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Understanding Health and Disease

microscopeOur understanding of health and disease has changed through time. Evil spirits and vapors were once thought to be the causes of disease. Hippocrates advocated, “Let food be thy medicine.” With the Renaissance came an inquiry into science including that of the human body. Western medicine progressed along the lines of pathophysiology – physiology (how the organ systems work) gone array causing pathology (diseased tissue and physiology). This is the current state of traditional medicine which profoundly relies on pharmacologic intervention, though at earlier times in American medicine there were some (Kellogg and others) nutritional advocates.

Once the Human Genome Project was begun, the understanding of human health and disease increased dramatically. This understanding of how your genes control your cellular Metabolism and Function and are controlled by your environment (Epigenetics/Nutrigenomics) profoundly increased the knowledge of how to prevent and treat many disease conditions. It also became very clear the many ways that your environment impacts your cellular Metabolism and Function apart from the effects on the human genome. In 2000, the CDC concluded from this research that disease conditions are the result of genetics and environment. Environment plays a profound part in health and disease. This environmental input includes – nutritional (food), emotional-mental-spiritual or EMS (inter-relational) and toxicological (toxins) contributions. There is some overlap and all environmental inputs can be seen as either nurturing, neutral or toxic in all human realms and endeavors.

Understanding this, the keys to prevention and treatment of various diseases are:

  • Understanding the genetic and environmental contributors
  • Circumventing/influencing the genetic contributors where possible (and in many conditions this is  certainly possible) and
  • Altering environmental inputs by increasing those that are nurturing and eliminating toxic inputs.

Genetic circumventing/influencing and environmental nurturing inputs include: healthy nutrition, nutraceuticals, healthy EMS inputs, exercise and others. Toxic inputs include: unhealthy nutrition, unhealthy EMS inputs, lack of exercise, tobacco, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, plasticizers and a long list of other toxic substances that disrupt metabolism and function. Identifying hormonal, metabolic, functional and EMS imbalances is the way to identify both genetic and specific non-nutritive and toxic contributors so that corrective action can be taken.

Your genes code for the proteins that form the structure, enzymes and signaling molecules in your cells and body. Each is important. Enzymes and signaling molecules (hormones) are important for cellular metabolism as are the nutrients that the enzymes work on. When your proteins are healthy (coming from “healthy” genes) and you eat healthy and exercise and avoid toxins, your cells have optimal metabolism. Most disease states begin when metabolism is unbalanced because of genetic and environmental disturbances. The more unbalanced one metabolic pathway, the more out of balance other metabolic pathways become. Ultimately, unbalanced metabolism leads to structural change, which is sometimes irreversible. Once this happens, correcting the underlying cause of a disease may not correct all the manifestations or symptoms of the disease.

In some situations, a disease may have progressed to a state that requires pharmaceutical or surgical intervention. If you are currently on a medication, I recommend that you remain on it and be evaluated for genetic and environmental causes for your condition including evaluations for hormonal, metabolic, functional and EMS imbalances. Therapy can then be targeted at these underlying causes. Certain conditions can be reversed, many can be stabilized and yet others slowed. You may still need your medication, but in most cases your overall health will be improved and if your cells are healthier they will be better able to operate successfully.

Some of the conditions for which hormonal, metabolic, functional and EMS balance and improved health can benefit can be found here.

If you have questions or wish to make an appointment, please call Dr. Cole in one of our convenient locations.