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By Valerie Robitaille, PhD(c)

This morning I turned on my computer and checked my email. All of a sudden I heard a high pitched beeping sound, like a heart monitor in the hospital. A soothing voice came on and talked about heart attacks and a new prescription drug. I was stunned.

Is it not enough to be bombarded with drug commercials while relaxing and watching a little TV? When did going into my private email box become an acceptable marketing practice?

I remember the first time I saw a prescription drug advertisement and thought it was very strange. Weren’t the health professionals the ones we depended on to know what we needed, the ones that had the education behind them to help us? Isn’t that why we have such high health care costs in the United States – because we are paying for knowledge and advanced technology? Or is it because the drug companies are spending millions on advertising? When did the roles get reversed where we would go to the doctor and say, “I need to take this drug”?

I strongly encourage using caution with prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are being advertised as a road to health! Drugs have serious side effects and if you are taking several drugs, prescription or over-the-counter, you should have your liver checked regularly. This is particularly true if you are taking a class of drugs for high cholesterol (also proven to deplete a vital heart nutrient called CoQ10) are not using any supplements, and your diet is less than optimal. (See alternative to drug for high cholesterol – Bergamot – article here)

The liver is responsible for a multitude of chemical reactions that use enzymes to detoxify and metabolize foreign substances such as prescription and over-the-counter drugs and pesticides and hormones that we get from our food supply. It is of the utmost importance to keep the liver healthy so that it can do its job.

Here is my condensed version of how the liver carries out detoxification of harmful substances: toxins enter the liver from the bloodstream and, in the presence of vitamins and antioxidants, will start breaking down these harmful substances. (Keep in the forefront of your mind that this function produces free radicals which are carcinogenic and, therefore harmful if the vitamins and antioxidants that are needed for this step are not present.)

The liver continues to break down chemicals using amino acids from high quality protein foods and, in the final step eliminates these chemicals as waste products via the gall bladder, bile, bowels, kidneys and urine. As you can see, there are many organs and systems involved in this process that can easily become overwhelmed and weakened, leading to illness.

We cannot possibly eliminate all the toxins from the environment that enter our bodies because they are everywhere in the modern world. Nor should we simply stop taking life-saving prescription drugs. However, we do have control over certain protective and healthy behaviors such as the food we eat, the supplements we take, the personal care products we use (the chemicals we put on our skin and breathe into our lungs also pass through the liver) and other lifestyle habits.

Take time to educate yourself for if you think you can’t make time for your health today, you will sooner or later have to make time for illness.