Alternative Health Research: Using Nutrition to Fight Disease
The phrase alternative health is an interesting one. It was coined to identify health care practices which are outside of mainstream medicine. Most often, "alternative" medical care utilizes a program of nutritional changes or nutritive supplements in some way.
How ironic that the use of clean, whole foods to treat illness is classified as an "alternative" cure within our medical system.
If our medical personnel were trained in nutrition, eating well would be the first method of treatment, instead of being sidelined as an eccentric option. Think of the money that could be saved if we turned to healthy food instead of drugs for treating illness.
Scientists willing to put aside old attitudes are discovering the genius of the body’s biological wizardry and its ability to maintain and restore its natural health when supported with proper nutrition and alternative health care.
Alternative Health Care: Using Nutrition to Heal
Currently, our modern medical system has taken the path of treating the body as a machine to control by either taking it apart or adding temporary fixes to hold it together. Most doctors don’t attempt to find and treat the root cause of the diseases they encounter. They only know how to treat the symptoms of the disease once it manifests.
There are, of course, some doctors who are the exception. For those doctors who have realized that good nutrition is the first and best medicine, I applaud you. Your patients are lucky to have your guidance. And I salute you for the courage to go against the mainstream in offering an alternative health care program.
The research done to support the idea that proper nutrition can heal people of various diseases is extensive.
I’ve compiled a list of the research being done on various health conditions, and the treatments and cures being proposed using an alternative health approach, whole foods diet and natural supplements:
Cancer: Several studies have shown that some cancers are exacerbated by the high blood sugar levels associated with a high carbohydrate (sugar) diet. Dr. Eugene Fine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine is doing some interesting work treating some types of cancer with a very low carbohydrate diet. Several studies have shown that some cancers are exacerbated by high blood sugar levels.
Dr. Fine leads the cutting-edge RECHARGE Trial which stands for REduced CarboHydrates Against Resistant Growth Tumors. His team is examining whether a very low carbohydrate diet can help cancer patients reduce the amount of certain types of cancer in their bodies. Examples of the cancers being treated include metastatic breast cancer, colon cancer and many others.
Another team led by Dr. Anthony Heaney published a study in the August 2010 Cancer Research journal which shows that pancreatic cancer cells feed on fructose. Fructose is the main sugar found in fruit, table sugar and especially in processed foods, where it is part of the high fructose corn syrup added to so many manufactured food products.
And this study reports two case studies in which children suffering from advanced stage malignant Astrocytoma tumors were placed on a very low carb, ketogenic diet. The authors of the study write "Within 7 days of initiating the ketogenic diet, blood glucose levels declined to low-normal levels and blood ketones were elevated twenty to thirty fold. Results of PET scans indicated a 21.8% average decrease in glucose uptake at the tumor site in both subjects. One patient exhibited significant clinical improvements in mood and new skill development during the study. She continued the ketogenic diet for an additional twelve months, remaining free of disease progression.
Celiac disease: This autoimmune disease is rooted in a cereal grain gluten intolerance. The factors associated with celiac disease are shared by many autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and others.
Cholesterol levels: It is a fact that half of all heart related deaths occur in people who have normal cholesterol levels. In the United States, we have been brainwashed into believing that elevated cholesterol is synonymous with death from heart disease. But this is not true. Inflammation measured by levels of C Reactive Protein and elevated triglyceride levels due to a high carb diet are much better predictors of heart disease. But mainstream doctors are prescribing dangerous drugs called statins in ever greater numbers to lower cholesterol. Alternative health strategies include lowering your carb intake and eating more fats and protein to address cholesterol issues.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: Recent research on Alzheimers disease has suggested that a lack of dietary cholesterol can lead to an imbalance in the repair mechanisms of the brain.
- Atherosclerosis: The latest research on atherosclerosis points to a chronic high carb diet as a factor resulting in inflammation, metabolic syndrome, high triglycerides and the proliferation of a subclass of small dense LDL particles termed Apo Pattern B. Dr. Ronald Krauss is one researcher to watch on this front. You can ask your doctor about the VAP test for checking your LDL particle size. Another path of research is exploring iodine deficiency as a factor.
- Atrial Fibrillation (Heart Arrhythmia): A higher fat, low carb diet, the right vitamins and minerals, and iodine can be effective treatments for this condition.
- Anemia: Persistent anemia is a marker for wheat gluten sensitivity. In a study published in 2008, a research team led by Prof. Reza Malekzadeh studied the prevalence of gluten sensitive enteropathy (GSE) in a large group of patients with iron deficiency anemia (IDA) of obscure origin. They concluded that "There is a high prevalence...of gluten sensitive enteropathy in patients with iron deficiency anemia of obscure origin. A gluten free diet can improve anemia in GSE patients.."
- Autism: Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has discovered that in virtually all cases of autism, the patient suffers from severe digestive problems. Dr. Campbell-McBride began to research autism after her son was diagnosed with this condition. Since, she has found a distinct correlation between unhealthy intestinal flora, poor digestion and toxicity from chemicals created by undigested foods, which can severely affect brain chemistry. She calls this Gut and Psychology Syndrome or GAPS. Her alternative health treatment detailed on the Gut and Psychology Syndrome DVD starts with prescribing the GAPS diet to help the patient heal the digestive system.There is also some evidence that a vitamin D deficiency is linked to autism.
Depression: There are several nutritional treatments that are being used to successfully fight depression. These include chromium picolinate, omega 3 fatty acids, several B vitamins, vitamin D and low cholesterol. These alternative health strategies are especially helpful in the treatment of atypical depression, a condition associated with carbohydrate addiction.
Diabetes: Although it is seen as an alternative health treatment, the effect of a low carb diet on the symptoms of diabetes and diabetic blood glucose control is immediate and positive. There are many studies published showing that the lower the carbohydrate intake, the better control the diabetic has over his or her blood sugar. Other studies have shown that keeping your blood sugar low also lowers your risk of heart disease. A test called an HbA1c can help you determine if your average blood sugar is too high.
The American Diabetes Association's recommended diet is too high in carbohydrates and doesn't achieve the blood glucose control that a low or very low carb diet does. I've written more about the effects of low carb diets versus the ADA's diet recommendations for diabetics here.
In addition, a low carb diet can reverse pre diabetes symptoms, and there is evidence of a diabetes iodine connection. One study has shown that iodine supplementation has a positive effect on blood glucose control in diabetic patients.
Epilepsy: The ketogenic diet, a high fat, adequate protein, very low carbohydrate diet, has, during the past decade, been used with great success for the treatment of difficult-to-control seizures in children with epilepsy.
Fatty Liver Disease or "Hepatic Steatosis": Hepatic Steatosis is the medical term for a fatty liver. A fatty liver is one in which there is an abnormal and excessive build up of fat in the cells. The standard American diet of excessive fructose and polyunsaturated vegetable oil consumption and a deficiency of the vitamin choline are major factors in the growing numbers of Americans with fatty liver disease. Alternative health treatments for fatty liver show that increasing the amount of saturated fat intake cleanses the liver and protects it from damage from alcohol and other poisons.
Fibrocystic Breast Disease and Breast Cancer: David Brownstein, MD in Bloomfield, Michigan had gotten some amazing results in treating both fibrocystic breast issues and breast cancer. He has found that severe iodine deficiencies are strongly linked to both health issues. He tests his patients for iodine deficiencies and uses an iodine/iodide supplement for those who are found to be iodine deficient. Several labs offer the easy to use "iodine loading test" that Dr. Brownstein uses. See this site for more information.
In addition, at least one study has linked a high carbohydrate diet and insulin resistance to breast cancer.
GERD: Recent research by Drs. Stuart Spechler and Rhonda Souza at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center suggests that gastroesophageal reflux disease might actually be an immune-mediated injury rather than a direct result of acidic digestive juices burning the esophagus.
There is also an natural alternative health product called Protexid which is extremely beneficial for heartburn suffers, but the FDA has blocked the market access for this product. The results of a clinical trial on Tripiradol, the active ingredient in Protexid, were published in the Journal of Pineal Research, and indicated that those who received the supplement reported marked improvement in their acid indigestion symptoms. See this post by Dr. Eades on this product.
I have personally taken this product, and continue to take it at any sign of heartburn, and it works every time. Within 15 minutes, no sign of the heartburn remains.
Inflammation: Chronic inflammation is not a healthy state for the body. It can cause or worsen many disease conditions, such as atherosclerosis and autoimmune diseases such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation can be measured with the C Reactive Protein blood test. Changes in diet and supplementation can lower CRP levels naturally.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Good nutrition can go a long way towards healing IBS. Visit Cure-my-Fatigue. This site is full of advice for relieving your pain and IBS symptoms and helping you through your day.
Heart Attack (myocardial infarction or MI): Recent research has suggested a different theory to explain heart failure. It is called the Myogenic Theory of Myocardial Infarction. Briefly, the Myogenic Theory of MIs states that the major etiologic (cause and effect) factor in an MI is a destructive chemical process; specifically, in situations of stress on the myocardial (heart muscle) tissue, often as a result of small vessel disease, the myocardial tissue gets insufficient oxygen and nutrients.
Obesity Research: Research on obesity is confirming what scientists have known for years. Persistent weight problems are strongly associated with the metabolic havoc resulting from the chronically elevated insulin levels associated with a high carb diet. Gary Taubes writes extensively about this in his book Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage).
Reactive Hypoglycemia: Reactive hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a condition in which your blood sugar falls into a range that is too low to support your body’s needs. These recurrent episodes of hypoglycemia generally occur about 2-4 hours after eating a high carbohydrate meal or food. Your symptoms may include dizziness, lightheadedness, flushing and shakiness. Eating some sort of carbohydrate usually relieves the symptoms. A low carb diet can be very effective in controlling and even curing these episodes.
Rheumatoid Arthritis/Arthritis: The latest studies point to chronic inflammation as an autoimmune reaction in response to food allergies and "leaky gut syndrome" associated with cereal grains and dairy products.
In addition, the development of metabolic syndrome from a diet high in carbohydrate is strongly associated with Rhematoid Arthritis. Alternative health strategies such as those found on the website Natural Arthritis Relief recommend avoiding the foods that cause the inflammation.
In addition, a fatty acid called cetyl myristoleate has been used as an extremely effective treatment for arthritis. The exact mechanism of cetyl myristoleate's physiologic activity is unclear, but it appears to have the same characteristics as the essential fatty acids, linoleic and alpha linolenic acids, (omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids) except that cetyl myristoleate is stronger and longer lasting. The common name for this acid is myristoleic acid, and it is found in fish oil, whale oil and dairy butter. This page has more information.
Check back periodically, as I will add more information on alternative health and nutrition as it becomes available.
- Crohns’ disease: Jordin Rubin, author of The Maker's Diet, writes about almost dying from Crohn’s disease. Read the first chapter of his book to understand how he used an alternative health care program, a clean, whole foods diet and natural probiotics to heal his severely damaged digestive tract.
Resources for Reading on Alternative Health Care
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