I saw a commercial on TV last night for Linzess and was shocked and angered. Not that I don’t sympathize for people who are suffering with constipation, irritable bowel syndrome or any other digestive issues but because THIS is exactly the problem that I am passionate about addressing. In fact, it is my mission and calling.
While there are people who have serious stomach issues and need a medical solution, the problem I have with this commercial for Linzess is that it is targeted to people suffering from symptoms that are most commonly related to Gluten Intolerance. Bloating, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain. Anyone with these symptoms watching this commercial will likely take interest in this quick and easy approach – anything to fix these painful issues.
So if these TV watchers call their doctor, they will likely receive a prescription for this hot new drug*. No doubt, the doctor will gladly accept the kudos and dollars that come from the pharmaceutical company each time he or she writes a prescription for this drug.
As for the patient, they take the pill as directed. While some may find relief, they may also get much more than they planned. Below is a list of possible side effects from this drug as listed on the Linzess website:
REALLY look at this list and ask yourself, why would anyone take this drug if ANY of these side effects are even possible?
The answer is because your symptoms are affecting your life and YOU TRUST YOUR DOCTOR that he or she knows best what to do.
The first part of this answer is true. These symptoms can and often do affect your life, your work and your family. The second part is completely false. Many traditional doctors do not know best when it comes to how food affects your body and your brain. They either do not or are not allowed to practice holistic medicine. When it comes to their knowledge of how food affects the body, their recommendations are usually to eat more fruit and vegetables and to follow the decades old food pyramid we learned as kids in school. While this seems like good advice, following it without a further discussion as to WHAT KIND of food to eat will, no doubt load up their patient with foods laced with gluten, GMOs and other foods that are LINKED to the very symptoms that the patient is suffering from.
Below is a graphic that is on the Linzess website talking about the symptoms that this drug is supposed to ease.
Here is a graphic that shows the more common symptoms of Gluten Intolerance:
Notice the overlap?
Again, I want to be clear, there may be a real medical reason why the patient was feeling the way that they were that is not related to Gluten Intolerance. However, the point I am trying to make is that by going to a traditional doctor, a patient may never know if their problems are caused by Gluten Intolerance and instead put on a “magic pill” that, at best, will only mask the problem that they are having. Furthermore, by being on a pill like Linzess, new problems could arise that are caused by the pharmaceutical “solution” – especially if you are on other medicines as this medication could cause serious drug interactions.
And what about younger people who are suffering from these symptoms? According to the Linzess website and commercial, this pill is not to be given to anyone under 6 and for people 6-18, they are advised against taking the drug because it has ‘not been proven safe’ for them. And if you are pregnant, which can cause some of these symptoms like constipation and irritable bowel, you are advised not to take this drug because it is not known if this drug will harm the baby.
Yet, the drug manufacturers and healthcare providers and drug marketers want to you take this pill because it is easier and more beneficial FOR THEM than to talk to patients about the food they eat. They won’t talk about how genetically modified food (GMOs), like most of the corn, most of the sugar and most of the wheat we eat is GMO,is linked to cancer and a host of behavioral and mood disorders. They won’t talk about how Gluten Sensitivity / Intolerance affects 1 in 6 people.
If they would only take the time to answer their patients’ health concerns instead of answering to the pharmaceutical companies, millions of people would feel better, think better and live happier lives.
If you are on Twitter, just search for #Linzess to read the comments from real people who have trusted their doctor to help them feel better to hear what patients think of this drug.
Before you listen to the slick advertising for the latest miracle cure and before you surrender to the doctor, consider the real possibility that your food is causing the problems that are affecting your life. Open up to the possibility that you might be sensitive or intolerant to gluten and making that one change could change your life without dangerous drug filled with side effects that lead to other problems.
It is my goal as a chef and someone who understands the relationship between the food we eat and how we feel. I know that the food we eat can cause our bodies to trigger an autoimmune response and symptoms like the ones that this drug is trying to eliminate.
Avoiding anything containing gluten for 7 days is the easiest way to see if you might have a gluten intolerance. If you show any signs of improvement in your symptoms, that is enough to dig deeper into your diet to see if your food is making you sick.
For more information on starting a gluten elimination diet or to get help determining which foods might be causing your symptoms, contact Chef Beau. We can help.