I asked my doctor the other day about a supplement I was considering taking to combat depression-
It's called 5-HTP.
It's been studied since the 70's,and been on health food shop shelves for many,many years,and considered safer than most prescription drugs.
He didn't even know what it was,even when I gave him the bottle,with '5-HTP -5 Hydroxy Tryptophan' on the label.
He was still stumped.
I ended up giving him a lecture on it!!
I wanted to know about possible interactions with other prescription drugs I am taking.
I know doctors probably know more about actual medications,
but this is not the first time I have asked him or other doctors about supplements,and found them clueless.
I know they are not nutritional advisers/therapists or experts in sports nutrition,but he couldn't get back to me? check a website? a reference book?
I had to do it myself.
Fair enough,but almost every supplement or exercise programme has a disclaimer saying 'check with your doctor/physician before trying this'
so you ask them,and they don't know jack!
In another case,my mum was diagnosed with high cholesterol recently.
With no consultation,a 'one size fits all' pre-printed diet plan was issued to her,
by a doctor (NOT a nutritionist/dietitian oranyone in that field) on it was an incredibly simplistic approach-eat less of this,more of that,etc. with a one-week sample menu.
On it was some good common sense,along with outdated advice no doubt the result of a template put together by UK government guidelines probably some 20 years old.
(For instance,2-3 eggs a WEEK,MAXIMUM!) Luckily,I got hold of it,tweaked it a bit,and made some more realistic recommendations (and told my mum eat as many eggs as you want!)
Her cholesterol has now stabilized.
More recently,the UK government (NHS) is realising that prevention is better (i.e. cheaper) than cure,and GP Referrals (The practice of doctors referring patients to gym instructors/personal trainers for a programme,and subsidizing gym membership) are increasing.
My dad was recently classed as obese,and reffered.
As a personal trainer,I commend this,it's an additional revenue stream,and I plan to gain the GP Referral qualification too.
It's still not very common though,and I hope they find more money to fund this in future.
But I am getting sidetracked.
Why don't doctors know more?
You can get an MD and do only a couple of days on nutrition.
If I am not an expert on say,marathon/triathlon training.
If a client comes into the gym training for this,I will refer them to another trainer who has actually DONE marathons if I can,as there is one in the gym.
If I don't know enough,I will at least do a one day course or weekend seminar/lecture,get a dvd,read a book,research it on the net,etc. so I can advise in the future.
Why don't my doctor(s) have an up-to-date reference book,or website approved by the government for this kind of thing?
Or send them to a few seminars.
I think they would have at least a basic grasp of exercise/nutrition/supplementation.
Can anyone tell me-do doctors have to continually prove their knowledge?
I do,I have to do so many CPD (Continuing Professional Development) or CEC's (Continuing Education Credits) each year to prove I am still learning and keeping up to date...