When I hear the phrase, “So, Dr. Oz says…” in clinic, I feel like casting my eyes to the heavens and throwing up my arms. Hearing the successful cardiologist’s name means I either need to explain why this particular person doesn’t need to be on that particular supplement, why this caution is not applicable in this person’s case or why a certain treatment that this famous doctor recommends is probably not the best thing for this particular person at this particular time.
It’s great the there is someone in the media who is wildly popular singing natural medicine’s praises. It’s wonderful that people like him, watch his show and get excited about empowering themselves when it comes to their health. However, I have beef with hearing his name mentioned repeatedly in patient visits. The main reason: Dr. Oz is not a naturopathic doctor.
Saying that CoQ10 is great for heart disease is all fine and good. However, is it good for your heart disease? Dr. Oz doesn’t know you personally. He’s not sitting across from you, with your medical history in his lap. He doesn’t even know your past medical history. He doesn’t know your family history; he’s never performed a physical exam on you or looked at your blood work. He doesn’t even know you name. The medicine he preaches is a one-size-fits-all style of medicine. It’s not individualized medicine and, therefore, it’s not naturopathic medicine. When a naturopathic doctor prescribes you CoQ10, keeping in mind a specific brand and dosage, he or she is saying that this medicine is good for you, given what he or she knows about you as a person and what’s going on with your body. This is something you can’t get from a little man inside of a TV.
You’re also not just a heart with heart disease that could benefit from supplementing with CoQ10 or fish oil. You’re a person, a whole person. Naturopathic medicine aims to treat the whole person, not just the disease. Achieving a healthy state of being is about making sure your whole body is healthy, not just an organ system or body part.
Not knowing you or evaluating your case, Dr. Oz is also not able to get to the root cause of disease when he tells you that green coffee bean extract is great for weight loss. It may be beneficial for you, sure, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that your weight issues, if you have them, don’t have much to do with a green coffee bean extract deficiency. In order to truly help you heal and become healthier, a naturopathic doctor’s goal is to find out what is causing the condition you present with and treat the cause, not prescribe a supplement for a specific symptom without asking why that symptom is there in the first place.
You might have a great relationship with your TV but you don’t know Dr. Oz. Sure, he seems nice, but he doesn’t know your story, he doesn’t have rapport with you. There is no doctor-patient relationship between you and Dr. Oz. He’s just a popular guy on a TV show, but so is Chandler from Friends and I don’t expect him to treat my digestive concerns. In order to set out on the path of healing, it’s important to establish a therapeutic relationship with a healthcare professional that you can trust your story with.
Learning about health through entertaining mediums such as the Dr. Oz show is a great idea. Taking health advice to heart without consulting a professional that knows your story is not. For individualized, natural health advice, seek the counsel of a naturopathic doctor who will treat the root cause of disease, develop a therapeutic relationship with you and create a treatment plan for you, a unique, whole individual with a unique biochemistry. Dr. Oz may be pretty cool, but having your very own naturopathic doctor treat you is even cooler.