My health journey has been one of constant learning and keeping an open mind.  Even though I worked in a medical office for many years, I really knew nothing about true health.  Around 20 years ago, I began to research natural healing modalities.  

My Own Experience

For years, I was a competitive long-distance runner.  With training and pounding the pavement, I walked a fine line with injury.   I had around 23 stress fractures!  This was a concern, so I would ask my doctor, “What can I do nutritionally to keep me from getting stress fractures?”  The answer was always, “Nothing, just rest.”  Intuitively, I felt there was a piece missing from the puzzle. 

 

What Happens When Doctors Do The Right Thing?

I worked closely with physicians in the medical field for over 40 years.  In all of those years, I only met two nutritionally-educated physicians that practiced whole food nutrition with diets and vitamins.   One of them tailored nutrition and vitamin regimens for his patients based on blood tests.  His waiting room was always full because the word would get out that he was making people well.  It was only a matter of time, and he was pressured by “the system.”  He eventually left his practice for emergency medicine.  To this day, his still misses helping people get well with nutrition. 

Another physician was “talked to” by the administrator because she wasn’t writing enough prescriptions.  She, too, was giving her patients a diet plan, exercise program, and recommending vitamin supplements.  Her patients were getting healthy.  She also left her practice, because she refused to be forced to do what she felt was not in the best interest of her patients.  These are two very sad examples of doing the right thing!  

Nutritional Education In Medical School

The fundamental reason why doctors do not know much about nutrition is because they have little to no training in medical school.  This is largely because the curriculum is heavily influenced by the Food & Drug Industries.  Ray Strand, M.D. is the author of Death By Prescription:  The Shocking Truth Behind an Overmedicated Nation, states, “In medical school I had not received any significant instruction on the subject.   I was not alone.  Only approximately 6 percent of the graduating physicians in the US have any training in nutrition.  Medical students may take elective courses on the topic, but few actually do.  The education of most physicians is disease-oriented with a heavy emphasis on pharmaceuticals – we learned about drugs and why and when to use them.”   

He claims that dietary supplements are a foreign subject for most doctors and most doctors show no interest in learning about them.  Dr. Strand says the focus of medical education is on treatment with drugs and surgery, and not on prevention.  For the first 23 years of his medical practice, he did not believe in nutritional supplements. “To be honest, I knew next to nothing about nutrition or nutritional supplementation.  Because of the respect people have for doctors, they assume we are experts on all health-related issues, including nutrition and vitamins.”  

Patients would frequently bring in their vitamins or research to show him.  After a brief look, he handed the bottles or information back and said it was of no use. He eventually reconsidered his position after seeing hundreds of scientific studies in medical literature that proved the power of nutrition.  He then changed the course of his medical practice by applying the principles of nutrition. He declares,  “As I have applied these principles in treating my patients the results have been nothing short of amazing.”  

There are many reasons doctors are not educated in nutrition and dietary supplements.  Some of the main reasons are conflicts of interest, funding of medical schools by drug companies, bias in research, etc. [1]  A few years ago I stumbled on this article in pubmed.gov (U.S. Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health) entitled, “Current Perception of Nutrition Education in U.S. Medical Schools.”  The abstract states that historically, physicians have perceived the quality of nutrition training during medical school as inadequate.  A literature review suggested that this perception has not changed since the 1950’s.   Data suggests that medical students’ perception of the importance of clinical nutrition can decrease during medical school.  Despite data backing nutritional therapy to reduce morbidity and mortality, the number of physicians interested in nutrition appears to be declining and fewer hours of nutrition training are occurring in medical schools.  [2]

Because of my awareness of this, I have asked approximately 15 doctors this question……..”Dr. ______, to be a ___________(field of medicine), how much nutritional education did you go through?”  One pediatric specialty physician replied, “Well, I guess we had a nutritionist come in and lecture us one day.”   The others sheepishly confided that they had little or no nutritional education.

Good nutrition is paramount in leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, a good diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases, and promote your overall health.  Come into Herbs4You and we will help you with your nutritional needs and focus on your health.

We’re Here to Help YOU!
Sue Froschheuser, MH

 

Sources:

[1] Strand, R. (2006). Death by Prescription:  The Shocking Truth Behind an Overmedicated Nation.  Thomas Nelson Publisher.

[2] Frantz DJ, Munroe C, McClave SA, Martindale R (June, 2011) Current Perception of Nutrition Education in U. S. Medical Schools.  Retrieved on 10/12/2019 www.pubmed.gov

 

About the Author

Sue Froschheuser M.H.

Sue Froschheuser M.H.

Master Herbalist
Sue received her certification as a Family Herbalist from the School of Natural Healing, and Master Herbalist certification from Trinity School of Natural Health. Sue is also continuing her Herbalism training in the areas of wound management, first-aid, and animal care.