If Your Doctor Doesn't Believe in Supplements, Do This!

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Raena Morgan: Hello, we’re visiting with Dr. Robert Abel, Junior, an eye care specialist and ophthalmologist. Dr. Abel, what if your doctor, your personal physician, does not believe in vitamins? 

Dr. Robert Abel: Raena, do you want the long answer or the short? 

RM: Well, it’s a problem for a lot of us. 

RA: The short one, is look for another. 

RM: Okay. 

RA: Because there is so much nutritional evidence about the basis of our biochemistry and our physiology. How we are and how we feel. When we have a meal, we know how we feel an hour later, 2 hours later. It takes a long to know what makes our bones work. Well, look at all the evidence in terms of what’s good for bone health. Look at the evidence for heart health. Look at the evidence for what makes the liver work and what ties up the liver. For instance, medications have to be conjugated, excreted and use the liver or the kidney. Vitamins aren’t that complicated. They’re the basic building blocks of every single cell. If we look at the eye, the eye is an area that is so obvious because we can study it. We can see chances. We know that certain people don’t get cataracts. The people at Tufts have even shown that 325 milligrams prevent cataracts in women—that just that amount. Other studies from Australia, from the United States, from Wisconsin—NIA sponsored—show vitamins work. What does it take? In fact, there’s a new study on the age-related macular disease study that is adding different vitamins, including lutein this time, because there’s so much basis. They wouldn’t have done this study if there wasn’t a basis upon which to develop this. If your doctor doesn’t believe in vitamins, it’s because much of the information is hoopla in the media and may be shared in vitamin stores, etcetera. On the other hand, the basis for that information is really there. The real question is which vitamins and at what level. And if you’re doctor doesn’t want to discuss it, I think you have the wrong person and you want to give him this {holds up book} for holiday season. 

RM: The Eye Care Revolution. So if you go to your doctor and you say, “I’ve read that lutein is very beneficial for eye care” and the doctor poo-poos it, you should get another doctor? 

RA: Well, how many people have died from medication overdoses and side effects? There are 554 admissions a year to hospitals because of medication adverse reactions. And that doesn’t look at the minor ones that everyone can have with allergies and hypersensitivity. How many vitamin admissions to emergency rooms and hospitals are there? Almost zilch. You have to eat polar bear liver to get too much A and D. I mean, you can’t eat enough spinach, unless you’re on blood thinners. And there are things that you need to discuss with your doctor. So it’s not do-it-yourself, but you have to make decisions yourself and collect information. Often the doctor doesn’t even read the information you’ve written on the sheet. Write down the information; make sure you get an answer, or get facts back or a telephone call with the answer because good communication is vital. And you may be the doctor informing him of the nutritional and complimentary side of medical care. 

RM: Well, thank you for that valuable information. We needed to hear that. 

RA: You’re welcome, Raena. 


Dr. Robert Abel, Jr. discusses the role vitamins and supplements play in our overall health. But many doctors are unsure or skeptical when it comes to vitamins and supplements. Dr. Abel has some advice on what to do if your doctor is like that.
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