Doctor's Note

For more on potential placebos in medicine, check out these videos:
Do Antidepressant Drugs Really Work?
The Lie That Heals: Should Doctors Give Placebos?
Can Cranberry Juice Treat Bladder Infections?

And check out my other videos on common nutrition myths

For more context, check out my associated blog post:  Half of Doctors Give Placebos

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on common nutrition myths. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

    • Marva Griffin

       I suppose all the people I know, myself included, that were sent home by their doctor to get their ‘bizness’ in order due to their short-term contract with God would disagree with you. Kangen Water and Protandim saved my life and many others.  I hear testimonies regularly.

      • Pat

        Are there any studies comparing IQ, or educational levels, with those rate of belief in things like homeopathy, acupuncture, reiki, “kangen water”, etc?

  • I started looking into homeopathy lately. I’m shocked that so many people subscribe to it! Total snake oil.

    Sounds nearly as dubious as “faith healing” to me, except that the special diluted/holy water goes in your mouth instead of sprinkled on your forehead.

  • maharawj

    Very dissappointed in Dr. Greger. There is nothing in this video that is objective. You just say its witch craft Just great. You are sir ignorant and a Bigot!

  • Barry Taylor, DVM

    Anyone who can believe in the “theory” of vibrational energy, and that INCREASING the dilution of a substance simultaneously INCREASES its potency really isn’t paying attention.  Faith in things that make no logical sense might be nice in some parts of your life, but medicine should be based on SCIENCE.

  • Dz

    When taken homeopathic remedies Internally, there may be little benefits to adults. But how can you call in a placebo? Babies do not fall into the trickery of the placebo affect, yet have experienced NEGATIVE OVERDOSING of homeopathic remedies. This proves that although they make not be strong enough to be taken Internally by adults, they are still NOT placebo. For adults, stick to the Topical ointments only.

  • Dz

    UUrgh…..excuse the numerous grammatical typos. CELL PHONE. :-)

  • Rabbitats

    I experienced homeopathy in a negative way. I was given several different remedies and become quite ill for months. I have used some that seem to work. I feel it depends on the constitution of the person and the type of remedy given.
    ” Witchcraft’ in my world has a positive meaning, the ‘herbalists’ were known as witches, and most everyone would agree, that herbs are a potent form of healing the body.

  • sda
    • EP2012

      I’m skeptical of that study. Look at thee method they used to test… they were treating kids for pain and tried a different remedy every 6 hours until one worked.  I don’t know about you, but pain often goes away in less than 12 hours, so most of those remedies will “work” in the given time frame.  In kids, a lollipop can also “magically” treat pain too! Which is why most medical offices give them to kids! LOL

    • Pat

      What’s sad is that NIH and CDC thought this crap “study” was even worth looking at. That’s not how you do a medical test.

  • jeff swanson

    To learn more about placebo and related topics lookup Rupert Sheldrake and Bruce Lipton. Fascinating youtube videos with almost as much empirical support as Dr Greger.

  • Pat

    Thank you, people really need more exposure to the facts when it comes to this nonsense. I would’ve liked to see a more in-depth piece though, Ie., how many studies in the meta-study, proportion of studies finding effect vs. finding no effect, quality rating for both sides.

    Most of all, i’d like to see an explanation of how homeopathy claims to work (the excuses have varied over the years). I’ve found many homeopathy proponents don’t even know how it supposedly works. Which might explain why they think it works at all.

    There was a metastudy done on acupuncture as well. I’d love to see you cover that too.

  • Pat

    None of those “studies” are reliable. Look who is doing them. The last two are obvious by looking at their site names. The first is merely a database held by the NIH, which sadly, happened to pull up not a real piece of scientific research, but an article from a British homeopathy “journal”.

    May as well believe that Astrology journals claim too.

  • Anita Abramovitch

    Dr. Gregor, I am mostly vegan. I don’t use meat, and I hardly ever use dairy or eggs. My health indicators are good. My cholesterol is low, and my iron is sufficient even though I am a regular blood donor. My doctor is concerned about my ferritin. It is so low, that it is practically off the chart. He suggested that I either eat meat or take iron supplements. My own feeling is that he is comparing my ferritin levels with those of meat eaters, and that there ought to be a different standard for vegans. I am not concerned about my health, as I have lots of energy and I really feel great. In fact, I really, really feel great!! Do you think that I should be more concerned about my ferritin level, and if so, what do you suggest? I am 52 years old. Many thanks, Anita Abramovitch.

  • Janus Hollensberg Hartkopp

    Hi Michael

    Can you elaborate why you conclude homeopathy is useless? As far as I can see, the systemic review only concludes that homeopathy is not an evidence based treatment.

    I’ve had a seleveral miles long facebook discussion about the subject and we managed to find some trials that concluded that the homeopathic remedy was equally effective as the established remedy. All were lacking placebo though, but I don’t think it rules homeopathy out. It just shows that you will get results no matter wich remedy you use. I think more research needs to be done.

    As a response to homeopathy does not make logical sense, I agree. But that does not mean it is wrong, it just means that with our current understanding of the world, it sounds upside down. But wasn’t it the same thing that happened when someone discovered bacteria? Everybody could see that this glass of water has no ingredients, so it is wrong to say that it is full of bacteria that can make you sick. No, they just didn’t have the tools then, to see bacteria. Maybe we are in the same situation today: we can measure with our tools, that there are no ingredients left in homeopathic medicine, so it must be wrong. Maybe we just don’t have the rigth tools yet?

    Homeopathy is energetic medicine that can be explained by quantum physics as far as I understand. The sugar, alcohol or water that is diluted, carries energetic information from the matter it has been in contact with from the beginning.

    In the following experiment they could measure the degree of each potency from purchased remedies and see that the higher the dilution, the higher the energetic load. The experiment is not conclusive and obviously need to be replicated by non homeopaths. Again, I think more research needs to be done.

    • The difficulty with homeopathy when trying to compare it to allopathic medicine is that homeopathy medicine is for the particular person – not for/ against a cerrtain disease. This means that one cannot declare a certain remedy curing e.g. ADHD. The practitioner heals the person and may therefore give all her ADHD patients different remedies. Also, classical homeopathy practitioners would never mix remedies or change them in a fast sequence – they don’t do this to keep track of whether actually their choice renders success. This big misconception of homeopathy – that remedy A heals e.g. headaches – leads to random results.
      So homeopathy renders potent results – but only when administered by a talented practitioner… and that’s its biggest weakness.

  • Russell Spencer

    Lots of great information on this site and I really appreciate all the science to back up the information.

    I’ll admit though that when I came to look at the information on homeopathy, I was a little apprehensive. The reason being that if Homeopathy got the thumbs up, I would have felt that the rest of the information on the site was a little dubious. Excellent, Homeopathy gets the thumbs down.

    It seems that many sites that promote a plant based diet also promote pseudoscience, which I think can be really of putting to the more scientifically minded amung us.