Nutrition and Natural Medicine
The list of necessary nutrients is the same for every human being, but the relative amounts needed by each individual are as distinctly different as fingerprints.
Why is this so? Because the kind of food we eat; the physical, mental, and emotional stresses we experience; the environment in which we live and work; our unique, individually determined biochemical heredity pattern; the type of soil in which the food is grown; the type of water we drink; and the amount of exercise we have all add up to determine the fact that our bodies are not a conglomeration of cells needing a one for all and all for oneĒ minimum daily requirement.
You are a unique individual with unique biochemical needs. If the body cells are ailing, as they do in any form of human disease, the chances are good that it is because they are not being adequately provided with the optimum nutrients they need to sustain and propagate healthy tissues, organs, and life in general. In other words, cellular health is not based on a minimum daily requirement but on an optimum daily need determined by the personís own biochemical uniqueness. This is precisely where natural medicine comes to the front lines in the battle against and the prevention of disease.
Natural medicine, in many respects, is the practice of medicine as it was originally intended. For the average person, the above paragraph makes complete sense. If the bodyís cells are missing some essential nutrient for health, then they cannot be healthy. In other words, disease starts with cellular malnutrition. Correct this and many diseases will be cured.
Two thousand five hundred years ago, Hippocrates, the "father of medicine", said to his students, "Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.Ē Disease prevention and, even more so, disease cure starts with a proper diet and nutritional supplementation.
Linus Pauling, Ph.D., twice a Nobel Prize winner, coined the term orthomolecular, which literally means "pertaining to the right molecule." Orthomolecular physicians (natural medicine physicians) believe that the treatment of infectious and degenerative disease should be a matter of varying the concentration of right moleculesĒ (vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, enzymes, hormones, etc) that are normally present in the human body. This belief is based on the idea that the nutritional micro-environment of every cell in our body is extremely important to optimum health, and deficiencies in this environment constitute the major cause of disease.
The substrates for this microenvironment come from the food that we eat and assimilate. It has been said that "one manís food is another manís poison." This is especially true for the person with a lot of food allergies. In this scenario, a personís immune system is making antibodies against certain foods that are eaten, so instead of receiving nutrients for the cellular microenvironment from the food, the food is causing resources to be taken away. This is especially important for the person with an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma. At Caring Medical in Oak Park, Illinois, it is this production of antibodies by the immune system against various allergens that is often found as the source for the production of autoantibodies. Thus, the allergic reaction is the key to curing some people with autoimmune diseases.
Natural medicine physicians find all kinds of allergens as the cause of chronic diseases. An allergy is defined as the exaggerated reactivity of a living organism to a foreign substance that sometimes occurs following exposure to the substance, often even in a very small amount. Allergens, the substances that cause allergies, can be in the form of foods, chemicals, and inhalants in the environment. For someone with a chronic condition, an evaluation for allergies is key to obtaining optimum health.
Any person should know that taking ibuprofen for chronic pain or antacids for chronic stomach upset does nothing to cure the underlying problem. A personís chronic pain is not an ibuprofen deficiency, and chronic heartburn is not a antacid deficiency. If the latter is due to an excessive amount of acid secretion in the stomach, a better approach than prescribing an antacid is to find the cause of the problem. Excessive acid secretion can be caused by food allergies, stress, bacterial infection, improper digestion, and enzyme deficiency, among others. Natural medicine clinicians seek out the cause of the heartburn and then correct it. We have almost no stomach, gastrointestinal, or heartburn patients on antacids because antacids do not correct the underlying problem and often make it worse because they impede digestion. So by definition, antacids make the person sicker in the long run because they stop acid secretion, which is vital to digesting and assimilating food and nutrients.
Another principle of natural medicine is to rid the body of anything that it does not need, such as heavy metals or infections. Heavy metal poisoning and chronic low-level infections are becoming more and more common. Researchers are now discovering that many childhood illnesses, including autism, have as part of their etiology heavy metal poisoning. Most commonly, natural medicine providers instruct the person to undergo chelation therapy, which involves taking an agent that can bind the metal in the tissues and excrete it in urine. This can be something that is taken by mouth or given intravenously.
People are oblivious to the parasites, bacteria, fungi, and other varmints that are lurking about and ready to cause disease. Because the body fights these infections by producing antibodies against them, these can also be a cause of autoimmune disease. It is now possible to diagnose low-level infections in peopleís blood. Natural medicine clinicians have long known that infections can infest a person without causing overt signs of fever but more indolent symptoms such as malaise and fatigue. When the infectious agent is identified and then treated appropriately, the underlying condition abates.