The Magic Pill – Rush to Nowhere

This article is about uninformed and comfortably modern people. Do not take offense. No one is ignorant without reason but everyone is mislead by money-making industries that tell us to cook things faster, eat them faster, get rid of weight faster, get well faster… we are all heading in the direction of “faster” but where exactly are we going so fast? And do we get there? And if we get “there” real fast then what?

I am reading a book titled Fat Chance by Robert H. Lustig, M.D., M.S.L. There is also a video on the subject called Sugar: The Bitter Truth ; the video is long and hard to follow if you are not attuned to biochemistry and metabolism. The link is provided for your interest but here I want to discuss the book he wrote on the same subject, which is with me all the time; I treasure it like gold. I would like to spend a little time on introducing just one subject the book covers, which is close to all of our hearts since we all have been told to take antioxidants, vitamins, etc., nearly all of our lives–in fact even before, since our mother’s were likely told to take prenatal vitamins throughout their pregnancy. There are various research articles for scientists to know why taking vitamins is not a good idea but most of those articles are not available to the public. This book, however, is available at a very reasonable price (cheap price for a book worth gold in my opinion) and it contains the summary of all of the current wisdom about vitamins and antioxidants. So I would like to talk a bit about our habits of the magic pill for everything.

The magic pill phenomenon is visible everywhere. I run three groups on Facebook, one for migraine prevention and treatment, one for fibromyalgia, and one about clueless doctors (the title of my other blog as well). The one for migraine prevention is my favorite in terms of how many people are simply not capable to envision the world without some magic pill. I try everything in my group to not discuss medicines since migraine is preventable and treatable otherwise. In other migraine groups, people would rather try every single pill on the planet, even if it hurts some of their organs, just to see if their migraines go away even if taking migraines away is as simple as providing the right minerals to the brain cells to live and produce voltage. And these minerals are available already in everyone’s kitchen free.

There is a section in the book Fat Chance that is talking about micro-nutrients and a very small one-paragraph section titled: I used to Care, but Now I Take a Pill for That… And this is what I am talking about. Because other than my husband and I, I don’t actually know a single person who is not taking some form of vitamins or nutrients. I must admit, I do get Vitamin B-12 injections because my body is not able to absorb that vitamin from food but I had my blood tested to be see if that is true.  How many of you who take vitamins and antioxidants have been tested to see if you need them? Don’t answer… I know what the answer is. It is very close to zero albeit some of you may actually have gone ahead with the simple blood test and I applaud you for that.

This little article is for those who have not taken that test and who see an advertisement for a new vitamin or supplement product and run to try. About 30 years ago, Lusting states, our health as a nation (and we are talking US only in this case) has declined tremendously. Just at about that time vitamins and micro-nutrients have become popular. They were added to milk (vitamin D), added to cereals (all vitamins), some were even added to sport drinks (though some of that was pulled already since they hurt people). According to Lustig, currently about 50% of the people in the US takes some form of vitamin, and our nation has never been this unhealthy in history. In fact “high-dose Vitamin E has been linked to increased rates of mortality” (page 153). Vitamin D is one of those vitamins that all you need to do is go out to the sun for 15 minutes a day before the sun rays burn and without sun protection–so early morning before 10 am or afternoon after 3 or 4 pm–and your body will get all the D vitamins it needs–unless of course you have a health condition showing that you must take it as pills since your body cannot create it and you are deficient–a blood test.

Another problem that is often discussed but few truly can relate to is fiber and the associated bacterial colonies in the gut necessary to have healthy digestion and clearance. Fiber pills are sold by the million, some are soluble, others are insoluble fibers (we need both)–but most people prefer the soluble because it tastes better. Most people also do not eat insoluble fiber in their diets at all. Prepared foods do not have insoluble fiber in them so one must eat foods that are not pre-made. But even in those foods most people spit the fiber out since they cannot be chewed. Yes. That is the whole idea. They cannot be chewed easily and our bodies do not digest them but guess who do: the bacteria we eat in little capsules or in yogurt all the time. If we don’t eat the insoluble fiber, the bacteria we gobble up goes out starved and we gained no benefit; we killed a bunch of good bacteria. So why are we so ignorant that we cannot understand the consequences (bad as they are) that follow our actions driven by speed and efficiency rather than health?

Because we are always running somewhere but are we getting anywhere? If one is running all day and eats in the quick, getting a heart attack at an early age, was it worth running into death so fast with supplements? If one is trying to run all day but is throwing up from a migraine as a result of lack of nutrients to the brain, are we achieving anything? Are we really reaching the places we are heading so fast without eating right? I truly believe that we can reach all of our goals by eating right. Slow down America! Do get to wherever you are going in great health!

Comments are welcome!


About Angela A Stanton, Ph.D.

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist focusing on chronic pain, electrolyte homeostasis, and genetics. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention and treatment without the use of medicines. As a forever migraineur from childhood, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic variations of all voltage gated channels that modulate electrolytes and voltage in the brain, insulin and glucose transporters, and several other related variants, such as the MTHFR variants of the B vitamin methylation process and many others. Migraineurs are glucose sensitive and should avoid eating carbs as much as possible. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and new research and findings after treating over 4000 migraineurs world wide, all ages and both genders, she is now finishing the 2nd edition. The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraines, incorporating all there is to know and also hypotheses. It includes an academic research section with suggestions for further research. The book is full of citations to authenticate the statements she makes to be followed up by those interested and to spark further research interest. It is a "Complete Guide". Due out in the summer of 2017. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in NeuroEconomics at Claremont Graduate University, and fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers. For relaxation Dr. Stanton paints and photographs. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook
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