Share The Wealth by Chris Gupta
November 14, 2005

Environmental Disease


...."One of the papers was by G. Zbinden who reported on 696 published papers that showed varying degrees of successful treatment of no less than 230 different diseases with thiamin. Major interest was shown in a plethora of publications between 1938 and 1940 and to a lesser degree between 1952 and 1955. In 1943, R.D. Williams and his associates performed an experiment on human subjects, giving them a thiamin deficient diet in order to observe the consequences. A multitude of symptoms from severe deprivation was the result and included depression, weakness, “pins and needles,” dizziness, backache, painful muscles, heart palpitations, chest pain with exertion (pseudoangina), insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abnormally slow resting pulse, and rapid heart rate after exertion. With moderate restriction of thiamin, but without caloric restriction, they developed emotional instability, irritability, sudden mood changes, quarrelsome behavior, poor concentration and an unusual sense of anxiety without obvious reason. They also developed numerous somatic complaints.

This era of research included clinical investigation of many vitamins as therapeutic agents. Successful treatment of so many different conditions with any agent that was normally required as a nutrient in a minute concentration caused skeptical medical scientists to regard these reports as examples of pure charlatanism, much like the so-called “snake oil” era in America. Hence, vitamin therapy fell into disrepute. The interest began to revive in the latter part of the 20th century and a paper, similar to that of Williams and associates in 1943, was published in volume 33 of a 1980 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In that publication, my colleague and I reported the same symptomatology as Williams in 20 American children and adolescents. All of them were shown to be thiamin deficient. They were consuming an excess of sweets and, in particular, large quantities of soft drinks, some of which are addictive. It reemphasized the fact that thiamin is metabolically tied to the amount of glucose that is being derived from the food intake....

...If the genetically determined system is complete, the organism can adapt to the constant assault of environmental attack only if the energy generated in the complement of cells is adequate and can be mobilized to meet each situation. Hence the absolute importance of the fuel supply that comes from our nutrition. It is very hard indeed to understand why this fundamental part of human life has been so totally neglected until relatively recently. Because of the constant commercial pressure applied to our highly artificial civilization, even dietary and nutritional rules are being exploited. The proper food for us all is simply that which existed before our arrival on the face of the earth....

...the food industry has become an extremely important source of what might be termed high calorie malnutrition.

....Proper nutrition and nutritional supplements will abolish the symptoms within months if the required discipline is meticulously followed, and no medications are required...

....Cardiovascular disease, long thought to be exclusively related to cholesterol metabolism, has now been shown to be inflammatory in nature. Several other diseases, including asthma, migraine, infantile eczema and endometriosis are examples of conditions that are related to this and often respond to a proper supplementation of diet...

....Surgical removal of a sick organ then becomes an admission of medical failure....

....Thus, it can be claimed that obesity is really an environmental disease induced by the commercial urges of the food and beverage industries. The way to sell anything today is to make it sweet to the taste. In fact, sugar is added to nearly every processed food, otherwise it would not be expected to sell....

...“there is no longer any real controversy over whether nutrients can affect behavior.”...

....In 1981 the administration of a juvenile detention home lowered the incidence of antisocial behavior in its incarcerated juveniles by reducing the quantity of sugar in the food, beverages and snacks, using two groups for comparison. Over a 24 month study period a total of 276 juveniles committed 934 infractions. During the 12 months when they received a nutritionally superior diet, the incidence of assault was lowered 82%, theft by 77%, “horseplay” 65%, refusal to obey orders 55%, general rule violations 23% and fighting 13%. The same author and his colleagues also examined the effect of dietary changes in 803 New York City public schools between 1979 and 1983, resulting in significant changes in the standardized California Achievement Test scores as given nationwide. An increase from the 39th percentile to the 55th percentile rank in New York City public schools occurred on the heels of the three years in which dietary changes were made. No other school district could be located which had reported such a large gain above the rest of the nation so quickly....

...Donald R. Davis said in the Journal of Applied Nutrition (1983,Volume 35 Number 1), food is part of our environment and we need to refocus nutrition education on the benefits of whole food and on the sometimes little-known pitfalls of dismembered, processed foods....

....Finally, antibiotics are drugs designed to kill bacteria. Since we have reviewed the likeness of our mitochondrial DNA to that of bacteria, it is entirely possible that some of these dangerous drugs damage energy metabolism, for there is evidence that mitochondrial inefficiency is part of the etiology of chronic fatigue syndrome, if not the major cause."....

Here is another important paper by Dr. Lonsdale MD that so clearly articulates the importance of nutrition to prevent and combat disease. It is staggering to see and understand why so many diseases can be dealt with the judicious use of nutrients.

The astute observation to "the likeness of our mitochondrial DNA to that of bacteria" explained so well in this paper dove tail, so clearly with "CFS is Heart Failure Due to Mitochondrial Malfunction" that it is uncanny. These two papers combined could and should, with one felled swoop, revolutionize treatment methods to deal with Environmental and many other diseases.

This and other papers by Dr. Lonsdale truly are: "A New Model For Disease: A Paradigm Shift" and are required reading several times over....

Chris Gupta

See also:

Why Is Sugar A Problem?

Violence And Nutrition
------------------------------------------------------

ENVIRONMENTAL DISEASE
Derrick Lonsdale, M.B. B. S. (London) M.R.C.S. L.R. C. P.

Perhaps one of the greatest recent achievements in medical technology is in unraveling the array of human genes, known as the genome, resulting in a frantic search for the gene, or genes, held to be responsible for all the different diseases that have not hitherto had their cause documented. It is generally held by many to be the opening of a marvelous new health future for everyone. Gene replacement and live cell culture dominate the present research picture. We are, however, learning that we can unwittingly damage our genetic structure from environmental influences.

The science of genetics began with the extremely clever work performed on the inheritance patterns of peas by a monk by the name of Mendel. It led eventually to the discovery of the molecular characteristics of the gene and the crowning achievement of the structure of DNA by Watson and Crick. Thus, for half a century clinical geneticists have been working on the assumption that each of our genes is inherited from our parent and that they “lock us in” to our characteristics. Our pattern of genetic inheritance had been considered to be immutable and completed when the sperm and the ovum unite to form the zygote. Mutations in genes were considered to be accidents in their biochemical construction leading to the mistakes referred to as genetically determined disease. Sir Archibald Garrod had forecast and termed “the inborn errors of metabolism” in 1908, long before the discovery of the gene and its structure. The intense research that followed from the pioneer work of Watson and Crick opened a new chapter in genetics.

Most of us take the production of cellular energy for granted. Every adult human body is made up of somewhere between 70 and 100 trillion cells. Each cell can be regarded as a unit of function. Each is programmed to perform its ordained task. They become specialized and come together in constellations that make up organs and the body can easily be thought of as like an orchestra. These cellular functions can only be performed if there is an adequate supply of energy.

Many years ago, it was found that this energy is produced by mitochondria, organelles within each and every cell. Their structure can be studied only with an electron microscope and biochemical research has revealed the fascinating details of how energy is created in these organelles. Any form of work performed by an engine is from the consumption of fuel. In the case of an automobile, the union of petrol with oxygen results in an explosion and the energy liberated drives the car. Mitochondria have the same responsibility. The details are widely different. The main fuel is glucose and, in a series of carefully controlled reactions, each presided over by an enzyme, oxidative metabolism yields a continuous supply of energy that is used to perform cellular function. Thus, mitochondria can be seen as the “engines” of the cell.

Because of subsequent refinement of studies, it was found that the DNA in mitochondria was different from the DNA in the nuclear genes that give us the inherited characteristics from both our parents. Instead of having a linear structure, as found in the nuclear genes, the DNA in mitochondria is circular, very similar to that found in bacteria. It has been postulated that a very early cell, eons ago, became infected with a primitive bacterium. This bacterium brought in its own DNA and, in a symbiotic relationship, evolved over time into a mitochondrion. In a fanciful way, it is as though the bacterium set up a contract with the host cell, so that it took care of the energy supply while the host cell was evolving its specialized function.

It is now known that nuclear DNA possesses a remarkable mechanism by which it can repair itself when elements within the molecule are damaged. Mitochondrial DNA does not possess this machinery and, once it is damaged, it cannot be repaired. Any mutation is permanent and passed on to daughter cells in mitosis. So, from this has emerged a relatively new concept of genetically determined disease where the damage is caused by inefficient energy production in body cells whose nuclear genes are in perfect order. Finally, mitochondrial DNA is inherited almost exclusively from the mother to her progeny, irrespective of sex. Therefore, the machinery for energy metabolism is a form of exclusive maternal inheritance. We now know that mutations can affect mitochondrial DNA. The genetically determined anatomy and structure of each child within such a family can be perfect, but because cellular energy requirements are not being met, their function is disturbed and is translated into symptoms. The symptoms related by each child may be different, causing a false impression that they have different diseases. The brain and central nervous system functions are usually affected most since that is where oxygen demand is highest. It has now been found that such mitochondrial deletions do not affect all of the organelles. The severity of symptoms is proportional to the number of mitochondria within each cell so affected. Thus life can be maintained but the supply of energy is limited, resulting in symptoms.

Having discussed the modern concept of genetic transmission, what indeed has this to do with environmental disease? The fact is that a background of genetic idiosyncrasy can put a person at risk from environmental influences that might not affect an individual without that predetermined situation. Perhaps it can be made clearer by using a simple form of Boolean algebra as shown in the figure.

Lonsdale circles.jpg
FIGURE 1

Figure 1 shows an overlap between three variables. The degree of overlap represents the influence of each in determining the final outcome of an event that can affect the health of an individual. Genetic factors affect the response to environmental influences and the ability to cope is dependent upon the efficiency of energy production, which is, in turn, dependent upon inherited aspects. Perhaps a good example is that of Type 2 diabetes. It has long been known that this disease has a genetically determined background. By using Mendelian principles, geneticists have never been able to show a mathematically determined risk for genetic counseling in families. It is also known that, in some cases, the first sign of diabetes follows a stress event such as a death in the family, an infectious disease such as “flu,” or a physical injury as in a motor accident or a fall. It would appear to be obvious that the energy circle can be influenced by either diet, by the genetic influences already outlined, or by the introduction of some form of stress imposed upon the genetic risk. In Type 1 diabetes, where there is a genetically determined deficiency of insulin, the genetics circle would obviously be the largest one in determining the outcome. It is also true that this form of the disease does not appear for a variable number of years, so the other two circles represent at least some influence.

Ever since genetics became a science, it has been believed that our genes control our characteristics and that nothing in our behavior would alter this. The new science of epigenetics has turned the tables on this concept and can, perhaps best be illustrated by the animal experiment reported in the August 2003 issue of Molecular and Cellular Biology. The investigators were studying a particular strain of mouse that is obese, has a dirty yellow coat and a predisposition to develop diabetes and cancer. The gene that determines these characteristics does not function alone. Close to it is another section of the DNA known as a gene promoter and it is this that activates the gene. Under normal circumstances, this strain of mouse breeds true, producing obese yellow-coated pups with the same predisposition to disease. The investigators took a group of these mice and started to feed them with supplementary vitamins that were continued throughout pregnancy. The obese, yellow-coated mothers gave birth to standard, brown-coated healthy pups without the predisposition to disease, indicating that the gene responsible for this transmission had been inactivated.

It is now known that parts of the DNA molecule can be silenced by the addition of methyl groups (CH3). Such groups are supplied by an appropriate diet and are known as “labile methyl groups” since they can be transferred from one metabolite to another, making more complex carbon containing molecules in the overall engineering of cellular structure and function. In the case of this experiment it was the gene promoter that was silenced, thus rendering the responsible gene inactive. Genes can be affected in many different ways by this mechanism, depending on which part of the DNA chain is thus methylated. The supplementary nutrients had evidently caused this effect on the gene promoter and immediately makes us aware that our genes can not only affect us, but we can affect them. How does this change our views toward diseases related to nutrition and environment? This methylation mechanism that is so important to the final outcome of gene expression operates very early on in the embryo and the fetus. It illustrates, of course, how very important is the diet of a pregnant mother in the final outcome of her infant. We now know that mercury, for example, a highly toxic metal, can influence the methylation process of genes, so it can be considered insane to put a mercury containing preservative into an injection given to a pregnant mother as in Rh0 (D) Immune Globulin (Human) given to Rh negative mothers. Equally insane is it to give a newborn infant an injection of hepatitis B vaccine that contains Thimerosal, an ethyl mercury containing preservative. There is every reason to believe that the present epidemic of autism, affecting thousands of children in the U.S.A. is caused by an environmental factor imposed upon a genetic risk. Relatively common changes in enzyme structure throughout the population known as polymorphisms dictate a genetic risk that would not be a detriment in a non-toxic world. There is much evidence that mercury and other similar heavy metals are the environmental triggers. Aluminum, another potentially toxic metal, is put into DPT vaccine to enhance its antigenic effect. It is hard to understand why such known toxic agents would be used in a so-called “health program.”

I have compared the human body to an orchestra that cannot operate successfully without a conductor and it would seem to be logical to assume that at least part of the brain would fulfill that role. In the year 2000, National Geographic published a book written by Richard Restak, entitled “Mysteries of the Mind”. There is a chapter called “Mechanics of Emotion,” in which the author discusses some of the automatic, involuntary actions of the brain. He referred to experimental work by Philip Bard, a physiologist, who suggested in 1928 that emotional behavior did not require a cerebral cortex, the part of the upper brain that deals with volition. Later experimental work showed that the basic brain circuits responsible for emotional behavior exist in the hypothalamus and other brain areas far below the cortex. The hypothalamus influences heart rate, breathing and other organ responses in just about every part of the body. Restak wrote that “all emotional experience results from the activation of the limbic system, so named because it forms a ring (“limbic” means border) around the corpus callosum and medial cortex.”

With our knowledge today, it is impossible to escape the concept that this kind of involuntary activity, applying to complex reactions that we call emotion, as well as executive signals to the organs of the body, represents the activity of a computer. It is therefore possible to suggest that, although we have only one brain from an anatomical point of view, an important section of it acts as a highly sophisticated computer. This, as a more modern explanation, fits Freud’s concept of the conscious and subconscious mind. All animal brains are built on the same evolutional principle. There is a basic brain that represents the very earliest structure. As each species has evolved, parts have been added with more and more sophistication to fit with the habitat and the particular niche into which each species has been so neatly fitted. We still have no idea about consciousness, but we can certainly think that it is a function that has developed and evolved as part of that sophistication in the human brain.

Lonsdale_computer.jpg

FIGURE 2

Figure 2 shows a grossly oversimplified representation of the brain/body relationships. The limbic system computes the normal mechanisms by which we adapt to our environment. It receives a constant input that might be thought of as simply living in a world that imposes both physical and emotional stress on each of us. If someone insults us, the neurotransmitter response gives us an emotional reaction that is a sensation with concomitant physical attributes that are governed by secretions of the endocrine system and neurotransmitters released to organs supplied by the autonomic nervous system. Hence the emotion of anger is a perception of the limbic system accompanied by physical changes in the body that are observable to others. As this reaction occurs, a message to the cognitive brain gives us a conscious awareness of our own anger. If the limbic system is too easily activated by the incoming stimulus, the physical response will be disproportionate to the degree of insult.

The limbic system is responsible for our survival reflexes. It governs thirst and hunger, and our primitive sexual drive ensures continuation of the species. The well-known fight-or-flight reflex is initiated in the limbic system by perception of danger and the entire body is put into high gear intended to give us the edge on surviving. The stress our primitive ancestors experienced was acute in the form of predators and the natural environment. This reflex was designed for short-term action, demanding a huge expenditure of energy. The stress upon us today is different, hugely demanding of energy over long periods and it is not surprising that our biology may be severely affected. This form of stress is clearly an environmental factor and is damaging only in terms of the prolonged expenditure of energy. If that biologic need is met, the stress may well be exciting rather than debilitating and may explain the different reactions of individuals to life factors that generally come under the term “stress”.

Oxidation is the driving force for cellular energy production. One of the earliest investigators was Sir Rudolph Peters who reported his studies of the then newly synthesized thiamin (vitamin B1) in the Lancet in 1936. Thiamin (vitamin B1) deficient pigeons had been found to develop a characteristic form of polyneuritis and these birds were used by many investigators at that time as a model for the study of human Beriberi, the nutritional disease associated with this particular vitamin deficiency. Having first produced the polyneuritis in thiamin deficient pigeons, Peters used an ingenious method of studying brain cells from these birds while the cells remained alive for a short time in a physiological solution. Using a microspirometer, with and without the addition of glucose to the preparation, he was able to test the uptake of oxygen in cells from both normal and thiamin deficient birds. Without glucose there was no certain difference between the uptake of oxygen of normal and thiamin deprived brain. With glucose present, however, there were two obvious differences. In the thiamin deficient cells the uptake of oxygen was markedly reduced and there was a much greater accumulation of lactate, indicating abnormal glucose oxidation. Two other important observations Peters made from these experiments was that both of these differences were more marked in tissue from the lower brain, and exercise, noises, and strong light made the symptoms in the thiamin deficient birds worse, reminding us of the stress circle in Figure 1.

This work resulted in great interest in thiamin and other vitamins as they were discovered. In 1962, a symposium was published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences to celebrate the discovery of thiamin and the experimental work that followed. One of the papers was by G. Zbinden who reported on 696 published papers that showed varying degrees of successful treatment of no less than 230 different diseases with thiamin. Major interest was shown in a plethora of publications between 1938 and 1940 and to a lesser degree between 1952 and 1955. In 1943, R.D. Williams and his associates performed an experiment on human subjects, giving them a thiamin deficient diet in order to observe the consequences. A multitude of symptoms from severe deprivation was the result and included depression, weakness, “pins and needles,” dizziness, backache, painful muscles, heart palpitations, chest pain with exertion (pseudoangina), insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abnormally slow resting pulse, and rapid heart rate after exertion. With moderate restriction of thiamin, but without caloric restriction, they developed emotional instability, irritability, sudden mood changes, quarrelsome behavior, poor concentration and an unusual sense of anxiety without obvious reason. They also developed numerous somatic complaints.

This era of research included clinical investigation of many vitamins as therapeutic agents. Successful treatment of so many different conditions with any agent that was normally required as a nutrient in a minute concentration caused skeptical medical scientists to regard these reports as examples of pure charlatanism, much like the so-called “snake oil” era in America. Hence, vitamin therapy fell into disrepute. The interest began to revive in the latter part of the 20th century and a paper, similar to that of Williams and associates in 1943, was published in volume 33 of a 1980 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In that publication, my colleague and I reported the same symptomatology as Williams in 20 American children and adolescents. All of them were shown to be thiamin deficient. They were consuming an excess of sweets and, in particular, large quantities of soft drinks, some of which are addictive. It reemphasized the fact that thiamin is metabolically tied to the amount of glucose that is being derived from the food intake.

There are several issues stemming from this discussion and they are related to the potential for environmental disease. The first premise to consider seriously is the simple fact that nothing happens to us physically or mentally without the brain computer being involved. A reductionist view can replace the Freudian model and makes psychosomatic disease very easy to understand, basically agreeing with the fundamental views of the 17th century philosopher, Descartes. Like the analogy of an orchestra, when the proper communication between the organs and the brain computer is maintained, the organism “plays the symphony of health.” If the genetically determined system is complete, the organism can adapt to the constant assault of environmental attack only if the energy generated in the complement of cells is adequate and can be mobilized to meet each situation. Hence the absolute importance of the fuel supply that comes from our nutrition. It is very hard indeed to understand why this fundamental part of human life has been so totally neglected until relatively recently. Because of the constant commercial pressure applied to our highly artificial civilization, even dietary and nutritional rules are being exploited. The proper food for us all is simply that which existed before our arrival on the face of the earth.

The classical vitamin deficiency diseases are all considered to be extinct in modern “well nourished” societies. Each of them represents the endpoint of the deficiency and a near-death situation. All of them, when treated with the appropriate vitamin intake, are slow to respond and, in the most severe cases, often do not respond at all. In such a situation the enzymatic machinery that depends on the presence of these nutrient substances has deteriorated beyond repair. The classical diseases in developed cultures are now rare. Unfortunately, we have considered them to be abolished and part of ancient medical history. A set of symptoms is rarely seen to be associated with nutritional deficiency that might be classified as marginal. Hence, the food industry has become an extremely important source of what might be termed high calorie malnutrition.

Essentially our environment is hostile and we must be in a constant state of defense. By this definition, an infection is truly an example of environmental disease. It is our ability to protect ourselves from it that decides whether we become sick or remain well. I would like to illustrate with a few examples.

Pre Menstrual Syndrome affects millions of women in the U.S.A. It is not a psychological or a gynecological problem. It is because the computer has been rendered hyper-reactive, caused by a multitude of factors, including caffeine, many forms of simple, sweet carbohydrates, and sometimes by drugs. The changes that occur in appetite, the sugar, salt and chocolate craving and the violent mood swings that occur in the premenstrual week are caused by limbic system over-stimulation. The physical phenomena such as menstrual cramps and the characteristic abdominal pain at mid cycle are caused by hyperactive executive signals from the computer. It is not so much the organs that are sick; it is because of defective data processing and signaling. Proper nutrition and nutritional supplements will abolish the symptoms within months if the required discipline is meticulously followed, and no medications are required.

Inflammation is a normal reaction to injury to any tissue or organ in the body. It can be seen as a complex mechanism that begins the healing process, but it is beautifully controlled and involves the release of both pro and anti inflammatory messengers that results in a balanced reaction. Some of these messengers are produced in the body from polyunsaturated fatty acids that are an essential part of our diet. If they are not present in a proper balance, an unwanted inflammatory reaction can occur in an organ that does not require the initiation of a healing process, resulting in an unwanted inflammatory reaction. Cardiovascular disease, long thought to be exclusively related to cholesterol metabolism, has now been shown to be inflammatory in nature. Several other diseases, including asthma, migraine, infantile eczema and endometriosis are examples of conditions that are related to this and often respond to a proper supplementation of diet with polyunsaturated fatty acids.

From this, it should be emphasized that the presentation of a constellation of symptoms is misleading in terms of addressing their cause. Over the years, we have classified disease in this way so that asthma is considered to be a pulmonary disease, cardiovascular conditions the exclusive realm of the cardiologist, eczema that of the dermatologist and menstrual conditions that of the gynecologist. In reality, the initiating cause is within the realm of the biochemist, at least until organs begin to show evidence of unusual wear and tear. Surgical removal of a sick organ then becomes an admission of medical failure. Nutrient therapy never claims to cure a disease. It must be presented as a means of boosting energy metabolism to meet the accelerated demands required for healing and is purely a means of sustaining a better defense against the pressures of environment. In many medical circles, it is still stated that nutrient therapy cannot work because there is no evidence that an increase in their concentration can affect the biochemistry of the cell. Practical experience simply indicates that this is untrue. Neither do I wish to overstate the role of thiamin. It is merely an example of the fact that many different chemical catalysts are required for efficient oxidation. They all have to be considered in their individual reactions.

If we increase the calories in our diet, particularly in the form of simple carbohydrates, the work of Peters showed how this affected pigeon brains and might be extrapolated to human physiology and biochemistry. Basically, it can be compared with choking an internal combustion engine. If petrol is inefficiently burned, unburned hydrocarbons are emitted in the exhaust pipe as black smoke. Similarly, inefficient oxidation in the body results in organic acids that are then excreted in the urine.

We have also discussed the role of internal messengers in the continuous communication required for normal function. Consider the formidable epidemic of obesity, conventionally thought of as “simply overeating.” A physician by the name of Daniel O. Belluscio has posted a website, ostensibly to advertise his treatment regimen. It does, however, provide an excellent review of obesity with references in the medical literature. The review states that “the hypothalamus is the main organ responsible for the genesis of obesity.” Since I have discussed this as part of the limbic computer, it requires further explanation. Many references are given for the statement that “it is reasonable to assume that the complex operation of fueling the body might also be controlled by the diencephalon,” the technical name for the lower part of the brain. Destruction of a particular center within the diancephalon results in a voracious appetite and rapid weight gain in animals that never become fat spontaneously. The hypothalamus has been well studied and is best understood of all the central nervous system components and it has long been recognized that it plays a key role in mechanisms regulating food intake and fat accumulation. Belluscio proposed that slight changes of hypothalamic neurotransmitter balance might account for the weight gain that obese patients experience despite continued efforts at dieting. Several pieces of data referenced in this review suggest that “human obesity might be characterized by a subtle hypothalamic disorder, still not accessible to current diagnostic methods.” Destruction of various components of the limbic system has been shown to cause obesity, so the control mechanisms are far from simple.

Leptin is a protein hormone expressed predominantly by adipocytes, the specialized cells designed to store fat. Leptin receptors, the mechanisms that recognize the message delivered by the hormone, are highly expressed in the hypothalamus and are signaled by it when released from adipocytes. As these fat containing cells increase in size due to accumulation of triglyceride, they synthesize more and more leptin, whose effects are produced on hypothalamic centers that control feeding behavior, hunger, body temperature and energy expenditure. Concentrations of this hormone are low in humans and animals with low body fat and the amount expressed by adipocytes correlates well with the lipid content of the cell. Mice with inactivating mutations in the gene encoding leptin or its receptor are obese and manifest diabetes, cold intolerance, depressed immune function and infertility. Blood concentrations of this messenger hormone are increased in obese humans, suggesting that they are insensitive to its message. It is logical to assume that this refers to the hypothalamus that, as mentioned above, is rich in receptors.

If changes in these control mechanisms within the hypothalamus and other parts of the limbic system are really at the bottom of the worldwide epidemic of obesity, what is the ultimate underlying common cause? It is very unlikely to be a purely genetic phenomenon since mutations are uncommon, if not rare. It certainly could be epigenetic in some individuals where the gene encoding for the hypothalamic leptin receptor has been silenced, but this would not be expected to be a common cause of a true epidemic. The most likely common cause is the quality of food in the form of high calorie malnutrition, inducing an inefficient metabolism in the control mechanisms that I have outlined. Thus, it can be claimed that obesity is really an environmental disease induced by the commercial urges of the food and beverage industries. The way to sell anything today is to make it sweet to the taste. In fact, sugar is added to nearly every processed food, otherwise it would not be expected to sell.

The prestigious journal, Science (Vol 218,December 1982) reported a meeting of reputable investigators at the Massachusetts Intitute of Technology who were studying whether food and nutrients affect human behavior. The article stated that “there is no longer any real controversy over whether nutrients can affect behavior.” Stephen Schoenthaler, then director of the Social Justice Program at California State College, Stanislaus, performed many studies in the 1980s on the effect of nutrition on juvenile criminal behavior. In 1983 he reported on the evaluation of the types of offenses that can be reduced in an institutional setting using nutritional intervention. In 1981 the administration of a juvenile detention home lowered the incidence of antisocial behavior in its incarcerated juveniles by reducing the quantity of sugar in the food, beverages and snacks, using two groups for comparison. Over a 24 month study period a total of 276 juveniles committed 934 infractions. During the 12 months when they received a nutritionally superior diet, the incidence of assault was lowered 82%, theft by 77%, “horseplay” 65%, refusal to obey orders 55%, general rule violations 23% and fighting 13%. The same author and his colleagues also examined the effect of dietary changes in 803 New York City public schools between 1979 and 1983, resulting in significant changes in the standardized California Achievement Test scores as given nationwide. An increase from the 39th percentile to the 55th percentile rank in New York City public schools occurred on the heels of the three years in which dietary changes were made. No other school district could be located which had reported such a large gain above the rest of the nation so quickly. Interviewed by Science News in August 1983 (Volume 12) Schoenthaler pointed out that we know that if there is an energy shortage in the brain, the limbic system gets priority since it is the part that controls involuntary actions, including emotions. He speculated that, under these conditions the region that would suffer most might be the part of the brain that contributes to reasoning.

An article in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs (November 2000, Volume 32: Supplement) by K Blum and associates wrote on the “Reward deficiency syndrome.” They noted that the net effect of neurotransmitter interaction at the mesolimbic brain region induced “reward” when the neurotransmitter dopamine is released. They suggested that the literature supports the view that a genetic change in the receptor sites of this system could result in a person requiring a “dopamine fix” in order to feel good. Alcohol, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, nicotine and glucose all cause activation and neuronal release of brain dopamine, thus providing a foundation for the understanding of addiction. Perhaps the combination of glucose addiction and inefficient brain metabolism through high calorie malnutrition could explain the various forms of epidemic beleaguering our society. Adolescent vandalism, juvenile crime and delinquency, attention deficit, hyperactivity, obesity and learning disability are all so frequent that they might be justifiably referred to as epidemic. As Donald R. Davis said in the Journal of Applied Nutrition (1983,Volume 35 Number 1), food is part of our environment and we need to refocus nutrition education on the benefits of whole food and on the sometimes little-known pitfalls of dismembered, processed foods.

Lastly, I want to pay some attention to another form of epidemic that is occurring, known as chronic fatigue syndrome. The over-riding symptom is, of course, fatigue, but it is associated with many other somatic symptoms. The constellation can be debilitating enough to cause an affected individual to apply for social security. The history often starts with an infection, usually viral in nature. Because of our present medical paradigm, the patient almost always is treated with an antibiotic and the syndrome follows from then on. Because antibiotics are generally regarded as “miracle” drugs and are often prescribed because of the fear of malpractice suit, few physicians conclude that the treatment was worse than the disease, arising from the antibiotic. There may be more than one reason for suggesting this. In the first place, antibiotics have become more and more aggressive as the bacteria mutate and become resistant. Secondly, viruses do not respond to antibiotics and their use in such an infection is usually explained by telling the patient that the “bacterial phase” may follow. We know, also that these drugs kill bacteria in the bowel that are highly active in maintaining healthy digestion and elimination. Finally, antibiotics are drugs designed to kill bacteria. Since we have reviewed the likeness of our mitochondrial DNA to that of bacteria, it is entirely possible that some of these dangerous drugs damage energy metabolism, for there is evidence that mitochondrial inefficiency is part of the etiology of chronic fatigue syndrome, if not the major cause.

Environmental disease might be summed up as being related to an ever increasingly toxic world. The decline and fall of the ancient Roman civilization was at least partly due to lead poisoning. Although the scientists of the day warned of the danger, nobody took any notice. In today’s world, it is generally agreed that we have the knowledge and that the subject of this article has been broadcast abundantly. There is, however, little evidence that the vast numbers of people that make up the public are taking any notice. If history is to be believed, it is fairly certain that our present course will change little. As the philosopher said, “Man fighteth for what he hath not, not for what he hath.”

 


posted by Chris Gupta on Monday November 14 2005
updated on Monday November 21 2005

URL of this article:
http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/chris/2005/11/14/environmental_disease.htm

 

 


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January 29, 2012 - Chris Gupta

"Evidence Be Damned...Patient Outcome Is Irrelevant" - From Helke
Further to The Future of Complementary/Integrative Medicine & Patient Choice, here is an important must read and act note from Helke Ferrie, a superb Medical Science Writer and Publisher. Now that the true colours of the well known shortcomings of allopathic medicine are being discovered en mass, the screws are being tightened by the pharmaceutical masters on their medical puppets. It seems that they are prepared to stop at nothing.... [read more]
September 16, 2011 - Chris Gupta

 

 


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