“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931)
The type of food that we eat is tremendously important for maintaining optimum health.
Avoiding highly processed foods and eating organic food as much as practically possible, are both very important, as are the kinds of foods that we eat. For example, diets containing a high amount of saturated fats, meat and dairy increase the likelihood of developing certain cancers such as two of the most common cancers diagnosed – breast cancer and colon cancer. Populations who consume mainly plant-based foods, however, are known to have a reduced risk of developing cancer. Carotenoids and other phytonutrients in plant foods possess anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour and anti-infective properties and laboratory trials have shown that carotenoids inhibit the progression of cancer.
There are other countless examples of how foods can both hinder or promote recovery from disease. For example, some foods will trigger painful inflammation of the joints (inflammatory arthritis) whilst others will help you remain inflammation-free and pain-free.
Whilst most doctors knowledgable in the area of nutrition agree that the healthiest diet is one composed mainly of plant foods, many doctors still do not understand the importance of healthy nutrition, and this is why the vital association between food and illness is very often overlooked. There are now many clinical studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals showing a clear link between different diets and the development of diseases such as ischaemic heart disease (angina, heart attacks), type two diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, stroke and other conditions. These studies show that we can significantly reduce the likelihood of these conditions occurring in the first place, and once the disease is diagnosed, we can promote recovery (even sometimes reverse the disease process) with dietary intervention, in particular by adopting a whole food plant-based diet.
Today, more and more pharmaceutical drugs are being manufactured in order to combat the seemingly insurmountable tide of disease, yet one of the simplest and most effective forms of treatment is virtually ignored.
Whilst doctors receive some exposure to non-pharmaceutical approaches to disease, the main focus of our training and the main approach to the treatment of disease is almost always with drugs, some of which can potentially cause numerous undesirable side effects. Whilst sometimes the use of drugs may be unavoidable or advisable, in many cases it can be possible to alter the course of disease simply by focusing on lifestyle measures, especially the diet.
We can literally eat our way towards better health.
Delayed food hypersensitivity is one of the most commonly overlooked problems when treating medical conditions. As opposed to food allergies or food intolerance, delayed food hypersensitivity causes symptoms to occur up to three days after consuming the particular food. This is why the association between the food and the symptoms, is often missed. Any kind of food can potentially cause delayed hypersensitivity in a particular individual, even foods that are usually considered healthy.
(NB delayed food sensitivity is not the same as food allergies, when allergy causing foods should be avoided completely).
Ideally our gut lining should be intact and only allow necessary nutrients to pass through the gut cells and into the surrounding capillaries.
However, for various reasons, the gut lining is often not as intact as it should be. There are areas where the connection between the gut cells, or ‘tight junctions,’ can lose their integrity and thus allow microscopic particles of food (or whatever else we ingest such as pesticides, food colourings etc) to enter the bloodstream.
When this happens, your immune system recognises an invader and calls on its troops to attack it. This immune response, triggered by whatever your immune system sees as the invader, ultimately causes tissue inflammation.
Poor digestion, imbalanced gut flora, an overly strained immune system and stress are some of the factors which make it more likely for food sensitivities to develop.
Sometimes, it is not the actual food that causes the immune reaction, but something that is bound to it, such as a pesticide, a particular food colouring, or other chemical agent. However the body will still see the food as the offending antigen and once the immune system has been activated, every time you eat that particular food, your body will mount an inflammatory immune response. This immune response may manifest as different physical symptoms in different people, in different parts of the body. Symptoms of delayed food hypersensitivity are not necessarily related to the gut but may manifest as, for example, joint pains.
It is possible that underlying food sensitivities may be an important contributing factor in the development of autoimmune diseases.
If the offending agent settles in a tissue, then that tissue can be damaged when the immune system attacks the particle that it sees as foreign. This may be a credible explanation for the development, and exacerbation, of different auto-immune diseases.
Most food sensitivity tests involve the measurement of specific antibodies such as IgG. Whilst this can have benefits, there can be an unacceptable degree of false positive results, that is, the test may show you have a sensitivity to a certain food when in fact you do not.
At Quantum Clinic, we prefer to address the underlying issue of intestinal hyper-permeability or ‘leaky gut.’
Leaky gut syndrome, which has for years been recognised by health practitioners outside Conventional Medicine, has only recently been recognised as a phenomenon by mainstream medicine, and especially since the mechanism for intestinal hyper-permeability (the medical term for leaky gut) was identified by Dr Alessio Fassano who in 2000 discovered zonulin, a protein that modulates the permeability of tight junctions between cells of the wall of the digestive tract.
By strengthening your natural gut defence mechanisms, removing certain foods that may be damaging your gut membrane, and moving to a healthier nutrition plan, it is often possible to repair the leaky gut that contributed to food hypersensitivity, with remarkable results.
At times, we may use a comprehensive functional test for delayed food sensitivity that identifies three out of the four delayed sensitivity reactions (type 2, 3 and 4), but most of the time this is not necessary to achieve beneficial results.
Conventional Medicine is beginning to understand the vital importance of healthy gut flora, or microbiome.
In the human body, we have about 70 trillion human cells and 1.4 quadrillion bacterial cells (about 20,000 species of bacteria).
15% of the micro-RNA (molecules that regulate gene expression) circulating in our blood comes from the bacteria in our gut. What this means is that the bacterial genome controls a significant proportion of our genes by switching them on and off.
Studies have shown that the bacterial load in out gut can influence which type of cancer people will develop, that is, different gut microbiomes can predispose a person to develop different diseases. Certain gut microbiomes favour the development of, for example, breast cancer, and others, the development of type 1 diabetes etc.
With 70% of the immune system located in the gut, maintaining a healthy gut and diverse gut microbiome is paramount to preventing ill health; addressing an imbalance in the gut microbiome is one of the first issues that should be addressed in the management of disease.
At Quantum Clinic, creating a healthy gut environment for your optimum health, is one of our top priorities:
“The human body heals itself and nutrition provides the resources to accomplish the task.”
Roger Williams Ph.D.