Review: ‘What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know about Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You’
Mike Miller · Dec 01, 2015
By Jed Stuber
Dr. Ray Strand describes himself as once being a prototypical doctor. Whenever his patients would ask him about vitamins, minerals, or nutritional supplements, his “toes would curl.” Then he would give one of his pat answers: “They’re just snake oil.” “Vitamins just make expensive urine.” “You can get all the required nutrients by eating the right foods.”
However, over a period of several years his wife, Liz, developed increasingly debilitating health problems and took more and more prescribed medications to no avail. By the Strand’s 10th anniversary, she was in constant pain, could no longer get out of bed, and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. One of their friends urged her to try a particular nutritional supplement. Dr. Strand didn’t believe it would help, but he told her it couldn’t be any worse than what the doctors had done for her. He then watched in amazement over the next few months as her health was restored.
His wife’s recovery convinced Dr. Strand to begin questioning the typical medical approach to nutrition. The predominant emphasis in medicine is to treat disease, and the main emphasis of the training most doctors receive is pharmacological. In fact, according to Strand, less than 6 percent of graduating physicians have received any formal training in nutrition. Considering these facts, it is not surprising that they devote most of their time and effort to diagnosing disease processes so they can prescribe drugs.
Billions of dollars are spent researching and producing the latest drugs, medicines intended to control symptoms, not address causes and actually prevent disease. Less than 1 percent of healthcare dollars are spent on what might be called preventative medicine.
According to Dr. Strand, one thing many people think they know about nutrition is actually false. They believe that the U.S. government’s Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) provide optimum nutrition for good health. In reality, the RDAs are actually minimum allowances needed to prevent acute deficiency symptoms of diseases such as scurvy and rickets. They provide enough nutrients to stop acute deficiency, but not optimum levels needed for good health.
These revelations did not cause Dr. Strand to despair, however. He simply studied harder and longer. The more he learned, the more he began to understand the amazing complexity of the human body. He says he came to a deeper appreciation of Psalm 139, crying out with the psalmist, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.”
In his quest to understand nutrition, Strand examined more than 1,300 peer-reviewed medical studies involving nutritional supplements and how they affect the chronic degenerative diseases that have become epidemic in the recent years. These diseases include coronary artery problems, cancer, stroke, diabetes, macular degeneration, cataracts, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Strand learned that the strongest defense against these diseases is our bodies’ own natural antioxidant and immune systems, but he also became convinced that we cannot get the nutrients we need through food alone. The overwhelming majority of the studies showed a significant health benefit to those patients taking nutrients at optimal levels.
What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You is the culmination of Strand’s quest to understand nutrition. Not only has he examined thousands of studies, but he has also successfully treated hundreds of patients with nutritional supplements. Strand packed his book full of testimonies and documented cases of recovery. There are even a couple of stories of recovery from multiple sclerosis that caused Strand to admit he isn’t sure whether they were the result of nutrition or the miraculous intervention of God.
The most important conviction Strand presents is that “Oxidative stress is the underlying cause of almost all chronic diseases.” There are many researchers, doctors, and nutritionists who have been writing about oxidative stress for years, but he explains this cutting-edge theory very clearly so that the average person can understand it and begin taking nutritional supplements to do something about it.
Dr. Strand explains that every chronic disease is the result of bad nutrition on the cellular level. As each cell processes energy, free radical electrons are released that can do damage to the cell and cause inflammation in the surrounding tissue. Each chapter explains how oxidative stress in the cells is at the root of a particular chronic degenerative condition or disease. Also included are recommendations of which antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are best for each condition.
The chapters on heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases are particularly well done. Strand explains that cholesterol is not the root cause of heart problems, but the research on homocysteine as a cause is promising. He documents how the homocysteine theory was published in the 1960s by Harvard researcher Kilmer McCully, but then suppressed by certain leaders in the medical community because drug companies were in a position to make billions off the cholesterol theory. McCully has only recently achieved vindication in the medical community, including being recognized by peers at Harvard and MIT who once scoffed at him, and having two very successful books published. McCully and Strand both explain how homocysteine problems and heart disease can be prevented and treated by simple supplements that cost only pennies a day.
Strand also explains that the diabetes epidemic is really an insulin resistance epidemic caused by high glycemic foods in the modern Western diet that is laden with processed foods. He explains how to recognize whether a person is developing diabetes by doing a simple calculation using information from routine blood tests. To help treat the problem he recommends taking specific antioxidants which reduce insulin resistance.
When it comes to autoimmune diseases, Strand claims to have helped several MS patients go from being wheel-chair bound to walking. There are also specific supplements that can help with arthritis by reducing inflammation of the joints. Some may even help the body rebuild cartilage. He also includes recommendations for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients and chapters on cardiomyopathy, cancer, cataracts, chronic fatigue, asthma, and lung disease.
Dr. Strand concludes his book with charts that give general nutritional supplementation recommendations for all people and then some “optimizers” for people struggling with particular conditions that are precursors to chronic disease. Surprisingly, Strand does not endorse any particular brand of nutritional supplements or offer his own. He gives some basic recommendations about how to find high quality supplements. Last of all, he appeals to the medical community to take a more serious look at nutrition as “complementary medicine, not alternative medicine.”
What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You (256 pages) is available from raystrand.com.
This review was first published in the September 2004 newsletter.
The information in this article is for educational purposes and is not meant as medical advice.