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Medications work in different ways:

  • Replacing chemical deficiencies - like hormones or Insulin
  • Interfering with cell function - like painkillers
  • Medications that act against invading 

Even with the increased knowledge, scientists are still unsure, but loosely speaking, we can break it down into three categories, the first category being those that replace chemical deficiencies. These would include vitamin supplements, insulin and hormones. Chemical deficiencies. This is where the body is unable to make its own chemical requirements, so we would give these artificially. The downside of giving artificial supplements is that it can reduce the body's ability to make its own in the future. Often, a good way to provide extra supplements is through diet. Many foods contain all the supplements that we need in a healthy balanced diet.

The second category is interfering with cell function. This group would include painkillers. Painkillers work by blocking the transmission of messages through the nervous system. As the action of this medication cannot be confined to one area, there are some negative sides with taking painkillers. It can mask other symptoms, it can also cause other problems, such as slowing heart rate down. These can be taken in the short term, but if a problem persists, you really need to speak to the GP.

The third category looks at medications acting against invading organisms and abnormal cells. This would include fungal treatments, antibiotics and cancer treatment. The downside of this type of medication is that medications attacking cells can also attack healthy cells. Also, with regard to antibiotics, if you were to give an antibiotic for the wrong type of infection, it would have no effect. For example, if we were giving antibiotics for a viral infection, it wouldn't do anything. But taking antibiotics when they're not needed will increase the risk that they won't work in the future.