Nearly every Saturday, I walk past Health 2000. That shouldn’t be an issue. But they inevitably piss me off.
The reason they piss me off is because they have advertising like this:
A) I am very interested in the efficacy, viability, and details of this “new study.”
B) I bet it’s bloody well not, and
C) You are basically selling lies to people and encouraging them to take supplements instead of their prescribed medication. That’s dishonest and dangerous.
I have nothing against natural health, or supplements. I take plenty of them – alongside my prescribed medication. Because that’s what they are. Supplementary.
I’m really sick of being made to feel like my medication is dangerous, or I’m weak for taking it. I have a great doctor who gives me loads of advice and information, and has a very holistic view of health. He always tells me about dietary and supplementary things I can try. (Don’t get me started on how often he extols the virtues of turmeric).
If you don’t have to take any prescription medication, now or in the future, then I’m very glad for you.
But I do. I’ve had to accept that. And telling me that natural alternatives can completely replace the immuno-suppressants, antidepressants, and steroids that keep me alive is patronising and dangerous.
Sometimes I get questions about what I do take, and I last wrote a list probably a couple of years ago, so here it is. This is neither advice nor cautionary.
- Enbrel: This is a biologic, or TNF inhibitor, which basically tells my immune system to calm the fuck down.
- Prednisone injected (kenacort): Prednisone is an anti-inflammatory steroid that also suppresses the immune system. It’s dangerous because of that, and over time it also has other possible side effects like weakening your bones. As an injection, which I get every twelve weeks or so, the side effects are a lot less. And it helps me so much. It boosts my energy levels to the point where I can actually function.
- Prednisone oral: Pretty much as above, but this is the pill version. I can’t take this for long periods because of the side effects, but when I am allowed it, it’s amazing.
- Codeine: Painkiller, obviously. I can only take it in the evenings because it makes me super tired. Also has a few horrible side effects, but it’s worth it for the pain reduction.
- Amitriptyline: This is used for a bunch of different things, including pain management and as an antidepressant. I take it for both.
- Gabapentin: This has a few different uses again, but my prescription is for nerve pain. It helps a lot, but same deal as codeine, it makes me tired so I can only take it in the evenings. I’m already so fatigued, I can’t take anything that would add to that otherwise I’m completely nonfunctional.
- Panadol: Obvious.
- Clonazepam: This is a benzodiazepine which I use to help manage my anxiety disorder.
- Quetiapine: Has a few different uses, I use it for anxiety and to help me sleep.
- Zopiclone: Sleeping pill.
- Kratom: Kratom is kind of a bizarre drug/supplement that my doctor recommended I try. It’s not available in New Zealand, so I order it from the US. It’s sold as a dietary thing rather than a drug. It’s a horrible tasting green plant powder that I take only when I really need it, because if you use it often your tolerance goes up really quickly. The usual dose is around 5mg, I just have 3-ish. And from that, I get the most amazing pain relief. It’s one of the only things I’ve found that erases my lower back pain, and also gives me energy. Unfortunately, it makes my anxiety worse, but I can manage that.
- 30+: A friend told me about 30+ when I was telling her that I have a hormonal imbalance (too much estrogen, not enough progesterone). It’s a supplement for women to help with estrogen overproduction and mood swings etc. And it really works for me. I’ve been much less ragey since I started taking it, and I have regular periods again, after not having had one for several months.
- Turmeric: I don’t really know how much turmeric actually helps me, but as I said my doctor always goes on about it being a strong anti-inflammatory etc, so I take it, and I make tea with it too. (I make a “tea” with fresh ginger and turmeric, cloves, and cinnamon. They’re anti-inflammatory and can help balance hormones. It tastes good too, like a chai just without the tea itself).
- Magnesium: I’m deficient in magnesium, like many people.
- Clinicians probiotics: I need a lot of probiotics because my stomach is fucked from antibiotics and the infection (c-diff) that put me in hospital three years ago.
- Yukult: Same reason as above.
- Kava kava: Kava kava is meant to have anti-anxiety, calming properties, so my therapist recommended I give it a try. I’m not convinced it works beyond maybe making me a bit tired, which isn’t neccessarily a bad thing.
- Antiflamme: I use antiflamme extra strength with cloves in it. It really helps the pain in my spine.
- Rheumon: I use rheumon gel pretty much religiously, it’s a topical gel for arthritis and it’s one of the few things that really does help my fibromyalgia and ankylosing spondylitis pain.
I don’t know if I’ve left anything out. Hopefully this is of use though, and if anyone has questions, let me know. I’m more than happy to say where I get things from, etc. Actually, on that note – HealthPost and Pharmacy Direct are good online stores for supplements and other pharmacy products. They’re cheaper than instore, and obviously if you can’t get out to shop, it’s a good option to have things delivered. PLUS: you’re not using Health 2000 🙂