”The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” — Thomas Edison

Over a lovely Italian lunch with our even lovelier wives before a recent Galveston Symphony, my friend Heber Taylor suggested writing an article about what I keep in my medicine cabinet. Heber was the editor of The Daily News who invited me to start writing this column a few years ago and has a keen nose for a good story. Heber’s suggestion made sense as I have long researched and practiced Integrative Medicine and sought to determine the proper role of dietary supplements and botanicals in promoting health and treating disease. We agreed that sharing my medicine cabinet contents might be helpful to readers.

Over the years, I have gradually decreased the pill count on my intake of supplements, herbs and vitamins. Along with many of my colleagues in the Integrative Medicine field, I have moved more to focus on diet as being central to good health rather than dietary supplements. Certainly, supplements have an important role in fostering wellness. I just have come to believe, and the science generally indicates, that they shouldn’t be the cornerstone of wellness.

Patients come to see me almost daily with a page-long list of supplements they have decided to take and to ask my opinion on them. Often, there are overlaps risking overdosing, the possibility of interactions with drugs, or just no credible evidence of their benefits. So, as gently as I can, I try to shave the list down saving them risks, money and uncertainty. I’ve noted too that “pill fatigue” sets in after the first 10 or so things to take.

So to my personal “medicine cabinet.”

First, I open my refrigerator. Of course, there are abundant leafy greens and other vegetables from Seeding Galveston and our local grocery stores. There is yogurt, kefir, fish, lean meats, healthful juices, high omega-3 eggs, whole grain breads, garlic, nuts, red wine, dried fruits and dark chocolate. Again, I think nutrition first as the foundation for a healthy life.

As for supplements, on the fridge shelf is Ultimate Omega by Nordic Natural, Jarro-Dophilus probiotics, as well as some Nordic Omega-3 Gummy Fish and Juice Plus for granddaughter Serenity.

Upstairs, next to the few medications I take, there is baby aspirin, CoEnzyme Q10 and a Bluebonnet multivitamin. Favorites as needed are Zyflamend for inflammation, joint pain and sports injuries, magnesium glycinate for muscle cramps, relaxation and sleep. I keep vitamins C and D and Ashwaganda on hand for boosting my immune system if I feel a cold coming on. Acetaminophen is there for aches and pains, plus Two Old Goats lotion. In the drawer are a few essential oils, tea tree, arnica, lavender and frankincense.

That’s my line-up. If you have some questions on your medicine cabinet choices, please schedule an appointment with any of our Integrative Medicine team in Family Medicine: Julie McKee, Kyu Jana, Karen Welch, Rob Slater, Dani Boyles or yours truly.

”Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” — Hippocrates

Dr. Victor S. Sierpina is the WD and Laura Nell Nicholson Family Professor of Integrative Medicine and Professor of Family Medicine at UTMB.

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