You just bought yet another supplement. Two weeks down the road, you haven’t noticed any changes. The supplement is expensive and you’re tired of keeping your hopes up. Is it worth continuing? After all, shouldn’t it have done something by now?
When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, one of the very first medications they give you is prednisone, a type of steroid, known as a corticosteroid. As with any steroid, this drug is very fast acting. Unfortunately, the drugs I tried after Prednisone took much, much longer to work. Methotrexate can take up to six months to work for some people, while for others it can work as early as one or two months. And then there are others who never experience any relief from Methotrexate after having been on it for many months.
So what do you really need to know when trying out a new drug, supplement or therapy? How do you know if you’ve given it enough time? Why is it that some people seem to do really well with supplements and claim they work, while others claim they don’t work at all? Why do some people have to try endless drug therapies before they finally reach the right one, while others might get relief right away?
Here are my thoughts on how to make any drug, supplement or therapy a success………
1. Research the drug, supplement or therapy.
Research, research and then research some more! It’s impossible to have a successful outcome from all drugs or therapies in terms of getting relief, but not wasting your time is success! I always have my favorite dependable sites like Mayoclinic for example that I depend on for information, but do be sure to also look at blogs, Wikipedia and ask people on support groups, as well as people you might personally know. It’s important to get a well rounded view on possible outcomes. Most people will be against experimentation. You’re not always going to get the kind of support you want, and that’s something to consider also. In the end remember, it’s your body and your decision, period.
2. Have realistic expectations.
If you have a chronic disease, the odds are against you, that you will find a drug or supplement that puts you in remission. Many people do go into remission, but many more don’t. There are different types of remission as well. Most people who achieve remission, achieve “drug induced remission” meaning that if they went off the drugs, their symptoms would come back full force. There is the rare person who achieves remission and can go off drugs without the return of symptoms. There are also different degrees of drug induced remission. You can be considered in remission and yet still have some symptoms of the disease. Most auto-immune diseases require “stacking” medication before symptoms of the disease are relieved. Keep that in mind when taking supplements. Although there are many supplements that can do amazing things, you will mot likely still have some symptoms of your disease if you are on only one supplement. Drugs and supplements both take time to work. Research how long it usually takes for something to work and consider adding on an extra month just in case your body takes longer than most. Remember that this is somewhat of a gamble. Even your doctor doesn’t know what drug will best suit you or how long it will take.
3. Understand “Hering’s Law”.
Natural Healing is based on “hering’s law” which in a nutshell means that people often re-visit previous symptoms temporarily. This is often when people quit their new supplement or medication, while re-visiting symptoms is often an indicator that you’re on the right track! Having side effects from a drug or supplement doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Any kind of detox will give you side effects simply because the toxins have to re-enter your blood stream and exit your body. This can cause lots of symptoms. Antibiotic therapy is also another therapy that people often stop because they suddenly get side effects. If people could just realize that this is often a sign that you’ve found the right medication for you, they could stay on the right track and reap the benefits right around the corner! On the flip side, side effects that are not normally a disease symptom, like vomiting or blurry vision, depending on your disease, could be a sign that the drug you’re taking is not the right drug for you. For people on drugs like methotrexate, side effects often become less severe over time, but this is not considered “Hering’s Law.” “Hering’s Law” is the re-visitation of old symptoms from the disease itself, not new side effects from the drug. If you are having severe side effects like vomiting or blurry vision and these are not normal symptoms of your disease, then you should consider talking with your doctor and possibly coming off of the drug.
Some pharmaceutical drugs don’t cause you to re-visit symptoms because they suppress the immune system. Suppressing the immune system, vs. emptying the body of toxins are two entirely different things. It’s important to realize that side effects are simply part of the healing process when it comes to a lot of supplements, alternative therapies and select drugs.
5. Don’t group all supplements or alternative medications into one lump sum.
Look at each one individually and it’s specific mechanics. It’s absolutely essential to understand how a supplement, drug or therapy works so that you’re not hindering the process. Some supplements or drugs require a special diet or other supplements in order for them to work. N-Acetyl Cysteine is one of them. It rids your body of toxic metals. But it’s important to take this supplement with extra Vitamin C among other things in order for it to work. Along with that, you have to supplement the metals that are important to your body, like zinc, iron and selenium because N-Acetyl Cysteine doesn’t have the capabilities of only selecting specific metals.
6. Try to take into account how complicated the body is, how much it changes from person to person and how if something doesn’t work for one person, it doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t work for you.
We eat different foods, have different lifestyles, have different personalities. OF COURSE we’re all going to react differently to medications, no matter what they are. That’s just part of being human. Even a supplement like Vitamin E, for instance, can take up to three months before you might notice a difference. So hang in there and give it plenty of time!
7. Natural healing needs the effort of the person to consider what they’re ingesting, whether it’s the wrong foods or medications that are inhibiting the supplement from working.
Minocycline therapy for instance, can be easily impared. “Minocycline’s absorption is impaired if taken at the same time of day as calcium or iron supplements. Unlike some of the other tetracycline group antibiotics, it can be taken with calcium-rich foods such as milk, although this does reduce the absorption slightly.“-Wikipedia
Make sure you read about a drug or supplement carefully before taking it, unless you’re willing to throw all caution to the wind. I know for myself, sometimes I get both lazy and daring. Sometimes that works out and sometimes it backfires.
In my support group, a woman with Crohn’s told everyone to avoid aloe vera juice because it had caused her intestines to swell and cause blockage. In fact because of her aloe vera juice experience, she cautions everyone to avoid alternative treatments completely. To this day, I feel like I’m missing quite a bit of information so I can understand the full story. Where did she buy her aloe vera juice, for example? And was it pure aloe vera juice or were there other ingredients? As well, was it possible that she was experiencing “Hering’s Law” and just drank the aloe in too much of a fury? I will never know. Some Aloe Vera Juice products contain lots of sugar and sugar is highly inflammatory. It’s very possible that that could have been the culprit.
In the end, research everything and listen to your body. Do what you feel is right. You have to live in your own skin. You are the only person that knows you the way that you do. And don’t forget to share your successes with the rest of us!
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