Letters to the editor: Dietary supplements can improve hospital patients' health outcomes

May 12, 2008

The author believes that dietary supplements do have a place in health systems

Regarding your Feb. 11 Guest Spot about whether dietary supplements have a place in health systems, it's not the lack of FDA involvement, clinical studies, or reimbursement that have kept hospitals from these products. It's fear. Thanks to big Pharma, big brother, and a host of other highly funded chemicalomaniacs, we have been instilled with a fear of alternative therapies. We continue to find any reason whatsoever to keep supplements from being treated as viable therapeutic alternatives or complementary care. The "establishment" throws innuendos out as fear tactics, such as "why does the supplement industry not want to conduct clinical studies or fall under the same jurisdiction as drugs?" Would you want to have the government be your watchdog as big Pharma does?

I'm pleased to say that the hospital I work for considers probiotics to prevent or treat C. difficile, co-enzyme Q-10 for heart failure, and fish oil for cardiovascular or depressive disorders as "real" medicine and we are always looking for safe, effective, time-tested alternatives to give our patients for optimal health care. By neglecting a patient's right to keep supplements as part of his or her therapeutic regimen, we refuse to live in the real world and continue to hold on to antiquated care. I'll take the safety of a 1,000 years of use over a six-week clinical trial on healthy 30-year-olds any day.

Craig Konzen, R.Ph.cdevenport@laurelhs.org