Tag Archives: vitamins

Dr. M’s Women and Children First Podcast – Putting It All Together #2

This week on the show, I sit down to put the recent four maternal/child health podcasts into perspective. How are these four experts tied together? We, again, examine the basic underpinnings of maternal health risks through the eyes of these thought leaders in preparation for the next series of discussions. Laying important foundations to build our health literacy upon, is critical in my mind. This show is also a way for the folks that are “on the go” to get a summary of the podcasts for their benefit.


Dr. M

Dr. M’s Women and Children First Podcast #12 – Lily Nichols, Nutrition and Pregnancy

Lily Nichols and I had a lovely discussion on maternal nutrition for podcast episode #12.
Lily Nichols is a registered dietician and a seeker of best practices in nutrition based on cutting edge science and not American Diatetic Association dogma. She is thoughtful and dedicated to helping mothers and mother’s to be navigate the crazy world of food and health.
Her website states:
Standard prenatal nutrition advice is due for an overhaul. Evidence is mounting that real food offers optimal nourishment for mamas and babies.
This statement encapsulates everything that I believe in. We need change around our relationship to food and health and there is no more important place to start than with mom.
I hope that you enjoy my conversation with Lily Nichols,
Dr. M

Do You Believe in Magic, by Paul Offit M.D. (Book Review Pedcast)

Help support DocSmo.com by buying this reviewed book using this affiliate link. You get Amazon’s best price and DocSmo.com earns a small affiliate marketing fee.  Thank you.

Do You Believe in Magic?: Vitamins, Supplements, and All Things Natural: A Look Behind the Curtain


Welcome to the DocSmo.com pediatric blog. I am your host, Dr. Paul Smolen, a practicing pediatrician and founder of the docsmo blog. Thank you for joining me today. Today, I am going to review an interesting book written by a well known pediatrician and vaccine expert, who authored  a book that analyses the alternative medicine  and supplement practices in the U.S..

Dr. Paul Offit, the author of Do You Believe in Magic, is a pediatrician and effective advocate for children’s health. He is a hero to many practicing pediatricians because he has been such an effective advocate for vaccines.  In fact, he is probably the most influential advocate doctors have to promote vaccines.  After reading Do you believe in Magic, I can now see why his foes in the anti-vaccine movement dislike him so intensely.  He does not mince words when he decides to criticize practices he does not approve of.  In Do You Believe in Magic, Dr. Offit challenges the biggest names in alternative medicine and politics, with biting pointed criticism of what he sees as mostly quackery and snake oil sales.


The foundation of  Dr. Offit’s book is his faith in the scientific method.  For Dr. Offit, a therapy is only effective if there is good scientific evidence of effectiveness.  Much of the alternative medicine world has no peer-reviewed scientific support and therefore, according to Dr. Offit, is useless …or worse.  Unfortunately, the world is not always so black and white.  Dr. Offit is very good at pointing out instances when reliance on alternative therapies have done great harm to patients, especially when treating famous patients like Steve McQueen and Steve Jobs, but he seems to give conventional medicine a pass on poor science that inflates the effectiveness and minimizes the side effects of western medicinal practices.


Do you Believe in Magic brings a strong point of view to the discussion of alternative versus modern medicine.  Since the majority of people in the U.S. now consume alternative therapies, be they herbs, vitamins, supplements, physical manipulations like chiropractry, or acupuncture, Dr. Offit has started an important discussion.  Even though his title claims to be a balanced look at alternative and complementary medicine, his blunt criticism and visceral tone are anything but balanced.  Magical theories of disease, unproven therapies, false hopes of cure that delay or prevent effective therapy can certainly do great harm as Dr. Offit is quick to point out.  On the other hand, emphasizing better nutrition, stress reduction, improved sleep, the healing power of exercise and meditation are good things that alternative medicine brings to the discussion and can provide healing where pills cannot.  Just because no one has done a double blind, placebo controlled study to prove that the child eating his or her salad everyday improves his or her health doesn’t mean that the salad can’t be helpful to their health. As parents are faced with ever increasing limitations on their healthcare spending, making wise use of these healthcare dollars is increasingly important. For those parets interested in healthcare policy and debates, Dr. Offit’s book is an interesting read. For those parents looking for practical advice and information about pediatrics, you need to look elsewhere. I give Dr. Offit’s latest book 3.5 out of 5 Doc Smo stars.


Thanks for joining me today. I hope you take a few minutes to explore the hundreds of interesting posts and articles I have on my blog, www.docsmo.com.  Until next time.



From the desk of Doc Smo: Dietary supplements improve health? (Article)

The news had not been kind to the vitamin and nutrition supplement makes recently.  Many have heard of the conclusion of the Iowa Women’s Health study which found that supplemental vitamins and iron were not only not helpful to the health of older women, but they may actually be detrimental. Death from all causes were higher among the women who took supplements that those that did not. large epidemiologic studies have found that eating the whole fruits and vegetables does improve health.

On the heels of this study comes on in the British medical journal that found eating fish 2 or more times a week reduced ones chances of stroke but taking fish oil supplement did not show the same benefit. Once again, supplements seem not to be effective in preventing disease whereas the natural whole food is effective.  I think the message is clear from these studies: nutrients work in concert with one another, probably optimally in the balance that are found in whole food. Nutrients work in concert with one another, much like a symphony of musicians. For an orchestra to sound right, all the instruments need to be in balance, playing together in synchrony. Our cells are much the same, needing a steady diet of all the nutrients that are found in the whole foods that we know are essential to health. Improving your child’s health by finding just the right mixture of vitamins and nutrients is probably not going to happen.  Providing them with  a wide variety of whole foods and limiting or eliminating entirely processed foods is your child’s ticket to good health, now and in the future.

Your comments are welcome at www.docsmo.com.  Until next time.


Smo notes: