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Above All Else Do No Harm

You may have recently heard on the radio or read in the newspaper that obesity may be protective in the event of a heart attack. Headlines such as “Obesity protects against heart disease and heart attack, study finds”, and “Obesity can help heart attack victims survive – study”, are misleading and irresponsible.

Upon reading these articles there is no reference to name the actual research undertaken, only that is was performed by the University of Oxford and funded by the British Heart Foundation and this particular finding was presented at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference.  Perhaps with the completely different intention to distinguish the different types of fat in our bodies and determine their potential to harm or do good, it is not the study that is concerning but the medias response. Providing misleading headlines to give people further excuses for poor health rather than empowering them to take responsibility for their health.

Another recent story had the media claiming that eating chocolate can help you lose weight. This particular research has since exposed itself to be intentionally misleading to exploit journalists. The research was intentionally conducted in a manner where any findings would be questionable should anyone bother to read the actual body of work.

Other recent headlines announced “Zinc in the Body May Contribute to Kidney Stones”, and “Taking Too Much Folinic Acid While Pregnant May Put Daughters at Risk of Diabetes and Obesity”. Whilst these articles site the actual study and are much more responsible in the information they are reporting, there is still the concern of headlines. People often read no further or hear a grab on the radio and assume truth in it. Without further investigation into such articles consumers may and often do believe such things as:

  • Obesity helps you survive heart attack
  • Chocolate helps you lose weight
  • Zinc causes kidney stones
  • Fish oils cause prostate cancer and,
  • Folic acid in pregnancy is potentially harmful to your child

There is constantly research being released regarding the effects of coffee and which disease it reduces or increases the risk of, it is no wonder the public are confused!

As Natural health practitioners it is both frightening and frustrating to have people believe what they are hearing in the news. Herbal and nutritional prescriptions made by naturopaths are based on peer reviewed research from reputable sources such as The Lancet and The British Medical Journal and PubMed. Even lifestyle and dietary recommendations are based on extensive quality research.

Naturopaths are experts in their area, supplementing with nutrients, prescribing herbal medicines, making lifestyle recommendations. They are trained in pharmaceuticals and potential interactions between herbs and nutrients with pharmacy medicine. They are trained in human disease understanding how certain conditions may  be adversely affected by herbs, nutrients and foods and lifestyle choice. The first principal of the Naturopath is to Do No Harm. They are degree trained health practitioners with a duty of care to their patients and always strive to meet the Naturopathic Principals as a major part of their professional code.

Journalists want to sell stories, and whilst we respect this is their job, the point is that consumers acknowledge this and actually read and research what is being reported rather than taking claims on face value.

As consumers of news we also make choices regarding what we will and won’t believe, another  recent article has the headline “7 Reasons to Eat Insects” how many of you plan to act on this one?


Emeds comment

Don’t believe everything you read in the paper!

Naturopaths are trained to analyse research to determine its value. Only well executed quantitative and qualitative peer reviewed research is considered as valid. Our treatments are based on ancient knowledge backed up by scientific research. Good Naturopaths keep abreast of new research and ensuring appropriate and safe supplementation are being prescribed and above all else Do No Harm!

Take the doubt out of your health. All Emed Naturopaths are fully qualified and experienced. If you want to feel confident that you are getting well researched professional advice specific to your health book a consultation with an Emed Naturopath.


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