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 Post subject: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:14 pm 
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I've been vegan for 21+ years. I've been quite sick these past few years (not life threatening, but uncomfortable and stressful) and am trying to get my health sorted out. My conventional doctor is no use, and I've started seeing a naturopath. While supportive and respectful of my veganism, she strongly advises that I try a medicine that is not-vegan. I started crying in her office while talking about this option. But I've been feeling so unwell that I am considering it, if only due to nothing else working. Have any of you been through something like this, and how have you handled this? We've tried herbal alternatives without success.

(I searched for a thread about this, but didn't see anything, though I am sure this topic has been covered before.)

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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:25 pm 
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If it's gonna help I take it. My veganism doesn't extend to suffering any more health problems than I have to.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:28 pm 
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When I've had to take non-vegan medicine I've done so. I think it sucks that pharmaceutical companies often put non-veg*n ingredients in, and when I've had the opportunity/choice I've worked with doctors and pharmacists to find vegan versions of e.g. painkillers and antidepressants, however when there's no alternative I would go with what is available.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:41 pm 
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dropscone wrote:
When I've had to take non-vegan medicine I've done so. I think it sucks that pharmaceutical companies often put non-veg*n ingredients in, and when I've had the opportunity/choice I've worked with doctors and pharmacists to find vegan versions of e.g. painkillers and antidepressants, however when there's no alternative I would go with what is available.


This. Once I waited too long hoping to find a vegan treatment, and it sucked. I ended up needing the non-vegan treatment for only a month, and tried to do it with as good an attitude as possible. My dr at the time was also a naturopath. I would love a vegan lobby for health care, but until the milk allergy people + the vegns outnumber everyone else, I don't think it will happen. :/ Which sucks, because I am already sensitive to animal products and being sick makes it worse.

What worked for me was my aunt saying a short term treatment done to protect your health is worth it so you can have many years of being a vegan activist to come. (We all know that there are bogus health claims about vegans, but if there is literally no other option because big pharma sucks? Yeah. )

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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:54 pm 
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Personally, I would take non-vegan medications if deemed medically necessary by an M.D. I would not take non-vegan medications prescribed by a naturopath.

I imagine my asthma medication is not vegan, but I need it to keep breathing, so I take it and don't feel bad about it. If a vegan alternative comes up, then I will definitely switch to that, but until then, I will stay alive/able to breathe properly.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:57 pm 
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I feel like it's an issue of doing the least harm/most good. It helps the animals most to keep you healthy and fighting the good fight, so I'd take the meds. Plus, it's not like there's an alternative, vegan option, right? Your choices seem pretty limited.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:01 pm 
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Honestly, I don't let myself worry too much about medications or medical supplies (I'm not sure what kind of medical supplies aren't vegan but I wouldn't deprive myself if it was necessary and there wasn't an alternative). It's hard for me to find a vegan version of the only OTC painkiller I'm not allergic to and I don't sweat it, I just don't use it frivolously.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:57 pm 
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jordanpattern wrote:
Personally, I would take non-vegan medications if deemed medically necessary by an M.D. I would not take non-vegan medications prescribed by a naturopath.


Yup, this is definitely how I feel. Unless somehow the medication really has the science behind it for helping my specific medically diagnosed ailment, then I wouldn't take it.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:22 pm 
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I had to be on non-vegan injectable anticoagulants for the better part of a year. Honestly it never really occurred to me to get upset about it. I had enough other, serious, life-threatening things to get upset about. If you need it, you need it. There's no point in beating yourself up or letting yourself get sick(er). However...

jordanpattern wrote:
Personally, I would take non-vegan medications if deemed medically necessary by an M.D. I would not take non-vegan medications prescribed by a naturopath.

I also agree 100% with this.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:25 pm 
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linanil wrote:
jordanpattern wrote:
Personally, I would take non-vegan medications if deemed medically necessary by an M.D. I would not take non-vegan medications prescribed by a naturopath.


Yup, this is definitely how I feel. Unless somehow the medication really has the science behind it for helping my specific medically diagnosed ailment, then I wouldn't take it.

Agreed.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:25 pm 
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amandabear wrote:
I had to be on non-vegan injectable anticoagulants for the better part of a year. Honestly it never really occurred to me to get upset about it. I had enough other, serious, life-threatening things to get upset about. If you need it, you need it. There's no point in beating yourself up or letting yourself get sick(er). However...

jordanpattern wrote:
Personally, I would take non-vegan medications if deemed medically necessary by an M.D. I would not take non-vegan medications prescribed by a naturopath.

I also agree 100% with this.


Yes on both quotes above. If you need it and it's a proven effective treatment, I don't think it makes sense to avoid it.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:41 pm 
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Is it pig thyroid that your naturopath wants you to take, instead of synthroid? I see that prescribed by naturopaths a lot because "it's natural." It actually has less consistent dosing so it's not preferred by most prescribers. So, if that's what your situation happened to be, then no, I would never take pig thyroid. I would definitely take a necessary med that had milk-based ingredients or whatever.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:01 am 
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mooo wrote:
Is it pig thyroid that your naturopath wants you to take, instead of synthroid? I see that prescribed by naturopaths a lot because "it's natural." It actually has less consistent dosing so it's not preferred by most prescribers. So, if that's what your situation happened to be, then no, I would never take pig thyroid. I would definitely take a necessary med that had milk-based ingredients or whatever.


This is it, except that it's cow, not pig, and it makes me sick thinking about it. I have been diagnosed as hypothyroid and exhausted adrenal gland, and I've felt so bad for so long and I'm just tired and don't know what to do. My conventional doctor won't help me, because my levels are right at the border of low. But I have all the symptoms and have for a long time. I'm taking a lot of herbs, and will keep trying this, but I absolutely do not want to take the cow thyroid. I'm not happy with my naturopath and have felt pressured into taking things I'm not sure about, so I'm going to look into someone else (Portland, any recommendations?). Thank you for your advice and affirmation.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:06 am 
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Butternut wrote:
amandabear wrote:
I had to be on non-vegan injectable anticoagulants for the better part of a year. Honestly it never really occurred to me to get upset about it. I had enough other, serious, life-threatening things to get upset about. If you need it, you need it. There's no point in beating yourself up or letting yourself get sick(er). However...

jordanpattern wrote:
Personally, I would take non-vegan medications if deemed medically necessary by an M.D. I would not take non-vegan medications prescribed by a naturopath.

I also agree 100% with this.


Yes on both quotes above. If you need it and it's a proven effective treatment, I don't think it makes sense to avoid it.


Yeah, alla this. I'd extend "MD" to any fully trained and licensed medical practitioner (DO, NP, even a PA, etc.). I wouldn't take anything because it's "natural" when there are more consistent and better studied remedies out there, because then you never know if it's working for you because it's actually working or it's simply a placebo effect, or if it's not working for you because it really doesn't work for you or because there wasn't any active compound in the thing you took anyway. It makes it really hard to make reasonable and informed medical decisions when you don't really know what you're getting (or when you're really getting nothing, as with homeopathy).

I don't consider any medicine approved by the FDA in this country to be vegan, really. It's all tested on animals and much of the time, it's got non-vegan fillers (lactose, gelatin, etc.) if not actually non-vegan ingredients. I still prefer to take proven remedies that are non-vegan over unproven ones with unknown associated risks. For over the counter stuff I'll make the effort to get the dry pills (which may contain lactose anyway) over the gelatin capsules, although that's sometimes impossible to find. We live in the world we live in, so it seems like we should cope as best we can while working to change the nature of that world.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:22 am 
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molasses jane wrote:
mooo wrote:
Is it pig thyroid that your naturopath wants you to take, instead of synthroid? I see that prescribed by naturopaths a lot because "it's natural." It actually has less consistent dosing so it's not preferred by most prescribers. So, if that's what your situation happened to be, then no, I would never take pig thyroid. I would definitely take a necessary med that had milk-based ingredients or whatever.


This is it, except that it's cow, not pig, and it makes me sick thinking about it. I have been diagnosed as hypothyroid and exhausted adrenal gland, and I've felt so bad for so long and I'm just tired and don't know what to do. My conventional doctor won't help me, because my levels are right at the border of low. But I have all the symptoms and have for a long time. I'm taking a lot of herbs, and will keep trying this, but I absolutely do not want to take the cow thyroid. I'm not happy with my naturopath and have felt pressured into taking things I'm not sure about, so I'm going to look into someone else (Portland, any recommendations?). Thank you for your advice and affirmation.


Have you seen an endocrinologist? That seems like the appropriate specialty to be seeking out if these are your issues. My understanding is that adrenal fatigue is a fad diagnosis, but its existence is not supported by any evidence. There is such a thing as adrenal insufficiency, usually caused by some other condition like Addison's, but it seems like an endocrinologist would be the right person to go to to see if that's really what's going on, and if it is, then you'd really want to be under the care of an expert in this particular area, rather than a naturopath.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:22 am 
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molasses jane wrote:
mooo wrote:
Is it pig thyroid that your naturopath wants you to take, instead of synthroid? I see that prescribed by naturopaths a lot because "it's natural." It actually has less consistent dosing so it's not preferred by most prescribers. So, if that's what your situation happened to be, then no, I would never take pig thyroid. I would definitely take a necessary med that had milk-based ingredients or whatever.


This is it, except that it's cow, not pig, and it makes me sick thinking about it. I have been diagnosed as hypothyroid and exhausted adrenal gland, and I've felt so bad for so long and I'm just tired and don't know what to do. My conventional doctor won't help me, because my levels are right at the border of low. But I have all the symptoms and have for a long time. I'm taking a lot of herbs, and will keep trying this, but I absolutely do not want to take the cow thyroid. I'm not happy with my naturopath and have felt pressured into taking things I'm not sure about, so I'm going to look into someone else (Portland, any recommendations?). Thank you for your advice and affirmation.


Have you tried a second opinion from another doctor? Is your doctor an endocrinologist? If not, I'd make sure that is what you see. Also, it sounds like things you are tested for are 'within limits', it might be something else entirely that your current doctor didn't look for.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:14 pm 
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Molasses Jane, there are so many vegan doctors and even vegan naturopaths in Portland! There is a list floating around in various places; below is an excerpt. There's also an adrenal support facebook page that was started by a local vegan, but I can't seem to find it at the moment (I'll keep looking.) If you want to stick with naturopthy, Dr. John Collins is wonderful - he and his wife also run Out to Pasture Animal Sanctuary. Or if by chance you get medical through Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Craig McDougall (John McDougall's son) practices with them. He is rather new here and not on the list below.

Wendy Abraham, ND
5125 SW Macadam Ave, # 210
Portland, OR 97239
503-684-9698
http://www.naturalpainsolutionsportland ... y-abraham/

Kathy Alvarez, MD. PCP
Cedar Hills Office Park (1815 SW Marlow).
http://www.partnersinwellnessswpdx.com/

John G. Collins, ND, DHANP
2907 NE Weidler St. Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503-493-9155
Fax: 503-493-1578
kit@johncollinsnd.com
http://www.johncollinsnd.com/

Dr. Ed Gibbs, Naturopathy, Chiropractic, and Chinese Medicine
Treats chronic disease as well as everyday aches and pains, specializing in natural Lyme disease treatment, homeopathy, herbal remedies, and more.
LifeQual Center
1975 NW 167th Place,
Beaverton, OR 97006
info@lifequalcenter.com
503-531-9355

Dr. Richard Heitsch
Integrated Medicine Group
163 NE 102nd Ave, Building V
(503) 257-3327

Dr Sara Love, ND
Portland Hills, Mind and Body
sara.love.nd@gmail.com
503-708-6781
http://www.portlandhills.com/servicescl ... ovend.html

Dr Joanna May, ND
Good Life Medicine Center
827 NE Alberta St
Portland, Oregon 97211
503.477.6670
http://www.facebook.com/JoannaKMayNd
http://goodlifepdx.com/joanna-k-may-nd

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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:34 pm 
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I kind of feel that if there is no vegan alternative, it's not worth risking my health. Veganism is about doing your best, not about being perfect.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:51 pm 
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Ariann wrote:
Have you seen an endocrinologist? That seems like the appropriate specialty to be seeking out if these are your issues. My understanding is that adrenal fatigue is a fad diagnosis, but its existence is not supported by any evidence. There is such a thing as adrenal insufficiency, usually caused by some other condition like Addison's, but it seems like an endocrinologist would be the right person to go to to see if that's really what's going on, and if it is, then you'd really want to be under the care of an expert in this particular area, rather than a naturopath.


This! I'd be extremely wary of taking alternative treatments for thyroid, you can fork that shiitake up and make things a lot worse. And yes, while I'll take the gelatine if I have to, I'd be squicked out by your proposed treatment too.

Sorry you're having so much trouble, I do hope you can find an endocrinologist who can help xx


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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:14 pm 
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Have you asked your doctor about taking Cytomel (T3 hormone) in addition to Synthroid (T4 hormone)? My understanding is that natural thyroid medications contain not just T4, but T3 as well, and some people think it's important for hypothyroid patients to get both hormones.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:58 pm 
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Ariann wrote:

I don't consider any medicine approved by the FDA in this country to be vegan, really. It's all tested on animals and much of the time, it's got non-vegan fillers (lactose, gelatin, etc.) if not actually non-vegan ingredients. I still prefer to take proven remedies that are non-vegan over unproven ones with unknown associated risks. For over the counter stuff I'll make the effort to get the dry pills (which may contain lactose anyway) over the gelatin capsules, although that's sometimes impossible to find. We live in the world we live in, so it seems like we should cope as best we can while working to change the nature of that world.


I completely agree with all of this.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:04 am 
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Definitely see an endo if you haven't yet. Endos are treating hypothyroidism a lot more aggressively than they used to, and a lot of GPs haven't caught up. It could be that what your GP sees as borderline, an endo will see as too low.

I hope you feel better soon. It's exhausting (literally) to be hypo.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:16 am 
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Nebraskalaska wrote:
Ariann wrote:

I don't consider any medicine approved by the FDA in this country to be vegan, really. It's all tested on animals and much of the time, it's got non-vegan fillers (lactose, gelatin, etc.) if not actually non-vegan ingredients. I still prefer to take proven remedies that are non-vegan over unproven ones with unknown associated risks. For over the counter stuff I'll make the effort to get the dry pills (which may contain lactose anyway) over the gelatin capsules, although that's sometimes impossible to find. We live in the world we live in, so it seems like we should cope as best we can while working to change the nature of that world.


I completely agree with all of this.


I third. The only thing that I make sure is vegan is vitamins, because we have plenty of those available to us without gelatin or allergens. Beyond that, I take allergy medicine and use topical creams for my shoulder pain, and aspirin products when I have a headache.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:47 pm 
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Thank you everyone for your help and advice and opinions. Your responses have helped me make my decision to not to keep working with the naturopath I was trying. We've had four visits, and she keeps pressing cow thyroid meds on me, and I have been clear that I'm not comfortable with that, but she thinks they are the best option and just keeps pressing. Jill, your list is terrific. Thank you. I also got in touch with my conventional doctor through my insurance, and we're going to have a consult about referring me to an endocrinologist. I've had very low, just on the border of what technically qualifies as hypo, thyroid levels for years, and recently have been feeling much worse, so want to get this sorted out. The naturopath sold me on adrenal fatigue due to my constant stress levels at work, but perhaps that's baloney. It sounded right based on what she was describing. We'll see.

Mostly, I'm just tired of feeling not well and want to feel better. And I'd like a doctor who listens to me and can help me figure out what's up. I wish our medical system were better set up for exploration and listening.

Much gratitude to you all.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegans and non-vegan medical treatments
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 2:46 pm 
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Is there a non-shiitake mushroom source for Lentinan?
I know there are shiitake supplement pills, but even the thought of mushrooms makes me want to ralph.

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