Differences between a Naturopathic Physician (NMD/ND), Naturopathic Practitioner, and Medical Doctor (MD)

The differences between a Naturopathic Physician (NMD/ND), Naturopathic Practitioner, and Medical Doctor (MD)

by Dr. Nicole Cain, ND, MA

Lots of folks have been asking us what a Naturopathic Physician (NMD/ND) is, and we wanted to share with you a few differences between a Naturopathic Physician (Doctor in Michigan) (NMD/ND), Naturopathic Practitioner, and Medical Doctor (MD)!

Naturopathic doctors are NOT the same as naturopaths, which is confusing because the names are the same.

In fact a Naturopathic Doctor’s (NMD/ND) curriculum is more similar to that of a Medical Doctor (MD), than a naturopathic practitioner.

Here are 6 things that make licensed Naturopathic Physicians (doctors in Michigan) different from naturopathic practitioners:

1. Naturopathic Doctors are graduates of accredited, four-year naturopathic medical colleges (there are only 6 of these colleges in the United States, none of which are in Michigan)
2. They are licensed or regulated by states
3. They must pass rigorous professional board exams
4. They can order diagnostic tests prescribe prescription drugs and hormones, and perform minor surgery, acupuncture, and do IV’s.
5. They must carry malpractice insurance
6. They must maintain a commitment to lifelong learning through continuing education (CEUs or CMEs)*
7. They complete over 1330 hours of clinical training, traditional naturopaths receive no clinical training (clinical training is akin to MD’s going to grand rounds and doing a residency with patients).
8. This extensive medical and clinical education is absolutely necessary for public safety. If a clinician is not medically trained, but they are recommending things for you to put into your body, they really have no idea if it could hurt you. Eg: You are on warfarin for your heart disease, and your clinician recommends turmeric. This might seem like a good idea, but a clinician who has not gone to medical school might not have learned that turmeric is a blood thinner and will interact with your warfarin and put you at extremely high risk for hemorrhage/bleed.

Here are 4 key things that make licensed Naturopathic Physicians (doctors in Michigan) different from MD’s:

1) Years 1 and 2 of medical school are very similar between ND’s and MD’s, though often ND’s often have a heavier load (see reference).
2) MD’s are required a minimum of 1,200 hours of clinical training, Naturopathic Physicians (NMD’s) are required at least 1,330 hours of clinical training.
3) Years 3 and 4 NMD’s receive extensive training in all of the alternative modalities (that the MD’s do not get) while continuing to complete the same basic coursework done in these years in MD programs.
4) NMD’s focus on prevention, identifying the root cause, and many avoid using prescription medications when there are alternative methods to improve health and decrease the need for medications.
*Continuing Education Units or Continuing Medical Education*
Naturopathic Physicians are referred to as “Doctors” in the State of Michigan (as of April 2018) as they have a 4-year doctorate degree from an accredited college, but Michigan has not yet passed legislation allowing Naturopathic Doctors, physician’s rights.

Introducing The Gut Psychology Program by Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA

Introducing The Gut Psychology Program

by Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA

•Did you know that 95% of your mood altering neurotransmitters are made in your gut?

•Are you looking to solve the mystery of what foods are right for you?

•Are you ready to go beyond the prescriptions and heal from the inside out?

•Do you want to become the happiest, healthiest person you know?

Dr. Nicole Cain ND, MA has published her first book on health. The Gut Psychology program 61 pages of life-changing material!

The e-book is broken up into a 4 stage program that will take you through the steps necessary to improve your gut health, overall health, and mood! The program is empirically researched with 50 scholarly references combined with Dr. Cain’s clinical experience. In addition to the state of the art knowledge provided to you, and formatted into four stages (each can be completed in one week or one month–work at your own pace), the program includes exercises and reflections for you to utilize at each stage of the program. It is now available to you at an affordable price.

You can purchase the e-book, instantly downloadable below:


gut psychology by Dr. Nicole Cain ND MA healthy gut = happy mind

Gut Psychology: The Most Comprehensive & Empirically Researched Dietary Program for Mental Health

It starts here with just four steps…

After decades of research, we know just how important gut health is to our mental and emotional health. Gut health influences your mood for better or for worse, but how do we know which diet is best for us? Learn how you can improve your digestion, eat your way to happiness and gain your life back by following the Gut Psychology program.

Through the Gut Psychology four-week program you will be empowered with the tools to help you get back to the best you. While it’s powerful, it isn’t complicated. With over 2,000 happy customers, it’s clear Gut Psychology was created to make big improvements with simple, small shifts. Dr. Cain seamlessly guides you through the modules as you implement the information at home.

In one transformational month, you will be able to:

•Identify the foods to improve your mood

•Get the tools to heal your gut

•Give your body the nutrients its been depleted of

•Develop the healthy habits to maintain a happy gut and happy mind, through every season of life.


Below are a list of recent blogs written by Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA available exclusively at Gut Psychology.com:






To learn more about Dr. Nicole Cain ND MA and her work visit www.DrNicoleCain.Com

Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA Expert on alternative psychiatric care
Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA – The Author of the Gut Psychology Program.


Sample Pages below:

the Gut Psychology Program by Dr. Nicole Cain ND MA: Proteins; expanding your palate from chicken and cheese
This is a low resolution screenshot of the first page of Module 2 of the Gut Psychology Program by Dr. Nicole Cain ND MA
he Gut Psychology Program by Dr. Nicole Cain ND MA
This is a low resolution screenshot from some of the content in the Gut Psychology Program by Dr. Nicole Cain ND MA



the Gut Psychology Program by Dr. Nicole Cain ND MA, researching the root cause, the link between your gut health and emotional well-being.
This is a low resolution screenshot from the Gut Psychology Program by Dr. Nicole Cain ND MA

To learn more about the Gut Psychology Program visit www.GutPsychology.com

Gut Psychology by Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA is now available!

Why you need an accurate Food Allergy Panel

Why you need an accurate Food Allergy Panel

Have you heard about the Food Allergy Panel? It’s been a popular test for the past few years, and with good reason! But we are hearing some people are still confused, so let’s clear it up. The Food Allergy Panel is a blood test that will highlight foods you’ve been eating that are causing your immune system to be activated and initiate inflammation in the gut and can wreak havoc elsewhere.

The first important item to understand about this test is the big difference between IgE and IgG-mediated immune responses. While many allergist are in search of the foods or items that bring about an IgE response, they are searching for those that increase the release of histamine leading to severe and even fatal situations like hives and anaphylaxis. However, the Food Allergy Panel is testing for the IgG-mediated immune response. Unlike the fast-acting IgE, this is the delayed reaction your immune system can have when ingesting food items that your body has developed a sensitivity to. It can take up to 72 hours for symptoms to appear from a food that your blood levels show a high IgG-mediated response. This delayed response makes it difficult to correlate which foods are causing what symptoms. You may be eating the same thing every morning without knowing it’s leading to those chronic migraines your experiencing, that depression, or the joint paint that won’t go away. The presentation of symptoms from the IgG response is usually chronic, low-level and slow to progress with wide variety. These symptoms can range from headaches, nausea, skin symptoms like eczema, joint pain, tinea and discoloration, mood symptoms, gastrointestinal distress and neurocognitive disruption. An IgG food allergy panel may be the ticket to track down and overcome these unresolved symptoms you are struggling with.

The Food Allergy Panel is a functional test, which means it isn’t just looking to rule in or out a disease, it’s looking to find where your body is functioning suboptimally and how to get it back on track. Utilizing functional testing, it’s possible to see diseases before they are present and reverse them from progressing into more serious and severe cases.

Some alternatives to the food allergy panel is the elimination diet, which is a food based cleanse that removes the most common inflammatory, or IgG-activating foods, for a period of time allowing the immune response to decrease. During the elimination phase, supplements and nutrients to heal the gut are introduced. Slowly, the common allergen foods are re-introduced in a strategic way to reveal the symptoms associated with that food, with a 72-hour watch period after ingestion.

Often times this is done in place of the Food Allergy Panel, however it is most effective to gather all the information specific to your body and implementing the elimination diet, not with the most common allergens, but the ones that are actually affecting your body. Sometimes the food(s) responsible for the havoc on the gut aren’t in the top 12 common allergens and could be something that is being eaten daily, like oats or bananas. We see foods that are very unsuspecting, such as almonds showing a red flag, when typically we would think of food families like dairy or gluten as most harmful and the replacement of those top allergens are products like almond milk or almond flour. You can see how this can get very confusing and frustrating without a detailed map of what foods are affecting you, and that’s where the Food Allergy Panel testing comes in. The Food Allergy Panel is a way to test 96+ food families for any reactions in your unique body.

For more information or to set up a Food Allergy Panel for yourself you can call Health for Life Grand Rapids at 616-200-4433 or purchase the test online by clicking here.

Nationwide Food Allergy Testing Program

A Naturopathic Medicine Overview

A Naturopathic Medicine Overview

We want to offer a brief overview of what Naturopathic Medicine is all about, why it is a vital integrative approach, and how to describe it to your friends and family asking, “What are you doing that’s making such a difference?” 

Naturopathic medicine is a system of primary care healthcare thats foundation lies in natural, effective and safe therapies for prevention and treatment. With these therapies Naturopathic Physicians utilize the body’s self-healing capabilities. That’s right, your own body can heal itself when put in an optimal environment to do its own thing, a little principle we Naturopathic physicians like to call, “Vix Maticatrix Naturae,” or The Healing Power of Nature. In our extensive medical training, we acknowledge this innate ability of the body and we strive to enhance it within you, our patients.

Licensed Naturopathic Doctors (ND’s) combine modern science and western medicine with the traditional healing methods of traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture and botanicals to treat the person sitting right in front of us, not just the symptoms. In fact, ND’s approach towards healing is a bottom up view, rather than top down, showing that getting to the root cause of your concerns will create a ripple effect and lead to the elimination of your symptoms. When we go after the symptoms alone, without really addressing the underlying reason they are present, we often won’t have lasting results. Our symptoms are clues about what is going on at a deeper level. If we pacify them, (say an anti-cough medicine for a cough), we are only suppressing disease and simply hoping for the best. You deserve true healing and restoration, not a band aid.  

But what does that mean, exactly? Well, as ND’s pride themselves on individualized care, it differs for each patient case. However, we have a system that directs the treatment to provide the most benefit with the least risk called the Therapeutic Order. This was developed by Drs. Jared Zeff, Pamela Snider, and Stephen Myers to assists ND’s in unearthing the root causes of illness, develop foundations for health and create lasting healing.

       the therapeutic order of Naturopathic Medicine

  1. Remove Obstacles to Health
  2. Stimulate the Vis
  3. Strengthen Weakened Systems
  4. Correct Structural Integrity
  5. Use Natural Substances to Restore and Regenerate
  6. Use Pharmacologic Substances to Halt Progressive Pathology
  7. Use High Force, Invasive Modalities: Surgery, Radiation, Chemotherapy

naturopathic medicine pyramid

So, what guides Naturopathic Medicine and all of its students, educators, researchers and licensed physicians to uphold the prestigious honor of being a crucial medical profession? The six (sometimes 7) Principles of Naturopathic Medicine. These are echoed at every graduation of the 7 Accredited Naturopathic Programs Across 8 North American Campuses.

  1.     Vis Medicatrix Naturae – The Healing Power of Nature
  2.     Tolle Causam – Identify and Treat The Cause
  3.     Primum No Nocere – First, Do No Harm
  4.     In Perturbato Animo Sicut In Corpore Sanitas Esse Non Potest – Treat The Whole Person
  5.     Docere – Physician as Teacher
  6.     Principiis Obsta: Sero Medicina Curatur – Prevention
  7.     BONUS : Physician Heal Thyself – We recognize that we cannot help facilitate your healing process if we do not first heal within ourselves.

Now, when you come in to see our Naturopathic Physicians at Health For Life, you will have a better understanding of what to expect and why they take more than the standard amount of time to get to know you. With the confidence of knowing what we do and how we do it, you can trust you will find successful healing with us.

Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA who practices in Grand Rapids, MI and also several months of the year in Scottsdale, AZ as well.


Health for Life Grand Rapids is now open!

Grand Rapids, MI.

We are excited to announce that Health for Life Grand Rapids has opened its doors! In May 2017, Dr. Nicole Cain, ND, MA will be accepting new patients looking for integrative and alternative approaches to health and wellness. And Paul Krauss MA LPC will be taking on new patients looking for a fresh and dynamic approach to counseling and psychotherapy. Give us a call today and find out how we can help you 616-200-4433. 

Dr. Nicole Cain ND MA is a one-of-kind doctor as she has both a Naturopathic Medical Degree (4 years), from an accredited medical school, and a Masters in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Nicole Cain’s approach is unique from her colleagues as she aims to find and treat the root cause of your symptoms instead of “the band-aid approach.” Dr. Nicole Cain does not settle for easy answers–she is an educated ally and will work to find out why you have the symptoms you have and then work on treatment–not just try to cover your symptoms up. With over 10 years of clinical experience, Dr. Nicole Cain is a fierce health advocate for her patients–and as a result her patients have had incredible outcomes. Check out some success stories here.

Paul Krauss MA LPC is a dynamic force working for you and your family. He does not judge or label anyone–but ensures that you have a safe, confidential, and workable plan that will restore you and your loved ones in mind, personality, and with relationships. Paul Krauss MA LPC has an incredible amount of training, logging well over 30 continuing education hours per year and other advanced trainings. Paul has multiple specialities that he works with, yet he will customize his approach to your needs. Check out some testimonials.

We are excited to announce that in June 2017, we will have several new clinicians working at Health for Life, each offering a special area of focus to serve the Grand Rapids Community. Our aim is to help people become healthy for their entire life. We are not into short-term fixes, we aim for long-term healing and transformation.

Not in Grand Rapids, MI? No problem. Dr. Nicole Cain is able to treat patients throughout the United States and internationally through secure video software. She is a licensed physician in Arizona and will be in her Scottsdale, AZ office for part of the year as well.

Paul Krauss MA LPC is able to offer distance counseling for patients throughout the state of Michigan. In addition, Paul Krauss offers Consulting services for individuals, families, and businesses on a variety of topics related to mental health, psychology, and wellness.

Paul Krauss’ podcast The Intentional Clinician has its home at www.healthforlifegr.com/blog/

Dr. Nicole Cain’s fantastic blog full of tips for your wellness is can be found here. 

Thank you for reading.

Dr. Nicole Cain, ND, MA and Paul Krauss MA LPC

Questions? Email: [email protected]

Or call 616-200-4433

Introducing Health For Life. We believe that total healing and personal transformation is possible. We offer Integrative Medicine and Counseling Services to help you get to the root cause of your suffering and begin your journey into a new way of being.