Nutritional Approach to Reversing Disease
Few people clearly understand that medical drug intervention is not designed to, nor is it capable of curing or reversing any of our chronic, degenerative diseases. There is also limited understanding of how truly powerful nutritional medicine is at restoring people’s health from these same diseases. Regardless of your understanding, coping with disease or the threat of illness can unravel your sanity. Simply put, conventional thought is that disease is a destiny, and we desperately hope for the best outcome from any medications and treatments available. In actuality, real solutions are abundant. Restoring metabolic strength and balance, and reviving the optimal homeostasis of bodily functions is paramount for returning to a life that is disease free, as well as maintaining optimal health.
The classic Western medical approach is termed allopathic medicine which centers on the use of drugs to treat disease. The approach involves identifying an existing condition and prescribing drugs for relief of the various symptoms that are expressed. Unfortunately, drugs provide no means of a cure or resolving a disease, they only address the symptoms. The state of disease is maintained, but hopefully with less symptoms. However, without addressing a cause, the disease is simply maintained, but more likely to progress. Maintaining a diseased, or compromised state, along with the inherent side effects of all drugs, can only compromise other metabolic systems, and the progression of disease ensues.
In the allopathic model, nothing happens until an individual experiences some change that takes place and a condition or disease is manifest. This person is now a candidate for medical care and they enter into this system where drugs are targeted to the symptoms. If an individual is in good health, without any disease conditions, Western medicine has nothing to offer.
In the world of Nutritional, or ‘Functional’ medicine, everyone can enter into this model, because by nature it does not treat disease. The object of this approach is to assess the systems of the body for metabolic balance or imbalance, and if symptoms are present, ultimately uncovering the source of imbalance and thus, the cause. In terms of imbalances and identifying the root causes, we call it going ‘upstream’ to determine the most originating factors that went off-track, so to speak. In other words, we don’t stop at the condition, constipation for instance, but look at the next factors in a causal chain, which may be stomach digestion. That leads to assessing healthy stomach acid levels, gut flora or enzyme strength. That may be where the correction is made. It’s finding the imbalance, correcting it, thus resolving the ‘downstream’ condition, and bowel function returns to normal. The condition is resolved and no other detriment is created. In fact, if anything, other systems may also be restored or brought back into balance, such as stomach digestion.
When a thorough investigation is made, tracing as far back as possible, the culprit becomes most revealing of eventual disease processes taking place. In fact, more often, the results reveal very few areas of imbalance, toxicity or absence of nutrient components. Yet the correction positively impacts more of the metabolism than just the ultimate problem.
This same process is applied to otherwise healthy individuals. Disease conditions may not be currently expressed, but we still assess the whole body for the state of key metabolic systems. For instance, the calcium/phosphorus ratio may be found to be out of balance for an individual who, as of yet, has not shown signs of bone decay or kidney stones. When this imbalance is corrected, not only does this support the health of these organs, but also prevents further stress or detriment to other systems. This is true prevention!
An example of an upstream imbalance causing a downstream disease process can be described with this illustration. An active woman in her mid-30’s, without prior symptoms, begins to notice unusual fatigue, but brushes it off as being worn out from her busy lifestyle. After a time she also notices some extra weight gain, low libido and even a little trouble concentrating at her job through the day. From a medical perspective, initial blood tests may show to be normal, but as her symptoms persist, subsequent tests may indicate low TSH (thyroid hormone) levels and suggest the prescribing of a thyroid medication. This may alleviate symptoms for a while, but does not affect the cause and the disease remains.
The thyroid gland influences nearly every metabolic function in the body. Causes of thyroid and hormone dysfunction can be very difficult to determine. From an allopathic approach, obvious symptoms of individual organ systems are identified with little attempt of investigating a more deep rooted problem. Taking an unbiased approach lends to investigating the body as a whole. When studied functionally, it may be discovered that she has also experienced some digestive discomfort. Upon further examination, she reveals that due to her busy schedule, she has been skipping healthy meals and substituting processed and fast foods. This led to discovering her weak stomach acid strength (strong stomach acid, not weak, is essential for good digestion), creating the reflux she was experiencing. This reduced digestive capacity, a common source of nutrient deficiency, has restricted her body’s ability to take in minerals such as iodine which is essential for thyroid function. Thus without treating the thyroid, but correcting that one imbalance, stomach acid production, several symptoms related to her thyroid distress, along with optimal gut health, have been resolved.
Degenerative diseases, also known as lifestyle or inflammatory diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, digestive disorders, and the list goes on… are the result of lifestyle/dietary habits and environmental stressors. We are not born with them nor destined to have them. These are conditions that start at some point in one’s life when metabolic factors become out of balance, depleted or other toxic substances overwhelm the body’s ability to handle them. As an imbalance takes place, it will typically effect an escalating amount of disharmony ‘downstream’. Hence, a single problem is more than likely to become multiple disease processes. The allopathic approach is to wait for these events to take place, apply medications to the resultant symptoms that come about while little, if any attention is paid to restoring metabolic needs and balance. When it comes to degenerative diseases, which make up most of the leading causes of death in the US, and which continue to worsen in their incidence, Western medicine continues to fail.
Incidentally, in terms of holistic approaches of healthcare, other factors are clearly intertwined in the energy and chemistry systems of our biology. The mind body connection, for instance, is an important factor. Emotional stress or mental trauma for instance can play a significant role in the onset and progression of disease. Spiritual support, energy healing, homeopathic remedies, essential oils and Ayurvedic medicine are other very successful, natural approaches. Like nutritional medicine, these encompass treating the individual as a whole to restore the balance and strength of our body’s psychological and metabolic needs, naturally. They do not treat a disease, which is the impetus and thus, the inherent failure of Western medicine. I did not want to disregard the importance of these other approaches in contributing to the multitude of successful results experienced by countless individuals worldwide.
Nutritional therapies including dietary management and nutritional supplement protocols, have been responsible for countless success stories of restoring people’s health and resolving many diseases, even some never thought possible.
Cases of type 2 diabetes with people on several medications because of off-the-scale blood sugar and blood fat levels have been reversed, allowing these people to be free from medications. There are cases of scleroderma, a chronic condition of hardening of the skin and connective tissue, considered incurable in the medical field, where patients have become symptom free through nutritional intervention. A well-known medical doctor wrote a book after a life changing experience. In an opening story he describes his wife who went from being very active and full of energy to developing severe chronic fatigue, became constantly ill and couldn’t even get out of bed. She had gone through months of medical tests, medications and was seen by multiple specialists, all with no idea how to help her. They actually recommended that the family get her affairs in order because she was not expected to live more than a few months. After finally being ‘allowed’ to start on a regimen of nutritional supplements, she recovered almost instantly, was out of bed in a few days and within one month was back to her normal activities. His book? – What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know about Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You by Dr. Ray Bland.
Unfortunately, our society has become misguided as to what is truly feeding and healing the body, and what is just managing symptoms. Because of the influence and control of the medical and drug industry we are shielded from the powerful capacity that effective nutritional and other natural approaches provide for restoring the body’s ability to overcome disease processes. We have also become led, and you can almost say controlled, by the other giant – the food industry, into dietary habits and extremely poor food products that are completely counter to any healthy progress that you can expect with ideal nutritional practices.
It’s exciting to witness what happens when people start to understand the remarkable possibilities they can attain with their health. When people experience profound improvements or recover from a disease they previously thought was not possible, they are easily motivated to continue their efforts. Unfortunately, in the U.S., I believe the majority will remain loyal to poor dietary habits and the inevitable consequences, while maintaining unrealistic faith in medical care. But for those who have turned their trust over to the successes of ideal nutritional management, they can be a guide for others to experience a healthier life.
The first steps in the holistic health seeking endeavors are to realize that the fundamental needs of the body are fairly simple and straight forward. However, accurately assessing what may be missing, out of balance or damaged requires experience and an accurate approach. The challenge of implementing a nutritional protocol will be different for each individual, but be encouraged that more successful outcomes are more likely to occur by correcting fundamental and optimal mechanisms of metabolism than by masking symptoms and perpetuating states of disease with drugs.
The nutritional evaluations that I use provide the tools necessary to look more diligently and properly identify the culprits that are causing your health to get off course. If you are interested in the future of your health, or are not satisfied with simply managing your state of disease with drugs that have no ability to identify and correct the cause, then consider the better alternative. Your health is in your hands, much more than you may know.