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Self-Prescribing Natural Supplements February 17, 2013

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Healing, Health, Healthcare, Integrative Medicine, Medication, Misdiagnose, vitamins.
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Article written by: Adam McLeod

Our society has rapidly changed over the last decade due to the internet by allowing everyone to easily access information. This freedom of information has led to many positive changes around the world. The internet has changed the doctor patient relationship significantly because the patient often comes to the appointment informed about their health. This is a very positive change that has empowered people to take responsibility for their own health. It encourages patients to do the research and take the initiative to understand what is happening in their body. It is very important that everyone becomes actively engaged in their own healing by making positive changes with lifestyle and with focused intentions. Your intentions are a powerful tool that can complement any healing modality. The bottom line is that a patient who is focused and engaged with their own healing is much more likely to heal.

Although this is a positive step in the right direction, patients doing their own research brings up new challenges which can sometimes be harmful. It is now a common occurrence to have a patient come in very distressed because they read on a blog that a random symptom they are experiencing means that they have a serious health condition. The doctor must then spend time reassuring the patient that the information which they came across is simply not relevant to their case.

More commonly and, in my opinion, more concerning is when patients start taking supplements based on their own research, especially when they are taking these supplements to fight a serious illness. Patients often come into the clinic with a big bag of supplements that they are taking and very often they don’t even know why they are taking each supplement. They will cite a news story or a website that says zinc is good for you so the patient buys zinc thinking it is helping. Before you know it the patient is taking a mish mash of low quality supplements that are simply not helpful. In some cases zinc might be helpful but in reality it is not specific to that health concern.

The media often simplifies a study and writes a story with a headline that gives the reader the wrong impression. People will read that article and think that the supplement is proven to help every health condition and that everyone should take it. The reality is that the study is not saying that at all! The story gets so distorted in the brief summary that it makes it very difficult to sift through all the health information presented in the media.

This is where Naturopathic doctors can be of great assistance to patients. They are extremely knowledgeable about supplements and they know how to design a treatment plan that is specific to your health condition. Medical doctors simply do not get the training with these different supplements whereas Naturopathic doctors receive extensive training in this area. A Naturopathic physician can also make sure that you are getting quality supplements that will help to optimize your healing. The quality of a supplement makes a huge difference and only a trained professional will be able to help you pick quality supplements that are specific to your healing. Take the initiative and get engaged with your own healing but do so with the proper guidance. A Naturopathic doctor can give you guidance on your healing and provide you with all the tools necessary to promote the healing process.

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Comments»

1. Kathy Kallama (@KKallama) - February 18, 2013

Adam I agree with your observation and opinion on people taking supplements based on what they read on the internet. I have been guilty of that myself in the past.
What are your thoughts in regard to someone who is over weight (obeast) and struggles with sticking to a program to loose weight, in your opinion do you feel that a Naturopathic doctor can help someone like that? Someone who doesn’t have any other medical or health issues at all.

Dreamhealer - February 22, 2013

Absolutely. Naturopathic doctors are excellent for keeping someone on track with their health goals. It is much easier to stay on track with someone monitoring your progress.

2. Craig A. Maxwell (@CraigAMaxwell) - February 18, 2013

I definitely think you can overdue it on the supplements. Self-prescribing isn’t always a bad idea when it’s one or two high-quality supplements but using too many can be bad for your health.

3. Michael Forman - February 18, 2013

I totally agree. Taking supplements should still be with supervision of from someone like a naturopath. One needs to keep in mind the source of the supplement and how it may interact with that person’s metabolism, diet, and any other medication. That’s why I receive counsel from a local herbalist/nutritionist.

4. Elaine McGrath - February 18, 2013

Although I agree with Adam’s assessment regarding uninformed and indiscriminative use of supplements, this article sounds like an ad for naturopaths. I have self subscribed many times and overcome ailments for a fraction of the price it would have been to visit a doctor. Why do naturopaths charge so much for their medications?

Dreamhealer - February 22, 2013

It is important to have guidance through your healing process from someone who understands the supplements and their potential interactions. Just because a supplement is natural doesn’t mean that it isn’t dangerous in certain conditions. Medical doctors simply do not get the training with natural supplements. Some Naturopaths have a tendency to give a lot of expensive supplements to their patients and sometimes this is necessary. Often just a few targeted supplements are sufficient and if you voice this concern of taking too many supplements then the naturopathic doctor will customize a plan that is suited for you.

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