Our Chemistry is The Key to Health and Wellness

by Gant on March 31, 2011

Have you ever wondered why some people frequently get sick, while others stay well?
Why do we age? Why do some people get heart disease, and others do not?
Why is it that some of us are much more susceptible to stress, and stress related disorders than others?
Why do some people get sick on alcohol and psychotropic drugs, or overuse and abuse them?
Why are the cancer rates climbing?

Until a few years ago, no one had the answers these questions. Most of us just hoped that we, or someone close to us, would not be one of the unlucky ones. Historically, this kind of “hoping that it won’t happen to us” philosophy existed for most of human history, and people lived in abject fear of epidemics and plagues.

With the advent of modern sanitation practices, the discovery of antibiotics, immunizations and dentistry, most of us no longer fear the infectious diseases that ravaged our ancestors. The health challenges today are completely different from those of only a few generations ago. But like our ancestors,we still have that “hoping it won’t happen to us” mentality; only the “it” has changed.

Now we fear such disorders as heart attacks, cancer, addictions, burn-out and chronic fatigue, and autoimmune disorders. And until just a few years ago, we seemed to be in a helpless position when it came to these problems. But just as with the discovery of antibiotics, science and technology has changed everything. We now have a much clearer idea as to what makes us become and feel unhealthy, and what we can do to prevent it.

Three and one-half billion years of life has created conscious, complex organisms called human beings. Like any complex, biochemical machine, a healthy human body and brain is dependent on the proper chemicals and fuel, as defined by the design specifications of the manufacturer. Those design parameters have been discovered by biological scientists by “reverse engineering” our 3 ½ billion year old human physiology – studying human physiology in much the same way that Ford engineers disassemble the newest Mercedes model, in order to find out how it works.

The bottom line conclusion of all this effort is that two kinds of substances or molecules exist in nature. Those substances which are intrinsically enmeshed into the fabric of life are called nutrients. The other types of substances are those that have been excluded from this design, and they are, at best, inert and can be toxic.

When we push our complex machinery up to or beyond the design parameters, this is referred to as stress. This can greatly increase our requirements for nutrients and/or worsen resistance to toxins. Those most genetically vulnerable to nutrient deficiency, toxin exposure or stress, are much more likely to suffer sooner and more deeply.

4 Principles For Health and Wellness

Taken together, these four principles predetermine the entire panorama of health, wellness and disease:
I. Toxin Exposure
II. Nutrient Deficiency
III. Stress
IV. Genetic Vulnerability

I. Toxin Exposure

The first predisposing factor is toxin exposure, more precisely called xenobiotic (xeno=foreign, biotic=to life) substance exposure. There are two kids of substances in the world – nutrients which support life, and chemicals which are alien to living processes – and have varying potentials to destroy. There are many sources of xenobiotic toxins, such as pesticides and artificial flavorings in food, air pollution, medication, and legal and illicit drugs to name a few. Xenobiotic substances are foreign to life, and are a major cause of disability and death in our age.

II. Nutrient Deficiency

As defined above, all matter in nature is of two types: 1) substances which support life (nutrients), and 2) substances which destroy life (xenobiotics and toxins). Nutritional deficiencies prevent the mind and body from peak functioning as defined by the manufacturers’ specifications in three ways. Either the 70,000 or so enzymes that run all of our chemistry and depend on nutrients, will not work as efficiently; or removal (detoxification) of toxins is thwarted; or the ability to cope with stress is worsened; or more likely, some combination of all three.

III. Stress

Stress is the third factor that predisposes us to disease. This persistent ‘fight or flight” condition keeps us in a revved-up state, and our chemistry has to work much harder. As oxygen is used more for fuel, more fee radicals are produced, and minerals and vitamins are used up more rapidly. If these are not readily available to replenish those heightened requirements, we are more susceptible to health problems. This is why stress predisposes us to cancer and heart disease. As with exposure to xenobiotic chemicals, we also have two simple choices here. Cut down or eliminate the stress, and/or supplement to at least minimize the injury that stress can cause.

IV. Genetic Vulnerability

Genetically speaking, we have not changed much, if at all, for about 100,000 years. Therefore, the genetic factor is relatively simple to discuss, because we do not have the technology to change this variable, and probably won’t in our lifetime. We are simply not at choice about our heredity, the way that ware are about toxin exposure, nutritional deficiency and stress. The inheritance of certain characteristics is important, however, to guide us about our other choices. In a sense, we can utilize what we do have control over (toxins, nutrients and stress) to override our unique genetic predispositions that we have no control over.

For instance, if my family is riddled with cancer, I know that I certainly can not do anything about my likely genetic predisposition to the disease. However, knowing that antioxidant supplementation, avoidance of toxin exposure and regular stress reduction exercises will improve my odds – certain lifestyle choices allow me to live with more confidence.

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