Many years ago, I was referred as “The fringe pharmacist” in town, I was rather amused and asked the person who came up with the name why fringe? Her response was “You don’t just talk about medications; you also talk about other things. You’re not a typical pharmacist.” The ‘other things’ she was alluding to were nutrition and lifestyle advice.

When I mention to others that I’m a pharmacist, most assume that they know what I do, what I know and don’t know. Pharmacists’ expertise is on drugs and we make recommendations based on patients’ clinical symptoms. This is not an unreasonable assumption. At university, we spent many hours for example on pharmacology, learning about the uses, effects and how the drugs work on the body.

Through my own journey, I feel like I have a different appreciation for food and nutrition. I see many similarities of nutrient with drugs, in terms of how it affects the body’s functionality. My view is nutrients provide the building blocks to make hormones and neurotransmitters (aka body’s chemical messengers). Although the effects of nutrients may be more subtle than drugs, they have profound impact on our health.

It is fascinating to me exploring what nutrients do on the chemical receptors where certain drugs bind to; what roles they play; the possible drug-nutrient interactions and drug induced nutrient depletion. It is intriguing and certainly keeps my curiosity alive. I see medicines, food, nutrients, and supplementations, all play integral roles in maintaining health.

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