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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

More Than a Mountain Of Medication

Jan 31, 2016 09:34PM

A Spotlight on Golden Health Pharmacy in Sterling

By Sam Hudgins
Working for corporate pharmacies for 25 years left Elsa Lam, RPh, HC, feeling not only stressed out, but also disheartened by the large quantities of medicine she saw prescribed to patients. She wanted to change how pharmacies operated from simply handing over a mountain of medication with little patient interaction. Lam envisioned a pharmacy to one where pharmacists offer nutritional support to patients in an effort to lower the number of medicines they need while increasing their vitality. Lam believed in this new pharmacy model so much, she used her retirement savings to start Golden Health Pharmacy.

Golden Health Pharmacy gives patients more than just prescriptions; it offers a whole health approach beyond medication. One of its whole health components is the focus on preventing the need for more medication through nutritional support. Lam notes that prevention of disease through good nutrition is important, but laments, “people spend more money in their car than in their body and that is very shocking to me.” Medication causes nutritional depletion and a lack of energy. For example, a round of antibiotics can wipe out not only an illness but also the good flora in the gut. To lend nutritional support, Golden Health Pharmacy offers nutrition consultations, seminars and workshops.

In order to create the most customized nutrition plan possible, Golden Health Pharmacy offers SpectraCell micronutrient testing every Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. At that time, a small blood sample is taken and results are received within two weeks. The test result consultation covers nutrient deficiencies found and potential lifestyle changes. The SpectraCell consultation is offered free to existing patients.

Knowing what to eat is only one part of the nutritional puzzle. Golden Health Pharmacy also offers cooking classes on rotating topics every Saturday, which Lam calls “meet-up groups,” as she wants them to also be a way for people to share experiences with their diseases and connect with each other. The topics include diabetes, heart disease, cancer and children’s health. The pharmacy is a certified Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine (PCRM) Educational Alliance Program Partner and all their cooking classes follow PCRM guidelines.

Another notable and tasty way Golden Health Pharmacy sets itself apart from others is with its healthy smoothie and juice bar. The smoothies are blended using almond milk made fresh in the pharmacy, as well as wheatgrass grown on-site—nothing about them is processed. Both the smoothies and juices are made from whole, in-season fruits and vegetables and with no added sugars.

Like most full-service pharmacies, Golden Health Pharmacy offers brand name and generic medications as well as compounding. Unlike most pharmacies, though, compounding is done in a special sterilized environment with the most up-to-date equipment and is highly customizable. Lam can make medicine in a variety of form, from a lollipop to an ointment to a suppository. She can also flavor medicine to make it more palatable from chocolate for children to tuna for pets. “We help people ease the difficulty of medication, any challenge you come here with we’ll be able to solve.” Lam states confidently.

Other services Golden Health Pharmacy provides are infrared saunas, known for easing ailments such as depression and Lyme disease, and qigong, a spiritual practice intended to align body, breath and mind for health, meditation and martial arts training. On February 13, Golden Health Pharmacy will be offering a free qigong class from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. led by a certified qigong instructor, Josee Arel.

For more information including cooking class topics for the month of February visit To schedule a consultation call (703) 430-8883. Golden Health Pharmacy is located at 46950 Community Plaza, Sterling, VA 20164. 


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