Many people still think they “catch” diseases even though the main chronic degenerative disorders plaguing Americans have nothing to do with germs, bacteria, viruses or bad genes. Indeed, you don’t catch or inherit cancer, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, headaches, high blood pressure, strokes, or any of these degenerative diseases. The Germ Theory is dead and the Genetic Theory is hypothetical and remains mostly unproven. As I tell my patients, you don’t catch or inherit disease as much as you create it yourself. While there may be family tendencies, what may be inherited is often faulty health habits and not faulty genes.
These chronic disorders often take many years to create although the symptoms may seem to suddenly appear. In fact, some health experts believe 60% of Americans are sub-clinically ill at all times, but they don’t know it because the symptoms haven’t appeared yet. Some people in the same family may have the same health habits and suffer different diseases. Indeed, the why’s and how’s of health care are uncertain in terms of today’s medical explanations, and the medical answers of taking more drugs and having more surgeries just hasn’t helped to stem this tide of illness.
So, what explains the onset of chronic illnesses? If you don’t “catch” them, if you don’t “inherit” them, then just how do they start? No one seems to know exactly, which is why medical science is not a pure science but rather an applied art at best. But let me give you my 25 years of experience to explain how these disorders may develop.
I believe these disorders accumulate until there is one dramatic moment when everything can change all at once. This is called the critical mass in science, the threshold point in politics, or the boiling point in physics—the point when the unexpected becomes expected, when radical change is more than possible. This is referred to generally as the “tipping point.” In lay terms, it’s when the straw finally breaks the camel’s back, when the symptoms suddenly appear, when the pain finally strikes.
To be specific about the process of health and disease, let’s look at the body not as an entity bombarded by germs or one comprised of bad genes as much as a bio-chemical, bio-mechanical and bio-neurological creature that constantly undergoes changes. In effect, you’re not the same person as an adult as you were as a child although you may look the same. It’s how these changes occur that determines whether you’re healthy or sick.
The body’s bio-chemistry is what composes all your tissues– bones, muscles, organs, glands, and every cell in your body. Although each organ has a different function and specialized cells, the intelligence within the body to perform these specialized functions comes from the nerve system—the brain itself which is the center of our being. Of course, your bones and muscles comprise the bio-mechanical aspect of your well-being, especially the spine.
Think of it this way: all the organs and glands together convert food, water, and air into energy to keep your brain alive. All the bones and muscles do is move your brain in order to achieve its wishes. Indeed, we all are simply a walking bundle of nerves! If your diet is adequate without nutritional deficiencies/imbalances, if your musculoskeletal system is properly aligned, strong and able to bear weight, gravity, and the loads exerted upon it, and if your nerve system is working without chemical or physical interferences, then you’ll manifest the best health that your particular gene pool will allow.
While your diet supplies the chemistry to fuel your organs and muscles, it’s the brain that supplies this bio-electrical energy that conducts enlivens these tissues. Long before germs or genetics can cause problems, many experts believe the underlying bio-chemistry and bio-electric factors must be impaired to effect the natural immunity and homeostasis of your body.
Mechanical Tipping Point
Scientists know that pressure on your spinal cord or nerves can cause paralysis, numbness, pain or a variety of subtle problems. Nerve conduction has the “all or nothing” law where the action potential is conducting bio-energy or it’s not. Combining these neurological alterations with bio-chemical changes in your tissues, and you’ve got the start of altered function, spasm, inflammation, pain and degeneration.
The spinal column itself is susceptible to a “buckling effect.” As a weight bearing column comprised of 24 vertebrae sitting on top of 3 pelvic bones, interconnected by 23 discs and 137 joints surrounded by 4-6 layers of muscles, the spine has a stiffness and strength to withstand the effects of gravity, body weight, and the weight of loads we put on ourselves.
The spinal configuration is important in this buckling effect. Like proper teeth alignment, the spine ideally has its proper alignment with a straight column sitting atop a level pelvis on the front view and, on the side view, the spine should have normal “C” shape forward curves in the neck and lumbar regions, and a reverse “C” curve in the mid-back. When people experience falls or accidents, the spine is susceptible to misaligning this normal configuration which may lead to disc compression, herniation, and degeneration as well as a misshapen spine leading to scoliosis or whiplash type injuries. Not only do these misalignments cause an unnatural configuration, it also causes added compression on joints, discs, and nerves, but if your core spinal strength is strong enough to withstand this added pressure, you have be stiff but not in serious pain or paralysis.
Aside from poor configuration of your spinal column, bad leverage by lifting incorrectly can cause sprains/strain injuries, and prolonged sitting/standing may cause compression/buckling problems when the inherent core strength of the spine is unable to withstand the overload or compression.
However, you might have a bad spinal configuration for years before you experience a back attack. Researchers now say that back pain occurs when the spine finally buckles from a combination of bad alignment, weakened spine muscles, added body fat, and an overload of pressure from lifting or prolonged sitting/standing. Indeed, this is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back—the tipping point where the spine cannot support the load any more.
Chemical Tipping Point
Nutritionists agree that a healthy body has a slightly alkaline pH as well as a 1:1 ratio between the two essential fatty acids (omega-6:omega-3). When the pH of your tissues change to more acidity, problems arise. Just as farmers need the right pH in their soil for plants to prosper, the more you create an acidic environment in your tissues, the worse they function. Acidic foods include animal proteins like milk and meats, and drinks like coffee and cokes.
The balance of the two essential fatty acids is also a problem causing inflammation at first, then degeneration later in life. While 1:1 is best, most people who’ve grown up eating grain-based foods like breads, cookies, cereals, pasta and pizza will have a ratio as high as 25:1. Researchers now link this imbalance with rheumatoid arthritis, MS, cancer, obesity, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue to name a few of these degenerative disorders.
So, while the tipping point for these disorders seems to suddenly happen, in reality it slowly accumulated until the pain or symptoms appear. Just like a boiling kettle that finally boils, your body will undergo these various changes in its bio-chemistry and bio-neurology until enough changes occur to cause the myriad of health problems plaguing people.
While some bio-chemical changes are inevitable in the aging process like the depletion of DHEA and CoQ-10, you can forestall this by dietary supplementation. You can also restore your essential fatty acid balance by avoiding grain-based foods and taking fish or flaxseed oils. There is a program to slow down the aging process, but it includes more than merely taking one-a-day vitamins.
Physiological Tipping Point
Most people are aware that “being in shape” is not just having proper muscle tone and strengthen, but also having an aerobic metabolism that produces more energy than the body requires. However, after years of smoking, sitting around watching TV, and the lack of exercise, you reach a tipping point when your aerobic metabolism becomes anaerobic with deoxygenated tissues that don’t produce enough energy required by your body, which explains why become has less and less energy as they age, unless they continue with an aerobic exercise program.
This also explains the tipping point in weight gain. Hypothetically, you could have the same exact diet at 50 as you did at 20 years of age, but without aerobic exercise to burn calories, the excess calories start to accumulate as stored body fat. Aside from burning calories, aerobic exercise increases the number of mitochondria in your cells, which are the so-called “spark plugs” where fuel is converted into energy. Researchers tell us that someone “in shape” may have up to 100 mitochondria per cell, whereas someone out of shape may have only 1 or 2 per cell.
That’s why as a young athlete you can eat like a pig if you exercise like a horse. But once you’ve lost the aerobic metabolism and the number of mitochondria decrease, the cell’s ability to burn fat is diminished, hence it’s stored as fat. Then you eat like a canary but still gain weight, have no energy, and have little muscle tone.
Another factor in the amount of Co-Q10 is the bombardment by free radicals, which are unpaired electrons that damage cellular structure. Researchers have shown the amount of Co-Q10 naturally diminishes in time, but bombardment by free radicals from smoking, fried foods, and refined grains can also cause genetic mutation to mitochondria. The same researchers suggest taking anti-oxidants like acutely-l-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid to offset this bombardment to lengthen your life and prevent illnesses. Again, this process does not suddenly happen as much as a slow process until the straw breaks.
Hormonal Tipping Point
Most folks understand that puberty sets off adult hormones and that menopause in women decreases them, but these are just a few of many hormones in your body. Few people understand that DHEA, the mother of all hormones, also naturally diminishes as you age, but it can be supplemented to forestall this aging process.