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Minerals & Nutrition > Many Doctors Just Don't Know

Mention Nutritional Supplements to the average doctor and you'll get a polite; "A few extra vitamins and minerals wont hurt you, but you are probably wasting your money as you get all your nutritional requirements from your food" A put down at best, often a lecture on quackery.

Why are doctors so sceptical?
Within a five or seven year medical degree course, doctors have openly stated that the entire subject of diet and nutrition was only a one hour lecture. Another answer is simply that much of our medical system treats sickness as just another mass market, sales opportunity to sell product (drugs & surgery)

Even when a doctor steps outside the structure, there often just isn't enough time available to work with individuals in the present system.

The following comments apply specifically to New Zealand, although from the authors experience in Australia, things are no different there.

What's Wrong With The System?
  1. Mass Market Medicine
  2. Lack of training in biochemistry and nutrition
  3. Poor & incomplete on-going education
  4. Anecdotal evidence is totally ignored
Mass market medicine:
Our society often treats medicine as a mass market product to fix sick people. No concern about why they got sick, nothing about why the bodies own immune/ healing system failed, nothing about preventing sickness, although now due to the publication of materials such as this paper and the growth in the natural health industry, change is occurring.

If you have these symptoms... take this drug or surgery

Sounds simple, but its not that easy. The same apparent symptoms in two different people can have two different causes. And even if they have the same cause, the best treatment will almost always be different for each, depending on their lifestyle, age, diet, nutritional status, state of mind and a whole bunch more.

But our system cant cope with that. Doctors just don't have the time to treat individuals - In the few minutes they have, you just get: take these three times a day, and come back in two weeks. Next please.

All disease begins in the mind!
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Lack of Basic Training:  For anyone who has studied nutrition and biochemistry, it is really scary to think that 85% of the "treatment" given by doctors is simply a cocktail of various drugs. Its hard enough understanding the reactions and side effects of just one powerful drug on complex body chemistry, let alone many. One of the greatest concerns within the natural health industry is that the long term effects of continued use of drugs is totally unknown. So aspirin may relieve a headache, but how does it affect one after 30 years of daily use? With antibiotics we have seen the growth of bacteria and viruses that are immune to all modern antibiotics and are devastating our hospitals..

At university, medical students take generalized courses in chemistry and biochemistry. (at best these give an overview, but often are just summary versions of the full courses scientists take).

If your understanding is based on rote learning of just enough to get by, you cant possibly "understand" the chemistry of what's happening with drug combinations

Nutrition in medical training was at last report to be 1 hour in a five year program at Otago Medical School Add to this a built in tendency to concentrate on illness instead of prevention, and you see why the role of nutrition is largely ignored.

If you have any doubt about the value doctors place on nutrition, have a look at the food served in hospitals. According to US Government figures about half the elderly patients in hospitals and 2 in 5 in a nursing home suffer from malnutrition.

Research is becoming so specialized that it is impossible for the average GP to keep up with what the biochemists are discovering. The only updates GP's get are almost entirely drug company funded, either directly through sales representatives or indirectly through the drug company ads that support medical journals. So if the drug companies don't tell them, most doctors wont find out

Anecdotal Evidence is Ignored:
The standard of proof for most doctors is the large scale matched double blind study. A large group of matched people is divided into three - one gets the product being tested, (test group) one only thinks they are getting it (placebo) and the other get nothing (control group) And none of the researchers no which group gets what (double blind)

These studies costs millions of dollars. And drug companies spend this money because they end up with a patentable drug they sell, get their money back and make a profit.

You cant patent naturally occurring substances. So no one finances double blind tests on vitamins, minerals or food supplements. Say you had ten clients who reported that mineral supplements helped their arthritis; quoting their experience is not enough. It is dismissed as "merely anecdotal" - best to wait until the proper tests are done. Which is never!

Diet and nutrition is "too easy" if your whole life revolves around high tech medicine. (though now some people are having their second and third triple bypass, things are changing)

But in every medically acceptable study, you have to take into account the "placebo effect" - some people will get better even though They only think they are getting the treatment. If this is not scientific evidence that the mind has a massive influence, then what is?... Historical.

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Minerals Index
Minerals and Human Health
Why We Need Mineral Supplements
Mineral Nutrition of Coastal Cultures In Pre-Historic Times
Minerals And Chi
The Thesis of Body Mineral Balancing
Ionic Versus Colloidal Minerals
Doctors Mistakes
Minerals & Trace Minerals,
A Clarification of Definitions
Mineral Facts
Minerals from Sea Water
Individual Minerals A-Z



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