Vitamins and Minerals: When Enough Is Not Enough


NDs in Ontario have been criticized for wanting to preserve their scope of practice, and some so-called “experts” have ignored aspects of the scientific process, in which studies are vetted for their limitations, in order to twist the findings of those studies to support a call to action against the use of vitamins and minerals.

Timothy Caulfield, a self-described health expert, has had an opinion piece published in the Toronto Star that states:

“If provincial governments grant naturopaths their wish and make them a self-regulating profession, they will be putting patients’ well-being at risk.”


The article then goes on to talk about the response of the Ontario Medical Association to changes in regulations applying to Ontario naturopathic doctors, characterizing it as a valiant battle to preserve “patient safety and, more fundamentally, the role of science in the Canadian health care system”.  What nonsense.

Mr. Caulfield is a lawyer and a law professor who seems to have an axe to grind with naturopathy.  For all that the practice of law is about details, Mr. Caulfield doesn’t seem to be concerned with them.  He conveniently ignores details such as these:

  • that the practice of naturopathy has been regulated in Ontario since 1925;
  • that naturopathy was brought under the Registered Health Practitioners Act of Ontario in 2007;
  • that the current activities undertaken by naturopathic doctors with respect to the RHPA have to do with the rules and regulations by which the legislation is administered, not the legislation itself.

FACT: Naturopathic practice is already self-regulated in the province of Ontario and has been for nearly 90 years.  The change in legislation does NOT increase risk to patients’ well-being.

Mr. Caulfield implies in this article and elsewhere that naturopathic medicine is responsible for the death of a 7 year old in Calgary, even though there has been no statement made by the police to confirm this, and he routinely conflates naturopathy and homeopathy implying they are the same thing.  They are not.  It’s tragic for everyone that this child died, but shouldn’t the facts of the situation matter?

In a recent editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a group of doctors state that “Most supplements do not prevent do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided.”

You know what?  Those exact statements apply directly to the use of statin medications prescribed prophylactically for the prevention of coronary heart disease.

The editorial was triggered by the recent publication of 3 studies:

In the abstracts of these articles, you will see the authors have identified some of the limitations of their studies and commented on the impact on the studies’ conclusions.  None of them recommended global abandonment of vitamins and minerals.

What bugs me about all of this is the way the scientific process is being perverted by those who claim to be defending it.  Natural health treatments should be evaluated for safety and efficacy like conventional treatments are.  Science will show us the way; let’s not obscure the development of knowledge with hypocritical comments and misrepresentations.