A grant through the UND Center for Family Medicine has brought Dr. Tieraona Low Dog to Minot to speak to health care providers about Integrative Pain Management and Dietary Supplements. The lectures were held May 26.
Low Dog, an internationally known speaker, author and teacher; currently serves as the director of fellowship at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. In bringing her lectures to Minot, Low Dog hoped to heighten providers' awareness of dietary supplements and how to appropriately counsel patients on their use.
"It is not a good thing to recommend supplements if you are not familiar with the different products, serving sizes, dose, and what that looks like on the labels," Low Dog said. "The supplement world out there is crazy. Physicians are overwhelmed at what to recommend, as are the patients who are trying to buy them."
Katina Tengesdal/MDN - - Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, director of fellowship for the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, traveled to Minot to speak to physicians about topics in integrative medicine.
"We want clinicians to have an appreciation for the growing body of science for dietary supplements," she added. "We hope they leave feeling they have more confidence with a small number of supplements so they can counsel patients wisely on their use."
In her lecture on Dietary Supplements, Low Dog included information on Vitamin D, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, calcium, coenzyme Q10 and multivitamins.
While Low Dog studies various supplements and their value in improving overall health, she maintains that people should not take too many of them at a time.
"Ironically, I'm not big on recommending lots of supplements," Low Dog said. "I think everybody should have their vitamin D levels checked, they should take fish oil if they don't eat fish regularly in their diet, and they should take a basic multivitamin."
"Patients have a tendency to keep adding vitamins as they age, and pretty soon they end up taking eight or nine without even realizing it," she added. "This increases the possibility of a supplement or drug interaction, or of getting too much of a vitamin."
Low Dog explained that a basic multivitamin can be valuable in filling in nutritional gaps, though it shouldn't be relied on to completely prevent diseases.
"People sometimes go nuts with vitamins," Low Dog said. "It is better to think of a multivitamin in the same way you think of a seatbelt. You put the seatbelt on in case you get in an accident. A multivitamin is insurance to fill in the nutritional gaps you may be missing."
"Vitamins alone won't prevent disease but they can be a part of a healthy lifestyle," Low Dog said. "And if you should get cancer, for example, you would rather be as healthy as possible to fight it."
For those with specific conditions or nutritional deficiencies, adding specific supplements can greatly improve outcomes. People should follow the advice of their healthcare providers, Low Dog said, and also utilize their pharmacist for advice on herb and drug interactions.
For the average person, nutrition studies can be confusing. One day, the studies may be say that low fat is great, only to declare the next that some fat is all right. Low Dog explained that the reason conflicting studies occur is because the science is always evolving as new findings build on top of what is already known.
"People are getting science by sound byte when they hear or read about a certain study in the news, and they can get easily swayed," Low Dog said. "If a warning is issued, people should check with their provider. But if there are a lot of good studies and one negative study, take it with a grain of salt. An individual study here and there doesn't generally undo an entire body of evidence unless it is a large trial."
While nutritional science is constantly evolving, there is one basic fact that hasn't changed, Low Dog said.
"Avoid processed and refined foods as much as possible as they are often nutrient depleted," she said. "There is a lot more consensus than people realize when it comes to nutrition and supplements."