How do you see your role as a naturopathic practitioner alongside a standard medical doctor? Every naturopath does have a little bit of a different role, so I can speak for myself. What I do with my patients is a lot of overall healthcare management. So, they see me for a lot of primary care health reasons, but then I refer them out for this and I refer them out for that. They have a rheumatologist, they have a gastroenterologist. Unfortunately, by the time I end up seeing a lot of patients, the first thing they tell me is, “Sorry, not to be mean, but you’re kind of my last hope.” And I, that’s the honest to goodness truth. By the time they’ve seen me, it’s not, “I had a little bit of heartburn twice, can you help?” “It’s I’ve seen 17 gastroenterologists “and I’m still miserable.” “I’ve tried all the meds, I’m still miserable.” “I’ve done the surgeries, I’ve done everything, “nothing is working.” “What else can I do?” I mean, these are people at their wits end. And I think one of the other things that always worries me, and you clearly, Peggy, do not seem to do this, but there are some natural doctors out there who literally claim they know everything. So, they’re telling you about vaccinations, they’re telling you about everything that you should do and they’re saying, “Well, I know everything.” I think you need to be very cautious as a consumer of healthcare if you encounter anyone who claims to know everything because, again, in my experience, the more you know, the more humble you are because the more you learn in medicine, the more you realize you don’t know and there are a lot of arrogant practitioners of medicine, quite frankly, who did not get good formal training, who think they know everything and they don’t. In fact, they know so very little, they’re arrogant enough to believe they know everything and that’s where we’ve gotta be very careful as healthcare consumers. Dr. Novella, I actually very much, by the way, appreciate your website and what you do. I think medicine should always be rooted in science, that’s essential. But, I also understand people who are at their wits end and maybe just want to go have a conversation with someone who the first step isn’t gonna be to prescribe a pharmaceutical or a surgery or a procedure. I’m gonna ask you, Dr. Novella, if the profession were to become more standardized, do you ever see a place where naturopaths, formally trained, formally certified, could practice side by side with medical doctors? I mean, I have no problem practicing side by side with other professions, but my question is what is naturopathy? What do they bring to the table? They’ve tried to co-op things like nutrition, but I think nutrition is part of science-based medicine. And they seem to be just adhering to this philosophy of reverence for things that are natural, that are religiously natural, so what is it that’s unique to naturopathy that they bring to the table that works? They bring a lot of things to the table that is pseudoscience that doesn’t work, so they would need to purge their profession of pseudoscience to figure out what it is that they do, that they want to do and bring to the table and then focus on that and maybe they can play a role in healthcare. And one thing that comes to mind, before we close out this conversation and Peggy, I will have you address this, you tell a patient, “Look, I’d love for you “to add more spices to your meals “and tumeric,” which is very different than someone saying, “Hey, I’ve got this great IV infusion “of tumeric that I want to try.” And there was recently a really, the reason we decided to do this topic is there was recently a really high profile case where someone died from tumeric IV infusion, so again, no data to prove it’s worthy, it can be a very big time money maker, people promising unproven IV therapies. Quite frankly, there are medical doctors out there who offer some of this hocus, Yes.
I’ll call it hocus pocus. I’m curious, in defending your own profession, can you defend that? Well, in terms of looking at naturopaths as a whole, what I always talk about with all of my patients is the undies versus the endies and if you’re getting advice from somebody, make sure they know, in general, what they’re doing. The end of the day, with all my patients, what I care about the most is their safety, their health and their happiness. And whatever that is for them, whether it’s me, whether it’s an MD, whether it’s a chiropractor, whether it’s them getting a massage once a week, I want people to have proper, safe and efficacious healthcare. Well actually, I have to say, I appreciate your perspective and I think I would just argue that if you’re gonna try some super alternative treatment, read the evidence, do a search, read about it, and master the credentials of your practitioner. And make sure before you start any sort of supplement or naturopathic product that you actually do run it by an MD if you are on natural medication because there are medication interactions, there are toxic side effects and so that would really worry me too. I’m not saying they’re all bad, I’m just saying you have to do your homework, exactly like you said. Dr. Novella, before we say goodbye, where can people get more information about your website? Yeah, so go to sciencebasedmedicine.org and we have everything you need from there. Well, I want to thank both of you so much for offering your input here today. We’ll have more resources on our website.