The 5 Root Causes of Chronic Disease
The roots of our current epidemic of chronic disease can be traced down to 5 factors. As pertains to causes of chronic disease, all dysfunction is created through either one of, or a combination of the following factors:
Modern farming practices, combined with our consumption of processed foods and depleted soils has led to the production and consumption of less nutrient dense foods than what our bodies require to function optimally. Nutrients are so important to our physiology and biochemistry that we can’t maintain health without them. We use nutrients to build cell membranes, hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes, collagen, muscles, ligament, bones and tendons. We literally take in nutrients and our body processes them into us. Without adequate nutrition, healthy biological function begins to suffer. Fortunately, certain functional labs enable us to assess levels of nutrients and how our systems make use of them through analysis of our urine, blood, saliva and stools.
Several forms of stress can impact healthy function. We can experience stress psychologically, through relationships, deadlines, heavy workloads or loss of loved ones. This psychological stress can be both real or perceived. Over-training, contact sports and physically demanding occupations are examples of physical stress. And lastly, we can have environmental stressors in our air or water and in the forms of light, sound or electromagnetic fields. All of these forms of stress can have profound biological effects that can lend to illness
We live in a world of microbes. They are ubiquitous and play essential roles in our bodies and in nature. The microbes that are present in each of us outnumber our own cells. Microbes play beneficial roles in aiding digestion, modulating immune response, as well as the synthesis of vitamins and neurotransmitters. But like everything in nature it’s about balance. Overgrowth of certain microbes and known pathogenic microbes can cause dysfunction or death. In recent years this has become increasingly challenging with resistant strains of microbes as a result of antibiotic overuse. Microbes can play a role in disease either through overgrowth of pathogenic microbes or deficiency of beneficial species.
In this instance we are not referring to IgE mediated allergens leading to classic allergy symptoms such as anaphylaxis. This refers to food items, food additives, chemicals or biological agents we can lose immunological tolerance to. Continual exposure to these items can lead to chronic inflammation and present as a variety of symptoms from digestive disturbance, IBS, chronic pain and eczema to anxiety or depression. These reactions can commonly be hidden and response to these allergens can be delayed by up to 3 weeks time.
The use of pesticides, fossil fuels, synthetic cleaning supplies, food additives among others has dramatically increased the toxic burden our bodies need to deal with. Toxin exposure can use up an excess of nutrients and impair energy generation and immune response. Toxic exposure has been implicated in the development of neurological disease, autoimmunity, digestive disorders and cancer. These disease-causing toxins can be in biological, chemical or elemental form.
Disease resolution requires evaluation of these 5 root causes and is done through comprehensive functional lab testing, evaluation of one’s own environment and quantification of their own unique biochemistry, genetics and individual story. A comprehensive functional medicine approach must consider and rule out these 5 factors in any chronic disease state.