By Sarah LoBisco, ND

Last week, I discussed the power of food as the base of medicine, beyond simple nutrients,

… whole, organic foods actually contain potent phytonutrients which exert nutrigenomic effects to:

  1. Modulate how your DNA will express itself. (What’s cancer? Does it affect DNA?  Hence, my blog on lifestyle, diet, and breast cancer was born! )
  2. Protect your body from environmental harm
  3. Provide nutrition and information beyond calories!

A healthy diet, full of whole and organic foods, will maximize one’s biochemistry and set the stage for health and balance. Unfortunately, most people today are eating a diet of processed foods. These junk and fast foods are not only devoid of potent nutrigenomic phytochemicals, but can create deficiencies that lead to chronic diseases and an array of uncomfortable symptoms.

The body cannot run efficiently on suboptimal fuel, it’s like asking a car to run on water instead of giving it gas. The result of a nutrient deprived nation leads to mass funding of expensive medical procedures to “fix” the “bad symptoms.” The true answer lies in how to maximize the performance of the machine to begin with.

This is not to say that our conventional medicine procedures don’t produce results-we are living longer and our nation is excellent for treating emergency and catastrophic issues. However, our quality of life issues and management of chronic diseases is sorely lacking.

Medicine is treating lifestyle disease like acute diseases and it’s not working in the long-term. According to the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report, the growing world-wide burden is of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs). These are not diseases of microorganisms but chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and others in which our environment, lifestyle choices, and the globalization of processed Americanized food are main contributors.

Even with acute illness, not treating the cause is catching up. For example, the use of antibiotics to treat every infection is creating a major epidemic in antibiotic resistance organisms. The aim at eradicating the symptom response rather than building the body’s own immune response is creating a dependent sickly population on inadequate tools.

There has been controversy in the use of supplements as solutions to correct the deficiencies of poor diet and lifestyle issues. One reason is that various studies were basing results on comparative studies using populations self-diagnosing their own conditions and self-selecting their supplements. Most were using supplements that were in the wrong form, inaccurate dosing, and/or for the wrong condition.

Just as using the wrong drug form can cause side-effects, the body can run into various problems with suboptimal supplements for a variety of reasons:

1. Supplements are not regulated. Certifications vary and even if certified, there isn’t a guarantee what is in the bottle is in its full integrity.

2. Most “cheaper” products on the market aren’t in the right form, combination, or dosage that the individual needs to address long-term deficiencies.

3. There’s no guarantee that your body needs that supplement to heal, even if it helps the symptom.

All these factors can result in some negative repercussions; and this issue is popping up with prescription drugs as well. According to an article in Medscape:

Instead of getting a prescription from a physicians, patients could go to a kiosk located in a pharmacy, click on the answers to a few questions, and then their medication would be dispensed automatically. No physician visit, no appointment, no invoice. Would this save money? It’s questionable.

…We are not talking about treating yeast infections. We are not talking about giving flu shots, which has a limited protocol and everyone over age 6 months needs them every year. What we are talking about is treating chronic diseases, which is a big-ticket item. About 75 cents of every US healthcare dollar is spent treating chronic diseases.

This is why I choose to use professional and personalized nutritional products ordered through a safe distributing company; one that honors the prescribing physician’s time and knowledge in making this vital selection for each patient.

In my opinion, using any form of tool, natural or not, with tools that circumvent, plug, or block an explosive symptom will ultimately burst. The answer is finding a path which truly addresses the problem. There is no shortcut around a healthy diet and lifestyle.

The base to health should be supplying the body with its biological needs of sleep, emotional support, nutrition, exercise, and meaning. Then, the true investigation of supplementing an individual’s unique biochemical needs, through assessing genetic predispositions, environmental exposures, and the interplay of all the systems of the body, can work in conjunction.

As a Naturopathic and Functional Medicine practitioner, my aim is to modulate and tweak this perfect match of biochemical support through supplements, lifestyle, drugs, or other tools that addresses this interplay of the entire person and system.

Read my latest blog on on the myth of the calcium cure for bones.


Petrie, Thomas. Anti-Vitamin Boloney. Llumina Press. Tamarac, FL. USA.  2011.

This med has methylfolate, methylated B12 and P5P……

Nathan S. Bryan, Ph.D. The Role of Nitric Oxide Insufficiency in Aging & Disease [online]. Integrative Practitioner. April 2012. Available at: Accessed April 2012.

DeNoon, D. Infant Mortality: U.S. Ranks 29th: U.S. Ties Slovakia, Poland for 29th Place in Infant Deaths. In: WebMD Health News. Reviewed by Chang, M. October 2008.

Murphy, S, Xu, J, & Kochanek, K. Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2010. National Vital Statistics Reports. 60:4 [online]. Atlanta, GA :Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Division of Vital Statistics. January 2012. Available at: Accessed July 2012.

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(22)Center for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Grand Rounds: Prescription Drug Overdoses — a U.S. Epidemic. Weekly. January 13, 2012 / 61(01);10-13. Atlanta, GA: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Available at: Accessed July 2012.

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). State Initiatives to Avoid Prescription Drug Errors : Several laws enacted and bills considered anticipate problems and use state powers to provide some solutions, 2003-2008. Updated: January 2009. Denver, CO: NCSL: 2009. Available at: Accessed July 2012.

World Health Organization, ed. Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010. Description of the global burden of NCDs, their risk factors and determinants. NCDs and Development. Pg 33-40. April 2011. Available online at: Accessed June 2012.

Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD. Meds for Chronic Disease Minus the Doc: Not a Good Idea. Medscape. June 12, 2012.