Thursday, September 15, 2011

Q/A: Will X cure or prevent Y in person Z?

Question: There is this story in my family: In her 50s, my grandmother took a certain formula consisting of lecithin, raw wheat germ, "debittered" brewer's yeast, bone meal, and sunflower oil. This apparently cured her angina and atherosclerosis. Does this sound plausible? Should my relative who is suffering from heart disease today take this formula?

That concoction looks rather awful (!!!), but we must keep in mind that any nutritional deficiency (or nutritional "overload") can be causative in any health condition in a given individual.

For instance, too much calcium may contribute to heart disease in one person, whereas too little calcium may cause heart disease in another. (Nutritional calcium can either cure or contribute to the dysregulation of calcium metabolism.)

So even granted that the described formula actually was the instrumental factor in your grandmother's recovery - who knows, it may have pushed just enough micronutrients into her system to get excess calcium out of her blood stream, it is a mistake to assume that it would automatically benefit all individuals with heart disease.

Beyond such individual variation as discussed above, we also have to keep into account that the body is an interconnected system. This means that it is actually dangerous to treat a disease (aside from acute interventions, of course) or try to prevent it in a vacuum without considering systemic side effects - side effects, which again, could vary from person to person.

For instance, I believe that many people who go on heavy fish oil- and niacin dosages may perhaps prevent death from heart disease, but may increase their risk of dying from something else. (Pharmaceutical doses of niacin and fish oil can be toxic.)

These are some of the major reasons that I insist on doing functional analysis (such as assessing hormones, digestion, detoxification, and metabolism) of what's going on with a person, including looking at his or her health history, before recommending any type of supplement, and thereafter carefully monitoring feedback and results.

There is no inherently good or bad nutrient/formula/medication. Everything must be put into the context of the individual and the purpose at hand.

Practically speaking, most anything can rationally be tried for a limited time and then evaluated, but one must know that one's evaluation accounts for as many relevant effects as possible, and not merely consists of looking at lab results or symptoms in isolation.

(To the above conceptual points I must add that I find it hard to come up with any plausible scenario where it would make sense to feed anyone sunflower oil.)

Remember to always consult with a government approved/licensed practitioner before making any changes to diet and lifestyle. What I write here is for educational- and entertainment purposes only.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A lesson about the art of reading lab results

Toxic metals are bad. We don't want them stored in our bodies. If they are, we want to eliminate the source (e.g., amalgam fillings, environmental sources), and help the body get rid of whatever is stored.

Here are two examples of laboratory assessments of nutritional- and toxic minerals using hair samples.

My question to the reader is who (person A or B) is having the worst toxic metals problem. In each case, toxic metals are presented to the right and nutritional mineral to the left.

(Click to enlarge the images.)

Person A:

Person B:

(This person has mercury fillings.)

OK. So who has a really serious problem? Person A, with a super high cadmium reading, or person B who has a visible low mercury reading? (Let's assume that cadmium and mercury are equally disruptive to body chemistry.)

By the method that most health care practitioners read lab results, it is quite obvious that person A, with the high cadmium has the worst problem, whereas person B has an expected (due to the mercury fillings) but low elevation in mercury.

This is totally backwards. The proper reading of these charts is that person A is far better off than person B.

Why? Because person A is actually moving cadmium out of his body such it shows up in the hair. Furthermore, we have corroboration that his body is able to do this quite effectively because all of his nutritional minerals are reasonably high, hence the enzymatic processes in his body can access an ample supply of needed minerals to deal with the cadmium. (Therapeutically, we would of course advice this person to support his body further in this effort as well as eliminating any sources of cadmium.)

Person B, on the other hand is low in virtually all nutritional minerals (K, potassium can typically be ignored on this type of test).

We also know that his dental fillings should supply enough mercury for it to show much higher readings if his body had enough nutritional minerals for the task of moving it out of vital tissues. What likely happens instead that the mercury from his tooth fillings end up in his brain-, or other tissues. Bad!

So what do we do? We start working on getting person B's nutritional mineral deficiency under control.

How do we do that?

Do we recommend a multi-mineral supplement?

Possibly, but, much more importantly, we need to work on enhancing this person's digestion. Very likely he is low in stomach acid (an effect by itself of zinc deficiency and/or H Pylori infection), and/or his digestion is systemically impaired in some other way. (Why else would virtually every mineral be low.)

So we will further investigate and deal with digestive- and gut issues before moving on to the mercury itself.

It would be quite useless (if not dangerous) to target the mercury first. Doing so might just increase the amount that would wind up where he doesn't want it.

The big lesson here is that one can't just read lab results and "treat" what's "too low" or "too high" without looking at the whole picture including the person's health history. (When did your doctor ask you to fill out a 45 minute health questionnaire before interpreting your lab work?)

The risk of causing real harm is imminent when lab values are taken at face value in a vacuum of ignorance about the patient. Unfortunately this is how most health care practitioners look at lab results.

(VitalObjectives is not a healthcare provider, but a company that coaches and teaches you how to achieve whole body health from the ground up, system by system.)

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