Doctors & Nutrition

How different doctors respond to health situations and nutrition?

I saw a TV ad for an energy drink and in it they said how 3000 medical doctors were surveyed and 70% recommended their product. It sounded impressive until I thought, why ask a medical doctor about nutritional supplements? They do not normally prescribe them. They are involved with saving lives when a health problem is threatening.

Medical doctors are trained to use medical drugs and surgery to address health problems. How would they gain knowledge about supplements sufficient enough that they could recommend or not recommend this “energy drink”?

There are different way of addressing both health problems and the use of nutritional supplements by the various types of health professionals.

An Example 

Your problem is insomnia. You had a lot of problems sleeping. You’re exhausted. What solutions would you get from the different types of health care professionals?

Medical Doctors

A medical doctor would write you a prescription for Klonopin (clonazepam), Lunesta, Ambien, etc. etc. All will knock you out and get you to sleep but do have side effects. (For information on sleeping pill side effects go to or  Often if the person stops taking the medication they go back to not sleeping.

Medical Doctors & Supplements

Now some medical doctors have taken it upon themselves to read up about nutrition and the use of supplements. However, they are trained to address the symptoms and not the cause of the problem. This is called Structural Medicine.  

They will try to substitute the laboratory made drug with something natural. Mostly they will suggest herbs that will help to knock you out – Kava Kava, Valerian root, etc. All of them may be natural, but will they fix the problem?

Or on a better note, the doctor will suggest Tart Cherry or Calcium/Magnesium as these are known to help people sleep.

In both these cases, the body isn’t sleeping naturally and the herb or supplement is used to induce sleep, or attempts to get the body to relax so that it can sleep. 

Nutritionist/Health Coach (not a dietitian)

A nutritionist is a person who has studied how the body works and how the body uses nutrients to function and to build health. This is called Functional Medicine.

When confronted with the problem of insomnia, a nutritionist will find out why the body isn’t sleeping, and correct it with natural supplements. 

Is it the adrenals? What nutritional support will strengthen and support the adrenal? Is it the liver? (This is very often the problem especially if you fall asleep, wake up and cannot get back to sleep) Does the liver need nutritional help to function correctly? The liver has a big job to do and has to metabolize a great many things including hormones, sugar, etc. etc. It very often needs support.

There are many reasons a person might not be able to sleep naturally, and figuring out why and getting the actual cause of the problem fixed will get the person back on track and enjoying a natural relaxing sleep.

This is one example of a health challenge and the different approaches, there are so many more.


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