If we can agree that no one with a headache is suffering from a deficiency of aspirin, then we begin to look deeper into health problems. Are we taking the more expensive and inefficient route in our health care system?
88% of Americans are suffering from some metabolic disease, like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, liver and kidney issues, auto-immune disease and more. Something is seriously wrong with our approach to health. Experts have called the modern medical system “controlling, disabling, dangerous, overpriced, fraught with fraud.”
“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein, PhD, Nobel prize in physics 1921
Genetics plays a huge role in our lives. You look something like your ancestors. Nothing can change that. Yet there is the new science of epigenetics which shows that our lifestyle can enhance, turn off, or turn on certain genes which makes lifestyle the most powerful medicine on earth. Experts estimate that 5-10% of diseases are genetically programmed, with the remaining 90-95% created by lifestyle. Lifestyle vectors include: attitude, nutrition, toxins, energy alignment, microbiome, exercise. Using these six lifestyle forces could change western medicine into a more efficient, cost-effective, scientific, and humane system of health care.
The early science of nutrition seemed so simple. A severe deficiency of vitamin C would cause scurvy. Vitamin C cures scurvy. A severe deficiency of niacin causes pellagra, consisting of diarrhea, dermatitis, and dementia. Niacin (vitamin B-3) cures pellagra. In those early days no nutritionist could fathom the limitless shades of gray in between the black and white of health and death. Yet, there are progressive steps as the body loses nutrient reserves that slowly cause disease, then death.
Sequence in developing nutrient deficiency.
- Preliminary. Reduction of tissue stores and depression of urinary excretion.
- Biochemical. Reduction of enzyme activity due to insufficient nutrients.
- Physiological. Behavioral effects and reduced immunity.
- Clinical. Classic nutrition deficiency symptoms as outlined in nutrition textbooks.
- Terminal. Severe tissue pathology eventually ending in death.
In the early days of exploring the earth via ships, sailors could be at sea for months with nothing but dried meat and bread to eat. Lacking vitamin C, these men experienced the awful unwinding of the bodies, with tooth loss, bleeding and eventually death. Up to half the men aboard the ship might die from scurvy. We do not see such blatant clinical deficiency symptoms in most of western society. But we do see stages 2, 3, and 4 as outlined above.
Malnutrition can be defined as too much, too little, or an imbalance of any nutrient. Add to that eating too often, and you have the trifecta of why 88% of Americans have some metabolic disease.
Hypertension costs America $79 billion/yr. Drug therapies for hypertension cause many side effects including loss of crucial minerals potassium and magnesium, plus vertigo in some people. Meanwhile there is abundant evidence-based data showing that exercise and weight loss coupled with supplements of magnesium, calcium, and vitamin C can eliminate hypertension.
Anxiety disorders cost America $42 billion/yr. Identifying food allergies and hypoglycemia, avoiding caffeine, supplementing with magnesium and niacinamide, and exercise can dramatically improve anxiety. GABA, kava, and tryptophan can help anxiety without side effects.
Asthma costs America $36 billion with much of that due to hospitalization and ER use for severe attacks. Supplements of magnesium, B6, and C can reduce symptoms of asthma while avoidance of food allergens can eliminate asthma.
Osteoarthritis costs America $80 billion/yr. The anti-inflammatory drugs that treat this can cause gastro-intestinal bleeding and kidney disease. Meanwhile, evidence-based science shows that nutrition supplements of fish oil, niacinamide, glucosamine sulfate, curcumin, and chondroitin sulfate can reverse or seriously improve this condition.
Heart failure costs America $30 billion/yr. As much as 50% of heart failure patients are suffering from iron deficiency. Supplements of Coenzyme Q and magnesium also can improve heart failure.
Rheumatoid arthritis costs America $34 billion/yr. Many of the drugs used to subdue the symptoms of arthritis cost $31-72,000/yr and are essentially immune suppressants with multiple complications. Meanwhile, identifying food allergens can eliminate arthritis in some. Fish oil, borage oil, and ginger root are proven anti-inflammatory nutrients that can improve arthritis.
Diabetes 2 costs America $111 billion/yr. Weight loss, intermittent fasting, plant-based diet, elimination of refined carbs can help many of these people. Chromium supplements alone have been shown to improve type 2 diabetes in humans.
Alzheimer’s disease costs America $305 billion/yr. Dale Bredesen, MD has written a compelling book from his work with thousands of Alzheimer’s patients at UCLA showing that nutrients, hormone balancing, stress management, detoxification, etc. can cure Alzheimer’s. About 20% of dementia patients are merely suffering from a deficiency of folate and B-12.
Cancer costs America $150 billion/yr. The cost of lost productivity and early death is unfathomable. Experts agree that one third of cancer is diet driven.
Americans are commonly nutrient deficient in:
- Vitamins: A,D,E,C,B-6,riboflavin, folacin, pantothenic acid
- Minerals: calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, chromium, selenium, iodine, and possibly molybdenum, vanadium, and lithium.
- Macronutrients: fiber, water, plant protein, EPA, GLA, ALA
Essentially, many Americans are digging their own graves with their forks. We can do better. Health care expenses are at a breaking point. While political leaders quarrel over who is going to pay this enormous bill of health care, no one seems to notice that we could reduce our health budget by 75% by adding common sense and nutrition to our health care system.
Again, is it a disease or a deficiency of a nutrient?
Excerpted from Beating Cancer with Nutrition 2021 by Patrick Quillin