Short Quiz: Medical Myths — Fact or Fiction?

by Connie Hernandez, N.D.

Have you heard the following medical myths repeated as fact?

Myth“Dairy is the best and necessary way to strengthen bones and prevent fractures.” 

Fact: That’s the dairy council speaking! And while it’s true that calcium is necessary for bone health, sardines, leafy greens and beans and tahini all contain calcium, some in more absorbable forms than milk. Calcium works in concert with magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K to build strong, flexible bones, and many nuts have very close to the ideal 1:1 combination of calcium and magnesium. In fact, many vegans who avoid dairy products entirely have strong bones.

Myth: Orange juice fights colds and flus. 

Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND

Fact: While it’s true that a glass of OJ contains immune-boosting Vitamin C, it’s also full of sugar that depresses the immune system – not a good idea when you’re fighting a cold. Oranges are also a common allergen that can increase inflammation and cause mucus, as many singers will attest.

Myth: Fevers should be suppressed with medication. 

Fact: Mothers naturally worry when their child spikes a fever. And, though it’s definitely true that very high fevers are a legitimate cause for concern since they may signal a major illness, and may have consequences such as febrile seizures in small children, fever is actually a sign that the immune system is doing its job. Microbes don’t like high temperatures – it’s why spending time in an infrared sauna can often bake the microbes that are keeping you sick. While Dr. Marcel and I were training at Bastyr University, we regularly used fever treatments to chase away viral infections.

Myth: The best way to protect your skin when you’re out in the sun is to slather on sun screen. 

Fact: With few exceptions, sun screen is full of toxic ingredients that are never good for you or your skin. A far better approach to sun protection is wearing sun-blocking hats and clothing and staying out of the noonday sun. Reasonable exposure to sunlight helps your body manufacture vitamin D. And while it’s true that too much exposure to the sun can be a factor in the development of melanomas, too-low vitamin D levels are also correlated with melanoma.

Myth: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” 

Fact: Utter nonsense if taken literally. Today’s commercial apples are among the pesticide “dirty dozen” – they definitively are not good for you. Also, almost any food when taken daily can produce sensitivity. Of course, consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables is definitely health-promoting!

Myth: Cholesterol in the diet is the main cause of high cholesterol. 

Fact: False! For starters, some people absorb more cholesterol from their diet than others. Besides, did you know that the body actually produces cholesterol? Cholesterol levels can also be affected by liver and thyroid function, or by genetic factors. It’s important to recognize that a diet that’s loaded with sugar and bad fats will impact the type and levels of cholesterol in your body, and not in a good way. So – swapping your breakfast egg for pancakes or white toast with butter and jam is a lot worse for your body than an occasional veggie omelet.

Finally, contrary to what your doctor may have told you, you most definitively ARE what you eat. And what you eat will inevitably affect your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. 

Learn about Dr. Connie’s work HERE.