Are you healthy?
What is health? Are you healthy or merely disease free? This is an important question pertaining to the mind, body, and spirit and based on personal experience, a question well worth exploring.
First, what is health?
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948. The Definition has not been amended since 1948.
21st century health, are we evolving in the wrong direction?
Have you noticed we now have more medical facilities and pharmaceutical outlets than ever before? Moreover, the numbers are growing! This is not the result of our becoming healthier.
Over the past 65 years, many factors have emerged that make the World Health Organization’s definition of health less possible.
- We now have close to eighty-thousand chemicals that the safety of which are not fully understood,
- we (the U.S.) consume more pharmaceuticals (4X) than any other nation,
- fast food was born and now dominates as THE dietary staple in our society,
- processed and sugar-latent foods now dominate supermarket shelves,
- toxic elements (heavy metals) exposures occur every day in our environment,
- our psychological stress has increased exponentially,
- epigenetic factors are revealing generational effects of poor quality diets and lifestyles,
- we have polluted the planet to the point our air, water, and land are no longer pure,
- because of food security, agriculture is now dominated by chemists, engineers, and scientists,
- we have completely relinquished all personal responsibility for our health.
This is just the short list that makes “complete” less possible. Fortunately, there is hope!
What is the Health/Disease continuum?
The health/disease continuum is something you should consider.
Webster’s Dictionary defines a continuum as; a link between two things, or a continuous series of things, that blend into each other so gradually and seamlessly that it is impossible to say where one becomes the next.
In the true context of health, you don’t go from a healthy state to a diseased state in one fell swoop. A diseased state is a complex metabolic disorder that normally occurs over an undetermined amount of time before its detection.
This may require years or decades before a manifestation appears. This includes genetic predisposition.
However, the health/disease continuum looks like this:
Optimal Health|—————————————- “Considered Healthy”——————————————-|– Pre– |——- Diseased ——|Death
As you can see, being “Considered Healthy” is the longest span and a relative term. Ask yourself, when you are considered healthy, are you closer to optimal health or one appointment away from being in a pre- or diseased state?
Defining our current health/disease paradigms.
The disease paradigm
Our current health paradigm is not a measurement of health; it is a measurement, as defined by the World Health Organization, for the absence of disease.
Simply put, the disease paradigm is a disease/no disease paradigm. Paradoxically, it is labeled as the “healthcare” system.
As you know, a physical exam normally consists of providing blood for various lab panels and usually a urine sample and sometimes a fecal blood test. As with all lab tests, various reference ranges indicate whether you are within specific reference ranges of the analytes tested. (An analyte is a substance or chemical constituent that is undergoing analysis.)
Analytes and references in these tests merely indicate the absence of a disease. If a pre- or diseased state is not revealed, you are considered healthy. As you can see in the continuum, this is merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
As you may know, considered healthy happens quite often even when someone consistently experiences myriad symptoms or even “sudden death.”
On the other hand, you may be informed something is now malfunctioning because you are outside certain references ranges such as cholesterol, glucose, CRP, BUN, bilirubin, and so on. Because these analytes simply don’t change overnight, it is a clear indication that something has been going wrong for some time.
Simply put, these are disease markers.
Biomarkers to quantify health optimization are needed since many if not most biomarkers are developed for diseases. ~Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.
For example, let’s say your next physical examination reveals your cholesterol levels have now exceeded the reference limits. This is a disease marker providing a quick reference for a pre-disease (e.g. high cholesterol) or diseased state (e.g. coronary artery disease).
The primary tools in the disease paradigm are pharmaceuticals and surgery to “treat” the disease marker (e.g. statin drugs for high cholesterol or surgery to place coronary stents due to coronary artery disease).
Note: as seen throughout this website, so many factors are now contributing to the disease paradigm that these tools have become indispensable. Therefore, it is with our deepest gratitude and respect that we do have such talented medical professionals able to prolong or save lives.
The health paradigm
The health paradigm is beyond “prevention” and focuses on optimal health. This is beyond the old cliché an ounce of prevention is worth a pound if cure. Of course, that wisdom is even more pertinent today.
However, the health paradigm requires:
- A different mindset (personal responsibility)
- A different approach (“individually” tailored to your specific needs)
- A different set of lab analyses (a variety of nutritional analyses)
A healthy mindset
The primary mindset in the health paradigm is about exercising personal responsibility for your health. It does not matter how good your doctor is, he or she cannot help you if you don’t assume responsibility for your actions (lifestyle) that jeopardize your health.
- Stop justifying the consumption of fast foods and processed foods
- Stop living a sedentary lifestyle
- Stop using recreational drugs (are you really that unhappy?)
- Stop or limit alcohol consumption
- Stop smoking (includes illicit drugs)
- Recognize and reduce stress
Ultimately, your mindset should be that your health is your responsibility. In addition, you should also recognize that everything you do to your mind and body does have long-term ramifications for your health.
An individualized approach
The primary approach in the health paradigm is that you are recognized as an individual. As we state throughout this website, you are unique and so are your nutritional needs. This approach does not include quick fixes and one size fits all approaches.
This approach includes:
Your approach should be a conscious effort toward a healthy lifestyle – not an obsession! As you know, an obsession can be counterproductive and ultimately contributes to failure. Keep in mind, it is difficult to eliminate any bad habit and incorporate a healthy habit into your lifestyle. Just be patient.
Primary laboratory analyses for health
The health paradigm includes a variety of nutritional/toxic analyses for both direct and functional analyses.
These analytes include:
- Essential minerals
- Amino acids
- Fatty acids
- Toxins (toxic elements and chemical toxins)
- Organic acids
Simply put, these analytes are health markers.
As you know, you can research any nutrient and find myriad symptom and disease associations based on a single nutrient deficiency. However, rarely does a single nutrient deficiency exist today. Nutrient deficiencies and excesses are in “clusters” which simply means numerous essential nutrients are deficient and excessive at the same time.
The primary tools in the health paradigm are a healthy mindset, lifestyle, and nutritional analyses.
The health paradigm is holistic.
The health paradigm is a holistic approach that focuses on the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and the spirit. The holistic approach uses alternative practices (e.g. nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathy, Ayurveda, meditation, energy medicine, etc.).
Today, for various reasons, the health paradigm consists mostly of modalities labeled Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM’s). CAM’s are generally holistic, out-of-pocket expenses, and remain much maligned by the AMA. CAM’s are, with few exceptions, any modality or practice outside the disease paradigm (orthodox medicine).
Is there a simple lab analysis for optimal nutrition?
There are numerous lab analyses for nutritional screenings for direct and functional testing of essential nutrients and toxins. Most of which are quite expensive. However, we always recommend a hair analysis as your primary lab analysis.
A hair analysis combines two fundamental health analyses. First, it reveals your essential mineral excesses and deficiencies. Secondly, it reveals your current exposures to toxic elements. In addition, subsequent hair analyses help reveal the effectiveness of your detox program.
Optimal health is a journey!
We live in a society of instant gratification. However, improving your health through nutrition does not happen overnight nor should it be an obsession. It is simply a conscious journey supported by a healthy lifestyle.
During your journey, it is important to work with your healthcare professional (just understand this paradigm and limitations) and invest in your health through laboratory analyses for optimal nutrition (just understand this paradigm and limitations). By understanding and combining these two paradigms, you stand the greatest chance of living a long and healthy life! So, are you ready to begin your journey toward optimal health?
“vis medicatrix naturae – the healing power of nature.”
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The content and laboratory services provided on this site are for educational and informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease.
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