Snake Oil Salesmen and My New Normal

I went to the Gluten Free and Allergy Free Expo in Atlanta over the weekend. It was good. I learned some things and found a new product or two to try. I heard some good information and some scientifically sketchy information.

There was a “doctor” there saying that he could cure what ailed me. I said I have Celiac Disease and still feel bad most days. He said that he could make me feel better with a new diet. I pressed, “Which one?” He said, “It takes the best from SCD and AIP along with supplements and you will feel better.” Hmmm…I took a brochure and walked away.

I’m going to call this guy Dr. Bill because he is a very popular “doctor” with a weekly YouTube show talking about fixing autoimmune diseases. I’ve seen the show – he makes a compelling argument.

I read the brochure. The brochure has lots of fancy words like “Functional Medicine, Natural Supplementation, Certified Holistic Nutritionist.” Good words. Next, I checked out the web site. Something struck me when they said they don’t prescribe medicine – this guy talks a lot about thyroid health, but doesn’t prescribe medicine. Hmmm….

So, in checking out the letters behind this guy’s name, he is a Chiropractor and a Certificate in Functional Medicine (requiring 200 hours of training and a 200 question multiple choice test, not medical board certification). He cannot prescribe medicine.

Don’t get me wrong, chiropractors have their place. Some might even argue many are on the bleeding edge of fixing problems that many people have by mixing diet modifications and the right supplements. Some people swear by them and in general, I have found them to lean towards more natural cures than anything. However, I start to think they have crossed a line when pushing they can fix thyroid dysfunction, autoimmune issues, and hormone imbalance.

I’ve been down every natural path I know to feel better. I’ve been to functional medicine doctors, registered dietitians, endocrinologists, chiropractors, and acupuncturists to help me feel better. I’ve been on juice fasts, elimination diets, diary free diets, exercised moderately, exercised to the point of exhaustion, intermittent fasting, SCD, AIP, and taken every supplement known to man. I’ve had thousands of dollars of tests to confirm that nothing is wrong with me besides Celiac. None of these doctors, diet plans, or supplements have helped me consistently or even moderately. They might help for a short time maybe, but eventually the exhaustion and unexplained diarrhea return.

I’ve been dealing with Celiac for over 7 years. I’ve come to terms with it, but I think it should be better.

I was talking with some girlfriends about some lingering swelling from my allergic reaction and showed them that my hands were still pretty swollen. They said, “this may be your new normal.” Each of them listed ongoing issues – like hips hurting each morning and difficulty with those first few steps after getting out of bed in the morning. I said that this isn’t normal we should feel good most days, not rejoice when we feel good as if it is something novel.

My point is maybe I’m getting older and shouldn’t expect to feel good every day – which is really the saddest sentence I’ve ever written. Maybe my autoimmune disease means that I really shouldn’t expect to feel good everyday and should be grateful for feeling good when I do. I don’t believe that should be the case.

Expecting to feel good most days is not unrealistic in my world. A cure through one of these diet plans may be a cure for you, but know what you are buying before you do. Diet modifications and exercise have not been so successful for me.

For me, sketchy diet plans and chiropractors selling cures is further proof why I think a medication to help us deal with symptoms and prevent further damage to our bodies is so vital. If we have a medication, then we won’t be susceptible to the next person selling us a diet plan based on what they believe with less than scientific backing. It makes diagnosis important rather than the half-baked, self-diagnosis I see a lot of.

If we have a medication, it takes Celiac out of the realm of being treated by non-doctors to a legitimate disease with a path for a cure. It means something when you say can’t eat it because you have Celiac. A Celiac diagnosis will be a real disease, not just something cured by a diet.

That’s my two cents for today. I’ll talk about TIMP-GLI tomorrow!

3 thoughts on “Snake Oil Salesmen and My New Normal”

  1. Just started following you, want to say Thanks!! Most times I don’t think anyone gets it, I too am exhausted all the time, my right hip is constantly hurting too……..and like you, I question, is it my age (almost 56) or is it the celiacs?? I was diagnosed 4 years ago.

  2. A naturopath came highly recommended by some in a local celiac group, and like many of who continue to struggle with symptoms, I was desperate. Even though I’m skeptical of natural medicine, I didn’t even check any online reviews before booking an appointment. I wish I would have. My experience was awful and was similar to many others’ experiences on Yelp.

    His office took up an entire floor of the building, and 25% of that space was a corner of shelves from floor to ceilingAfter my blood pressure was incorrectly taken a couple times, I was taken to a room where he sat behind a desk and proceeded to brag about himself, talk about politics, and lament the difficulties of being a small business owner. He then launched into a very high pressure sales pitch about supplements. He became angry when I said I would need to verify anything I took was gluten free. (I had no intention of taking any supplements because I know the risks for liver failure, and that supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA). Keep in mind that these supplements would be given before any testing was done, including thyroid testing that he said would be much more “sensitive” than conventional medicine.

    We spent about 5-10% of that very expensive appointment actually talking about my medical information. If it were not for the fact that he offered a food intolerance test that I had been researching for a while before that appointment, I would’ve gotten up and walked out. That’s how ridiculous it was.

    1. That should say say corner of shelves floor to ceiling of supplements. Haha. It was crazy…and disappointing because I knew what the appointment would be like.

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