(503) 419-7505 info@modernvital.com
Psychobiotics, the Pharmacology of Probiotics, and Our Body’s Naturally Innate Pharmacy

Psychobiotics, the Pharmacology of Probiotics, and Our Body’s Naturally Innate Pharmacy

About the only independent variable appearing to cause permanent change in the gut is dietary change, but did you know that your microbiome and microflora are drug manufacturers?

It’s a little known fact that one of our body’s innate pharmacies resides in our gut.

Where, exactly, in our gut, you ask?

Well, in neurochemicals isolated in various microbial species whose diversity depends on our microbiome’s health. This speaks to another emerging area of interest: probiotics as pharmacy.

This article will briefly discuss five neurochemical isolated from various genera of normal gut bacteria:

1. GABA: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, helping to induce a parasympathetic response, and significantly impacting and regulating various processes both physiologically and psychologically. Several animal studies indicate that various species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are capable of producing GABA in the gut. (1, 2, 3, 4)

2. Norepinephrine: Escherichia, Bacillus, and Saccharomyces. Norepinephrine is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter active during a sympathetic response which is upregulated during fight or flight and acts as a stress hormone. Several animal studies have shown that various species of Escherichia, Bacillus, and Saccharomyces play a role in upregulatting and producing norepinephrine. (5, 6, 7, 8)

3. Serotonin: Candida, Streptococcus, Escherichia, and Enterococcus. Serotonin is a key hormone, an estimated 90% of which is thought to be produced in the gut, that is key in mood stabilization and happiness, as well as impacting learning, attention, and memory processes. Several animal studies have indicate that various species of Candida, Streptococcus, Escherichia and Enterococcus play a role in serotonin production. (9, 10, 11, 12)

4. Dopamine: Bacillus and Serratia. Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter in our ability to experience pleasure, as well as cognitive control in our prefrontal cortext. Several animal studies have shown that certain species of Bacillus and Serratia play a key role in the production of dopamine. (13, 14)

5. Acetylcholine: Lactobacillus. Acetylcholine is the main neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system and its receptors are present all throughout our smooth muscle, blood vessels, and even heart muscle, as it helps to downregulate the function of certain organs during rest and digest. Several animal studies show that various species of Bacillus and Serratia are capable of producing acetylecholine in the gut. (15, 16)


  1. Bravo JA, Forsythe P, Chew MV, Escaravage E, Savignac HM, Dinan TG, Bienenstock J, Cryan JF. Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 20;108(38):16050-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1102999108. Epub 2011 Aug 29. PMID: 21876150; PMCID: PMC3179073
  2. Patterson E, Ryan PM, Wiley N, Carafa I, Sherwin E, Moloney G, Franciosi E, Mandal R, Wishart DS, Tuohy K, Ross RP, Cryan JF, Dinan TG, Stanton C. Gamma-aminobutyric acid-producing lactobacilli positively affect metabolism and depressive-like behaviour in a mouse model of metabolic syndrome. Sci Rep. 2019 Nov 8;9(1):16323. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51781-x. PMID: 31704943; PMCID: PMC6841999
  3. Duranti, S., Ruiz, L., Lugli, G.A. et al. Bifidobacterium adolescentis as a key member of the human gut microbiota in the production of GABASci Rep 10, 14112 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-70986-z
  4. Yunes RA, Poluektova EU, Vasileva EV, Odorskaya MV, Marsova MV, Kovalev GI, Danilenko VN. A Multi-strain Potential Probiotic Formulation of GABA-Producing Lactobacillus plantarum 90sk and Bifidobacterium adolescentis 150 with Antidepressant Effects. Probiotics Antimicrob Proteins. 2020 Sep;12(3):973-979. doi: 10.1007/s12602-019-09601-1. PMID: 31677091
  5. Lopes, J.G., Sourjik, V. Chemotaxis of Escherichia coli to major hormones and polyamines present in human gutISME J 12, 2736–2747 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-018-0227-5
  6. Strandwitz P. Neurotransmitter modulation by the gut microbiotaBrain Res. 2018;1693(Pt B):128-133. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2018.03.015
  7. Galland L. The gut microbiome and the brainJ Med Food. 2014;17(12):1261-1272. doi:10.1089/jmf.2014.7000
  8. Malikina KD, Shishov VA, Chuvelev DI, Kudrin VS, Oleskin AV. [Regulatory role of monoamine neurotransmitters in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells]. Prikl Biokhim Mikrobiol. 2010 Nov-Dec;46(6):672-7. Russian. PMID: 21261078
  9. Mayr A, Hinterberger G, Dierich MP, Lass-Flörl C. Interaction of serotonin with Candida albicans selectively attenuates fungal virulence in vitro. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2005;26(4):335-337. doi:10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2005.07.006
  10. Yano JM, Yu K, Donaldson GP, et al. Indigenous bacteria from the gut microbiota regulate host serotonin biosynthesis [published correction appears in Cell. 2015 Sep 24;163:258]. Cell. 2015;161(2):264-276. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.047
  11. Banskota S, Regmi SC, Gautam J, Gurung P, Lee YJ, Ku SK, Lee JH, Lee J, Chang HW, Park SJ, Kim JA. Serotonin disturbs colon epithelial tolerance of commensal E. coli by increasing NOX2-derived superoxide. Free Radic Biol Med. 2017 May;106:196-207. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2017.02.034. Epub 2017 Feb 17. PMID: 28216386
  12. Evrensel A, Ceylan ME. The Gut-Brain Axis: The Missing Link in Depression. Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2015;13(3):239-244. doi:10.9758/cpn.2015.13.3.239
  13. Liu J, Xu F, Nie Z, Shao L. Gut Microbiota Approach-A New Strategy to Treat Parkinson’s DiseaseFront Cell Infect Microbiol. 2020;10:570658. Published 2020 Oct 22. doi:10.3389/fcimb.2020.570658
  14. Zhu F, Li C, Chu F, Tian X, Zhu J. Target Dysbiosis of Gut Microbes as a Future Therapeutic Manipulation in Alzheimer’s DiseaseFront Aging Neurosci. 2020;12:544235. Published 2020 Oct 6. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2020.544235
  15. STEPHENSON M, ROWATT E. The production of acetylcholine by a strain of Lactobacillus plantarum. J Gen Microbiol. 1947 Sep;1(3):279-98. doi: 10.1099/00221287-1-3-279. PMID: 20270627
  16. Yong SJ, Tong T, Chew J, Lim WL. Antidepressive Mechanisms of Probiotics and Their Therapeutic Potential. Front Neurosci. 2020;13:1361. Published 2020 Jan 14. doi:10.3389/fnins.2019.01361
The Potential Impact of Cholecystectomy on Drug and Xenobiotic Metabolism, and Liver Detoxification

The Potential Impact of Cholecystectomy on Drug and Xenobiotic Metabolism, and Liver Detoxification

Cholecystectomy is a common surgical procedure in which the gallbladder is removed, usually because of bile duct stones or gallstones. (1)

Bile acids are made by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, but when the gallbladder has been removed, there is no place for them to be stored. (2)

Bile acids are required particularly for the promotion of lipid absorption, but they also play a significant role in activating enzymes responsible for phase I, phase II, and phase III metabolism in the liver. (3)

Hence, if someone has had a cholecystectomy, then their primary detoxification pathways will be compromised by the fact that they are bile acid deficient.

It goes without saying that a person who has had cholecystectomy is thereby more likely to have toxins build up in their system, tissues, and blood, which means that supporting the detoxification pathways in patients who are missing their gallbladder is essential. (4)

Also, supplementing with bile salts may be necessary, but it is essential to consult your naturopathic doctor instead of self-diagnosing and self-treating.


  1. Njeze GE. GallstonesNiger J Surg. 2013;19(2):49-55. doi:10.4103/1117-6806.119236
  2. Secretion of Bile and the Role of Bile Acids In Digestion. (n.d.). http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/liver/bile.html.
  3. Hoekstra R, Nibourg GA, van der Hoeven TV, Plomer G, Seppen J, Ackermans MT, Camus S, Kulik W, van Gulik TM, Elferink RP, Chamuleau RA. Phase 1 and phase 2 drug metabolism and bile acid production of HepaRG cells in a bioartificial liver in absence of dimethyl sulfoxide. Drug Metab Dispos. 2013 Mar;41(3):562-7. doi: 10.1124/dmd.112.049098. Epub 2012 Dec 13. PMID: 23238784.
  4. Grant DM. Detoxification pathways in the liver. J Inherit Metab Dis. 1991;14(4):421-30. doi: 10.1007/BF01797915. PMID: 1749210.
Iron Deficiency Anemia and Detoxification

Iron Deficiency Anemia and Detoxification

Iron deficiency anemia is a common condition, prevalent in around 10% of non-Hispanic white women and nearly 20 percent of black and Mexican-American women. (1)

Iron is stored by a protein called ferritin, which is made by the liver, and so if ferritin is low, then there is not sufficient storage capacity in the body. (2)

Checking ferritin is the best way to check for iron deficiency, for this reason.

A little known fact is that the cytochrome P450 enzymes also made in the liver require heme-iron structurally in order to function. (3)

These enzymes play a critical role in the metabolism and clearance of drugs, in something called Phase 1 detoxification.

Hence, having low iron can mean that our detoxification pathways will not function at their highest level, as the p450 enzymes may not have the iron they require to be built in sufficient quantity.

Also, because ferritin and the cytochrome p450 enzymes are both made by the liver, supporting a healthy liver will aid in their production.


  1. Killip S, Bennett JM, Chambers MD. Iron deficiency anemia. Am Fam Physician. 2007 Mar 1;75(5):671-8. Erratum in: Am Fam Physician. 2008 Oct 15;78(8):914. PMID: 17375513
  2. Anderson ER, Shah YM. Iron homeostasis in the liver. Compr Physiol. 2013;3(1):315-330. doi:10.1002/cphy.c120016
  3. Correia MA, Sinclair PR, De Matteis F. Cytochrome P450 regulation: the interplay between its heme and apoprotein moieties in synthesis, assembly, repair, and disposalDrug Metab Rev. 2011;43(1):1-26. doi:10.3109/03602532.2010.515222
The Antioxidant Function of Cholesterol

The Antioxidant Function of Cholesterol

A little known fact is that cholesterol actually possesses antioxidant function.

In particular, HDL, the so-called ‘good’ cholesterol, can protect LDL, the so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol, from oxidative damage. (1)

LDL particles are also rich in antioxidants, such as α-tocopherol, β-carotene and ubiquinol-10, which protects LDL from free radical attack and oxidation. (2)

This is yet another reason why the quality of the cholesterol consumed in our diet is critical, and why ample fat soluble vitamins and nutrients are a key component.

Also, given that antioxidants are protective, and there is an antioxidant component in cholesterol, could it be that at times, in certain individuals, the presence of high cholesterol may be an intelligent mechanism on the part of the body to protect us in some way?


  1. Soran H, Schofield JD, Durrington PN. Antioxidant properties of HDL. Front Pharmacol. 2015;6:222. Published 2015 Oct 16. doi:10.3389/fphar.2015.00222
  2. Singh N, Singh N, Kumar Singh S, Kumar Singh A, Kafle D, Agrawal N. Reduced Antioxidant Potential of LDL Is Associated With Increased Susceptibility to LDL Peroxidation in Type II Diabetic Patients. Int J Endocrinol Metab. 2012;10(4):582-586. doi:10.5812/ijem.5029
How to Apply The Sixth Law of Healing, The Law of Synergy

How to Apply The Sixth Law of Healing, The Law of Synergy

The whole body is greater than the sum of its parts. When we utilize the combined, cooperative forces in the body, we can align with the laws of nature.

If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.”

—Nikola Tesla (1)

“Synergy is the only word in our language that means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the separately. observed behaviors of any of the system’s separate parts or any subassembly of the system’s parts. There is nothing in the chemistry of a toenail that predicts the existence of a human being.”

—Buckminster Fuller (2)

The sixth law of healing is the Law of Synergy. Synergy is a concept refined by the inventor Buckminster Fuller, who coined the term “synergetics.” The Law of Synergy says that, when combined, two different forces, agents, or substances can have a shared action whose effects are greater than merely their sum. The concept can be applied to health and wellness, where two medical treatments or two physiological systems in the body, when combined, can have a shared action which exponentially amplifies health effects in the body.

The Latin phrase for “treating the whole person” is tolle totum, which is a basic tenet held by naturopathic. doctors. It means just that: treat the whole person, not just a part of the person. In other words, when treating a lower respiratory infection, don’t just treat the lungs, but other systems as well, such as the gut, the immune system, and the upper respiratory system, such as the nose and nasal passages.

Naturopathic doctors have many tools in their toolbox, such as clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, physical medicine, and homeopathy. They know that the combined effects of their different modalities, as part of a holistic treatment plan, can produce far more potent and beneficial health effects than one modality used by itself and targeted at one organ system. This, of course, does not take away from a healthcare practitioner who has mastered and specializes in one treatment modality, disease, or area of physiology. Take the analogy of a carpenter’s toolbox. Imagine a carpenter who was limited to the use of just one tool, a hammer; no tape measure, no level, no screwdriver, no other tools. If all this carpenter had was a hammer, then everything would probably look like a nail! We all know that proper carpentry can only synergistically occur if multiple tools are applied. The effects of their application, with the oversight of a general contractor, exponentially lead to a house! One hammer cannot build a house. In the same way, one treatment modality, such as clinical nutrition alone, cannot reverse chronic disease as effectively as using multiple tools and modalities together.

The Law of Synergy can also be understood by studying certain herbs that share synergistic properties, such as the combination of turmeric with black pepper, (3) to activate anti-inflammatory and detoxifying effects in the human body; or frankincense and myrrh, used since 1500 BCE, which have been shown to have enhanced antimicrobial efficacy against select pathogens; (4) or the combination of the herbs gentian with skullcap, to optimize digestion and nutrient absorption, developed by O.G. Carroll, ND. (5)

The root meaning of the word healing is “wholeness.” In other words, the word heal essentially means “to make whole.” The whole person must be treated in order for the restoration of normal structure and function to occur, and for chronic disease to be reversed. When the Law of Synergy is applied to the human organism, healing is more likely to take place. The best way for the body to heal itself is by treating the whole person. Treating the whole person, hence, is a synergistic concept with profound implications.

When we introduce a drug into our bodies, how does it know where to go? The answer is that it does not know where to go and even though we are taking it for one thing, such as an anti-migraine drug for a headache, the anti-migraine drug is affecting our whole body. Over time and because of this, drugs can cause multiple systemic side effects, such as glucocorticoids potentially inducing weakened, more porous bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis),6 antipsychotic medications dysregulating blood sugars (prediabetes or diabetes), or biologics weakening our immune system (immune-compromise). (7)

There is an idea that comes from chaos theory, called the Butterfly Effect, which states that small changes—the flapping of a butterfly’s wings—can cause large changes, like a hurricane on a different continent. This notion can be directly applied to the human body, in the context of the Law of Synergy. A small change in the biology of our bodies can lead to large changes which may ultimately progress to a disease state or a restoration of health.

The body is a complex interplay of different parts: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. All of these parts add up to make a totum, a whole person, and the whole is cumulatively much greater than simple mathematical addition of its constituents. This notion was taken up in Gestalt psychotherapy, where the whole self is seen as possessing a kind of reality of its own. The Law of Synergy tells us that a butterfly can cause a hurricane or a rainbow to appear on the horizon, and that butterfly is living within your own body. That horizon is your health and your vital force is the butterfly.

How Can We Apply the Law of Synergy to Benefit Our Health?

We must approach the whole person, acknowledging all levels in order to benefit the whole, as opposed to a reductionistic, isolationistic approach where merely a lab value or an organ system is differentiated and treated. As human beings, we are much more complex than a lab value, and disease impacts the whole organism multifactorially. The Law of Synergy tells us that we must be specialists not just in disease but also in health. Health is much more than merely the absence of disease. Health can be defined as the presence of fully functioning systems harmoniously interrelating on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

Applying the Law of Synergy: Explore the Law of Synergy by engaging in the following activities:

1. List five pairs of things that have synergy in your life. This could be something as simple as two flavors, like salt and vinegar, or following an intense workout with sitting in a steam room. Feel. free to get creative with this exercise.

2. Become aware that whatever you do to your body affects the whole organism. If you introduce a drug into your body, be aware that this drug can produce multiple synergistic side effects.

3. Become aware that you can stack certain diet and lifestyle activities, actions, or modalities in your own life that have a synergistic effect on your health and wellness. Find ones that resonate with you and that make you feel alive. For example, you can stack intermittent fasting (IF)8 with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) (9) and a modified Weston A. Price–style diet (10, 11) to amplify their combined health benefits. Or you can stack spending time in a sensory-deprivation float tank with martial arts and avoiding your food intolerances to experience greater health and wellness. You can find synergies between different diets and lifestyles that resonate with your body and your genes by working with the help of an integrative medicine practitioner.

4. Seek out a naturopathic doctor or another skilled, medically trained physician to help guide you on your healing journey. Choose different modalities and therapies, with the help of your naturopathic doctor, whose synergistic effects will benefit the totality of your body.

5. Please fill in the blank: I’m grateful for my health because __________.



  1. Tesla, N. My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla. n.p.: Merchant Books, 2019.
  2. Fuller, R. B., and J. Snyder. Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. Zürich: Lars Müller Publishers, 2018.
  3. Manap, A. S. A., et al. “Synergistic Effects of Curcumin and Piperine as Potent Acetylcholine and Amyloidogenic Inhibitors with Significant Neuroprotective Activity in SHSY5Y Cells via Computational Molecular Modeling and in Vitro Assay.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 11 (2019): 206. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2019.00206.
  4. Rapper, S. D., et al. “The Additive and Synergistic Antimicrobial Effects of Select Frankincense and Myrrh Oils—A Combination from the Pharaonic Pharmacopoeia.” Letters in Applied Microbiology 54, no. 4 (2012): 352–58. doi:10.1111/j.1472-765x.2012.03216.x.
  5. Kronenberg, L. D. “The Carroll Food Intolerance. Evaluation and Its Applications.” Naturopathic Doctor News and Review. March 17, 2011. https://ndnr.com/autoimmuneallergy-medicine/the-carroll-food-intolerance-evaluation-and-its-applications/.
  6. Panday, K., A. Gona, and M. B. Humphrey. “Medication-Induced Osteoporosis: Screening and Treatment Strategies.” Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease 6, no. 5 (2014): 185–202. doi:10.1177/1759720×14546350.
  7. Henrickson, S. E., M. A. Ruffner, and M. Kwan. “Unintended Immunological Consequences of Biologic. Therapy.” Current Allergy and Asthma Reports 16, no. 6 (2016): 46. doi:10.1007/s11882-016-0624-7.
  8. Ganesan, K., et al. “Intermittent Fasting: The Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle.” Cureus 10, no. 7 (2018): e2947. doi:10.7759/cureus.2947.
  9. Alansare, A., et al. “The Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training vs. Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training on Heart Rate Variability in Physically Inactive Adults.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15, no. 7 (2018): 1508. doi:10.3390/ijerph15071508.
  10. Price, W. A. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Lemon Grove, CA: Price-Pottenger, 2016.
  11. Fallon, S., et al. Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. Brandywine, MD: NewTrends, 2005.
How to Apply The Fourth Law of Healing, The Law of Compensation

How to Apply The Fourth Law of Healing, The Law of Compensation

The body responds to every event or agent with first, an observable, ephemeral effect, and second, a reaction which is persistent and runs directly contrary to the primary effect.

“Cold things warm, warm things cool, wet things dry, and parched things get wet.”

—Heraclitus (1)

“Every agent affecting the human organism produces two effects: a first, apparent, temporary effect, and a second, lasting effect. The secondary, lasting effect is always contrary to the primary, transient effect.”

—Henri Lindlahr, MD, ND (2)

The fourth law of healing is the Law of Compensation (otherwise known as the Law of Dual Effect). The Law of Compensation was first articulated by Henri Lindlahr, MD, ND, one of the pioneers of naturopathy in the United States, in his seminal work, Nature Cure, first published in 1913. (3) The Law of Compensation states that every action in the body, elicited by an agent such as a drug, first produces a primary effect which is apparent and temporary. However, an opposite, secondary reaction, or a “dual effect,” then ensues which is persistent in its duration and its action runs counter to the primary effect.

The Law of Compensation can be observed in the application of cold to the body. For example, let’s say you suffer a high ankle sprain and your doctor has you follow. the RICE protocol: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. The general recommendation is to leave the ice pack on your ankle ten to twenty minutes, but let’s say that because. you’re watching Netflix, you forget and leave it on for thirty minutes. Well, the initial application of cold produces vasoconstriction, meaning the blood vessels in the superficial layers of your ankle constrict as blood is driven into the interior and inflammation is calmed. This is the primary, transitory effect: inflammation is lowered, pain is reduced.

But a secondary effect will occur which is the opposite, that is, runs contrary to the initial effect, and is persistent in nature.  Your ankle becomes swollen again, as your blood vessels respond with vasodilatory effect, blood is brought to the surface, and inflammation—an essential part of the healing process—rears its fiery head. Almost completely ignored by conventional medicine, this is the secondary, persistent reaction. (Of course, if you leave the ice on even longer, you could cause nerve damage and occlude blood flow altogether.)

Because the body is complex (and rich in confounding factors), as particularly evidenced in the nutritional sciences, (4) it would be difficult to produce a randomized control trial (RCT), which proved (or disproved) the Law of Compensation. However, because the body is intelligent and ordered, it has mechanisms in place which will compensate for any event, so as to maintain balance and prevent death and damage from occurring in the organism.

Organisms continually adapt to their environment so as to maintain homeostasis. This notion that our internal biological systems are tightly regulated was first described by the French physiologist Claude Bernard, MD, in 1865. (5)  Then the concept of I was coined in 1926 by Harvard physiologist Walter Cannon, MD, and popularized in his book, The Wisdom of the Body. (6)  When the body is in health, homeostasis persists, but when the body becomes diseased, a “compensatory homeostasis” can become the norm. (7)

When sailing in a sailboat, if you desire to sail into the wind so as to maintain a certain course, you must turn your bow toward the wind. You will experience a sudden change in the blowing of the wind from one side to the other of your vessel. This action, called tacking, maintains homeostasis of the sailboat, and often one will have to jibe, in the opposite direction, in a series of zigzags to remain on course. Your health is like a sailboat continually tacking and jibing its sails to the changing wind currents of the environment while maintaining a course of optimal health.

The majority of conventional medicine is focused on the primary, transient effect, while the secondary effects are mostly ignored. In no area is this more apparent than in pharmacology. The Law of Compensation can be partially understood in its action by reading what side effects can be caused by a certain medication. A side effects list is like a symptom picture of potential compensation in the body for that particular pharmacological agent. Primary effects are the action which the drug has in the body, and secondary effects are the body’s compensatory response to the primary action. Have you ever wondered why you have to keep taking a drug in order for it to work? It’s because the body responds to cancel out the drug’s therapeutic effects, firstly by lowering its concentrations in the blood (depending on its half-life), and so the drug must be continued to maintain its suppressive action.

For example, if a patient takes Adderall for their ADHD, it will act as an amphetamine-inducing stimulant and raise their heart rate. Then, the body will attempt to lower the heart rate and downregulate metabolism so as to normalize function. With regular use, the body even begins to anticipate the drug’s action and lowers the heart rate before administration. Over time, a person may need to have their Adderall dosage adjusted in order to maintain its same effects. (8)

Take another example: Let’s say you have a fever of 102 and you take two 500 mg tablets of Tylenol (acetaminophen) to suppress it. At first, the agent has anantipyretic action in the body which inhibits the synthesis of inflammatory compounds called prostaglandins. This production, which is mediated by a group of enzymes called cyclooxygenase (COX), is inhibited and so the fever is suppressed.  This is the primary action of Tylenol. Then, once the medication begins to wear off after a few hours, the body often responds with a fever again, but this time it persists and may be even higher than 102. This is the secondary reaction. You then follow the recommendation on your bottle of Tylenol and take 1,000 mg every six hours, with the daily recommended. upper limit dosage being 4,000 mg.

It is commonly thought that the return of the fever, after Tylenol has worn off, is due to the persistence of the infection, but a case can be made that the Law of Compensation is actually in effect. The fever is the body’s response to the infection, and the dual effect is the return of the fever once the medication has worn off. In other words, the body compensates to the action of the Tylenol by instigating the return of the fever to maintain physiological function. Because the fever is a necessary part of the body’s healing capacity, it returns, perhaps even stronger, and is more persistent.

Even though it is recommended that Tylenol be taken for no more than ten days straight (or a proton pump inhibitor, like Prilosec, for no more than two weeks), in many cases, people become chronic users of these medications well beyond their recommended safety usage. Eventually, the cumulative side effects of having taken these drugs may be diagnosed as a new disease or condition. Some classic side effects include the drowsiness associated with Benadryl, (9) the muscle cramps associated with statins, (10) or the fatigue associated with proton pump. inhibitors like Prilosec. (11)  If the use of these medications is chronic, these side effects can eventually exacerbate the risk of the onset of a new disease.  For example, a 2015 Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) review found that chronic anticholinergic use (such as Benadryl) had a 54 percent increased association with dementia. (12) Also, the chronic use (meaning greater than a year) of proton pump inhibitors (PPI) is associated with an increased risk of fracture, likely due to hypocalcemia and hypomagnesemia. (13)

Knowing this, let’s go back to the example of the atopic triad, where the child with eczema who takes steroids for a period of time ends up with seasonal allergies that progress to asthma. Now, the child is diagnosed with two new. diseases (seasonal allergies and asthma), which according to an understanding of the laws of nature, signify a disease progression due to the secondary effects of chronic steroid use to suppress eczema.  More pharmacology, with new side effects, usually including more steroids, is conventionally prescribed for the onset of these new diseases.

The Law of Compensation is why most modern pharmacology will work for a little while, or seem to, but then it will require a higher dosage or the overlay of new polypharmacy to maintain or amplify its effects or counter its side effects. This is the Law of Compensation in full effect.  Understanding that it is an underpinning of homeostasis helps to guide the naturopathic doctor in restoring normal structure and function in the human organism, as well in preventing the development of chronic disease.

Another example of the Law of Compensation is the sexual arousal that can occur for couples when watching a scary or suspenseful movie, as evidenced by the biphasic nature of the nervous system. When watching a scary or suspenseful movie, the sympathetic nervous system is activated (“fight or flight”) by certain intense scenes, and hormones such as adrenaline, dopamine, and cortisol increase. Then, as things calm down, the parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest”) begins to take over, but it is much more persistent. The parasympathetic nervous system calms down the couple, and they both hold each other close and become “turned on” while oxytocin courses through their veins. Hollywood understands and applies the Law of Compensation well in these genres when it comes to the biphasic nature of the nervous system.

The field of hydrotherapy, revered and applied for centuries by all cultures over millennia, was developed and refined by Father Sebastian Kneipp, a forefather of naturopathic medicine, in Germany in the 1800s. (14) He understood that the secondary effects of the application of cold and hot water, in a methodical way, could produce lasting health in the human organism by preventing and reversing the development of chronic disease. (15)

Another example of a modality which applies the Law of Compensation is the field of homeopathy, originally based on the idea that ‘like cures like,’ founded by Samuel Hahnemann, MD, also in Germany in the 1800s. By using minute doses of potentized substances, to the point which they are actually often no longer present on a molecular level (in other words, they are below Avogadro’s constant from a chemical perspective), the primary, transient effect is tamped down. (16) Meanwhile, the secondary, lasting effect, in theory, is produced by enhancing the natural, vital healing mechanisms in the body. This enhancement is called potentization, (17) but its mechanism is poorly understood. (18)

How Can We Apply the Law of Compensation to Benefit Our Health?

Well, we can generally benefit from the knowledge that every agent, most notably drugs, but also including food, air, and water, produces primary and secondary effects which can affect our deeper, more important organs and biological systems.

However, this is not something to try to manipulate at home. Rather, it is a law of healing ever-present in the human body, one that can be addressed by engaging the help of a trained, licensed naturopathic doctor or a skilled integrative health or functional medicine doctor.

Applying the Law of Compensation: Explore the Law of Compensation by engaging in the following activities:

1. Exercise a minimum of four times per week, for at least thirty minutes at a time, engaging in a combination of workout programs suitable to you, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga, dance, qigong, and/or cardiovascular exercises. In fact, by strengthening your musculoskeletal organ system, you can improve the outcome of most disease processes. (19). Exercise is perhaps the number one way you can regularly experience the Law of Compensation in your day. You engage in strenuous labor, such as weight lifting or high-intensity yoga, for a period of time, which pumps hormones such as cortisol, growth hormone, and testosterone in your blood and induces muscular contraction and sweating. This is the primary effect. Then, you derive the persistent benefits of relaxation and enhanced mental clarity the rest of your day, which is the secondary effect.

2. Become aware of the subtle or sometimes not-so subtle secondary effects of modern pharmacology, which can produce nutrient deficiencies, raise toxicity in the blood and tissues, as well as lead to a lowered vital force. Become aware of substances whose secondary effects may lower your immune system, compromise metabolism, and produce side effects which may lead to the diagnosis of a new chronic disease.

3. Seek out therapies and modalities which gently enhance your vital force and treat you as a whole person, rather than suppress your symptoms with drugs and therapies which potentially could drive the disease or condition deeper into your body, thereby worsening your condition.

4. Please fill in the blank: I’m grateful for my health because _________.



  1. Heraclitus, H. B. Fragments: The Collected Wisdom of Heraclitus. New York: Penguin Books, 2003.
  2. Lindlahr, H. Nature Cure: Philosophy & Practice Based on the Unity of Disease & Cure. Charleston: BiblioBazaar, 2006.
  3. Lindlahr, H. Nature Cure: Philosophy & Practice Based on the Unity of Disease & Cure. Charleston: BiblioBazaar, 2006.
  4. Boudreau, C., and H. B. Evich. “How Washington Keeps America Sick and Fat.” Politico. November 4, 2019. https://www.politico.com/news/agenda/2019/11/04/why-we-dont-know-what-to-eat-060299.
  5. Bernard, C. An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine. New York: Dover, 2018.
  6. Cannon, W. B. The Wisdom of the Body. New York: Norton, 1967.
  7. Fan, X. J., H. Yu, and J. Ren. “Homeostasis and Compensatory Homeostasis: Bridging Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine.” Current Cardiology Reviews 7, no. 1 (2011): 43–46. doi:10.2174/157340311795677671.
  8. Lecklitner, I. “What a Lifetime of Adderall Does to Your Brain.” MEL Magazine. 2018. https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/what-a-lifetime-of-adderall-does-to-your-brain.
  9. Zhang, D., et al. “Next-Day Residual Sedative Effect After Nighttime Administration of an Over-the-Counter Antihistamine Sleep Aid, Diphenhydramine, Measured by Positron Emission Tomography.” Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 30, no. 6 (2010): 694–701. doi:10.1097/jcp.0b013e3181fa8526.
  10. Parker, B. A., and P. D. Thompson. “Effect of Statins on Skeletal Muscle.” Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews 40, no. 4 (2012): 188–94. doi:10.1097/jes.0b013e31826c169e.
  11. Novotny, M., B. Klimova, and M. Valis. “PPI Long Term Use: Risk of Neurological Adverse Events?” Frontiers in Neurology 9 (2019): 1142. doi:10.3389/fneur.2018.01142.
  12. Gray, S. L., et al. “Cumulative Use of Strong Anticholinergics and Incident Dementia”. JAMA Internal Medicine 175, no. 3 (2015): 401. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.7663.
  13. Florentin, M. “Proton Pump Inhibitor-Induced Hypomagnesemia: A New Challenge.” World Journal of Nephrology 1, no. 6 (2012): 151. doi:10.5527/wjn.v1.i6.151.
  14. Kirchfeld, F., and W. Boyle. Nature Doctors: Pioneers in Naturopathic Medicine. Portland: NCNM Press, 2005.
  15. Kneipp, S. My Water-Cure: As Tested Through More than Thirty Years and Described for the Healing of Diseases and the Preservation of Health. Memphis: General Books, 2010.
  16. Lindlahr, H. Nature Cure: Philosophy & Practice Based on the Unity of Disease & Cure. Charleston: BiblioBazaar, 2006.
  17. Fiddian-Green, R. G. “‘Succussion’ and ‘Potentization’ of Homeopathic Products.” The British Medical Journal (2019). https://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/11/02/succussion-and-potentization-homeopathic-products.
  18. Khuda-Bukhsh, A. R. “Towards Understanding Molecular Mechanisms of Action of Homeopathic Drugs: An Overview.” Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 253 (2003): 339–45. doi:10.1023/A:1026048907739.
  19. Moore, T. “Muscle as Medicine: A Most Naturopathic Anti-Aging Medicine.” Naturopathic Doctor News and Review. May 1, 2017. https://ndnr.com/anti-aging/muscle-as-medicine-a-most-naturopathic-anti-aging-medicine/.