The Placebo Defect

David Smith
4 min readNov 1, 2020

The deluge of information from every angle, every day, all the time, from everyone, everywhere, is palpable.

Do this. Do that. Be scientific. Yet no one is qualified to interpret science, let alone for others. We need someone “qualified”.

This is the seed.

I cannot deny the sense of narrowness of their view when listening to these qualified people and I suspect that they guess as much as the rest of us, a majority of the time. Why is this?

Health is a muddy conversation in our lives. Vitamins are my mud pies of choice because everyone has an opinion and it throws the slop of societies reasoning skills in my face.

We all know to eat our veggies, however we also all know we just pee out our vitamins so they are a waste of money. We know all too well that everything is in moderation and that too much of anything is bad.

Catchy catchphrases I suppose to make one feel like they are contributing to a conversation they know little about. They are the first hurdle I face when I tell anyone of what I do with vitamins. Once I dodge the bathroom logic of the uninformed, I like to tell people how once I took 50,000 mg of Vitamin C to handle a bad bout of seasonal allergies and finish that experiment with mowing the lawn. (They are surprised I still have kidneys.) I like to share how my arthritis was getting so bad that getting myself off the couch was a burden and that my experiments with Vitamin B1 quieted the pain-beast that was my life. More recently, I add how I use l-Tryptophan to smooth over my mood and the roughness that was my personality is now a guy that was hurting inside over the general misery he created in people around him. And likely saved my job.

Their eyes glaze over. From deep within their understanding, from the deepest recesses of their being, they pull out the gem which is this article.

“It’s likely just the placebo effect.”

Snap! The fervor I mustered, the excitement I embodied . . . invalidated to a phrase that exists because there are things the “qualified” don’t understand.

“It’s likely just the placebo effect.”

It took me a few years to wrap my head around this particular invalidation. If I kept talking after being told my bottle of Vitamin C was being flushed down the toilet, this beast popped it’s head out. It occurred to me though.

We are all chasing the placebo effect and don’t even understand it. We eat better to be healthy. We buy organic to be healthier. We take our multi-vitamins even though it is said they do nothing for you but we kind of get the feeling they do.

But the placebo effect. What if you intentionally tried to deploy it? This is what is suggested that I do. I take pills or powders, I feel better because of the placebo effect. Great!

If my 50 grams of vitamin C can invoke a phenomenon that causes me to make myself better and eradicate the histamine my body is generating . . . so what? If the niacin somehow puts me in the mind frame to be able to lower the inflammation in my joints . . . so what? If the l-Tryptophan makes me think I can talk to people on the phone and not feel the grit on my soul which is their voices? So what?

What if I have been recreating these placebo effects for the last 14 years when needed and with the same efficacy as the first?

The back story is that I have had some pretty dramatic successes with the placebo effect.

I take lower amounts of niacin (Vitamin B1) and the stray thoughts that plagued me, quiet down, and I sleep well. If I take more, I can make it so that my joints are not inflamed and I can walk around like a twenty year old instead of a sixty year old.

Vitamin C’s dramatic affect on my seasonal allergies when I just refused, refused, refused to take an allergy pill was most dramatic. My mantra was “keeping taking it until I feel better.” So I did. 2000 mg every 20 minutes. The lawn mower started easily that day when I pulled the starter with 50,000 mg of vitamin C in me.

I’ve chased the placebo with biology as well. My overpriced juicer makes a cold pressed juice like no other and when I go on a bender of 4 or 5 juices in a row, it’s hard to explain the sense of well being I can create.

Just the placebo effect? No, that’s just like saying that all the beauty of life and accomplishments of mankind are just the human spirit, nothing more. The book of health would be much better to read if the word placebo was not thrown about as much as it is.

I tried to decide if the placebo defect was a statement on an oft ignored aspect of medicine that needs to be understood, or an oft ignored aspect of metaphysics that needs to be understood.

The “qualified” are not trained in the human spirit. The human spirit builds bodies with foods, vitamins, minerals and stray molecules floating about the room. The placebo effect gives us insight we overlook because it doesn’t fit science. It’s the dark matter of health, intangible yet everyone knows of it’s existence. They guess because their disciplines cannot see what it cannot see. We stay blind because we have to be qualified to see

Mind over matter eh?

It’s our decisions, our outlook, our preferences that dictate our health. Those are all components of a mind not a pill. Never forget, that body of yours is being piloted by something. There are things the “unqualified” understands just fine. Those are the things that are important.



David Smith

Disgruntled uneducated intellectual and philosopher unimpressed with the current paradigm. A non-authoritative authority on the status quo & it’s inadequacies.