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Food is medicine claims a local pharmacist

By Staff | Jan 26, 2017

BARB BARRETT/The Luminary Betsy Waddell who lives in Muncy is a practicing licensed pharmacist and also accredited in Nutritional Functional Medicine at Montgomery Pharmacy located inside TJ's Market in Hughesville. "Food is my drug and medicine is food," she says.

HUGHESVILLE – Those who use Montgomery Pharmacy at TJ’s Market in Hughesville will get a double dose of medical knowledge and advice. Not only does head pharmacist, Betsy Waddell help customers with their medical prescriptions, but she is also very knowledgeable with supplements, providing accurate information and safety for the products they carry. Not only is Waddell a registered and licensed pharmacist, but she is also certified in nutritional functional medicine.

Since 1983 Waddell has been working as a pharmacist, loving it from the very beginning, she said.

With degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, Waddell met her husband, Dennis and came to Muncy in ’87 to live. At the time his family owned a small factory in Williamsport and Betsy got her first pharmaceutical position working for the late Pauline Montgomery, a well known pharmacist in the tri-town area. Betsy also spent nine years working as a pharmacist at Ben Franklin pharmacy, Riverwoods and the Susquehanna Health Pharmacy before settling at TJ’s pharmacy, currently owned by Tom Montgomery also a pharmacist and Pauline’s son.

“We found a place in Muncy to live and we really like the area,” Waddell said. “It was a great place to raise my three boys.” She has no regrets as all three became successful after graduating from Muncy High School. One is a math teacher, one a business major and the third is a pharmacist at Sam’s Club. Dennis teaches at Williamsport Area School District where he was awarded teacher of the year in 2016.

Working as a pharmacist, Betsy said she was alarmed at the number of her customers who were not well. “I see what I see – people not getting well,” she replied. “I wanted to know more and find out the sources of their problems.” She said the statistics were terrible for autoimmune diseases, gut problems and poor cardiovascular health. “What can I do?” she asked herself, “And how can I help my customers avoid the doctor.”

She realized that good nutrition is essential to good health and explored the various food supplements available to build the immunity system while claiming that poor nutritional foods can “overtax our bodies.”

She added, “I know what systems are going to work. Wheat is now toxic to many,” and she recommends probiotics for poor gut health. She sees inflammation as being a common problem for many.

“A doctor once said to me, ‘If I give you a baggie full of watch pieces, does that make a watch?’ You need all the gears working together, not clogged, to work well.”

Waddell claims the good nutrients are in real foods. “I’m the face of everyone, the typical American who has eaten the wrong foods. The teaching of this by physicians is obscure, that is, knowing the basics of whole foods.”

She said she has seen some amazing changes with her customers. They confide in her about their health problems and Waddell in turn provides them with whole food supplements that have made some positive changes in their life. For example, she helped a woman with bleeding hemorrhoids by recommending a simple formula and a food supplement to completely fix the problem.

“These are incredible changes that I want to share,” Betsy said. “Our idea here at TJ’s is to help people get well. We cannot diagnose or heal. We can only provide a path to help people get well.”

Another situation involved someone who had 20 kidney stones according to Waddell. “It was completely resolved by using a recommended calcium phosphate food supplement and well balanced foods.”

The products are from a reputable source, ordered from Life Extension, a company providing quality supplements since 1980. Owner Tom Montgomery has said that he himself now takes them based on Betsy’s recommendation. “I have really seen a difference in my health,” he said. “There are several customers in our store that have gone the natural way and are feeling better.”

The pharmacists agree the process takes time. Disease begins in the gut, they say, and the body works on a cellular level. “We are not doctors and cannot prescribe medicine, but we can offer the products to help.”

Sometimes Betsy will take customers through the grocery store pointing out foods they should eat for wellness. “For example, I would show them how to make bone broth, a good source of calcium and minerals. You’ve got to do your homework if you want to get well.”

Waddell mentioned other nutritional sources such as zinc for colds because it attaches to the virus and stops its replication. “Echinachea is good and take the whole food B vitamins because they are very good for the heart and for controlling blood pressure. Vitamin C is good for vascular health.” She added, “I’ve seen people with life long issues disappear with the right food supplement. This is the chemistry I love – with whole foods given to us on this planet made for our bodies, not the man-made processes.”

Montgomery said that if some medications aren’t working well, it won’t hurt to try something that’s natural. “It might work,” he said. “Not everything works for everybody.”

Finally, Waddell claimed that she sees it working on their customers and that with good food, we can have healthy bodies until the very end. It is a dilemma she adds. “How do people know a medication is going to clear a problem? Always ask,” she replies. “Ask why this is happening. Ask what is causing the problem. A prescribed treatment is not always the answer. Get to the root of the issue. Think holistic. There is a place for both. Food is medicine.”