Monday, February 20, 2012

ADDING HEALTH vs Fighting Disease

ADDING HEALTH vs. Fighting Disease
In the video below, Terry Wahls, MD describes her experience with MS. As an MD she was able to access the latest and best therapies for MS, but her disease remained unabated, following its usual course of progressive degeneration.

Dr. Wahls realized the limits of medical treatment and delved into her own research. She found “that brains afflicted with MS, Huntington's chorea, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's shrank with time,” consistent with the fact that their mitochondria (the power houses that manage the energy supply of the cells) did not work well. With ongoing research and self-experimentation, she took mitochondria-protective supplements (omega 3 fish oil, creatine, and co-enzyme Q) resulting in a slowing of her decline.

With continued research she discovered other nutrients vital to optimal mitochondrial/brain health and function and added them to her growing list of supplements. Then she had an epiphany, that she could “get all of these and possibly hundreds, maybe thousands, of other compounds that science had yet to name and identify that would be helpful to my brain and mitochondria.” Interestingly, she states that the medical and food science texts that she consulted were of no use in pointing her in the right direction as to where, in the food supply, to get these vital nutrients.

She goes on to demonstrate that the typical American diet is starving the body of vital nutrients necessary for the complex biochemical reactions that keep us healthy (let alone, consuming a myriad of processed toxic chemical foods), setting the stage for most chronic diseases.

Ultimately, Dr. Wahls found the Paleolithic diet, the diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. You see, our genes have not changed in 43,000 years and are consistent with those of our Paleolithic ancestors; meaning that our DNA has the same genetic requirements for health (in terms of diet and exercise) now, as it did then.

The Paleolithic hunter-gatherer diet consisted of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meats, and water. Note the absence of diary and grains, especially wheat and corn (not to mention processed chemical concoctions masquerading as food). These were all foods that were added with the beginning of agriculture, about 10,000 years ago. Our genes have not caught up with these foods and, as such, these foods create food allergies that are responsible for a host of misdiagnosed, undiagnosed, unrecognized, and therefore mis-treated, health problems people suffer.

The short of it is that Dr. Wahl was successful in restoring her health and reversing the effects of MS. At this point, when I tell this to patients, they all respond: “Wow!”

1.      While this kind of progress would not be seen in everyone, this diet clearly needs to be incorporated into the healing regimen of everyone…i.e.: to change the paradigm from fighting disease to adding health through diet, exercise and stress control.

2.      While it is amazing that Dr. Wahl was able to reverse her MS, know that the body is hardwired for survival, to be self-regulating and self-healing…that health is nature’s default. Therefore, if we give the genetic blueprint what it requires in a pure form and sufficient quantity, and stop poisoning it…it will invariably make us healthier. How far back it can bring us is influenced by how much damage was done, how long we have had it, age, etc.

3.      What is more amazing, that most of us don’t see, is the everyday occurrence—the 350 pound person eating a diet of processed chemical foods, smoking cigarettes, living a sedentary life, popping a cocktail of prescription drugs. Their body is so hardwired for survival, while at one and the same time it is being deprived of the essential ingredients for health and being consistently poisoned, it still manages to keep this person alive, the best it can—trying to buy time until the person changes their habits—until it can no longer do so. And only then, systems failure begins…and the ravages of chronic disease progress. Now, that’s amazing!

Sadly, we have been trained to be so focused on fighting disease that we have lost sight of how to nurture our birthright of health.

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