Drugs vs Supplements – things you should know

By their very natures, drugs and supplements have very different actions. It would be worth your while to get a little better idea of where very different treatments fit into whole health.

Drugs – the treatment of choice for Western Medicine, are limited in what they can do due to economic and political considerations.

  • They generally have to be one chemical – this makes them easier to study and easier to patent.
  • This means they can do only simple things like blocking processes – virtually all drug actions are to block, inhibit and interfere with some natural process of the body.
  • Blocking a process may be useful for a short-term therapy in an emergency. For long-term use and for chronic problems the approach is questionable.
  • There are no drugs that strengthen the body – this is why Western Medicine rarely thinks of restoring the body to a healthy balance. The general approach is to try to
    balance one dysfunction (the original disease) with another (that caused by the drug).

Drugs can have a benefit – they do act fast. (It is much easier to break an egg than to make one.)

Supplements, on the other hand, generally act slowly.

  • They are usually used to strengthen and restore balance. This takes time. The chronic disease rarely comes about suddenly – it is usually the result of a long process of degeneration.
  • Where drugs treat symptoms and therefore have to be taken forever (one of those economic reasons). Supplements are usually needed only to restore balance. Once balance is maintained, the supplements are no longer needed.
  • Supplements are usually a mix of ingredients – like a chicken soup – that are hard to study and could never be FDA approved (the cost of getting FDA approval for chicken soup would break the national budget).
  • Supplements like herbs will vary significantly from field to field and from company to company. It is important to get them from a supplier that you trust. This is one advantage of drugs – they are consistent.

On this site, I support whole health. In the whole health model, there is room for all modalities. I suggest drug treatment for emergencies and problems where supplementation doesn’t help (this is rare). Supplementation should be the first choice for most problems – there is no danger and you have a chance of getting to the root of the problem. Using drugs for symptom control should be the last resort – not the first as is done now.