Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Surprise-There Is No Health-Care Crisis

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Surprise-There Is No Health-Care Crisis

Article excerpt

We hear endless talk about a health-care crisis. But the facts are clear-there really isn't one. The crisis is in medical care, medical insurance, medical procedures, and medical costs. All these come from the underlying problem of sharply rising costs for medical treatment of the sick.

For co-payers and uninsured alike, health care today is fast becoming a pay-more-for-less service system. Spending on doctors, hospitals, and drugs broke the $1 trillion mark in 1996, averaging $3,750 a person, and continues to climb. But we can solve all this and save billions of dollars and thousands of lives, keep people healthy and out of the managed care medical mill, and give the truly ill the best in modern medicine. The following true story illustrates the problem and what we can do to ease it.

Cherries to the Rescue:

An elderly woman in rural England suffered from debilitating gout. Her hands were so painfully swollen that the skin broke to let the infection drain. To make matters worse, the woman was allergic to the drugs that normally control gout. Her doctor had no idea what else to try. But a sympathetic relative consulted a natural heating reference book that advocated eating 15 cherries a day to arrest gout. In just two weeks of this seemingly odd treatment, all symptoms disappeared and the patient regained full use of her hands.

There is a scientific reason why the cherry cure worked. Cherries are rich in anthocyamins, natural chemicals that significantly lower inflammation by inhibiting the enzymes that cause it. Imagine alleviating a crippling disease with a tasty dessert.

This story shows the medical value of nutrition. It also exposes the dirty little secret of medical education. -Students typically receive little more than a semester at best and a lecture at worst in nutrition, diet, and vitamins and their place-in health. In my view as a health researcher, the medical profession today stands woefully ignorant of dietary knowledge.

Medicine is overly dependent on expensive, "high-tech" equipment such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and powerful drugs that often produce side effects as distressing as the diseases they are meant to stop:

As a physician and dentist, I recognize that new technology has its place. But relatively few conditions require it. A more sensible, costeffective approach is to strengthen the immune system with diet and nutritional supplements so that the body can fight off disease and to rid the environment of toxic substances.

A strong immune system is the key to health-and it is not hard to achieve. As one example, a study was made of healthy elderly people who do 30 minutes of gentle T'ai Chi exercises a day. There was a marked improvement in immunocompetence (T-lymphocytes). This is a superb demonstration of uncomplicated, inexpensive health care in action.

King of the Vitamins

Although a sensible daily regimen of supplements (vitamin A, vitamin D, folic acid, beta-carotene, and selenium) is necessary to maintain a strong immune system, the king of nutrients is ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

Every cell, tissue, and organ and every medical condition and disease are, to some degree, related to ascorbate. The human body is actually a bag of electrical charges. Vitamin C is an electron donor. It helps make the cells behave in an orderly fashion, which is vital for health. …

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