th century, American medicine was an eclectic pursuit where a number of competing ideas and approaches thrived. Doctors were able to draw on elements from different traditions in attempting to make people well. Perhaps there is more to this older model of American medicine than we in the 20th century had been willing to examine.”

The human experience is a combination of mind-body-soul – to separate these into artificial silos of reality and preach from these false ivory towers reminds me of the story of the Tower of Babel. I will stay true to a functional medicine approach that understands the whole person. Those who are afraid to seek the truth will follow their false gods, ignore the science that illuminates other possibilities and always be amazed at the shadows on the cave wall. Sad – there is so much more to life.

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