SIDE EFFECTS SUCK, BUT VAGUE PROMISES AND HOLISTIC MEDICINE CAN SUCK WORSE
Side effects, they are a part of life. On the prescription side of the pharmaceutical industry, the side effects take days to list and read. If a drug actually works, it will carry (sometimes many) risks as well as benefits. This is the reason that FDA approved drugs carry labels listing their side effects. But vague wellness treatments rarely have any such thing. As a rule of thumb, something that claims benefits without any downsides or risks is probably lying or the product will have little to no effect on your ailment.
PROPONENTS CLAIMS FALL SHORT, MIGHT KILL BABIES AND TODDLERS
The proponents of these claim that there are no side effects to homeopathic treatments, so that makes them totally safe. But actually, a number of homeopathic products have turned out to contain serious amounts of odd active ingredient, enough to kill babies and toddlers in some cases. Muscle building supplements have a similar problem: many of them do nothing at all, but a few contain undisclosed stimulants or hormones or just caffeine drugs.
One presenter at the Goop summit had a theory about health products, Goop summit endorsed products are overhyped and often useless or harmful. She ran her finger down the lists of ingredients and benefits on products, telling me what they were and were not good for. Your body takes what it needs and leaves the rest, was the just of the point.
On the other hand, every time my kids get vaccines at their checkups, I get an information sheet to take home that goes into just a little too much detail about all the terrible but very rare things that could happen. Even without the sheet I know that the shot will leave my older kid’s arm sore, and might make the baby cranky or even feverish for the rest of the day. I get them shots because the benefits outweigh the risks.
REAL DRUGS, THEY SUCK TOO, BUT THEY WORK AND ARE PROVEN
Real drugs and treatments aren’t necessarily dangerous, of course. Sometimes the side effects are minor, like the aforementioned sore arm. Other times there is a risk that is rare or that only affects people with certain other conditions. For example, over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol and ibuprofen have minor risks. We still take them. But you can read all about them on the box. These drugs are worthwhile in spite of their side effects, for most people most of the time. Only a few real treatments have zero side effects: vitamin C, perhaps, so long as you take a normal sized dose. If someone tries to sell you something with zero risks and zero side effects, they’re either lying or they’re selling something useless.