Sid: My guest by way of the telephone is Dr. Ray Strand. He is an MD practiced in Rapid City, South Dakota. In fact I’m speaking to him at his home where he has a horse ranch there. And for those that are just tuning in Dr. Strand would you just briefly tell us your medical background.
Ray: Well Sid, I graduated from the University of Colorado Medical School in 1971. And I finished my training at Mercy Hospital in San Diego, California. And then I returned to the Black Hills of South Dakota to practice medicine. And I’ve been in private family practice here now for over 31 years.
Sid: And on yesterday’s broadcast we pointed out that the number 3 cause of death in America, or the number 4 depending on what the statistics are or how you approach it is prescriptions, drug reactions to prescriptions. So knowing that, looking at your book seeing all the problems people can run into should we just quit taking our medicine?
Ray: Well Sid, that would be the last thing that you would want to do. You know medication is very important and your doctor has to be involved in both prescribing, or discontinuing any medication. But what I’ve… the purpose of writing the book was not scare people away from medication but to actually get them to use them more wisely and to understand that there’s an inherent risk with all medication no matter what their doctors prescribing. And becoming more proactive in understanding what drugs they’re taking and what they should be looking for so that they could avoid being part of those statistics. Because over half of these can and should be avoided if people just knew what to do.
Sid: Well I know that I was in a hospital and they gave me the wrong stuff and fortunately it wasn’t life threatening but it was horrible, they made a mistake. Does this happen often in hospitals?
Ray: Well sad to say it does. This is a very sad thing and we as physicians don’t like to admit it or don’t really pay much attention but it happens all the time. In fact Sid the statistics show that over a million hospitalizations occur each year because of drug adverse drug reactions. And other studies are showing us now that just came out in the New England Journal of Medicine that even outpatient of the prescriptions prescribed that over ¼ of the prescriptions prescribed will be accompanied by an adverse drug reaction. So this is a very common thing. Not all of them are life threatening but it happens very, very frequently.
Sid: Well, I wish more people would read your book “Death By Prescription” because there are risks that really aren’t pointed out to us that when we get our blood pressure medication, when we get cholesterol medication, when we even take antibiotics. And you point all this out in your book especially, but the trigger word that you used is “We must be proactive.” In other words as a doctor if I had gone to you a number of years ago you would have…and I said to you “I have this alternative medicine doctor; or I have these vitamins and herbs.” You would say; what would you say?
Ray: Well before 9 years ago I was your typical doctor, I didn’t believe in vitamins or anything other than the drugs that I had been trained to prescribe and use. But I would have told you “I think it just creates expensive urine or it’s costing you money, it’s not worth it you can get everything you need from going and just eating good food.” And that’s the way that I was trained and I really did not understand the health benefits that nutritional supplements can offer.
Sid: Briefly though it’s because of your wife that you changed your thinking.
Ray: Well, it was and it always hits home and my wife has a disease called chronic fatigue fibromyalgia. And I have lived with that all of our married life and it’s a chronic pain, a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and her health was slowing going downhill. But in 1995 Sid she came down with a serious pneumonia. And in spite of seeing 4 different specialists and being placed on 9 different medications. She actually ended up getting through the pneumonia but left with a very serious chronic fatigue. And this went on month, after month, after month and she could only get out of bed probably one hour a day. And she’s a horse trainer by her own occupation and she couldn’t do anything. And so what happened was at that time some lady just called up and said “Gee I had some vitamins that helped my husband and maybe you’d want to consider taking them.” And Sid my wife knew how I felt about vitamins so she actually had to ask me for my permission. And I was even surprised by my response “Honey you can try anything because we’re not doing you any good.” And I’ll tell you Sid before my eyes her health started to improve, within weeks she was better and within months she was better than she’d been in years. And I have to say it was like the Lord took a wet noodle and slapped me across the face and say “Pay attention to this; there’s something here.” And so for the last 9 years all I have done is read the medical literature trying to find out why this happened with my wife. Was it just a miracle of the Lord or is there something in taking nutritional supplements that we can help to actually improve our health and it was something that we were just never trained in.
Sid: Give me an example beyond your wife of a patient that before 9 years ago you would have perhaps prescribed certain medications but today you say I see these tendencies in your blood tests and this is what you should do so you won’t have a disease.
Ray: Well, the easiest one is fibromyalgia because when I did this I actually called in 5 of my worst fibromyalgia patients and I said “I don’t know what this…” Because doctors don’t have a drug, we treat symptomatically I prescribe an anti-inflammatory like a non-steroidal maybe an antidepressant something for sleep, maybe you know maybe a muscle relaxant you know symptomatic medicine because we have no treatment for fibromyalgia. Well, once I found this I said “Look, why don’t we just try what my wife tried and I did” and every one of these patients improved. And Sid that was amazing and I think that I’ve been able to help over 1000 fibromyalgia patients through my consultation, my books and what I do.
Sid: Now there seems to be almost an epidemic of people with diabetes as you call it in your book insulin resistant explain.
Ray: Well what’s happening is we’re faced now with the diabetes and obesity epidemic. I mean the CDC, or the Centers for Disease Control, just came out with a statement last summer that a child born today runs a 30% risk of developing diabetes in their lifetime.
Sid: Why is that?
Ray: Well it’s because of the all American diet and the lack of activity. What we have called this healthy diet a high carbohydrate low fat diet is actually the worst diet in the world for our health. It’s not only causing the great rise in diabetes but it’s also causing you know the obesity epidemic.
Sid: Oh, so therefore we should just do Atkins.
Ray: Well, and I would say “No.”
Sid: No! Well, there’s nothing left, but go ahead. (Laughing)
Ray: What happens is carbohydrates are not the problem, it’s the high glycemic carbohydrates or the highly processed carbohydrates. What Atkins does, he’s on the right track that carbohydrates are the problem, but then he eliminates them and puts you in a false state of starvation. And what happens is the body can’t utilize the fat and protein that you’re eating so it has to actually use a secondary fuel source and it breaks down muscle and fat to produce a secondary fuel source which are called keytones. Well, this not only is not healthy it’s dangerous and what happens is people have to realize that man you can’t eliminate the carbohydrates because that’s where all the antioxidants, the minerals and the vitamins in your fruits and vegetables.
Sid: Why don’t you just take some vitamins and won’t that just take care of it.
Ray: Well, it helps but it’s not… see the trouble is Atkins came out with his diet in 1970… early ’70’s and it’s been around for 35 years. He’s changed it, he’s modified it but even he himself originally said “You should not be on this diet longer than 2 weeks.” And then they tried…
Sid: I don’t hear that being touted anywhere.
Ray: No not lately it has the induction phase now and it goes up a little bit more and a little bit more. But see when you go on the Atkins diet you basically start to use your glycogen stores, those stores in your muscle and liver for the quick sugar and which 2 or 3 days that’s gone. But when you lose a glycogen you also lose water, so you lose 6 to 8 pounds immediately within 3 days but it’s not fat lose it’s water and glycogen.
Ray: As soon as you start to eat again that will come right back.
Sid: Well, I’m going to get personal; I had you look at my blood work and you said to me that I see exactly what your problem is. You said… explain that.
Ray: Well what the problem is that we tend to spike our blood sugar too much and we abuse our insulin and it keeps having to control blood sugar and overtime Sid, we become less sensitive to our own insulin. And that’s called, insulin resistance. Well the body compensates for that by actually making more insulin so our blood insulin levels rise. When that happens blood pressure goes up, our triglyceride level goes up. That good cholesterol, or HDL, goes shooting down. And I do a ratio where I divide the HDL cholesterol into triglyceride which is another fat in the blood. If it’s greater than 2 or 3 you’ve developed insulin resistance.
Sid: So I have a choice then, I can either change what I eat or I can take medication. Which is better for me?
Ray: Well the trouble is the insulin resistance starts years before you become diabetic or you develop heart disease. And so what happens is your arteries begin aging 1/3 faster than they should. And then what happens is by the time I diagnose diabetes and ready to treat those people… the first day I diagnosed diabetes 60% of those patients already have major cardiovascular disease; 80% of our diabetics are still dying of heart disease. Physicians need to go back and start treating these people earlier.
Sid: That’s what you mean by proactive; we’re out of time right now we’ll pickup right here on tomorrow’s broadcast. I mean he’s got things in his books that I’ve never even contemplated before like oxygen can cause your body to rust. But the good thing is he’s a proactive physician. He tells us what to do; I’ve not known what kind of diet to go on; I have not known what kind of vitamins. I mean I’ve gone slight berserk on vitamins; it’s so simple in his book.