Pharmaceuticals and Side Effects

As we know, most all pharmaceuticals have some side effects. The following story sheds light as to the causes of these side effects.

While visiting with Dr. Joseph Baur, a long-time researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, we discussed in 2009 a Resveratrol Product on the market called Vindure 900 produced by Vinomis Laboratories.

Dr. Baur had performed research on Vindure, and also was a co-discoverer of Resveratrol along with Dr. David Sinclair at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Baur said he would certainly prefer Vindure or other nutraceuticals for himself, and anyone who asked about Resveratrol, as compared with a synthetic version of the product.

When asked why, Dr. Baur told me that synthetic versions of natural products are produced by pharmaceuticals because they cannot obtain a patent on a “natural molecule”. He told me the pharma companies “twist” the molecule a bit so that it has the same properties as the natural molecule, but it can be patented.

He said that these changes to the natural molecules make them not “God molecules” as he called them. And it was indeed these molecule changes that introduce the side effects. As a practical example for we non-scientists, he asked me what happens when a DNA strand has minor changes, to which I replied there can be birth defects — “Exactly” he said.

It is NOT the assertion of the Nutra Foundation that Pharma companies deliberately introduce these side-effects, but with the huge cost of developing and testing any new drug, it is understandable that the Pharma companies desire to secure patents on their drugs.

In Nutra’s opinion, it’s simply a flaw in the system — namely that natural versions of products are frequently bypassed as part of any company’s natural desire to maximize profits and produce unique drugs.

Humor: Underlying Causes of Health Issues

[NOTE: this post is intended to be humorous — though beneath humor is generally a thread of truth…]

I sometimes joke with friends that it’s unfortunate that doctors don’t (or can’t) give their patients prescriptions which solve the true underlying cause of people’s health issues. Admittedly some of this is because today’s doctors are primarily trained to diagnose medical problems without considering life-factors and environmental factors in their patients (or even understanding them). Though more likely, it’s because the patients don’t want to hear, accept and change their lives to truly solve their problems.

For example, many people know that the underlying cause of many health issues are stress. But what’s a doctor to do? If the cause of your stress is a bad marriage, should they prescribe getting a divorce? Can you imagine if they literally wrote that down on a prescription …

Or if your kids are driving you to drink, should they write a prescription for to disown your children? Or quit your job if your boss is a monster? Or move to a new state if your in-laws are driving you nuts?

I’ve often thought that I’d like to be a doctor who could write such prescriptions — seriously :)) I mean, if they really wanted to solve the problem, these might be the best recommendations …

And of course, in some ways I am being serious. Getting out of a bad relationship, or changing jobs, or moving to a less stressful environment can indeed be good for your health. Naturally, these drastic changes are difficult — but perhaps we all should truly consider them if we are looking for a long healthy life … :))

Natural Products, Nutraceuticals and Supplements

Throughout the Nutra Foundation website, a variety of terms are used which are in most cases interchangeable.

Natural Products is a catch-all for any product (or food/mineral/etc.) which is produced inherently in nature and has defined medicinal properties and positive effects on overall heath. Some people might also include Organic products in this category, though this term tends to refer primarily to foods.

Nutraceuticals is a relatively new term coined by the natural products industry to connote the fact that in many cases these products can be viewed on a parallel level with pharmaceuticals.

For example, a highly renowned MD and neurosurgeon that I am acquainted with in Pittsburgh, PA treats a considerable percentage of his patients using Fish Oils (Omegas) to reduce pain and inflammation — in addition to, or instead of, using pharmaceutical products.

Supplements generally refer to those products sold in natural product and drug stores for a variety of uses. Vitamins are a sub-category of supplements.

Whatever the term used, they all have the same thing in common — these are products and elements derived from natural sources to treat and alleviate a plethora of ailments and illnesses.

Natural Products and Anti Pharma Bias

It is often the case that people in the natural products industries and even some naturopaths seem to have a strong bias against using pharmaceutical products. Each of them has their own story about the harmful effects of pharmaceuticals.

Unfortunately, this has caused “camps” to develop in a seeming war of nutraceuticals versus pharmaceuticals.

It is the belief of the Nutra Foundation that nutraceuticals (and natural supplements and products) are often simply overlooked as cures to a variety of ailments — or as prevention to ailments ever developing. While some blame medical schools and pharmaceutical companies for pushing drugs on people (and Nutra will not deny that this practice exists) — it can also be said that natural products companies push natural products as cure-alls in some cases.

Nutra falls somewhere in the middle of this debate, albeit with some emphasis on natural products. However, in the case of acute illness (i.e. heart attack, cancer, organ failure) anyone would be hard-pressed to not default to a pharmaceutical cure. This is not to say that nutraceuticals do not play an important role even in these extreme circumstances, and most people are aware of stories of others being cured by (or aided by) the use of natural products.

In Nutra’s opinion, the “war” has been created by companies on both sides of the aisle who produce propaganda and marketing materials to suit their needs and maximize their profits. Unfortunately, this has created mass-confusion on the part of the consumer, when the truth is that BOTH pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals have their place in the world of medicine.

Nutra Foundation and Vinomis Laboratories

As the founder of The Nutra Foundation, I (Mark Juliano) should disclose that I was indeed a co-founder and CEO of Vinomis Laboratories — a maker of Resveratrol and other natural products. However, while I remain a stock holder in Vinomis, I have played no active role in the company since 2009.

While I do sincerely believe in Resveratrol as a natural supplement due to my personal use of these products, Nutra remains unbiased as to Resveratrol in general and recommends several high-quality products containing Resveratrol.

More importantly, my journey into natural products began several years before founding Vinomis (in 2008) as a result of personal research, investigation, and use of natural products and a variety of pharmaceutical products (some with adverse effects) throughout my life. As a child I suffered from extreme allergies and respiratory illness, in addition to more severe illnesses in my adult life. I hasten to say that some of these pharmaceuticals were indeed god-sends and cured some of my illnesses.

This journey and investigation led me to start Vinomis — where I realized through a thorough reading of materials and discussions with doctors and university researchers — that BOTH natural products and pharmaceutical companies have inherent biases to promote the positive effects of their products.

I also realized that most Websites have biases due to the fact that they generate considerable advertising and sales dollars from pharmaceuticals and nutraceutical products. Unfortunately these biases lead to misleading information for the consumer, and hence the primary reason that The Nutra Foundation was created.

Ancient History of Natural Products

To some it would seem that natural products and supplements are a modern discovery, bottled by companies that we purchase in health-food and drug stores. This of course is untrue.

By definition, the Earth and its animal inhabitants have used natural elements (products) since the beginning of time. Animals eat a variety of plants and other animals to gain the required nutrition necessary for a healthy life, and in times of illness seek out (through their instincts) cures for those illnesses.

Whether or not one believes in a Creator or an intricately balanced Ecosystem on Earth, it only makes sense that over millions of years — that the System would develop its own “fixes” to illnesses encountered by animal and human life.

Ancient and modern “medicine men” (and women) sampled a variety of plants to see their effects on themselves and their tribe and community members. These medicine men were revered, and even thought to possess magical powers. Later-day apothecaries (pharmacists) had at their disposal hundreds of elements that they would compound to alleviate a broad variety of illnesses.

A good simple example of a natural source are Aspen trees — of which the bark and buds contain Salicin (an aspirin-like substance) — which many survivalists are well aware of. I use this example specifically because most people are not aware of the Aspen’s properties. Indeed, I was introduced to this while cross-country skiing in Colorado by my ski Guide, and witnessed the effects first hand feeling relief from a headache.

Of course, there are thousands of examples of herbs and elements that are widely accepted as having medicinal properties that we take for granted such as menthol, Omegas (fish oils), salt (for wounds), vegetables containing numerous vitamins, cinnamon (digestion), Echinacea, peppermint, ginger and so on.

Modern researchers have indeed added science and testing to the trial-and-error of medicine-men to determine more precisely the effects (and dosages) of a plethora of natural elements. Most of today’s vitamins and supplements are indeed derived from plants, minerals, fish and other of Earth’s sources.

So the next time a friend recommends a natural cure, remember that it’s not magic — it’s natures way of healing its own creatures.

Intro Post

This is the Intro post for the Nutra Foundation. The foundation’s goal is to provide UNBIASED information about nutritional products, supplements and related topics including pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, vitamins, etc.

Nutra is not associated with any other companies or organizations — to keep its information unbiased. While Nutra may recommend select products and supplements, this is only to benefit our user community.