Welcome! This may be the most important resource for health you will ever find.
: Health managed by yourself, for yourself, with results that exceed
those obtained through conventional healthcare. We call it obtaining health Undoctored
Hi, I’m Dr. William Davis, founder of the Undoctored
program for health and author of several books, including Undoctored: Why Health Care Has Failed You and How You Can Become Smarter Than Your Doctor
and the Wheat Belly series of books.
going to make a bold proposal, one you may find farfetched: I propose that much
of human health can be managed without a doctor or hospital, but by
individuals, on their own, without drugs, without procedures, without
Sure, you could remove a wart using the cider vinegar recipe your grandmother gave
deal. But I’m referring to something much more substantial. And I don’t mean
removing your own appendix or self-splinting a leg fracture in your garage.
I mean is that many health conditions can be safely, effectively, and
inexpensively managed by an individual without a doctor’s guidance, without a
doctor’s diagnosis, and without need for prescription medication.
It’s already happening. And it’s already happening on an incredible scale, not just
by the eccentric doctor-phobe bearing acupuncture needles along meridian lines.
It is a philosophy already embraced by tens of millions of people, although
they may have done so unknowingly.
call this phenomenon Undoctored health, or self-directed health:
health practices and disease treatment that are self-managed. You
might already recognize a rudimentary form of Undoctored health in its
predecessor, “wellness,” the healthy-eating, take-an-exercise-break,
check-your-blood-pressure and know-your-cholesterol practices followed at
workplaces to reduce healthcare costs. But the concept is evolving rapidly from
this humble start. And it’s going to grow much bigger.
To view evidence of self-directed health at work on a large scale, we need look no
farther than nutritional supplements, a wildly popular $30 billion confirmation
that people desire self-managed
health solutions. Though we may dispute the wisdom and effectiveness of some of
it, there is no doubt that options in nutritional supplements have exploded
over the past two decades - and
the public has embraced them enthusiastically. The lax regulation imposed by
the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act has allowed the definition of
“nutritional supplement” to be stretched and includes obviously non-nutritional
(though still potentially interesting) products like the hormones pregnenolone,
dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and melatonin to be sold on the same shelf as
Though still in its infancy, direct-to-consumer access to medical imaging is yet
another facet of the phenomenon of self-directed health. Today, it is possible
to diagnose your own coronary disease (CT heart scan), measure bone density for
osteoporosis (DEXA, ultrasound, or bone densitometry), or quantify the severity
of carotid atherosclerosis (ultrasound) with tests available to the consumer - directly, without a
doctor’s involvement. A number of market forces in healthcare (including
increasing exposure to large insurance deductibles) are converging to make
direct-to-consumer medical imaging an appealing option.
Direct-to-consumer laboratory testing, a silent but substantial phenomenon, has emerged only in
the last decade, largely in response to physician reluctance to order tests
requested by individuals eager to explore health. Cost awareness to the price
of lab testing is also growing as more people are exposed to health costs
through larger insurance deductibles. Competitive pricing that develops
naturally in a direct-to-consumer retail service yields substantial cost
savings. (50% or more is not uncommon.) A mind-boggling array of self-directed
tests is now available, from advanced markers for heart disease, to genetic
cancer markers, to hormonal assessments that promise to further enrich the Undoctored, self-directed experience.
The prospect of self-managing aspects of health is tantalizing to a lot of people.
It conceivably means that cholesterol abnormalities can be identified and
managed without a doctor; blood pressure reduced without seeing a doctor; early
osteoporosis corrected using commonly available nutritional supplements and
exercise; vitamin D blood levels can be self-measured and self-corrected; low
thyroid underlying fatigue can be identified and corrected. When people begin
to realize just how much they are capable of in directing their own health, an
amazing spark of interest ignites and they develop a deep fascination with
learning more - very
different from the conventional health interaction.
health is a phenomenon that will stretch far and wide into human health. It
will encompass preventive practices, diagnostic testing, and therapeutic
strategies. Self-directed health will grow to include heart disease, cancer prevention
and identification, diabetes and pre-diabetes identification and management;
osteoporosis identification and correction; genetic testing; issues of interest
to men, issues of interest to women.
Undoctored health will dramatically shift the landscape of healthcare, change the
economics of payment for healthcare, and revolutionize health for millions.
Critics will say this is hazardous. In our drive-thru, just-add-water-and-microwave
world of instant gratification, critics will warn that there is potential for
danger. They fear that people will misdiagnose, misinterpret, or fail to
recognize various conditions, choose the wrong diagnostic test, institute the
wrong treatment. Chaos will result, unnecessary or unwise treatments
I disagree. Surely, increased freedom necessitates increased responsibility.
Boundaries need to be established, rules followed, guidelines provided,
guidance available. But I predict that self-directed health will, on the whole,
improve health - enormously.
You walk into your doctor’s office armed with a laundry list of tests and
treatments you’d like, a set of long-term health goals that include
identification and elimination of cancer-causing behaviors, identification and
quantification of atherosclerotic disease in the coronary arteries (since your
Dad had a heart attack at age 63), implementation of a nutritional program,
correction of your borderline high blood sugar and cholesterol, increased
physical energy and mental focus, and you’d like to lose 20 lbs for your son’s
wedding in two months. How far do you think you’d get?
With rare exceptions, not very far at all. During your insurance-mandated 15-minute
office visit, you’re generally permitted to report a symptom or two, resulting
in a prescription delivered with as brief an explanation as the allotted time
will allow, closing with “See you in six months.”
It’s not news that conventional healthcare has proven increasingly dissatisfying to
the public. Doctors have been forced into a role of time-limited, event-driven
healthcare delivery that leaves little time for meaningful interaction.
Patients are unhappy with the revolving door of doctors; the lack of genuine
health information, especially in preventive care; the focus of healthcare providers
and hospitals on revenue-generating hospital procedures, rather than health.
Given the current constraints of the medical system, it is difficult or impossible to
receive long-term, in-depth, and personalized health insights. The hours and
hours of personal attention necessary for such a process would be prohibitively
expensive, particularly when multiplied by millions of people.
so it goes in the current medical system. Disappointing, limited visits that
accomplish little more than applying a temporary Band-Aid on a problem.
Nationalization of healthcare services, by definition a form of rationing, will
make this process even more restrictive than it is now.
Imagine instead a process in which you walk into your doctor’s office. You’ve already
begun your health empowerment program and have improved your health
considerably: lost 25 lbs, reduced cholesterol and blood pressure without
medication, begun a supplement program to correct the abnormally low bone
density (osteoporosis) identified a year earlier. However, you could use
occasional help, for instance, obtaining another test of bone density since
it’s covered by your health insurance. You therefore ask your doctor to order
another bone density test to assess the effects of your nutritional supplement
program. In other words, you’ve come to rely on your doctor to provide his/her
counsel when needed, advocate alternatives, keep you out of trouble spots. But,
for the most part, you are in charge
of your health.
In short, your doctor would be working for
you. You have accomplished far more than can be achieved in the usual
abbreviated health interaction with results superior
to what your doctor could achieve without your active participation. But
you still rely on your doctor for the occasional unexplained rash, health
question, or to facilitate some of the testing you request.
In fact, without seizing the reins of
your own medical fate, you will flounder. Left to the whims—and neglect—of
conventional healthcare delivery, you obtain the minimum allowed by the absurd
time constraints and the benign disinterest of your healthcare provider.
not create a better situation for
yourself through the self-direction of your health? Is it possible? Is it safe?
I propose that it is. I have seen people do it, I coach thousands of people on
how to accomplish it.
It means being provided the information that allows you to create your own health
program. It means enlisting your doctor as an assistant or advocate rather
than director in a process that is
largely self-directed-something that
is a lot easier than it sounds.
health information on a disease.
I go to the library and ask the librarian for a book on human health and anatomy.
She lowers her bifocals, looks me up and down to make certain I’m not a
pervert, then grudgingly allows me to look at the book she keeps behind the
Leafing through the book, I view curious drawings and photographs. But the information
is written in incomprehensible medical language and I learn very little about
my condition despite the embarrassment encountered in obtaining it. My insight
is therefore limited to the little information my doctor provided.
health information on a disease.
I find several books on my condition at the bookstore or library. I search the
internet for the information I need. Not only do I find dozens of websites that
discuss in detail the condition of interest, but I also engage in conversations
with other people with the same condition through online forums. I log my
health data online. I track the course of my symptoms, graph my response and
compare it to the experience of others in similar situations, and they compare
their experiences with mine. I can obtain testing in my city, order the
therapeutic agents I desire.
short, I self-manage a substantial part of my health.
There is a common and pervasive misconception that the public is incapable--too lazy, too
stupid, too poorly-informed--to
manage their own health. This notion, a curiously modern perception, cultivated
by regulation, has proven self-fulfilling. The doctor makes a diagnosis,
prescribes treatment (with little or no explanation), and the patient is
expected to comply. If the patient searches the internet and comes armed with a
stack of reprints to ask the doctor some questions, more often than not the
information is dismissed. “Why don’t you just ask the internet to treat you,
Over the past eight years, I have participated in a website experiment that provides
online guidance on how to identify and manage coronary artery disease, the
disease leading to heart attacks, bypass surgery, and other major hospital
procedures. The followers of the program are not people in the midst of a heart
catastrophe like heart attack, but everyday people who have had coronary
atherosclerotic plaque identified with a self-ordered test called a CT heart
scan. The “score” obtained through a heart scan serves as the basis for a
program that tracks the score, identifies its causes, corrects the causes.
People following the program enjoy a level of insight into heart disease that
has astounded cardiologists and primary care physicians. Participants have
stopped or reversed their scores--reversed coronary disease--using little or no
medication. I have published these data in the medical literature.
This experience is not entirely unique. There are similar experiences in the world
of thyroid health, women’s health, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and
is the basic ingredient required to even begin to talk about Undoctored, self-directed
health. Reliable information is an absolute necessity, information that seeks
only to inform--without
profit, without the bias of marketing.
Other pieces necessary that allow people to begin to self-direct aspects of health
have, only in the last few years, all fallen into place. Treatment options have
expanded enormously as the loose definition of “nutritional supplements”
permits a growing array of interesting vitamins, minerals, flavonoids,
carotenoids, antioxidants, phytonutrients, herbal preparations, hormones, and
even occasional pharmaceutical agents to enter the direct-to-consumer world.
Home testing tools have exploded and now include home blood pressure monitors,
blood sugar monitors, blood cholesterol monitors, body fat monitors, blood
oxygen monitors, and others. All are readily available at affordable prices.
Even greater possibilities will unfold in the coming years. Several nationwide
companies now offer direct-to-consumer testing for hundreds of different lab
tests. There are also laboratories that specialize in at-home testing that
allows the consumer to perform a finger prick (like checking blood sugar), blot
a blood sample, return to the lab by mail, results returned within several
days. There are even tests for blood sugar and cholesterol panels that can be
performed start-to-finish at home. Direct-to-consumer medical imaging is
becoming more accessible. Though the limits of direct-to-consumer imaging are a
subject of continuing debate, CT scans, ultrasound, various x-rays, and MRI’s
are already available in most states just for the asking.
Undoctored is not just about weight loss or gaining more energy. It will spark public
consciousness and help create a movement
of self-directed health that will change healthcare.
Could there be a time when there’s no such thing as doctors, since everyone will act
as their own?
I don’t think so. There will always be a place for that special person who has
devoted a lifetime to become an expert or skilled sufficient to provide real
advantage in managing a specific disease or health dilemma.
For the foreseeable future, there are also the unexpected twists in health provided
for by genetics, conditions that are sadly out of range of even the best
self-directed health efforts. There are unanticipated catastrophes, injuries
from car accidents, falls, and burns; infections; and the occasional chronic
disease of lifestyle that gets out of hand. But that still leaves an enormous
slice of human health that you have every right to take control over.
Right now, in our lifetimes, it is entirely possible that half the healthcare we receive--or fail to receive - through conventional
paths will fall under the umbrella of self-direction.
I challenge each and every person to become their own best health advocate and
enjoy perfect health: perfect weight, feel great and energized every day, enjoy
an optimistic outlook, free from pain and disability, all Undoctored.