By Hakeem Alexander
(Exercising Your Mind) “If a politician declares that the United States has the best healthcare system in the world today, he or she looks clueless rather than patriotic or authoritative”; the U.S. healthcare system is a “dysfunctional mess”. This statement was made by Ezekiel Emanuel, the Chairman of the Department of Ethics of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the May 16th, 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
I believe this is in large part due to what people are being fed, literally and conceptually in the form of food industry options and palliative health care solutions. People are being poisoned by the Food and Drug “choices” being offered. The book and movie “Fast Food Nation”; “Meet Your Meat” by Action for Animals and the upcoming Documentary “Sicko” by Michael Moore offer additional significant insights.
A fellow fitness trainer (and Chimpz Lead Guitarist) invited me to a play called “BITCH”. One of his clients would be performing in the production. It was presented by the Indecent Exposure Theater Company at Bootleg Theater in Downtown Los Angeles.
This stage-play set off a familiar chain-reaction of speculation which I often struggle to elucidate concerning health and wellness. Though I believe that psychosocial, spiritual and stress overwhelm are primary, I am also firmly convinced that augmentation of lifestyle and nutrition, may either prevent or induce toxic build-up and by-products that lead to physical and mental dis-ease.
It is certain that diet directly influences the conditions within the body and mind. Just how much influence is a constant subject of debate between Scientists, Nutritionists, Naturopaths, Orthodox Physicians and many others. Many factors influence the onset, course and outcome of every condition, including genetic polymorphisms, pharmacogenetics, stress and other lifestyle components.
If a doctor’s duty is to “First Do No Harm” then it seems logical that careful investigation into the actual causes of health disruptions, would provide lasting solutions rather than a one size fits all, limited approach with the current pharmaceutical preparations, in the form of xenobiotic substances.
The stubborn and often hostile resistance to nutritional and natural medicine, serve only as obstacles to true solutions. HealthCare must continue to move towards integration and include more honest information and consumer oriented services.
It may be obvious that everyone has a unique biological make-up while sharing certain similarities. Somehow though, many healthcare systems around the world have become very limited in their scope and their resulting inability to successfully remedy health complications.
A key part of the previously mentioned theater production was a neurotoxin derivative that immediately reminded me when two months earlier, a photographer friend (Amit Sharabi) and neighbor of mine who knows I am very interested in toxicology and reading in general, gave me his archived May 2005 issue of National Geographic.
Its cover story is Poison: 12 toxic tales. One of the 12 that really caught my attention was about takifugu rubripes also known as the fugu or puffer fish. This fish has a defense mechanism in the form of a poison called tetrodotoxin, that seizes nerve impulses by blocking the flow of sodium ions into the neurons. Before the ban of the sale of toxic parts of the fish in 1983, hundreds of people per year died from its neuroleptic effects.
The part that caught my attention most was the postulate of a researcher from Nagasaki University named Tamao Noguchi. He theorized that the source of the poison was in the animal’s diet. When the fugu eats worms, shellfish and mollusks that feed on the toxic bacterium vibrio, it obtains the components necessary to produce tetrodotoxin. Noguchi has produced toxin-free fugu, that he has raised in cages with a controlled diet.
I was reminded of the work and theories of the Orthomolecular Therapists, Nutritional and Natural Medicine. This is a perfect example of varying the concentration of substances normally present in the body. In this case, varying the fugu’s diet resulted in a non-toxic state.
Similarly, Augusto and Mikaela Odone discovered that varying the concentrations of oleic and erucic acids, in turn varied the concentrations of very long chain fatty acids in their son Lorenzo and other ALD patients.
Orthomolecular Physicians Humphrey Osmond and Abram Hoffer have reported that the altering of ones diet through restriction of processed sugar and other foods, and the supplementation with vitamins and minerals may manipulate the toxic breakdown products of adrenaline and adrenochrome by oxidation within the human body.
The analogy of altering the diet of a fish and that of a human being as a valid comparison was confirmed when I reviewed the Fall / Winter Research Newsletter of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
In a feature titled “Fighting Cancer with Phytochemicals“, David E. Williams, Ph.D, Professor of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology was interviewed. When asked why he used rainbow trout to study cancer, he cited the large outbreak of liver cancer that occurred in West Coast hatcheries in the 1960s. It was found that the human carcinogen Aflatoxin was present in the fishes’ diet. These trout metabolize Aflatoxin the same as humans do and develop hepatocellular carcinoma; also the same tumor as humans.
The liver is the site of the very important enzyme system known as CYP450 in humans which is also significantly found in the small intestine. This and other metabolic, detoxifying enzyme pathways are now being investigated in pharmacogenetics, the study of genetic differences and how that relates to the drug’s action within the body. This enzyme system is reported to be that which rids the body of the majority of the foreign substances.
A few hundred people dying per year in Japan from being poisoned by the Fugu was enough for changes to be made to protect people from preventable fatalities. The leading causes of preventable death and illness in the U.S. are attributed directly and indirectly to variations of substances in the human body. These include tobacco, obesity, alcohol and drugs used in medicine.
If humans can develop the same cancer as a fish in the same organ, then it is probable that we humans would do very well preventing and controlling mental and physical disease through conscious dietary and supplemental variations similar to producing toxin free Fugu fish.
All of this points to the simplicity of achieving balance according to biochemical individuality. Something needs to be done in order to achieve this balance to our bodies and to the global Healthcare Agenda.
An important step in this direction would be a more interactive and patient oriented healthcare setting and a move away from egocentric and authoritarian medical and scientific practices and methods.