The placebo effect is when a person reports feeling better, or a positive impact or outcome, from taking an inert pill that has no medicine being tested.  When they study the effect of one drug treatment, they compare it to people taking a fake medication.  

The placebo effect can be significant. In many trials, we see over a third (33%) of the participants get positive benefits, and many times, more than people think, they beat the medication being tested….at times by over 20%!  So much so that it has been shown that once you remove the placebo effect from the equation testing certain drugs, the drug no longer has any reliable benefit.  

This is precisely what was found in reviewing the data on sleeping pills in the U.K. and here in the U.S., no help.

Now we have to take this issue even further.  The Annals of Internal Medicine published a report indicating that most clinical trials testing medications using a placebo do not list what the placebo is.  It has been reported that some studies have used substances in their placebos that would directly affect their studies showing a more significant clinical result.  

For example, there were diabetes studies that used a sugar pill as the placebo, making the sugar reduction and impact data of the medication look better than the control group because they were taking sugar.   There were studies on cancer drugs and AIDS drugs using lactose as the placebo, knowing that both cancer patients and AIDS patients suffer significantly from lactose intolerance, making the benefit of their drugs appear better by making the control feel worse.  

They have used corn oil in placebos for heart medications, creating the same false advantage since corn oil as an omega-six fat will worsen inflammation and heart conditions.

Since one of the objectives of these research studies is to show a medication can outperform a placebo to prove effectiveness, the doctrine of the placebos is straight-up fraud.  The truth is many medications can not beat the placebo, so it seems some of the best evidence-based treatments in medicine come from the placebo itself.   

Considering drug overdose has just been ranked the 3rd leading cause of death, with the majority of those deaths coming from medications, we would be wise to:

  1. Not trust these studies showing medications work until all the data is provided, including what the placebo is. 
  2. Use placebos more in clinical practice. 

Some arguments against natural or alternative health modalities have repeatedly been that it was just the placebo effect, not the care is given that produced the results.  Now it seems the tables are turned.  

Most medications have such an adverse health effect that they eliminate the placebo effect when tested and lose to the placebo. If they show a positive benefit once you remove the placebo effect, it proves insignificant and not worth the risks.

Placebos or not, results are results. I will take some placebo healing mixed into my health efforts any day.  A placebo may be a fake pill, but the health results and benefit they can bring is actual.

As always, the key is getting healthy and staying healthy.  This is our passion, we exist outside the box of American Health care for the most part, and we do things differently.  That is precisely why we get different, better, and often incredible results compared to the standard medical model.  

Find a natural health care professional near you or message me for a free strategy session.

We can do better!

Dr. Don Clum