NB: This is part of a series on Romantic Healthcare, setting out the foundational ideas of a system of healthcare based on vital nature and vital science. Each can be read independently, though it is recommended to read the introductory article, 'What If You Gave a Revolution and No One Came', first. Some articles refer to previous ones, so this can guide you to go and read these as well, either before or after the article you are on.
Leg 2 of our Romantic Road Trip Adventure. Time to start thinking about some sustenance.
In the first leg, we explored causation and how it’s anything but simple, except to a Linelander or Flatlander. You can’t get there (health) from here (illness) without a proper map. What is seemingly simple - ‘just give me something for my A, B or C to make it go away’ - is deceptively complex. Just when you thought you had arrived at your destination, it turns out to be a mirage - the A, B or C comes back and sometimes D and E as well. The Flatland map used may seem to be taking you in the right direction, but it turns out to be a deception and a medical version of Bizarro World. You need a topographical map that covers multi-dimensions.
The next leg of the journey takes us into a critical, yet mis-understood, if not simply ignored scientific fact, a thing called ‘biochemical individuality’. It was discovered back in the middle of the last century.
'Biochemical individuality' means that what nourishes one person can be inimical to another. Nothing in nature is good or bad in and of itself, but whether it is beneficial or inimical to you depends on how it is used (dosage, potency and quality) and how you react to it.
Nutrition in its general sense means ‘that which nourishes’. In its more common and narrower sense it refers to nourishment through foodstuffs, or certain concentrated forms of food – nutriments.
Nutrition is one of the mainstays of the ‘natural health movement’. However, the problem is that the use of foodstuffs and nutriments is applied on an allopathic basis, making ‘natural health’ not much more than ‘allopathy tricked up in chicken feathers’.
This fact of ‘biochemical individuality’ is a critical issue, but also very radical in its implications. You’ve likely not heard much about it if at all, so I’m going to lean heavily on the best account of this issue I’ve come across, The Death of Allopathic Nutrition. It’s a presentation made in 1998 by a leading researcher and clinician in this field, William Wolcott.
There is an experience common to virtually everyone involved in nutritional therapy . . . The fact that when it comes to nutrition, what works for one person with a certain condition, has little to no effect on a second person with the same condition, and can actually worsen a third person with the same condition! [emphasis added]
If truth were told, nutritional science has become more hit or miss than systematic, testable, repeatable, verifiable, and predictable.
In one of the earlier articles in this series, we talked about the allopathic mental disorder of ‘labelitis’ – the tendency to group together general perceivable indications and give them a descriptive name, such as arthritis or colitis and then proceed to identify a drug that suppresses these symptoms. The problem is that this disorder is endemic and infects the natural health or CAM field as well.
[A]lthough we employ alternative substances such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc., in actuality, very little really separates those of us in the alternative realm from the orthodox. The thrust in the application of nutrition has been the same as in the employment of pharmaceuticals, namely, treating [a labelled condition] through finding one nutritional protocol for every condition that is right for all people. Although noble in intent, this line of reasoning is fatally flawed because of one undeniable reality: biochemical individuality.
…We may believe we are taking into account the individual differences through the use of various tests. We may, for example, treat candida, or parasites, or believe in the value of removing mercury fillings, or use fasting techniques or detoxification. We may use certain lab tests to identify what we consider to be deficiencies and thereby prescribe specific nutritional replacement protocols. We may use lab tests or other "alternative" means to diagnose weak organs that we attempt to then treat. Yet, all of this, in essence, is still an allopathic approach, meaning we are still treating the [illness], the symptom, the deficiency, the condition, the organ, the dysfunction, albeit using our natural methods. [emphasis added]
And though the approach may be ‘natural’, it is still palliative or suppressive in some way.
In many cases, particularly through the use of mega-doses of USP nutrients, a drug-like effect is produced that suppresses symptoms. But, when this "pharmaceutical nutrition" protocol is withdrawn, the symptoms return. In such cases, no true healing takes place and the parallels to allopathic drug use are obvious. [emphasis added]
It may even be harmful.
The problem is that the allopathic nutrition approach doesn’t work except by chance. Almost as many people are not being helped in the alternative field as are not being helped in the orthodox field. We rationalize our failures in thinking that at least we are doing no harm since we are employing natural substances. This also is a false assumption… There are two sides to the nutritional coin. If it can help, it can also harm. [emphasis added]
As Wolcott points out, the goal is not simply ‘freedom from symptoms’.
Freedom from symptoms is one thing; but, restoration of physiological, biochemical and metabolic balance and efficiency a return to optimal health and function where therapeutics are no longer required is something altogether different.
Wolcott’s analysis here is rather devastating, with not one stone left standing on another from the ‘Temple of Nutritional Orthodoxy’.
The key discovery is that:
ANY NUTRIENT AND ANY FOOD CAN HAVE VIRTUALLY OPPOSITE BIOCHEMICAL INFLUENCES IN DIFFERENT INDIVIDUALS (WHAT WE CALL METABOLIC TYPES).
And, connected with this:
ANY ADVERSE SYMPTOM OR DEGENERATIVE CONDITION CAN ARISE DUE TO VIRTUALLY OPPOSITE BIOCHEMICAL IMBALANCES.
The upshot of this is that “allopathic nutrition has no rational basis”. Any success in a given case is by chance and not because of a rational system based on natural law and principles. And any system of rational nutrition cannot consist of a ‘one-size fits all’ approach.
If any nutrient or food can have totally opposite influences, biochemically speaking, in different people, how can there be a treatment for any condition that can work for all people? . . . This is precisely why what works for one person can worsen the same condition in another person. As the Roman philosopher Lucretius so aptly stated, "One man’s food is another man’s poison!" [emphasis added]
And, if it is true that two people with the same degenerative [illness] can have virtually opposite biochemical imbalances, and that when two opposite biochemical protocols are administered, both get well a phenomena I have witnessed over and over again then this clearly means that it’s not the [conditions] that should be treated but the underlying metabolic imbalances that have caused the [illnesses] that need be addressed.
Wolcott gives us a common example:
Take high cholesterol and cardiovascular [disorder] as an example: I have seen just as many people resolve this problem with a high protein/high fat/low complex carbohydrate diet as with the current in vogue low protein/low fat/high complex carbohydrate diet. I have also witnessed many times dramatic worsening of cholesterol levels and heart disease on low protein/low fat diets. This same scenario applies to every degenerative condition. Whether it’s cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, chronic fatigue, allergies, or headaches, the same principle applies. The reality of metabolic individuality demands that the person who has the [condition] not the disease that has the person be treated!
Wolcott then summarizes the key aspects of this radical discovery:
• …nutrients behave differently in different metabolic types…
• [It is] impossible to treat conditions with a standardized treatment protocol.
• Successful, predictable, reliable therapy can only be chosen once you know the metabolic type of the patient…
Stay tuned for the next leg in our road trip and more on metabolism and metabolic types in helping us get through the nutritional maze so we can enjoy our well-deserved picnic.