Do Doctors Take Supplements?

Logic dictates that the doctors who value supplements tend to recommend them to their patients, and take them.

American author Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) was quoted as saying, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”  Sinclair penned the influential novel The Jungle, which exposed horrific conditions in the U.S. meat packing industry.  This novel caused public outrage, and contributed to the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act.

The focus upon nutrition in medical schools has been historically weak; with doctors often relying upon the expertise of nutritionists and dieticians to make up for their lack of studies in medical school regarding the connection between nutrition and health—or nutrition and illness and disease.  I’m not here to point out inadequacies of medical doctors as relates to nutrition.  You don’t really need me for that anyway.  It’s a subject that has been spoken about for years.

Slowly but surely our corporate/medical world is changing, and with it people’s minds and behaviors—but usually there’s lawyers involved somewhere.  But in general, it seems that things are changing, and we cite the following as potential indicators of change:  Intake forms in most doctors’ offices now ask if you take any nutritional supplements; and if so, which ones.  Information is becoming more evident regarding potential contraindications relative to mixing nutritional supplements with over-the-counter drugs and/or pharmaceuticals.  People are seeking steps for illness prevention versus illness treatment, possibly due to an increase in commons sense, and or possibly due to the fear of lack of health care and or health insurance coverage in the U.S.  People watch the ever-increasing number of television ads promoting pharmaceuticals, with the fast-talking disclaimer information at the end, citing possible side effects ranging from dry mouth to shortness of breath, a slow heartbeat, weight gain, fatigue, hypotension, dizziness, faintness, and worse (if it wasn’t true, it would be almost comical.)  People’s mistrust of government, and their overall disappointment with managed health care in our country, is prompting your average American to take a more serious look at the link between their health and the foods they eat and their environment.  It’s pretty refreshing for people to read about effective and safe home remedies—“folk remedies” that their grandmother used to rely on.

If doctors do take supplements, which ones do they tend to take?

It appears that the most of them favor a daily multiple vitamin, along with vitamin D, magnesium, fish oil, omegas, and antioxidants in general.

The women doctors include a calcium supplement (preferably calcium citrate or chelated; not calcium carbonate, and not magnesium oxide.)  It is also noted that postmenopausal women almost never need iron, and taking too much might pose a risk for heart health.

The men doctors avoid extra calcium, and note that high intake could increase the risk of prostate cancer.  It was also noted that men usually do not need extra iron, and an excess of iron could be unhealthy for men.

When choosing a doctor, carefully consider their perspective on nutrition.  Don’t be afraid to ask them. Consider their attitude about natural health care, and whether it’s in line with your beliefs and needs.  If they consider you a “health nut” because you’re interested in learning about natural ways to improve your health, you may want to seek out a doctor that is “nuts” about your good health.

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