I was shopping for a few items in my local health food shop yesterday. I'm not in there often enough to have developed a relationship with the manager but I have sought her advice a couple of times.
As I was browsing the shelves for a reasonable size container of raw pea protein powder (more about that later) the manager came over to me immediately and asked if she could assist me. After she helped me find what I needed, we discussed the benefits of a varied diet to avoid possible allergies. She mentioned that she frequently notices that she'll react negatively to certain foods if she doesn't vary her diet "because of her auto-immune" problem. I agreed with her and then she began to tell me about her sister who has MS.
"Okay", I thought, "She must remember me from previous conversations". She said her sister had just had her house power-washed and she wondered if that could possibly be a factor in her sister's recent flare up. I told her, that in my opinion, any time we are bombarded by strong chemicals, including but not limited to, bleach or anything containing bleach, ammonia, smoke, including cigarette smoke, mold, pollen or other allergens, cleaning products of any type with strong odors, paint, lacquer, chemicals used to seal decks or wood flooring - our bodies can release histamines, which in my opinion, can trigger a response from our sensitive immune systems. I'm not a health expert but I do know a few things about MS since I've been living with it for 28 years. I also told her that when I inquired about having a tightening skin treatment at a medical spa, I was told that they would not perform the treatment without the approval of my neurologist since the treatment actually worked by causing an immune response in the skin to thicken it, thus making it tighter. I didn't have the treatment for obvious reasons.
I saw the manager's eyes open wider. In addition to having had her house washed, her sister had also had some kind of skin treatment recently, the manager was going to call her to find out what she'd been doing.
Do I jump at every fad treatment or supplement that comes along? No. Do I read everything I can about health and wellness. Yes. My neurologist scribbled a few supplements he recommended on a post-it note and told me they might help me. One was vitamin D. Another was L-Carnitine. Did he look in my file and notice that I take thyroid medication for my under-active thyroid. No. Would he have known about the negative interaction between L-Carnitine and my thyroid medication. Probably not.
We need our doctors and naturopaths (good ones - not the crystal-wielding crackpots). But it's so important that we keep our eyes and ears open and care for ourselves the best way we can with good (and common) sense.