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What the Drug Companies Won't Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn't Know: The Alternative Treatments That May Change Your Life--and the Prescriptions That Could Harm You Paperback – 4 May 2010

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1 edition (4 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416549390
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416549390
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 684,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Dr. Michael Murray compellingly explains the naturopathic alternative to conventional drug therapy for common health concerns." -- Andrew Weil , M.D., author of the forthcoming Why Our Health Matters

About the Author

Author of 23 books, including the acclaimed besteller The Encyclopedia of Natural Foods (co-authored with Dr. Joseph Pizzorno), Dr. Michael T. Murray is regarded as the world authority on natural medicine. An educator, lecturer, researcher and health food industry consultant, Michael also serves as the Director of Product Development and Education at Natural Factors, a health product firm.

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By Jodi-Hummingbird TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book attempts to a) to point out the flaws in our current drug based medical system and b) to outline some of the basic facts and principles of what the author calls `rational medicine.'

The first point is well made in this book. All sorts of shocking facts and statistics are included that should be more than enough for anyone to re-evaluate the information we have come to accept as factual concerning drugs and how they are used to treat diseases and how harmful or successful they are.

The author explains that 60 thousand dollars are spent marketing to each doctor in the US, and that drug companies now control medical education and many medical journals as well. He also explains how easy it is for drug companies to skew the results of randomised controlled trials in their favour or to simply refuse to publish any studies that show negative results. The dangers of various drugs are outlined as well as the fact that there are often safer alternatives.

The second point in this book is far less well made. This book would likely have been much better and stronger if it had focused just on the first point. This second point is discussed in such a way that it would make me wary of recommending this book to doctors or to anyone else. A lot of basic information is missing and a lot of the medical information given is just plain wrong.

For example:
- The author is very ignorant about fats and oils. Canola oil is recommended and there is a lot of scare-mongering about any oil that isn't monounsaturated - as if eating all mono fats is best for you. (That is not the case!)
- The author has fallen for the anti-saturated fat myths and the cholesterol myths and the diet information given has a significant vegetarian bias.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very important book that will help people understand why a lot of the modern treatment and medication don't help us and that there are alternatives out there if only we look for them. The side effects of medication are often horrendous and you are often not informed of them untill it is too late.

The author starts out by giving a bit of information about the Pharmaceutical Industry and I tell you that only this bit will put you off medication and doctors forever. Still, he does agree that in some cases medication is necessary, at least till you can go over to natural food supplements. He also explains the differences between naturopathic and allopathic medicine.

I have to say that the author although a doctor, not a writer, writes quite well and seems to be a person with not only a lot of knowledge and a doctor who has the best interest of his patients at heart but also a person with a lot of life experience. He sees people as a whole and gives advice on how to get healthy (and keep healthy) from all points of view, including mental wellbeing. I especially liked the bit where he says that truth passes through three phases: first, being ridiculed; second, it is fiercely and violently opposed; and third, it becomes self-evident. He goes on to say that each of us can help bring this progression into being in part by being "phase three" people currently living in a "phase one" and "phase two" world!

It surprised me though that he advises children with lactose intolerance to drink soy milk and people in general to consume soy products. I think that there are doubts about eating unfermented soy..... he also advises green tea but according to what I have read green tea can have high concentrations of fluoride, so I am not sure that this is a good idea.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 36 reviews
89 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Facts on the Drug Companies, and how to break free from drugs 29 Jun. 2009
By Susan Schenck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is destined to become a classic among those that shift the paradigm from toxic drug use to natural healing! It is very reader friendly for the layman. In the first chapter, Murray illustrates how the drug companies only care about money, not health. (When I first discovered this years ago, it was like finding out your mother had Munchousen syndrome by proxy---a mental disorder in which moms poision their kids!) Dr. Murray packs the chapter with shocking facts: Though the USA buys 40% of the world's drugs, we rank 42 in life expectancy. $57 billion is spent on marketing to MDs, and twice as much is spent on marketing as on drug research. Their research is suspect, since they hire for-profit research companies and are also able to suppress the research that doesn't show the drug as effective. In the last 20 years, 2 million have died from adverse drug reactions!

In chapter 2, Dr. Murray explains that the knowledge of the body as self-healing has been forgotten by doctors. He points out that many drugs are really little more than a placebo effect, harnessing the power of the patient's mind to heal the body. Murray teaches us how drugs merely relieve symptoms but absolutely do not cure. One can never heal without getting to the root of the illness. As an expample, he had a patient with high blood pressure. Instead of giving him drugs, Murry learned the guy was jogging near the freeway, which made him breathe in lead. Once he switched to the beach, the blood pressure normalized!

In several of the chapters, Dr. Murray takes us on a detailed journey of common health disorders (such as headaches, osteoarthritis, asthma and more) and points out the pitfalls and side effects of drug treatment and the simplicity and effectiveness of natural remedies. After that, he exposes the cholesterol myth and shows the more sinister side of drug companies, explaining that "six of the nine expert members of the government panel that drafted the new cholesterol guidelines had either recieved grants from or were paid consulting or speakers' fees by the companies taht make some of the most popular statin drugs." He says that the levels of "normal" cholesterol were lowered just so more people would go on drugs! (There is a great deal of other shocking material like this in this book.)

Murray shows us many other gems, such as how we were scammed into taking SSRIs and obesity is a common side effect though it is STILL not listed as one. (Decades ago, I took Prozac and gained 40 pounds within MONTHS!)

Dr. M. points out that many drugs actually CAUSE the symptoms they are supposed to be treating, so you get addicted to them! Examples include headache medicine and NSAIDS used for joint pain (which destroy the carilage!).He also shows us how to critically analyze media stories that belittle natural remedies like fish oil or Saint John's Wart. He tops the book off with a detailed chapter on how to get well and stay well.

Though I have read hundreds of nutrition books (have even written one myself!) I was pleased to learn many new facts, such as that Vitamin D is anti-aging!

I was criticized as being "negative" when I put exposed the drug companies in an appendix of my book, The Live Food Factor. But people need to be deprogrammed! I applaud Dr. Murray's courage to take on the medical establishment, and I hope this book gets into the hands of all doctors and patients, as well as health seekers everywhere!
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Approach to Healthful Living 26 Jun. 2009
By James R. Holland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The first thing I did when I received this review copy was to Google "Bastyr University" and find out exactly what the N.D. degree means since that is the author's official medical degree. I'd recommend any reader do that first before reading the book. "The university is located north of Seattle, Washington. Named by the "Princeton Review' as one of the 168 best medical schools in the country, the School of Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University is committed to developing leaders in the evolving field of natural medicine. Bastyr's fully accredited naturopathic doctor (ND) program is internationally renowned for its rigorous curriculum, comprehensive clinical training and ground breaking research." The University also gives various kinds of degrees in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Nutrition, Health Psychology, Herbal Sciences, Exercise Science and Wellness, and has graduate schools of Midwifery Certification and Applied Behavioral Science. With the book author's medical credentials out of the way, the reader can then dive into this interesting study done by "one of the world's leading authorities on natural medicine." He is co-author of "Textbook of Natural Medicine" and has written 20 other books as well.
"Naturopathic medicine," unlike conventional or "allopathic medicine" that focuses primarily on treating disease rather than promoting health, naturopathic "is a system that emphasizes prevention, treatment and the promotion of optimal health through the use of natural, nontoxic therapies."
The author warns the readers that "when people refer to me as an expert in alternative medicine, I usually correct them. I am a proponent of what I like to describe as `rational' medicine, which combines the best of both conventional medicine and alternative methods."
The book contains eleven major chapters that include "A Matter of Trust--Making Medicine or Making Money: The Number One Thing that they Don't Want you to Know: An Overlooked Goal of Healing--Removing Obstacles to a Cure: Functional Medicine Versus the Treatment of Disease: Is Symptom Relief a Path to Bad Medicine: Creating a Market Versus Providing a Cure; Exploiting the Cholesterol Myth: Drugs are Less Powerful than Our Attitude: Drugs Cannot Overcome a Poor Diet or an Unhealthy Lifestyle: Looking Behind the Headlines and Through he Bias: and How to Get Well. Stated simply, that is what is included in this book along with dozens of examples and nearly a hundred pages of Appendix, Notes an a very good Index.
This is another very good book of common sense backed up with studies that help prove the common sense. In addition to pointing out the way to naturally maintain optimum health and wellness, as the book's title indicates it also exposes much of the current medical culture of treating illness mostly with drugs alone. Americans have come to expect to substitute healthful lifestyles with short cuts and quick fixes provided by taking pills. Even medical doctors don't know the full truth behind some of drugs they recommend. "The drug industry spends about $60,000 in marketing per physician annually." "Drugs like Paxil, Zolft, and Prozac contribute to obesity, but weight gain is not listed as a common side effect of those drugs" and it hardly needs to be said that patients taking those drugs don't need the kind of extra stress and worry produced by uncontrolled obesity.
A couple more quick samples of the kind of information provided by this volume are that "Olive oil contains a heart-protective monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid. It also contains several antioxidant agents that prevent circulating LDL cholesterol from becoming damaged and then subsequently damaging the arteries." As most of us have heard for years, "Fish oils can also lower the risk of many cancers--particularly breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer--and many other chronic diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, asthma, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis."
I found this book fascinating, but I should probably mention that I grew up as a devoted Christian Scientist, and many of these healthful lifestyle practices were a part of my everyday life without my having any idea why. I'm definitely not a doctor, diet guru, exercise fanatic or somebody who has ever paid much attention to medical theories so I can't vouch for how much of this book's information is true, but it does seem to square with my life experience. Every reader will have to judge that for themselves.
One minor recommendation for this volume that I encountered first-hand was that as soon as I'd finished it, two adult members of my family were arguing about who would get to take the book home. It was out of my hands in a flash.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good and bad 11 Aug. 2011
By Jodi-Hummingbird - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book attempts to a) to point out the flaws in our current drug based medical system and b) to outline some of the basic facts and principles of what the author calls `rational medicine.'

The first point is well made in this book. All sorts of shocking facts and statistics are included that should be more than enough for anyone to re-evaluate the information we have come to accept as factual concerning drugs and how they are used to treat diseases and how harmful or successful they are.

The author explains that 60 thousand dollars are spent marketing to each doctor in the US, and that drug companies now control medical education and many medical journals as well. He also explains how easy it is for drug companies to skew the results of randomised controlled trials in their favour or to simply refuse to publish any studies that show negative results. The dangers of various drugs are outlined as well as the fact that there are often safer alternatives.

The second point in this book is far less well made. This book would likely have been much better and stronger if it had focused just on the first point. This second point is discussed in such a way that it would make me wary of recommending this book to doctors or to anyone else. A lot of basic information is missing and a lot of the medical information given is just plain wrong.

For example:
- The author is very ignorant about fats and oils. Canola oil is recommended and there is a lot of scare-mongering about any oil that isn't monounsaturated - as if eating all mono fats is best for you. (That is not the case!)
- The author has fallen for the anti-saturated fat myths and the cholesterol myths and the diet information given has a significant vegetarian bias. Many unscientific myths about the `huge risks' of eating animal products are repeated here.
- The author does a very good job explaining that we should not eat too many high GL foods but then recommends a so-called Mediterranean diet which is based on bread, pasta, beans and potatoes. (Incidentally, this diet isn't at all a real Mediterranean diet.)
- The author recommends a very low salt or even salt free diet. He seems unaware of the enormous difference between refined salt and unrefined sea salt, and why we need unrefined sea salt to be healthy and that it does not negatively affected blood pressure, despite what is popularly believed.
- The author recommends a large intake of (unfermented) soy products, which we now know is not safe. No warnings are given about the extreme effects these foods can have on pregnant women, babies and small children.
- Readers are encouraged to stock up on frozen vegetables (ugh!).
- Huge importance is placed on the use of peppermint oil to treat IBS symptoms which is just ridiculous. This is symptomatic treatment at best and does nothing to treat the cause. I'd also argue that it is not even remotely as effective with IBS symptoms as the author claims. (How can it be when you are still eating the foods that caused the symptoms, or still taking the drugs that caused the symptoms, or whatever else.)
- Similarly the recommendation of the PGX fibre supplement as a miracle weight loss supplement is completely silly and unscientifically valid as well.
- A person could easily come away form reading this book thinking that it will be very good for their health to take 1.5 grams of calcium daily and either no magnesium at all, or only 250 mg of magnesium. The whole issue of the importance of calcium and magnesium ratios is not even mentioned! This is appalling and very dangerous. Magnesium deficiency is extremely common and when you take huge amounts of calcium without enough magnesium to balance it you can make magnesium deficiency even worse. Magnesium deficiency is a major cause of cardiac deaths and can worsen many conditions including cardiac and muscular conditions. Dr Sherry Rogers has described advice to take 1.5 grams of calcium daily as silly, ignorant and dangerous.
- No distinction is made between vitamin D3 and D2, and the maximum intake of vitamin D supplementation is given as 2000 IU this despite the fact that many patients need more than this to have levels in the `normal' and certainly the optimal range. Better than picking any arbitrary number however would be a recommendation for those who think their vitamin D levels may be low to actually have their levels tested.
- There is a huge focus on mental attitude of the patient in this book. Some focus in this area is necessary of course but I do really feel it is bizarrely overstated. Two case studies are given - one of a man who was given a placebo and whose huge tumours all disappeared only to reappear when he found out his `drug' was said not to work, and another of a man who developed cataracts because there `were things in his life he didn't want to see' and whose vision completely recovered following psychotherapy to deal with these issues. If these cases are genuine then they are extremely rare. Far more likely these days are patients being told that they are not ill when they are. Considering this, how is making so much of the above two rare case studies helpful? The mind and body link is already way over-emphasised to the detriment of patients and the huge focus on it in this book distracts the reader from the far more likely issue of nutrient deficiencies and toxicity issues going undiagnosed and untreated and patients being unfairly blamed for not recovering due to a poor attitude. There are so many other amazing facts or case studies highlighting the success of nutritional medicine that could have been used and far more usefully.

This book provides little useful or practical health information beyond the recommendation for taking a good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement and a bit of fish oil, calcium and magnesium. Some good basic points are made though about biochemical individuality, the importance of detoxification, the need to buy good quality supplements and not just any old brand and the fact that eating well is of primary importance and can't be made up for by any drug.

The information on drug companies and how they have twisted medicine to suit their own interests is excellent and I would give it four out of five. The medical information is problematic and I could only give it two out of five.

A far better book on both those points is Dr Sherry Rogers' book Detoxify or Die. This book contains far more comprehensive and useful medical information about what causes disease and how we can avoid becoming ill or improve our health if we are already ill. You also come away from reading the book with your head full of shocking facts and statistics about how we are all being taken for a ride and lied to by drug companies. This book is far superior and truly groundbreaking.

For more information on salt see the book on salt by Dr Brownstein.

For more information on soy see `The Whole Soy Story'

For more information on fats and oils see `Know Your Fats' by Mary Enig PhD.

For more information on why `calories in, calories out' is wrong and why saturated fat is not bad for you and doesn't cause heart disease see `Good Calories, Bad Calories' by Gary Taubes.

Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E.
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading 31 Aug. 2009
By A regular buyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Overall the quality of this book is very good. The author starts out with a compelling discussion about research methods used by the pharmaceutical companies.

He then provides an overview of common disorders, mentions traditional conventional treatment methods and then discusses alternatives that may prove helpful.

If you are hoping to find some new nuggets of information, they are included. Also included however are many of the "standards of care" and many of the alternative approaches have already been covered extensively in other sources.

When discussing the issue of cholesterol, he points out the "traditional values" but only touches on the issue of cholesterol molecule size. No mention is made of "oxidized cholesterol" which even cardiologists are pointing out is now a significant risk factor.

When discussing BMI, the author defends the validity of the measurement, taking sides with insurance companies. While mention is made of muscle mass, nothing is noted regarding those who have large frame (skeletal) sizes.

Current research suggests a waist size of half your height may be an ideal measurement. However, the book holds to the old 40 inch rule for males.

To summarize, there are good sections to the book. If you are new to the topic of alternative health, then it could be a 5 star publication. The author does a very good job of contrasting conventional medicine with some alternatives that you may find helpful.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars America's Drugged-Up Culture Examined 29 Jun. 2009
By David Kinchen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
[...]
As I sat down at my computer to review Dr. Michael T. Murray's "What the Drug Companies Won't Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn't Know" (Atria Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint, 352 pages, $25), the news of Michael Jackson's death at the age of 50 came blasting out of the broadcast and print channels.

Another Dr. Murray -- no relation to author Michael Murray -- Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's 51-year-old personal physician -- figures in the torrent of words about the death in Los Angeles of the so-called "King of Pop." Reuters reported that the death of the music and cultural icon from cardiac arrest on June 25, 2009 "has raised a host of questions about what might have caused it [the cardiac arrest]....One possible cause reported by celebrity website TMZ.com is that he was injected with the potent painkiller Demerol before he went into cardiac arrest. Others speculate it was a combination of Demerol and Oxycontin, another powerful painkiller that is among the most commonly abused prescription drugs."

[...]

Murray, one of the nation's leading practitioners and authorities on natural medicine, argues in his well-documented book that much of our current health crisis was actually created by the pharmaceutical and medical industries with their aggressive marketing campaigns to maximize profits. He offers a practical guide to holistic treatments that he believes are a better alternative to the plethora of drugs offered to treat the most common diseases that plague our society -- drugs that he says are often not only ineffective, but result in serious, widespread side effects -- "the existence of which is frequently hidden from the public."

Sandwiched between news coverage of Michael Jackson's death and the seizure by the Los Angeles Police Department of Dr. Conrad Murray's silver BMW (he's not been charged with any crime), I saw a TV ad for a prescription drug that promises women richer, fuller eyelashes...A classic example of a drug created for what I believe is a non-existent disease.

Murray demonstrates to my satisfaction how a nationwide dependence on pills has hobbled heath in the U.S. -- a nation that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is 24th in terms of life expectancy -- and has resulted in a national wellness epidemic as lifestyle, ignorance, and politics collide in our medicine cabinets.

WHO says Americans use more than 40 percent of all the prescription drugs produced in the world each year, Murray writes. This is at a time when adverse reactions to over-the-counter and prescription drugs are estimated to kill more than 100,000 Americans a year -- the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. behind cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Younger readers might be surprised to learn that there was a time -- only a couple of decades ago -- when prescription drug advertising was prohibited on TV, radio and in general circulation publications. Today, drug companies -- Big Pharma -- spend twice as much on marketing as they do on research and development, Murray writes.

With about 700,000 practicing physicians in the U.S., Murray cites statistics showing that the drug industry spends about [...] in marketing dollars per physicians per year -- a whopping [...] a year. Many of these dollars are spent on the detail people who call on doctors throughout their work week. A now deceased physician friend of mine with a psychiatric practice in Beckley. WV once told me he had to ration the appointments of drug detail sales people because he had run out of time to devote to his patients.

As the recipient of a doctorate in naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University near Seattle, Murray is oriented to natural medicine and products like St. John's wort extract, saw palmetto berry extract, glocosamine sulfate and fish oil -- among many others -- but he is not totally opposed to the use of antibiotics and other medicines. He is just against the overdosing that he believes is endemic in American medicine. As a believer in alternative treatments, especially acupuncture and chiropractic, I'm inclined toward Murray's message.

Among the facts presented in the book:

* During the past 50 years drug costs have skyrocketed at a rate five times the inflation rate

* Oral medications to treat Type 2 diabetes don't alter the long-term development of the disease

* Drugs like Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac contribute to obesity, but weight gain is not listed as a common side effect of these drugs

* It is estimated that 70 percent of patients with chronic daily headaches suffer from drug induced headaches

* * *

To kick the prescription medication habit that has overdosed America, Murray suggests a seven-step holistic program to "vibrant" health:

Step 1: Incorporate spirituality into your life

Step 2: Develop a positive mental attitude

Step 3: Focus on establishing positive relationships

Step 4: Follow a healthy lifestyle

Step 5: Be active and get regular physical exercise

Step 6: Eat a health-promoting diet

Step 7: Support your body through proper nutritional supplementation and body work

"What the Drug Companies Won't Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn't Know" rang true to me because I'm a believer in less is more when it comes to drugs. Those seeking a practical guide to the natural treatments that could revolutionize both your health and the well-being of the entire nation will find Murray's book an excellent guide to a healthy life, free from the poisonous effects of drugs that aren't needed.

About the author: Michael T. Murray is the author of more than 20 books on natural alternatives to health and well being and is currently a director of product development and education for Natural Factors, a major manufacturer of nutritional and herbal supplements. [...]
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