Where do you go
for your health info?
By Sue Cummings
Customers constantly come to us for products, but also to ask questions. They want to understand their health care situation better. We’re not doctors, but we try our best to help people find good sources of information. We work to stay informed as best we can. I attend the Medicines from the Earth conference every year and I read incessantly. Health care is a personal passion, and I’m a firm believer that you cannot know too much when it comes to your own self-care. I recommend that everyone quiz their doctors and read as much as they can about the topics that concern their health.
But discerning good information from hype can be difficult. As a former journalist, I like to think I have a robust BS meter, so I thought it might be useful if I share a few of my favorite sources for medical information.
Before I begin, let me say that if a website sells things, be wary. Unfortunately, many of even the really good ones do. Just remember you can take their information and not buy anything. I should also say I have a definite functional medicine bias. Functional medicine is a practice where the doctors go far beyond prescribing meds to suppress your symptoms and look for root causes of your malady. Such docs are not plentiful in this area, but they can be found in the region. Go to functionalmedicine.org to learn more. If you search there for a practitioner, just be sure to find out if they accept insurance. Some work on a cash only basis.
If you are diagnosed with hypothyroid or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, I highly recommend thyroidpharmacist.com. Isabella Wentz, Pharm D, has Hashimoto’s herself and has gathered extensive research information onto her site. She also has two published books: “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause” and “Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back.” Both are excellent.
If you’re worried about memory loss, cognitive function or the possibility of Alzheimer’s, I highly recommend drperlmutter.com. Dr. Perlmutter is a board-certified neurologist who serves on the board of directors and is a fellow of the American College of Nutrition. You may know him from his best-selling books “Grain Brain” and “Brain Maker.” Again, both offer good information.
For general health issues I like two sites. Dr. Kara Fitzgerald is a naturopath with a practice in Newton, Conn. She regularly blogs (drkarafitzgerald.com) and offers podcasts of interviews with other leading functional medicine doctors. Her topics cover a wide array of health issues and often get very detailed as to what tests or products are preferred. You can learn a ton by listening (or reading the transcripts).
The other general health site I like is chriskresser.com. Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac., is an acupuncturist who became an expert in Paleo nutrition then moved on to functional and integrative medicine. What I like about him is that he is not a purist about Paleo, and he questions everything. He keeps up with the latest research and you’ll find that info in his blogs and podcasts.
For women’s health, I often go to avivaromm.com. Aviva Romm, M.D., has an interesting history. I met her first as an herbalist and midwife. After leading the American Herbalists Guild for several years, she decided to attend medical school. She now specializes in women’s health and offers blogs, on-line courses and books. Her latest is “Adrenal Thyroid Revolution.” I also recommend an earlier work, “Naturally Healthy Babies and Children.”
When I want to know if there might be toxins in my food, cosmetics or skin care products, I go straight to ewg.org. The Environmental Working Group has been publishing data on pesticides in food (the annual “Dirty Dozen” list) and products for decades. In recent years they’ve added the Skin Deep Guide to Cosmetics, where you can check the safety of your favorite products, and EWG’s National Tap Water Database, where you can check the quality of your local water supply. I can’t say enough good things about the information contained on this site. Get to know it!
Two other sites I’d like to mention are robynobrien.com and siboinfo.com. Robyn O’Brien is a great source of information on additives in foods and what’s going on in the food industry in general. If you’ve never heard of her, you might want to seek out her TEDx talk from 2011.
Sibo.com covers in depth the condition known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Common symptoms are almost constant gas & bloating, abdominal pain/cramps, constipation and/or diarrhea (learn more). Dr. Allison Siebecker, who runs the site, is a wealth of information on identifying and treating the condition. If any of the sibo symptoms sound familiar, you might want to learn more.
Last I want to remind everyone that you can go straight to the scientific studies on any given subject by searching PubMed. The database contains more than 28 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals and online books. Often you have to be satisfied with the abstract or summary of the study, but occasionally you can read the full article. Again, it’s a wealth of good information.
I’m sure there are many other good information sites out there, but this is a list of some of my favorites. I hope they lead you to a path of good health!