"The snake oil salesman" is an alive and well view amongst this author’s patient population. The chief reason is the patients have good reason to be wary of pharmaceutical company research on potential side effects of drugs before they are introduced to the market and the subsequent recommendation of drugs by their doctors. We have had some widely publicized snafus such as phen-fen the diet drug combination that damaged patient heart valves, Vioxx for arthritis that increased heart attack risk dramatically, and multiple other drug introductions that had to be recalled just months later due to serious adverse affects.
Maybe you’ve seen the multiple personal injury attorney T.V. ads searching for those damaged by these multiple drug introduction mistakes for class action lawsuits. And, then, when patient’s flock to alternative nutritional approaches, the media brings to light the studies that show Vitamin E supplementation increases the risk of heart attack. “Say that again! Weren’t we told that Vitamin E was sure to reduce our risk?” What to believe? Who to believe? How about estrogen replacement for women? Five years ago, estrogen replacement at Menopause was the epitome or ideal of successful preventive medicine. Replacement would prevent 40 % of bone loss and prevent debility and premature death due to osteoporotic fractures, reduce heart attack and stroke risks significantly, prevent Alzheimer’s dementia, and help prevent colon cancer. Then, the Women’s Health Study was stopped early due to increase in heart attacks and strokes in those enrolled and put on estrogen or estrogen-progesterone replacements. Quick reversal of hormone replacement therapy for women ensued only to be followed by systematic overturning of most all of the Women’s Health Study findings based on severely flawed study designs. Where’s that leave women at menopause and beyond? And, where do the family doctors go with all of this? What a mess.
Thus, why don’t we “hedge our bets” against all this confusion over nutritional agents and these mistakes in introduction of new drugs by implementing multiple steps or agents with proven benefit? Even if each health step’s proven benefit is small on its own you will gain benefits of synergy from the combination and gain exponential increase in prevention of the targeted disease. With this synergistic health approach, we hope to counter and drown out the impact or any drawback of one certain health step or agent with the synergistic health benefit obtained with the multiple other health steps. Think of this approach as similar to financial “hedge funds” that implement multiple aggressive investment approaches and win by countering the negative effect of one loser among them or against flat growth in one’s overall investment portfolio. So, the author saw that the Synergistic Health Approach can counter yet-to-be-discovered negative drawbacks of any one health step or agent and can re-establish confidence among Americans that they can surely protect their health without endangering it in some unknown way.