Monday, June 25, 2007

Blog Tour: The 24-Hour Pharmacist

You all know what a Google-chondriac I am. My struggle with migraine headaches, thyroid problems and depression is well documented here. Neither have I been shy about sharing my dismay at my fatigue and my ever-expanding ass. SD often teases me about my ardor for drugs, both prescription and OTC. The up side of this is that I really do research the medicines I take or consider taking or giving to my family. As such, I am considered by some of my friends as the "go-to" person for advice on many medical issues. I also have a very good friend, Mike, who has a PhD in Pharmacy and often call him when I have questions about pharmaceutical options.

When I found out from Mother Talk that I was going to get to review The 24-Hour Pharmacist by Suzy Cohen, R.Ph., I was very excited. Maybe this would give Mike a break from my weekly phone calls! When I opened the book, it wasn't what I expected. I'm not sure WHAT I expected, to tell you the truth. But what I found was even better than what I thought I would get in this book. Although if I would have just gone back and read the description that they gave me initially, perhaps I would have had a clue. (Having a clue is often an issue for me as regulars here can attest.)

"As a pharmacist for almost two decades, Suzy Cohen knows that medication can often be invaluable. But she has also learned to "think outside the pill" and recommend natural options that are often just as good or better at promoting health without the risk of dangerous, drug-induced side effects. In this comprehensive, one-of-a-kind resource, she answers such questions as: How can I stop my husband/wife from snoring? Are vitamin pills worth it or worthless? Are there alternatives to antidepressants? What kind of surge protection is there for hot flashes? How can I train my body to lose fat?"

Suzy Cohen is the author of the syndicated column Dear Pharmacist. A column I knew nothing about until now, but it may well become one of my favorites.

Like her column, The 24-Hour Pharmacist is just chock full of common sense. (Incidentally, another thing I seem to be deficient in many days) I suppose that I thought that the book would hold descriptions of different kinds of drugs, their uses and side effects. Instead it is actually a book that addresses the actual reasons behind common complaints such as depression, fatigue, lack of libido, and thyroid problems, among many. She explains, in a way that makes you say "Oooohhhh! Yeah!," how imbalances in certain nutrients and enzymes can lead to these medical problems and gives advice on how to go to the root of the problem and correct these imbalances.

One of the things that I found most interesting is that she identifies so-called "drug muggers," medicines that strip your cells of necessary nutrients and throw your body out of balance causing many common complaints and exacerbating existing conditions. She offers advice on how you can change your diet and add natural supplements in order to perhaps wean yourself off of some drugs AND what nutrients and dietary changes can counter-balance the drug-mugging effects of medications that you simply cannot stop taking. I was particularly interested in the suggestions to prevent and treat migraine headaches, as well as explanations of possible causes of them.

Cohen addresses all of this with a great sense of humor, which makes the book an enjoyable read. Girlfriend is one phunny pharmacist! Thus I read through the sections such as erectile dysfunction simply because I wanted to see what she had to say. She titles one section Viagra Excites Investors, Makes Profits Rise. Heh. I loves me a good double entendre. However, I must say that there was something that applied to my life in some way in almost every chapter.

Throughout the book, Cohen encourages readers to "think outside the pill." She also makes it clear throughout that nobody should stop taking any medications without first consulting his/her doctor. She also encourages readers to consult a doctor before trying some of the "natural" treatments. She gives many options for treatments for the conditions discussed and offers advice as to what order to try the remedies in as well as who should or shouldn't try certain ones. For example, did you know that id you aren't zinc deficient, that if you swab liquid zinc in your mouth, it will taste bitter and nasty. Other levels of nutrients and hormones aren't quite so easy to assess and Cohen recommends several labs who will test those levels for you without having to go through your doctor.

I am looking forward to going to the health food store and trying some of the remedies that Suzy Cohen suggested. Especially the ones for migraine and fatigue. Although, think that maybe she can help my inability to catch a clue as well, in the section where she addresses "brain fog." I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to all my fellow hypochondriacs. I'm certain that you will enjoy it as much as I have!

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