What You Should Know About Natural Medicine In Modern Times

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH


Introduction: Misconceptions About Natural Medicine

There's little mystery about natural medicine In modern times, many misconceptions about natural medicine and nutrition have arose about their importance due to the rise of conventional medicine. And yet, the use of natural medicine and nutrition as a tool to support body healing is as old as human history itself.

Since the advent of modern medicine in the past 100 years, modern society has rushed to this newfound method of “quick fixes” which are supposed to cure disease painlessly via pills. It is quite amazing how the public at large quickly abandon what has been in the norm for 5000 years. Many individuals know little about natural medicine. There are also many misconceptions about natural medicine that continue to prevent more people from accessing this type of care.

After 100 years of modern medicine, the number of people suffering, from chronic age-related degenerative diseases, continues to skyrocket despite the best medical effort. Modern medicine has utterly failed to cure chronic degenerative diseases. Many physicians are learning more about natural medicine and incorporating various approaches into their practice.

Why? Let us consider the following:

1. High Blood Pressure

Myth: Too much fluid in the blood vessel causes high blood pressure.

Traditional Treatment: Remove excess fluid by diuretics is often the first line of treatment. This is augmented with vasodilators. Amazingly most people believe this distorted explanation without question.

Discussion: More than 43 million Americans have high blood pressure (hypertension), but less than one third of them have achieved targeted levels of blood pressure with medications. Even among the 23.4 million who take antihypertensive medications, only 42.9% of these patients actually get their blood pressure down to acceptable levels. This was reported in the Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension (May 2000).

Fact: One of the primary causes of the high blood pressure is the loss of fluids. The fewer the fluids in the body, the more the blood vessels constrict in an auto regulatory attempt to increase the pressure so that valuable blood flow and oxygen is delivered to the brain and various parts of the body. Diuretics increase dehydration. They make you lose more water, and promote a vicious cycle of increasing blood vessel constriction which in turn higher blood pressure still exists. In other words, high blood pressure is often a symptom of dehydration.

Nutritional Solution: Drink more water! By adding more water to the system, the heart won’t be so desperate to hang onto both sodium and water. Increased blood volume also makes the blood more dilute. With increase blood flow, the negative feedback system kicks in to dilate the blood vessels and open them up wider, resulting in the lowering of blood pressure. Such a simple method consistently lowers blood pressure on a long-term basis. My natural hypertension protocol is very effective in supporting normal blood pressure.

2. Cancer

FACT: Majority of cancer is genetically linked or are related to lifestyle factors. The real reason is still unknown for many types of cancer.

Traditional Treatment: The standard treatment of cancer involves surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy

About natural medicine, it supports the body instead of manipulatesDiscussion: Cancer is perhaps the most humbling part of traditional medicine. Most researchers acknowledge that we are still in our infancy as far as understanding how cells become cancerous. Most researchers, including Nobel Prize winner Sir MacFarlane Burnet, feel that in the normal body hundreds of cancer cells appear every day. It is a normal part of the oxidative process and cellular function. Cancer cells are routinely destroyed by the body’s internal immune system and do cause a problem. Often when this system fails, cancer arises. Cancer is a general condition that localizes rather than a local condition which generalizes. A tumor is often a symptom of a failing immune system, not a problem.

The majority of cancer is not symptomatic. In fact, most are found during autopsy. It can be said that our current laboratory tests are not sensitive enough to detect minute cancer cells. Equally, it should be stressed that most cancer cells do not cause any symptoms. In fact, 30 to 40 times as many cases of thyroid, pancreatic, and prostate cancer are found in autopsy and never presented to the doctor. According to a study published in top British medical journal Lancet (13 Feb 93), early screening is good, but the aggressive nature of traditional medical approach often leads to unnecessary treatment. A 1992 study in Journal of the American Medical Association of 223 patients concluded that no treatment at all for prostate cancer actually was better than any standard chemotherapy, radiation or surgical procedure.

More people are dying of cancer now per capita than ever before, and nothing is slowing the increase. Not early detection, not better screenings, not decreased radiation exposure, surgery, nor chemotherapy. Sometimes, toxic and lethal chemo drugs are used. Cancer cells are stimulated and they strive to survive any way they can by increasing their growth as they struggle for survival. This normal process of adaptation buys some time, and often those who have had chemotherapy normally experience temporary remission. The tumor ultimately returns, and does so with vengeance. Our body’s immune system is built to combat cancer cells when its growth compromises our organ function. Our immune system can hold many problems in check, as long as it is not compromised by powerful procedures. Maintaining a strong immune system during the aging process is the key to anti-aging, as most cancer becomes detected after age 40. Chemotherapy and radiation destroys the immune system, right at the time when you most need it.

Cancer is often a symptom of a weakened immune system.

Nutritional Solution: Strengthen your immune system. That is the best way to prevent or deter cancer formation.

3. Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD)

Myth: PUD is caused by an increase in acid secretion in the gastric system. The cause of that is still unknown.

Traditional Treatment: Millions of people around the world take antacids or drugs to block acid secretion.

About natural medicine and drinking waterDiscussion: In his book, The Body’s Many Cries for Water, Dr. Batmanghelidj reported his successful treatment of 3000 peptic ulcer patients using water alone and nothing else. He explains how ulcer pain is really a thirst-warning signal. It makes perfect sense: in situations where the intestine is too dehydrated to adequately refresh its mucus lining every time after the acidic products of digestion have passed by, the lining will become irritated. Long-term irritation leads to erosion of the gastric lining, leading to pain and peptic ulcer. The intestine is not protected from digestive acid like the stomach is. Antacids will only relieve the pain temporarily and cover up the problem. Re-hydrating the gastrointestinal tract will enable the intestine to form an adequate mucous lining, thus reducing acid irritation.

Fact: PUD may well be the first symptom of chronic dehydration and not a disease by itself.

Nutritional Solution: Drink plenty of water, especially when you have the gastric pain. Drink at least 10 glasses of pure filtered water a day as minimum for optimum anti-aging health, and more if heavy physical activities are involved.

4. High Cholesterol

Myth: High blood cholesterol is mainly caused by a high cholesterol intake in the diet

Traditional Treatment: Suppress cholesterol production in the liver by the administration of cholesterol lowering statin drugs.

Discussion: While statin drugs are effective in lowering LDL cholesterol, they have serious side effects. For years, the public was led to believe the wonders of statin drugs, not only in lowering cholesterol but also in possessing other health benefits as well. Millions of statin prescriptions are written yearly in the United States alone. In August 2001, however, German Pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG withdrew the cholesterol-lowering statin drug Baycol from the market because it was linked to 31 deaths. Moreover, deaths occurred at the manufacturer’s recommended initial dose (0.4 mg/day) as well as at the highest dose (0.8 mg/day). The majority of deaths occurred in elderly patients and more often in women.

High total serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol are significant risk factors of cardiovascular disease. 14 million Americans have heart disease and more than 2,600 die daily from heart attacks in the United States alone. 15% of adults in their late 30s to 40s are afflicted by cardiovascular disease, about 50% of 55 to 64- year-olds, and 65% of those in the next decade.

Developed countries have shown a decrease in dietary fat and cholesterol consumption in recent years. This is largely the result of an on-going massive public health campaign advocating a low fat, high carbohydrate diet as ideal to bring down blood cholesterol levels in order to prevent atherosclerosis. Despite this effort, the number of people with elevated blood cholesterol continues to increase. Obviously there are other causative factors that have not been addressed. In America alone, over 40 million prescriptions were written yearly for cholesterol lowering medications.

Studies have shown that a diet high in cholesterol will not lead to high blood cholesterol if the subject is healthy. The correlation between dietarian and blood cholesterol is 15-20% at best. The blood cholesterol level only increases by 3 mg/dl after ingestion of one egg day for a continuous period of 6 weeks (one egg contains about 230 mg of cholesterol) in repeated studies. Clearly, dietary cholesterol is not the main culprit.

About natural medicine and sugar intakeHigh sugar intake is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Simple sugars are the primary source of high triglycerides, a type of blood fat, and very low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which are an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis. Sugar lowers good HDL cholesterol and raises bad LDL cholesterol and blood pressure levels. It is estimated that a high sugar intake may account for as many as 150,000 premature deaths from heart disease in the US each year.

Sugar increases triglyceride storage and cellular oxidative damage. This assaults the vascular wall, leading to micro-leakages in the endothelial wall of blood vessels. The body tries to patch up the leakage by increasing production of cholesterol and lipoprotein (a) production from the liver. Sugar is therefore a significant contributory factor of oxidative stress. Simple logic dictates that the reduction of sugar intake will reduce oxidative stress. This in turn will reduce cholesterol production from the liver.

Fact: Elevated cholesterol is a symptom of oxidative stress and not a disease.

Nutritional Solution: The real cause of elevated cholesterol level is oxidative damage from excessive free radical damage caused by excessive metabolism of oxygen and sugar. Humans lack the endogenous capacity to produce vitamin C, a natural anti-oxidant. Instead, the body produces cholesterol as a surrogate. If you understand this concept, it is easy to appreciate that high cholesterol and a host of other age-related diseases, such as arthrosclerosis, are nothing more than a series of symptoms reflective of the body’s response to imbalanced oxygen and sugar metabolism. To normalize your cholesterol level permanently, proper control of your oxygen load (through reduction of oxidative stress by taking anti-oxidants) and sugar load (by avoiding foods which are high in sugar and concentrating on low glycemic index food) is the first and most important step, in addition to exercise. My Natural Cholesterol Lowering Protocol works well to reduce cholesterol in most cases.

5. Atherosclerosis

Myth: Atherosclerosis is caused mainly by high dietary fat and cholesterol, lack of exercise, and high stress.

Traditional Treatment: Low fat diet, exercise, and reduce stress.

Discussion: Some researchers believe that cardiovascular disease is primarily caused by chronic deficiencies of vitamins and other essential nutrients with defined biochemical properties, such as coenzymes, cellular energy carriers, and antioxidants. Chronic depletion of these essential nutrients in endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells impairs their ability to function properly.

Take the effects of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) deficiency for example: Humans, other primates, and guinea pigs do not produce ascorbate endogenously. Guinea-pigs fed a diet low in ascorbate, an amount equivalent to the usual human intake, rapidly developed atherosclerotic plaques, similar to those found in humans. When large amounts of supplementary ascorbate were given to these guinea pigs, there was a regression in plaque formation. Humans must get vitamin C from external sources. A deficiency of vitamin C leads to a disease called scurvy, the symptoms of which are caused the reduced ability of the body to make collagen, an essential component of wound healing, bones and joints, and blood vessels. Studies about natural medicine and Vitamin CChronic ascorbate deficiency leads to impairment in the structure of the blood vessel walls and tiny lesions in its inner wall. These changes are the hallmarks of early atherosclerosis. Atherosclerotic plaques can develop as the result of an overcompensating repair mechanism consisting of deposition of systemic plasma and local cellular response, which includes extra cellular accumulation of Lp (a) and fibrinogen/fibrin at the site of injury. This repair mechanism is exacerbated primarily at sites of hemodynamic stress. This explains why the most frequent clinical manifestation of cardiovascular disease such as myocardial infarction, is the local development of atherosclerotic plaques in coronary arteries. As a result of confirmation in animal studies, ascorbate with other essential nutrients is now being recommended for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

In a landmark study published in the Journal of Applied Nutrition (1996, 48:3), researchers showed that coronary artery disease could be effectively prevented and treated by natural means. In patients with early coronary calcification, progression was halted. In individual cases with small-calcified deposits, optimum nutritional supplement intervention led to the complete disappearance of the deposits

Fact: Coronary artery disease is a symptom of chronic vitamin C deficiency.

Nutritional Solution: Take optimum doses of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), amino acids L-proline and L-lysine. My Natural Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Protocol works well for the majority of cases.

About Natural Medicine: Then and Now

Only a century ago, cancer, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and diabetes were virtually unknown. At that time people relied more on whole raw foods, unrefined and generally in their original form fresh from the farm. The introduction of refined sugar (e.g. soda pop) in the late 1800s, then canning in the early 1900s, followed by processed food in the 1940s change this picture drastically.

Food when canned and processed is not the same as that in the original form. Commercialization produces a longer shelf life that translates into higher profit for food manufacturers. Natural vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and co-factors are often stripped in the process, and the chemical structure of nutrients is changed. What goes in is different from what comes out of the processing plant. Make no mistake; processed food is not the same as naturally occurring “raw” food (which are high in fiber, antioxidant, and nutrients). In contrast, the modern day diet is high in refined sugar and trans-fat. The body definitely does not need these leading toxins.

Over 2 pounds of food is taken in everyday. This equates to over 20 tons over a lifetime. Is it possible that what you feed yourself has no bearing on your health? The normal degenerative process of the body takes about 20 years to progress from initial insult to disease state. A continuous intake of processed food and sugar leads to a variety of age related degenerated diseases starting at about age 40, 20 years after the body hits peak performance at age 20.

About natural medicine and processed/canned foodsModern-day diseases such as atherosclerosis and diabetes are actually diet-related disorders. Proper treatment therefore involves correcting deficiencies – of anti-oxidants, minerals such as magnesium and chromium, and other vital nutrients such as coenzyme Q10 , lipoic acid, and carnitine.

Learning about natural medicine and incorporating it into daily life can increase overall health and longevity. The most important thing about natural medicine is diet. There are many aspect about natural medicine but the first step is diet.

You are what you breathe, eat, and digest. Proper nutrition is critical for optimum cellular function. The Anti-Aging Food Pyramid is designed to do this through your daily meals. It is specifically designed to combat age related degenerative diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, and cancer by normalizing sugar, reducing oxidative stress, and improving the immune function. In short, it keeps you younger and living longer.

The thing to know about natural medicine is that it uses well researched nutrients in a therapeutic setting to prevent diseases before they happen, and to cure diseases at their root, after onset of symptoms. Knowing about natural medicine can literally save your life.

Natural nutritional substances that are well researched have a great safety margin. Nutrients are not only safer than drugs; they are natural to the body. Our bodies are geared to handle nutrients because they belong there. Newly invented chemicals and synthetics, on the other hand, are foreign to our body.

As long as you observe a few necessary caveats, you will not subject yourself to unnecessary risk. The worst thing that can happen to you is nothing.

Other aspects about natural medicine include physical activity, sleep hygiene, and even breathing techniques. Many do not think about natural medicine in these ways. However, physical activity or forms of body movement, such as dance, Yoga, Tai Chi, and walking increase health naturally.Physical activity helps reduce overall stress in the body and increase a sense of well being. Maintaining good sleep habits, though not commonly discussed when talking about natural medicine, is an essential piece to healthy living.

The more we learn about natural medicine and begin to incorporate it into our daily lives, the greater our health and longevity becomes.


About natural medicine

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