The Author: Dr. JEFFREY S. BLAND, PhD is a biochemist by training. He served as Director of Nutritional Research at the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in the early 1980’s, working directly with two-time Nobel Laureate Dr. Linus Pauling, whom he considers his lifelong mentor. Dr. Bland is a renown leader in nutritional medicine. He co-founded the Institute for Functional Medicine and is known to many as the “father of functional medicine.” Over the past 35 years, Dr. Bland has traveled more than six million miles teaching more than 100,000 healthcare practitioners in the USA, Canada, and 50 other countries about functional medicine.
In his book, The Disease Delusion, Dr. Bland introduces the reader to the medicine of the 21st century. It is a medicine that is personalized to the specific needs of the person to result in health, not just the treatment of the symptoms of disease. In Chapter 11 of his book Dr. Bland wrote about A new approach to your health. Here are some quotations.
- Health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) “is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.” That’s a great definition and it is a lofty goal — one we all hope to achieve. The question is how.
- Hippocrates … formulated an answer …. the healing power of nature … the idea that if organisms are provided the right environment, diet and lifestyle support, they can heal themselves.
- This new approach to health requires “that individual participate fully in managing his/her health. By changing our diet, lifestyle and environment … we can directly affect how our genes are expressed and thus the pattern of our health.
Dr. Bland outlined five basic concepts in the practice of functional medicine.
- Our health is not predetermined by our genes. No single gene controls the presence or absence of a chronic disease … but families of genes. The expression of these gene can be influenced and indeed altered by a range of lifestyle, diet and environmental factors — exercise, stress, pollutants, radiation, specific foods, phytonutrients, etc.
- Chronic illness is a result of an imbalance in one or more of the core physiological processes. Over time such imbalance resulted in altered function as evidenced by specific signs and symptoms which we call disease. Changes to lifestyle, diet and environment can bring our core physiological processes back into balance.
- The absence of illness does not necessarily equate to the presence of wellness. A diagnosis of chronic illness comes after a period of declining function.
- Each person’s physiological response to lifestyle, dietary and environmental factor is unique to his /her genetic makeup. What this means, there is no such thing as one size-fits-all formula.
- Drugs effective for the management of acute disease may be inappropriate for the long-term management of chronic illness.
Functional medicine focuses on treating the cause of a chronic illness — that is, imbalances in the core physiological processes — not the symptoms and signs that are the effect of the cause. This approach is not new! Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine are saying the same thing …”indeed, long before anything was known about cellular biology, genetics or pathology, Eastern medical practitioners, through observation, embraced concepts very similar to those we apply in functional medicine.”
ALL THREE OF THESE FACTORS — LIFESTYLE, DIET, ENVIRONMENT — PLAY SIGNIFICANT ROLES IN DETERMINING HOW OUR GENES ARE EXPRESSED AND HOW OUR HEALTH IS SHAPED OVER TIME …. this may seem obvious. But it is not. It is a revolutionary concept in medical thinking!
Diet: Too many of us are malnourished — not from eating too little, but rather from eating too much of too little. It is called overconsumptive undernutrition … it is not a deficiency of calories but a surfeit of empty calories. This is the malnutrition characterized by obesity, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, dementia and other chronic illnesses associated with inflammation.
Lifestyle: Smoking kills; alcohol and drug abuse mess up your life very badly— then kill. Exercise is extremely important … a rock-bottom minimum of 120 minutes a week. The standard should be 5 to 6 sessions of at least 20 minutes per session, 5 to 6 times a week. The excuse of not enough time is unwarranted.
No one can avoid stress altogether. What we now know is that it isn’t the stressor itself but rather our response to it that can amplify our cellular communication process to alarm status. The ways to deal with such responses …. through various techniques of relaxation and mindfulness.
Environment: How can an individual control his /her environment? We can do the best we can for ourselves even though we have no control over the bigger issues. At least we try to do the following:
- eat organic foods as much as possible.
- avoid excessive sun exposure.
- drink purified water.
- use headset with our cell phones.
- avoid processed foods and personal care products with synthetic ingredients.
- wash our hands before eating.
- avoid environments that supports bad health habits.
- design our own environment to be safe places to live.
Supplements and pharmaceuticals: Use nutritional supplements as nutraceuticals and medical foods over-the-counter therapies … these are the therapies of choice.
The twelve-week time (3 months) frame: There is no magic bullet.
- Years of experience and many clinical studies make it pretty clear that this is the average time it takes to make a real change to your cellular biology and patterns of genetic expression.
- Some people notice the benefits of personalized changes to lifestyle, diet and environment right away; for others progress is slow in coming. …
- Changing of your lifestyle, diet and environment is not like taking a drug to cure a specific symptoms (which can be quick or immediate).
- A program of change is aimed at transforming a pattern of genetic expression and the nature of the control those genes exercise over the physiological network. Such change happens across a sequence of multiple changes –one change deriving from another in a chain of action and reaction — and it occurs over a longer period of time.
In the Foreword of this book, Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D. wrote:
- As we spend more and more for health care, we get less and less. The answer to this paradox should be obvious to all of us: what we are doing is not working. Our current medical model was constructed to treat acute disease … we identified a single agent for illness — a microbe—and a single agent to treat it — antibiotics. Since then, medicine has pursued a quest — to find a pill for every ill. This quest has failed. We need a different paradigm, a different model for diagnosing and treating this new epidemic of chronic disease.
- Paradigm shifts are hard, detractors abound, yet the evidence is in and the failure of our current (medical) approach is evident.
Read carefully what Dr. Jeffrey Bland wrote! We are glad to say that for the past 20 years since the existence of CA Care, we have been telling patients a similar message! We also tell patients: If you are on our therapy for some 2 to 4 weeks and do not benefit from it, do not take our herbs anymore — please go and find someone else for help. We want to be honest and truthful about this!