I’m starting to give up on the ability of people to be rational thinkers. Not completely but every once in a while you just want to bang your head against the wall.
I spent some time last week putting together an article for patients to read about the word “natural”. I get questions on almost a daily basis from patients to the effect of ” Is there something natural I could take for my Blood pressure, cholesterol… fill in the blank.. instead of the medication you want to give me”. I decided it would be a good idea to write something that people could read which would explain how that word has been misused in modern society and that the word natural does not mean a product is any safer or less likely to cause side effects. I can email the article to anyone who wants to read it but it basically spells out a lot of the stuff Mckenzie and I have said here a hundred times in a way that i thought would set off a lightbulb in peoples heads. Well I thought wrong.
A patient asked if I could give him advice about using a natural supplement to prevent hair loss. I researched the supplement and of course found that there was little clinical evidence that it was effective in the application he was hoping to use it for. There are drugs that have been studied for the treatment and prevention of hair loss and while none will grow hair on a bowling ball they have been shown to be effective in some patients. in addition their side effects and safety profile are well documented. So here we were with another person who was asking for a natural remedy and I’m not even sure he understood why he was asking for something that was natural so i sent him a copy of my new article hot off the presses. His response left me at a loss for words.
“Doc thanks for researching the supplement i asked you about. Thanks too for the article. I realize that natural products are no safer than real drugs and may not work at all. Are there any other natural supplements I could take?”
And this guy is a computer scientist. The wall has too many dents already. I’ll just bang my head on the desk.