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April 2021

"Evil Medicine" - A Book Review

A trusted colleague recently recommended that I read the book "Evil Medicine" by Richard Dennis. The book was originally published in 2005 and it covers a lot of ground in 109 pages, particularly about the pharmaceutical industry, prescription (and over the counter) medications, and the potentially negative effect they can have on your health. The author is a reporter and has written several other books besides this one, and he shares a few personal stories about the damage that prescription drugs can do. Mr. Dennis also takes a closer look at the bureaucracy of the Food and Drug Administration, and he details how political connections have exponentially increased the profits of the pharmaceutical companies.

The title of this book sounds alarmist, but it's important to understand the intended and unintended effects that medication has on your body. Any medication that you take is ostensibly ingested in order to combat a certain physical symptom that you experience. If you are diabetic and have high blood sugar, you will likely be prescribed metformin (or something similar) in order to reduce the amount of sugar your liver releases into your blood. The problem is that prescription drugs don't cure anything; they actually interfere with the body's normal processes and metabolism, which is why many people that are long term users of prescription medications are severely nutrient deficient. Modern medicine in the United States has largely devolved into a doctor seeing a patient for less than five minutes and writing a prescription. Physicians today generally treat symptoms rather than solve the underlying problem. Think about it: diabetic patients that simply take metformin do not cure their diabetes, they are merely managing the disease. It is far more lucrative to physician's practices and pharmaceutical companies to simply treat the symptoms rather than cure the patient. Have you encountered a physician who has counseled a diabetic patient to practice intermittent fasting, go on a low-carb diet, and regularly perform high-intensity strength training? That would go a lot further toward curing diabetes than by simply taking metformin every day.

Dennis says that when it comes to prescription medications, cause and effect are largely misunderstood. He states, "Every symptom comes from one cause: being out of homeostasis. If you don't address the problem nutritionally, you don't address the problem." Doctors usually think the answer to the problem is to prescribe medication, but they are thinking reactively rather than proactively. Rather than think about what caused the problem, they treat the symptoms. This is particularly the case when it comes to antibiotics. There are certain situations when an antibiotic must be prescribed, particularly in the case of a life-threatening infection. The problem is that doctors are now inclined to prescribe them when a person gets a minor sniffle; this leads to antibiotic resistance. Worse yet, according to the author, "Antibiotics also deplete B vitamins, necessary for hundreds of biological processes, including proper nervous system functioning." We often think of antibiotics as being very targeted, but as Dennis illustrates, "Antibiotics aren't a smart bomb, either. They kill the good guys, the bacteria necessary for proper digestion, the bacteria that eat up toxins in your system."

I think this book is especially pertinent to the world we currently live in, in which you can hardly go a single TV commercial break without seeing at least one advertisement for a prescription medication of some sort. It is especially topical considering the recent rollout of the Covid vaccines on the market. We need to understand the role that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has in dealing with the pharmaceutical companies. At the time of the writing of this book, "Researchers estimated that 106,000 Americans die from appropriately administered, FDA-approved prescription drugs. That's more deaths than the annual total for AIDS, suicide, and homicide combined." If the FDA is supposed to be a watchdog over the pharmaceutical industry, how can this happen? The FDA's safety budget is a small fraction of the marketing budget of the major pharmaceutical companies; there is simply no way they can effectively police the industry. In addition to that, the drug companies fund the vast majority of the clinical trials for medications waiting to be released to the market. Data can very easily be manipulated to make a drug seem far more safe and effective than it truly is (think Vioxx). These are some things to consider if you are debating whether to get the Covid vaccine.

If you don't want to be on a steady cocktail of prescription medications as you get older, what can you do? First of all, it's important to have the mindset that your health is your responsibility. The drug companies, government, and medical industry can't do it for you. Consume a diet that largely consists of single-ingredient, whole foods, and avoid sugar. Practice intermittent fasting for 14-18 hours a day, at least a few times per week. Hydrate well, and moderate consumption of alcohol. Sleep for 7-9 hours per night. I also recommend supplementing with Zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and possibly fish oil. If you have to take prescription medication, be sure to increase your nutrient intake while on the drug. Finally, lift heavy things once in a while! Perform one or two Total Results workouts per week to increase muscle and bone mass, improve your resistance to injury, and keep your metabolism and cardiovascular system running in top form. None of these are new ideas, but they have stood the test of time.

One last quote from the author: "The average number of prescriptions per person in the U.S. increased from 7.3 in 1992 to 10.4 in 2000." I suspect that number is even higher in 2021. Every drug that you take to deal with one ailment creates another problem. You don't have to be a slave to the pharmaceutical industry. Educate yourself and take charge of your health, starting today!

Posted April 06, 2021 by Matthew Romans