Immune System and Health. All Disease Types. All Organ Systems. All At Once.
It is remarkable to think, that our bodies are always under assault, not only from the outside (infections, toxins) but also from the inside (cancer, immune mediated inflammatory diseases). Probably dealing with 1000 different assaults, always occurring, all at once.
This is a brief overview.
The major causes of death we deal with beyond simply wearing out by senescence, the telomeres shortening down to the bone. Heart attack/stroke (both together the same process, primarily arterial degeneration), cancer (internal attack), infection (mainly external attack), immune mediated inflammatory disease (self-destructive diseases from diabetes to GDD), toxins (everything from Lead to Opiates), trauma. Interestingly the final death for most of these entities, including cancer, is pneumonia from debilitation.
Our two major tools to battle against all these entities are the immune system (killing/ neutralizing enemies) and native somatic cell function (detoxification, elimination). The same two tools that are critical for battling GDD: detoxification and elimination.
Over a million years or so of evolution, the complex interrelationship between our: immune system, nonimmune somatic cells, and helpful organisms, certain bacteria and fungi on skin and GI tract (mutualism). Accept for periods of pandemic infection, the environment they all experienced was relatively stable.
This all changed in the mid 1800's with the production of toxins from the industrial revolution, which has accelerated in type, variety and amount, especially over the last 3 decades. So up until the last 3 decades our pathways of elimination, detoxification, and cell function have been on a relatively steady course of evolution. This evolution generally creates to a certain extent further refinement and specialization - which lends itself to extinction if the organism is too specialized and can no longer adapt to a changing environment. In very complex organisms, like humans, there is always redundancy with multiple critical functions, like bleeding control, infection control, to accomodate for minor genetic variations and deficiencies.
True deficiency in certain critical pathways are rare, and usually, until recently, a number were lethal prior to reproduction age, so they were not often carried on by normal genetic passage: blood disorders like hemophilia, storage disorders like Gaucher's. Major defects are rare, but until recent years nuanced subtle variability in cellular function has not been., but also have not been a problematic issue. So subtle variations in cellular detoxification pathways between individuals, that wasn't an issue for 1 million years, now is a huge issue. Chromium, cesium, thallium, gadolinium , glyphosates, PFAS, opiates, toxins that we are subjecting our bodies to, suddenly and all at once. Is it any wonder that a number of individuals overall compensation/management systems are unable to cope? 1/2 of American adults are obese, a major contribution is the lack of nuanced cellular coping for environmental stress. Also diseases like Alzheimer's with amyloid proteinaceous debris that individual immune cells and detoxification cells cannot remove from their brains, this was not a problem historically, with this and similar entities associated with aging, this in part reflects that individuals now overall are living longer, maybe sick, but living longer. These are part of a large list of diseases that reflect nuanced deficiency in the ability to detoxify and eliminate.
High specialization, to step back from the human brink, are the risks of two creatures we all love: koalas and giant pandas.. they are so highly specialized one only eating one type of Eucalyptus leaf, the other only one type of bamboo. Any other Eucalyptus and bamboo..... no thanks. The formula for extinction.
I am not sure that the current approaches for improving detoxification works - giving oral pills of NAC, glutathione, GABA, actually work in humans. The pathway to get them into the end organ cells involve so many biochemical steps that the way we currently do it is like giving the giant panda another type of bamboo.... no thanks. In my opinion following the pathway of 1 million years is the approach: eating healthy foods that contain the nutrients you need in their whole form, and not pill form. The whole form contains so many additional healthy properties; not the least of which is roughage.
So what the future holds to gain back health for the public starts with simple large broad-stroke steps: mandatory education K through 12 of Health and wellness. Developing physical activities for the specific child: something they like and will carry through into old age, not just climbing up a rope in the gym.. Education on healthy diet, starting with broad strokes: limiting refined sugar and ultraprocessed foods as much as possible, then limited dairy, red meat and refined gluten. This would be the single best investment in health care moving forward... Nothing comes close.
By the way, this strategy works for all the major disease : the atherosclerotic disease of arteries which is the cause of heart attack and stroke are also well prevented by the discussed approaches.
This is the equivalent of the other major health break through that greatly improved human health starting in the mid 1800's: improved hygiene (brought about by engineering - plumbing/ water works) and the simple act of keeping distance between humans in pandemics (ignored by some politicians in the US in recent years).
So we must start by simple broad strokes: for everyone; but then on an individual basis for those with greater deficiencies in detoxification and elimination more investigation into elements that work and those that don't, examples: a heightened role for effective chelators (we all take an oral effective, low toxicity chelator daily), diets tailored to the individual. Also moving forward we have to be vigilant at evaluating benefits and toxicities among food products over the course of time- kale which maybe 30 years ago was an extremely healthy food item to eat, now thanks to pollution in the air and ground is very high in Thallium and Cesium. Is the problem with wheat not gluten but glyphosates used as insecticides on grain fields. Constant vigilance - and perhaps the best body to deal with this is the US Preventive Services Task Force USPSTF - expanded and taking over some of this function from the FDA. For example what diets actually work? Right now we only have companies telling us what diet is optimal; such as a company that sell subs show a pedophile who apparently were extremely fat and now very slim - only because he ate their subs? We have to break away from the pure capitalism system, that has evolved in the US, to one of humanistic capitalism. But we can't rely on companies to be humanistic - this is something the government with an independent agency must do for the public.
We as a people are fat (50% are fat); 30 years ago maybe the obesity rate was 10% - the genes have not changed since then, but individuals with nuanced genetic susceptibilities, now suddenly were given a diet filled with ultraprocessed foods and other toxic food elements that their particular detoxification pathways cannot cope with- never had to deal with for the prior 1 million years. If the government subsidizes food production and offers restitution to some groups of the public: the subsidies should be for healthy food, and the restitution, better educational environment. Healthy food subsidized stores in underprivileged communities. This would make an enormous difference in the health of the public.
So everything I have written above, probably has been written about for the last 30 years... unfortunately people end up staying in Pompeii until it is too late, then try to scramble out and get mummified in volcanic ash for tourists to look at their corpses 2000 years later. So I am not under any illusion that these enormously important observations (maybe I have nuanced them slightly since someone else wrote something like this 30 years ago) will change something globally. So what I have written above you have to do on your own, as if you were the Last of Us.
1. Eat as healthy as you can. Minimize as much as you can refined sugars and ultraprocessed foods.
2. Engage in physical activity that you enjoy- walking regularly for example.
3. Don't drive yourself crazy with trying to adhere to perfection- stress is also an important immune system damager.
4. Pay attention to new knowledge on health benefits and detractors. But maybe the most reliable would come from an informed unbiased source, then a vitalized USPSTF.
5. Our health care system has to shift from a disease management of chronic disease system to a disease prevention, and early diagnosis and cure system.
At the present time, you have to be your own health care advocate,
Richard Semelka, MD