On today’s episode of The Modern Vital Podcast, we’re going to talk a little bit about what I call The Law of Disease. This is the second law of healing in my book, The Serpent in the Butterfly: The Seven Laws of Healing.
So, our Modern Vital Fact of the Day is that a person’s socioeconomic status can significantly impact their risk and management of chronic disease, chronic conditions. We know that it’s important to approach health from a biopsychosocial-spiritual model, where all of the environmental factors that can impact our health are assessed, including socioeconomic status, etc.
Lots of studies are out there showing that individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to develop chronic disease, diseases like diabetes, heart disease, even certain types of cancer. This disparity can be attributed to numerous factors, like limited access to health care, unhealthy living conditions, inadequate nutrition, higher levels of stress, financial constraints, lack of health literacy, limited social support. We need to recognize and address these social determinants of health. It’s crucial to reducing the burden of chronic disease and promoting health equity.
In my book, The Serpent in the Butterfly: The Seven Laws of Healing, Chapter 2 is dedicated to the second law of healing, which is The Law of Disease, and we’re going to talk about it today.
So, The Law of Disease states that our bodies interact with our environments, right, and when this interaction is compromised, then disease or dis-ease, meaning an imbalance in our systems, can ensue, and this manifests in three ways: deficiency, toxicity and diminished vitality.
Now, there are lots of ways to talk about this. It’s been this case throughout all of time, for millennia, and this is addressed in many ways in numerous medical models, such as the Ayurvedic model, the Chinese medicine model, the naturopathic model, the functional medicine model, various holistic and alternative models, and even conventional medicine. This is all based in science as well.
Think of your health as a three-legged stool, right, and I’m sitting on a chair right now. Imagine that it has three legs. If I were to fall because one of the legs broke or gave way, then metaphorically I would end up with a chronic disease, and, of course, two or three of the legs could break at the same time as well. But basically, our health is balanced on these three legs. Deficiency, toxicity and lack of vitality.
And so, as naturopathic doctors, it’s important not to focus on the stool itself, like the seat itself, or where it hits the ground, so much as to focus on what leg broke and how can we repair it.
Now, of course, we’re looking at all of the elements here, so it is important to see, oh, what part of the stool fell, what part of my body hit the ground, what happened, how did I respond, and how am I adapting to this?
So nontoxicity, refers to living a lifestyle free from toxins, and this is becoming a lot more difficult in today’s world. Our bodies are exposed to numerous human-made chemicals every hour. Right? One example would be BPA. It’s an endocrine disruptor, it can throw off our hormones. And it’s in a lot of things like plastic bottles, various household items, various industrial items. You name it, right.
And the thing is is that our kidneys and our liver are working tirelessly to remove these chemicals from our system as well as other organs in our body. Toxins can accumulate and then they can build up in areas like our gut or our blood, and then, over time, they can end up getting into our fat and staying there for many years. They can also end up getting into a layer in our gut called the biofilm. We don’t really have time to talk about that today, but this can lead to a lot of health issues.
One example would be toxic mold. If I’ve got toxic mold in my home, I’m breathing in those mycotoxins, those spores as well. They can make their way to every organ in my system and they can make me sick and they can mediate a whole host of conditions. They can also cause a lot of different conditions in my system. So that’s one example of one of the legs of my stool breaking and I end up with a chronic disease.
Nutrient repletion is the second leg of the stool and it involves ensuring adequate nutrient levels in our bodies. Studies show a decline in nutrient composition right in our food supply, in our topsoil, and the FDA only requires that we put a few elements back into the topsoil. There are actually three. And so a lot of the other trace elements, such as zinc and selenium and so on, don’t end up back in our topsoil, and pharmacology can also deplete key nutrients in our bodies. Then chronic disease can ensue.
One classic example is OCPs, oral contraceptive pills. There are many studies out there showing that OCPs will deplete B vitamins, zinc, selenium, magnesium, and this can lead to things like anxiety, depression, insomnia, skin issues and even thyroid imbalance. So that’s another example of a deficiency causing a disease.
The third leg of our stool is a strong vitality, a strong vital force, or we call it mitochondrial sufficiency. Our mitochondria are the little powerhouses of our cells, right? They make ATP, and when they’re dysregulated, when what’s called oxidative phosphorylation cannot occur in our mitochondria, then we don’t make energy and we end up very fatigued. So this is essential to maintaining our health. Our bodies’ homeostatic mechanisms can become imbalanced and then we don’t have the energy to drive these systems, which are also required for detoxification, metabolism, etc. And chronic disease can develop.
So a strong vital force is essential to our bodies’ ability to recover and to respond to infections and toxins, etc. Another example of a weak vitality is the extreme fatigue that we’re often seeing in Long Haul COVID. We don’t exactly know what causes Long Haul COVID, or let’s just say it’s multifactorial, and I did a podcast episode about that. The mitochondria are not producing adequate amounts of ATP in many cases, and then the mitochondria need support and we also need to zero in on the organs that are weak.
To benefit our health, we must understand and apply The Law of Disease appropriately. This includes avoiding toxins, replenishing nutrients and supporting and enhancing our vitality by engaging in activities that are vital to our bodies, promoting things like detoxification, nutrition, more vitality in our lives, can reduce and improve chronic disease.
Some practical applications include, you know, participating in detoxifying activities like sauna, hydrotherapy, spending time outdoors. I recommend you seek a naturopathic or a functional medicine or a holistic doctor or provider to help you customize an individual plan for your body and for your unique biochemical individuality.
One specific treatment that I love is called warming socks or magic socks, and I talk a little bit about it in my book. It’s on page 27, and I even have a little diagram there how to do it. It’s very simple but basically it’s free and easy and not too annoying and it can help with colds and flus and congestion. It’s anti-inflammatory, it boosts the immune system a little bit. And we know that when we have a cold or a flu, it’s definitely gonna be worsened if we have deficiency, toxicity, inflammation or fatigue in our bodies or in our system.
Let me give a quick example that kind of looks at all three legs of the stool. So let’s say that I have a patient that I did a blood test on and we checked their iron levels. We did a full iron panel with ferritin. Ferritin is probably the most important measurement to look at for iron, but it’s good to look at all of the different elements. So ferritin is the iron storage protein made by the liver. It literally stores the iron. So if we don’t have enough iron, it could likely be due to the fact that we don’t have enough ferritin. If we don’t have enough ferritin, we certainly probably are not gonna have much iron that we can use in our bodies. Now let’s say a patient comes to me with a ferritin of 11 and I wanna see it up around 60, 65 or higher. That is not even close to enough iron storage capacity in that person’s body.
Now, everyone’s a little bit different and obviously you never wanna interpret this on your own, but without adequate storage, the body doesn’t have enough iron to carry oxygen and nutrients to the cells via hemoglobin, and so our metabolism becomes slower, our regenerative capacity is impaired, our immune system becomes weakened, much more also occurs, and this can lead to chronic conditions like anemia. Our detox pathways become slowed.
By the way, heme iron is an essential structural component of our detox pathways in our liver, and so without enough iron, we’re gonna also slow down our detox. And also iron helps create energy and detoxification requires energy. So there’s many ways that this can happen.
To some degree all three legs of our triangle of chronic disease, our stool of health, can fall or break down based on low iron right. So this is a great example. Vitamin C, by the way, is required for iron absorption and this is a great reason to have like a citrus-based sauce or to use fresh squeezed lime when you have like grass-fed beef or things like that if you are an omnivore.
By embracing The Law of Disease and adopting a lifestyle that supports detox, nutrition, enhanced vitality, we can strive for optimal health and we can reduce the likelihood of chronic disease. We can also improve the symptoms of chronic disease with this approach and we can potentially resolve chronic disease.
It is possible. I see it often in my practice.
So that concludes today’s episode of The Modern Vital Podcast. We would love to hear from you. We really value your feedback. If you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to me at email@example.com. Also, please leave us a review if you enjoyed this episode and we look forward to having you join us next week for another exciting episode of The Modern Vital Podcast.