Maybe it's because I've been feeling like a truck ran over me for the past week or so, or maybe it's because I was raised by a superb internist who regularly gave me insight into this very subject, but a Sunday L.A. Times op-ed stuck out like a sore thumb... a sore thumb that shouldn't be treated with unregulated meds.
It starts out with a comparison to one of my all time favorite George Carlin routines, "Baseball vs. Football" (a must-watch video if you've never seen it before) in which he says, "Football has hitting … and unnecessary roughness and personal fouls. Baseball has the sacrifice... in baseball, the object is to go home! And to be safe!"
These days, at least as it relates to the political priorities of all too many lawmakers, safety is vastly underrated:
Some might say the same can be said for conventional and alternative remedies. Conventional medicine has chemotherapy; alternative medicine has aromatherapy... Orthopedists operate; chiropractors adjust.
Then it gets to the heart (literally) of the matter. Please take a moment to read the entire piece, because too many people don't seem to be aware of many of the dangers associated with remedies that are not subject to government oversight. For example:
Unfortunately, because of the 1994 Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act, dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so companies are under little obligation to support their claims or admit their harms.
For example, blue cohosh can cause heart failure; nutmeg can cause hallucinations; comfrey, kava, chaparral and valerian can cause inflammation of the liver; monkshood and plantain can cause heart arrhythmia; wormwood can cause seizures; stevia leaves can decrease fertility; concentrated green tea extracts can damage the liver; milkweed seed oil and bitter orange can cause heart damage; thujone can cause neurological damage; and concentrated garlic can cause bleeding.
In 1992, one of the worst dietary supplement disasters in history occurred when about 100 people developed kidney failure from a "slimming" mixture that contained the plant Aristolochia. At least 70 people required kidney transplants or dialysis; many later developed bladder cancers.
Memo to GOP: Regulation exists for a reason, and that reason is to keep us safe in any number of ways. "Big government" isn't always a bad thing (forced trans-vaginal ultrasounds being one major exception), and the insistence by some conservatives that corporate profit should trump the health and welfare of Americans is as absurd as it is dangerous.
Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
Football begins in the fall, when everything's dying. [...]
Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end - We might have extra innings.
Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we've got to go to sudden death.
In the world of medicine, it should be obvious to our elected officials that sudden death is something we should go out of our way to avoid, not encourage via willful negligence.