We live in a world of quick fixes. Many of us, due to time constraints and/or laziness, find it hard to work out or to maintain a healthy diet. It’s much easier, and therefore appealing, to be able to take a pill or some other concoction to ward off as well as to treat different diseases.
Unfortunately, to date, there are no such magic pills, liquids, or any other remedies that improve our health in a drastic fashion. Yes, some supplements do have some benefits for some people. For example, many of us, especially in the winter, lack any sun exposure and are therefore deficient in vitamin D. Others who suffer from different medical problems may well benefit from different supplements. However, for the most part, supplements are an utter waste of money and are sometimes potentially dangerous.
A recent study on homeopathy
A recent study from the Australian National Health and Medicine Research Council reviewed all of the available studies done on homeopathic treatments. These studies covered a wide range of different medical and psychiatric conditions, including ear infections, eye disorders, HIV, different musculoskeletal disorders, diarrhea, constipation, vaginal yeast infections, brain injuries, depression, anxiety, dementia, heroin addiction, asthma, respiratory infections, skin disorders, skin infections, and different chronic pain disorders.
Homeopathy is a pseudoscience which theorizes that “like treats like.” Very dilute substances (to the point that there’s no actual substance left in the dilution – only “energy imprints”), which in large doses would produce a symptom, are used to treat diseases causing similar symptoms. It was developed in the late 18th century before the widespread use of sound scientific method, and it makes no sense from a biological point of view.
The results of this very large review of dozens of studies showed – no surprise – practically no benefit to homeopathic treatments for any of the conditions studied. The few studies showing favorable outcomes were very poorly designed and executed.
The bottom line, which I emphasize over and over again, is that there are no short cuts. If you’re currently wasting your money on unproven and potentially dangerous treatments, it’s time to go back to the basics: Exercising, eating a health diet, and not smoking.
Why are homeopathic treatments potentially dangerous? There have been cases of contamination of homeopathic medications with toxic substances. Furthermore, people treating their condition with a homeopathic remedy may neglect or delay seeking proven treatments. Lastly, homeopathy lulls people into a false sense of security; people believe that by taking a few drops of some substance under the tongue, they’ll become healthy. This erroneous view point may lead to people neglecting their diets and not engaging in regular exercise.