A leader in natural medicine tells County Council of better treatments

by Arthur C. Gorlick

Seattle Post-Intelligencer


A nationally known natural medicine guru told a Metropolitan King County Council committee yesterday that many ailments can be treated much better and at less expense than by conventional treatments.

Alan Gaby, a Baltimore physician and author of several books who has appeared on national television talk shows, said many ailments can be treated by eliminating sugar, caffeine and alcohol from the diet and by adding magnesium, zinc, vitamins or other alternative remedies.

Councilman Kent Pullen, chairman of the Law, Justice and Human Services Committee, said information from the hearing will be used in considering whether to expand services of the county's Natural Medicine Clinic in Kent, the nation's first public clinic devoted to natural medicine techniques.

Also … one of the examples Gaby talked about was treatment for acute myocardial infarction, or heart attack. It is treated conventionally with drugs that cost up to $2,300 per dose, for a national annual cost of $500 million to $1 billion, he said.

But studies show that intravenous injections of magnesium, at about $5 per dose, reduce the death rate from heart attacks "as much as or more than (the more expensive drugs) and (have) fewer side effects."

Farming and food processing techniques have reduced the amount of magnesium in the American diet, Gaby added, and there is a national "epidemic of magnesium deficiency."

Reports on many of the alternative medicine techniques that he recommends have been studied for hundreds of years, reported in respected medical journals, "but ignored" for decades, he said.

"My purpose is not criticize conventional medicine," Gaby added.

Health care professionals should not feel threatened by techniques of alternative medicine because many treatments have to be administered or supervised by professionals, he said."But the health industry will be threatened," he said.

An audience of about 50, many of them advocates for alternative health care, heard Gaby tell council members that:

In response to questions from Harborview's Manthey, Gaby said natural medicine could be used effectively in the hospital's renowned trauma center.Vitamin C is effective in treating hemorrhagic shock, he said, because it "promotes the healing of burns." The county's Alternative Medicine Clinic opened October 21 on Kent's Central Avenue and offers herbal treatments and acupuncture, as well as orthodox remedies including antibiotics. "It's been extremely well-received," said Nancy Weaver, King County natural medicine coordinator. " It is a very popular place for a lot of people."