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Magnesium for the New Year: Multivitamin / Multi-minerals – A simple & Inexpensive Insurance Policy

December 28, 2015 health, medication, News, nutrition, nutritonal supplements, vitamins Comments Off on Magnesium for the New Year: Multivitamin / Multi-minerals – A simple & Inexpensive Insurance Policy

by Seth J. Baum, MD

Why is it that so many scientists and physicians ardently dissuade patients from adding a simple multivitamin / multi-mineral supplement to their daily regimen? We know the importance of vitamins and minerals: they are involved in literally every vital bodily function. Absent adequate concentrations of these substances (which we are unable to produce in sufficient quantities, making their dietary consumption mandatory), maladies from subtle to severe can plague us. We also know that most people fail to consume the recommended daily value of these critical nutrients. For example, over 2/3 of Americans fail to consume the mandatory 400 mg daily of elemental magnesium (Mg). What’s the downside to taking a multivitamin that contains solely the recommended daily value of these nutrients? They are not very costly so the “expensive urine” argument is a bit ridiculous. They are harmless when low doses are utilized. And they may make us feel better or even help us avoid potential physical problems.

This latter benefit was brought to light just a few days ago when a friend and fellow doctor contacted me from the hospital. Troublesome palpitations bought him an ER visit, complete with blood tests, an IV, and the angst associated with any hospitalization. When I spoke with him we discussed Mg and the role it can play in benign (and even malignant) heart rhythm disturbances. We asked his doctor to check not only serum levels of Mg, but RBC levels as well. This was done to ensure that intracellular levels of Mg were okay, as normal serum levels can often create a false sense of security. His levels were low; he received IV Mg, and his atrial and ventricular ectopy promptly dissipated.  And so, he was sent home to enjoy his holiday sans palpitations.

The take home message here is for us to become a bit more open-minded. Doctors certainly don’t know everything. We must accept the fact that the absence of solid data does not exclude the importance of that which has been inadequately studied. Our vitamin and mineral trials – much like our diet trials – are woefully inadequate. They are simply too hard to study. Thus, we are left with uncertainty. Instead of blanket rejection of concepts such as taking a daily multiple, we need instead to consider the pros and cons of any intervention. Only after careful deliberation should we weigh in. In this manner we can provide the considered advice our patients need and deserve.

For more information on nutritional supplements and magnesium please visit:

VitalRemedy.com and FPIM.org

Heart Month: Looking Back on 2015 and Forward into 2016

February 1, 2016 cardiology, health, medication, medicine, News, prescription drugs, Uncategorized Comments Off on Heart Month: Looking Back on 2015 and Forward into 2016

woman jogging
by Seth J. Baum, MD

February is National Heart Month – a time of hope, jubilation and pride. Each year many of us write blogs or articles espousing the sentiments of optimism and accomplishment. We discuss all that has occurred and all that is promised to be. This year I must take a different tact. This year another aspect of healthcare deserves to share center stage. A Leviathan has emerged that threatens to strip us of the accomplishments so fiercely earned. I speak of a Kraken whose tentacles are pervasive and penetrating. This beast is none other than our Insurance Providers. To understand such an allegation, let’s examine a typical cardiovascular practice.

Great advances were made in 2015 – two new heart failure drugs, a cardiovascular disease-reducing diabetes medication, and the revolutionary lipid lowering drugs, the PCSK9 inhibitors all became available to better treat our patients’ ailments. Doctors were overjoyed with this panoply of novel and potentially life-saving additions to our armamentarium. And so we began to prescribe. That is what doctors do after all, identify and utilize what they consider to be beneficial therapies for their patients. No financial remuneration is gained; it is solely the satisfaction of helping our patients that fuels physicians’ interest in novel treatments.

Many of us have spent decades endeavoring to understand the nuances of diseases and their remedies. So when we prescribed these cures and found our prescriptions repeatedly denied by clerks, nurses, and less well-informed physicians, shock and dismay engulfed us. Doctors have universally shared this experience across the nation. Everywhere insurance providers are demanding that we alter our treatments to suit their arbitrary and monetarily motivated formularies. Their requirements not only place enormous burdens upon physicians and their staff, but they also necessitate numerous prolonged medication trials that patients must endure before they can receive the optimal care their physicians have prescribed. Does this make sense? Medical education is demanding, long (10+ years after college), and extraordinarily complex. Additionally, no one can know your medical condition better than your physician. Should someone who has never seen you, never had the opportunity to speak with you or lay his or her hands on you, someone who lacks the skillset of your doctor, and an individual with an irrefutably vested financial interest in denying the prescriptions of your doctor be in a position to countermand your doctor’s orders? Clearly the answer is no, yet equally clearly this is precisely what takes place every day in every doctor’s office in America.

Prior discussions of “death panels” drew charges of paranoia, but are we now experiencing a subtler form of what we feared? To many of us in the know, this appears to be the case. So what are we to do? On one hand medical science is advancing at a spectacular rate. On the other, the successes of science are being withheld from the very patients for whom they were designed to help. The only solution as I see it is for patients and physicians to unite and demand complete transparency from the insurers. We must hold the insurance providers and their physician emissaries accountable for their actions. When they influence your care and countermand the orders of your personal physician, they are in reality acting as your doctor. Should their management fail and you suffer an adverse outcome, they need to have their feet held to the fire. They are culpable and must be recognized as such. So this Heart Month while we celebrate our wonderful scientific successes, let’s also band together to ensure that we can reap the rewards of the efforts of dedicated and forward thinking researchers. After all, medical advances as amazing as they are have no value if they are withheld from people who need them.

For more related news and information please visit: VitalRemedy.com and FPIM.org