Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Wind is my Drug - defining health factors

The wind is my drug.
When it blows in the spring, I stand still, smell freshness and growth.
The wind is my drug.
In autumn, it brings colours and odors of harvest.
The wind is my drug.
Winter freshness bites my nostrils, invigorating me.
 In summer it's cool relief.
The wind is my drug.

I checked the USFDA definition of a drug, and it's true - the wind qualifies. It says
"(g)(1) The term "drug" means ... and (C) articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals; and (D) articles intended for use as a component of any article specified in clause (A), (B), or (C). ..."

The full, tedious, 266 word official FDA definition of a drug can be found at USFDA Regulations SEC. 201. [21 U.S.C. 321] CHAPTER II—DEFINITIONS 1

Some might argue that the wind is not 'intended to affect...' - but when I climb up a hill to feel and smell the wind, my intentions are clear. I want my fix.

Maybe it's a good thing the wind keeps moving, so it can't be patented and bottled, or I am certain some large corporation would try to corner the market.

There are many different definitions for drugs, foods, supplements, herbs, etc. Each definition is created with an objective and intent. The USFDA definition of a drug is a definition designed for commerce and trade. It is specifically not designed for health - and makes no reference to health. Something that makes your legs fall off qualifies as a drug.  By the FDA definition, all poisons are drugs.  Maybe that's not so silly after all.

We need definitions designed for health. For Personal Health Freedom. With definitions designed for health, we can use the definitions to improve our health on a personal basis, and in our communities.

Maybe the World Health Organization (WHO) has a more healthful definition of 'drug'? They do not. Their web link for 'drug' simply says "see Essential medicines see Pharmaceutical products". Essential Medicines are defined as "... those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population". eg. Not related to health improvement of 'non-priority health care needs'. And pharmaceutical products are defined as "... more commonly known as medicines or drugs – are a fundamental component of both modern and traditional medicine." Again, nothing about health. "WHO is not on first" when it comes to health - to misquote Abbott and Costello.

Webster's dictionary gives many definitions for 'drug', and we can choose one best suited Personal Health Freedom - and then enhance it to our objectives.

Drug: "a substance other than food intended to affect the structure or function of the body:.

Excellent. This definition clearly separates drugs from food. But we haven't defined 'food' yet - and once we do, we may need to define the 'wide gray area' between food and drugs. At first guess you might think this wide gray is called 'nutritional supplements'.  It is much wider, and has many more shades of gray than that.

What is food? Webster's defines food. We can start there, by choosing one of the definitions.

Food: " material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy; also : such food together with supplementary substances (as minerals, vitamins, and condiments)"

It's a bit messy, but it's a start. We need simple, clear definitions that work for our health. The USFDA needs complex legal definitions for use in regulations.

But maybe we need to create a new word?  We could define p-drugs (the p being silent of course) to distinguish pharmaceutical  drugs from recreational drugs.  But I'm not certain if my wind is an p-drug, or a recreational drug.  It depends maybe, on my intent :-)

In simple terms, we can say that:

a) Foods are things we need to consume to maintain health and growth.
b) P-drugs are things we create or design to have a positive effect on health or illness. Drugs might be consumed (eaten), injected, applied as a topical, or inserted into an orifice of the body.
c) Drugs are not foods. Foods are not drugs.

With those simplified definitions, we can view the world of health and medicine with fresh eyes.

Is Vitamin C a drug or a food?
Did we create vitamin C? No.
Is Vitamin C required to maintain health and growth? Yes.
It's food. It's not a drug.

That was simple. How about something more complicated.

Is fruit salad a drug or a food?
Did we create fruit salad? Yes.
Is fruit salad required to maintain health and growth? Yes, the primary purpose of fruit salad is to provide nutrients to the body.
It's a food.

P-drugs are not just designed, they are patented. They are 'chemical creations'. In the past, a p-drug might be 'extract of this wonderful mushroom', or 'eye of newt'. But not today. Mushroom extracts and newt eyes are foods. Not p-drugs. How and why? Because you cannot patent 'eye of newt', nor 'extract of mushroom'. To create a pharmaceutical p-drug, and patent it - you need to find the 'essential chemicals of your 'mushroom extract' and then create a synthetic version that can be patented. Then, the synthetic version can be proven to be 'pure' and 'fundamentally different and unique' from 'mushroom extract', but having the same 'mystical powers'.

Mushroom extract is a food. Chemicals that are designed based on mushroom extract are drugs. Ocean water extract is a food (sea salt). But NACL (salt) created in a factory is a chemical that is not a food and cannot be patented, so it is not a drug either.

If it is not patented, and was never patented, or is not eligible for patent protection - it is not a drug.

So, we can refine our simple definitions:

a) Foods are natural things we need to consume to maintain health and growth.
b) P-drugs are things we create or design and patent, to have a specific effect on illness. P-drugs might be consumed (eaten), injected, applied as a topical, or inserted into an orifice of the body.
c) P-drugs are not foods. Foods are not p-drugs.
d) some of the things we eat are not p-drugs, and not foods.

So maybe the wind isn't a drug?  But I don't care... I don't like to take drugs....
...the wind is my drug.
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: