There is a famous quote from the father of modern medicine Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. It’s such a shame that most people living in our ill nation seem to have forgotten this piece of advice. How about this for a frightening statistic: A recent article in The Telegraph newspaper titled “Pill Nation”, revealed that “half of the nation were now taking prescription medication with rising use of antidepressants fueling a 47 per cent increase in drugs dispensed over the last decade” and that a recent NHS survey showed that, “one quarter of people are on at least three drugs, with millions of pensioners on at least five types of medication”.

In her book Minding My Mitochondria, author Dr Terry Wahls says, “Universal health care and free medication only treat existing chronic diseases. This is important, but most conventional treatments only control the symptoms of disease. They usually don’t reverse damage that has already been done”. So, if we combine the wise words of Hippocrates with Dr Wahls, we can draw the conclusion that they are advising that we should use food and nutrition as a prevention, rather than looking to medicine to control and mask symptoms.

Even though living a Primal existence can cure several illnesses, we are all still much better off doing everything we can to prevent health issues occurring in the first place. I want you to consider this for a minute: why is it that we will happily send our car in for a service even when there is nothing wrong with it? Why in business today do we invest more money and effort in preventing problems than we do in building huge customer service teams? Because in everything other than the most important thing of all – our health – we have already shifted our attention to prevention rather than cure.

Due to our present predicament, caused, in my opinion, predominantly by food and pharmaceutical corporate greed and governmental lack of genuine concern, we now have more people that need to be cured than need prevention! And while there are many that criticise our doctors for being too quick to reach for their prescription pad rather than to sit and investigate possible lifestyle changes, I personally don’t blame them. I think our doctors are in a really difficult, no-win position. Not only are they overloaded with more and more patients to see each and every day, they are then under immense pressure by being measured and monitored in everything they do. It’s far safer for our GP to prescribe a course of approved medicine to help alleviate symptoms, drugs that are produced by the huge pharmaceutical companies paying huge taxes to our government, than to risk sticking their neck out suggesting lifestyle changes that don’t make anyone any profits.

While I sympathise with our overworked doctors, I feel the need to scream loudly that too many people are being prescribed drugs to mask symptoms, instead of curing the root of their problems. I often speak to people who are on lifetime medication, when a change in lifestyle would cause the underlying problem to disappear. It drives me crazy that I have got friends on statins, who in my opinion just don’t need to be, and even worse when I see antibiotics being handed out for conditions that have nothing to do with bacterial infections.

My lovely wife is beautiful, petite, and for some reason prone to picking up infections. Sadly, over the years, it seems all that the doctors want to do is give her another course of antibiotics. Have you ever heard the saying, ‘when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail’? Well, in my opinion, that’s what seems to be happening with far too many GPs and their prescription pads, but again it’s hard to lay the blame at doctors individually – it’s the system that’s wrong! Luckily for me, my family and closest friends are now living Primally, and approach illnesses by first listening to the advice of Hippocrates. I hope that you will be successful in convincing your family and friends to do the same too.

Let us pull together to advocate and campaign on behalf of natural preventative medicine as a first step to wellness, and try as many natural methods as we can before we accept prescriptions for long-term medication.

Don’t rely on drugs as the fix

As you will read in various topics throughout this book, our immune system is very dependent on the health of our microbiome, and every course of antibiotics we take indiscriminately kills off many of the helpful bacteria in our guts along with the bad ones. Even in 1945, when Alexander Fleming won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for inventing the first antibiotic – penicillin – he warned, “The time might come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the shops. Then there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily under-dose himself and, by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug, make them resistant”.

In 1942, Anne Miller became the first patient ever to have a course
of antibiotics. She became seriously ill after giving birth and was suffering from a raging virus. Within hours of receiving the antibiotics, she started to recover, and the new medicine was heralded a success. But it was so scarce, that doctors actually filtered her urine so that they could recycle it! The reason I mention this story is to show the foresight of its inventor who, even when it was still so rare, was warning of its overuse. Don’t get me wrong – without antibiotics the world would be a far deadlier place, but it’s the overuse of the medicine that should be of concern.

Professor Peter Gøtzsche at the University of Copenhagen believes that, after heart disease and cancer, prescription drugs are now the third most common cause of death!

We really have got to the stage where, for almost every ailment, we turn to pills and doctors for a quick fix, rather than trying to eliminate the cause naturally. Over the past few years, whenever I have hurt myself in the gym, pulled a muscle sailing or developed tennis elbow, rather than going to a doctor my personal trainer and his team have solved the problem by identifying the route cause. Roughly 10 years ago I hurt my knee playing squash, and the result was hospitalisation and a operation to reconstruct my anterior cruciate ligament. Sadly, my eldest son Matt had the same operation in recent years, but for him, two separate on-going rugby injuries led to serious operations on both knees. Having now learnt more from a personal trainer and his team, all three knee operations could most likely have been avoided if we had dealt with the root cause of the issue as soon as we started to feel the symptoms.

In December 2003, Dr Allen Rose, who at the time was the International Vice President of GlaxoSmithKline (manufacturers of numerous drugs for the medical pharmaceuticals industry with a turnover in excess of £81 billion per annum) went public with some alarming statistics. In an article featured on the front page of The Independent newspaper he broke the news that, “The vast majority of drugs – more than 90 percent – only work in 30 to 50 percent of the people”. That’s a huge confession from someone who has been involved with running one of the biggest drug companies on earth.

Then, on the 23rd February 2016, Mail Online published an article with the title, ‘How Big Pharma greed is killing tens of thousands around the world: Patients are over-medicated and often given profitable drugs with “little proven benefits”, leading doctors warned’. It goes on to say, “The Queen’s former doctor has called for an urgent public enquiry into drugs firms ‘murky’ practices”. Later in the same article, there is a quote from Dr Aseem Malhotra: “There is no doubt that a ‘more medicine is better’ culture lies at the heart of healthcare, exacerbated by financial incentives within the system to prescribe more drugs and carry out more procedures”. Dr Malhorta makes three more, very relevant, comments:

  • He accuses the drugs companies of ‘spending twice as much on marketing than on research’
  • That ‘prescription drugs often do more harm than good, with the elderly particularly at risk’
  • ‘One in three hospital admissions among the over-75s are a result of an adverse drug reaction’

I have got to thank my own doctor, Renee Kellerman, who on more than one occasion over the past 20 years has resisted putting me on a course of drugs and instead, explained to me the lifestyle changes I needed to make. She has always instilled in me the need for prevention over cure. Much to the disadvantage of the huge pharmaceutical conglomerates, she wants her patients to avoid at all costs any drugs that merely suppress the symptoms of conditions and diseases. Rather than trying to address the root cause, understandably sufferers often reach without hesitation for medication.

What does medication really do for us? It masks the real underlying problems and slows down our immune system’s ability to deal with them. They often tell our immune system to stop working quite so hard and pass the work over to the highly profitable chemical cocktail created by the drug company. This handing over of the responsibility – from the body’s natural repair and defence mechanism – to the scientists working for the corporate giants can have numerous harmful side effects for those that rely on certain medicines. Having said this, I fully appreciate there are certain conditions where modern medicines are totally beneficial to the sufferer. My point is more that there are many illnesses where we would be better trying to address the root cause first, rather than being sentenced to a life on medication.

Steve Bennett

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