In recent decades, American use of prescription drugs has skyrocketed, to the point where Americans now take ten times as many prescriptions as we did in the 1950s. But while these medications can seem like a miracle, the way in which both the medical establishment and consumers use them has serious flaws—and serious consequences. As Dr. Andrew Weil lays out in his latest book, MIND OVER MEDS: Know When Drugs Are Necessary, When Alternatives Are Better, and When to Let Your Body Heal on Its Own (Little, Brown; April 2017), medications are only one tool healthcare providers have to treat patients; it’s time they take advantage of the others as well.

At a time when roughly half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug and two-thirds of doctor’s appointments involve drug therapy, Mind Over Meds challenges the assumption that medication is always the best way to treat illness. In a rigorous approach suitable for both patients and physicians, Weil lays out the problems with the way drugs are developed, marketed, prescribed, and consumed and offers alternatives, including diet and lifestyle changes, botanical remedies, traditional medical practices such as acupuncture, and mind-body medicine.

After all, Weil points out, when drugs are tested, their effectiveness is measured against a placebo, not against other therapies—lifestyle changes in particular.

In this volume, Weil tackles a wide array of pressing topics, including:

  • Antibiotic resistance and “superbugs”
  • The dangers of drugs used to treat common conditions from diabetes to insomnia
  • The ways that both children and the elderly are dangerously overmedicated
  • The trouble with “Big Pharma”
  • How doctors should be better trained in nondrug treatments 

Prescription drugs are an important tool for doctors to use in treating and preventing disease, but too often the medical establishment acts as though they are its only tool. There are times when drugs really are the right course—and there are times when other options are simply better medicine. As Weil lays out, an integrative approach is one that would benefit us all.

Andrew Weil, MD, is the author of fourteen previous books, including Spontaneous Healing and Healthy Aging. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, he is a professor of public health, clinical professor of medicine, and the Lovell-Jones Professor of Integrative Rheumatology at the University of Arizona as well as director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.

He is also editorial director of, the leading resource for healthy living based on the philosophy of integrative medicine. He authors the popular Self-Healing newsletter and columns for Prevention magazine and is a frequent guest on numerous national talk shows. He lives in Arizona.


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Show Highlights:

-First rule of detox is to stop putting the toxins in. Then the body can clear them out.

-Concern with prescription and nonprescription medications as well.

-Doctors getting tired of being pill pushers; want other solutions. Difficult with standard of care.

-Had 30 minutes of nutrition training in medical school. Taught to give prescriptions.

-High blood pressure. Monitor first, try lifestyle modification. Then may need a med, but use the lowest dose of med possible.

-His book discusses most commonly overprescribed drugs, including statins, antibiotics, psychiatric drugs, sleep aids.

-Half of people having a first heart attack have normal cholesterol. Atherosclerosis is a lifestyle-driven disease.

-Antibiotics needed only 10% of time. Overuse is causing evolution of resistant micromes.

-Effects of growth hormones in meats. Hormonally driven cancers.

-Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Take with black pepper for body-wide effect. Anti-inflammatory diet on his website.

-Antacids. Tums are safe, proton pumps aren’t. Can’t get off them, get an outpouring of acid. Dementia risk. What in diet is causing GERD? Stress? Lifestyle? DGL coats stomach. Taking betaine HCL can be useful.

-Taking zeolites for detox. Probably safe, effective? Sweating, breathing, liver is a powderful detoxifier. Milk thistle helps. Stop intake of toxins.

-Are grains a problems for humans? It’s what we’ve done with them. Milling into flour converts seed into a starch with infinite surface area, digests quickly, raises blood sugar, drives obesity. No difference between most whole wheat and white bread. Whole or cracked grain in moderation are okay.

-Fan of fermented foods. Better than probiotic supplements. Avoid refined, processed, and manufactured foods. If taking antibiotic, taking a probiotic concurrently. Likes lactobacillus GG.

-Listener says everything the government is involved in gets turned upside down.

-The main business of the physician is to distract the patient while trying to heal the condition.

-People in other countries seem to be much more concerned about GMOs than here.


Dr. Andew Weil M.D. and mind over meds, with ideas on staying out of the medical matrix, May 16, 2017