7 Keys to UltraWellness

Lesson 1: Environmental Inputs

In our introduction, I explained how our current model of medicine ignores the real causes of disease and the source of health. Now I will review the first of the 7 roots of illness and the 7 keys to UltraWellness.

Our thinking about how we get sick is completely wrong.

You can’t “catch” disease. You can’t “get” cancer or heart disease, diabetes or dementia.

Our medical system is based on the idea that diseases just show up, like some unwanted visitor or unwelcome relative. It is something unpredictable, mysterious and we really don’t know why.

This may have seemed true 150 years ago when Lois Pasteur came up with the germ theory of disease – that there were germs out there that some people, by a stroke of bad luck, just “caught” and there was not much you could do except hope that the germ (or disease) didn’t show up on your doorstep.

We found a drug for the bug (antibiotics) – and voila – modern medicine could finally do something about disease.

So the last 70 years since the discovery of antibiotics has been a relentless search for a drug for every bug, a pill for every ill. Seems like a good idea – but it completely ignores the REAL cause of disease.

The ONLY way to get to the root of disease is to understand how YOUR environment (your diet, stress, exercise, toxins in food, air and water, radiation, and trauma) interacts with YOUR genes to determine your state of health or disease.

Your genes are fixed. You can’t change them. That is called your genotype. But which genes get turned on or off, and how that affects your physiology, you CAN change by changing those environmental inputs.

So your environment interacting with your genes creates who you are at this moment – your phenotype.

And that you CAN change!

You can move from disease to health, from illness to UltraWellness.

Every environmental input to your system --- from diet to toxins to stress -- all determine the healthiness of your biological terrain or internal milieu.

It is like the health of the soil. To have healthy plants you must have soil with the right amount of organic matter, the right pH balance, the right amount of nutrients as well as water and light and air.

We are the same – we need to have a healthy soil or terrain in order to be healthy.

In fact, Lois Pasteur on his deathbed realized this – and it is the terrain, NOT the germ, that is the most important determinant of health.

This explains why giving zinc to malnourished children in the third world can reduce death from infections by over 75% - it doesn’t stop exposure to the bugs, but zinc boosts immunity, helping the children stay healthy.

So by believing in this “germ theory” of disease, medicine has ignored one of the most important scientific ideas of the last century - that our health is determined by the interaction of our genes and our environment.

Environmental influences on our health control which genes get turned on or off, and which diseases emerge. Conversely the right inputs will create healthy patterns of biology.

In their article “Diet, Lifestyle and Longevity – The Next Steps?” in the Journal of the American Medical Association, two leading Harvard epidemiologists, Rim and Stampfer tell us that the benefits of studying and addressing fundamental dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors that influence disease is more effective and economically sound than trying to find the latest drug or surgical treatment for chronic diseases.

Although understanding of the relation of lifestyle and health outcomes will continue to be refined, information available now is sufficient to take action…a simple set of lifestyle practices that can reduce the mortality rate among elderly individuals by nearly two thirds.. As a society, the United States spends billions on chronic disease treatments and interventions for risk factors. Although these are useful and important, a fraction of that investment to promote healthful lifestyles for primary prevention among individuals at all ages would yield greater benefit.

When it comes to finding the answers to the resolving our chronic disease epidemic we do not need to look toward better medications or technological solutions, but simply to what we put in and around our bodies every day.

It will be much more effective and much cheaper. If the leading causes of death are smoking (435,000 deaths) and poor diet and lack of exercise (400,000 deaths), followed by alcohol, toxins, car accidents, sexual behaviors, and the use of illicit drugs, then that is where we should put our efforts as individuals and as a society.

So to every patient I ask detailed questions about all their environmental inputs:

What is the quality of their diet – do they have a health promoting whole foods, plant based diet, or are they eating a disease promoting SAD (Standard American Diet) that makes them malnourished and unable to self repair, regulate and heal?

What are the stressors in their lives – their relationships, work, societal pressures, family, or money?

Have they been exposed to toxins in the air, water or in food and has that disturbed the balance of their health?

Have they experienced physical trauma?

Do they misuse or under use their bodies and not provide the regular benefits of moving their bodies, stretching, and strengthening that allows their organs, joints and muscle to function as they were designed?

These are the real factors that influence and affect every system, function and process in our bodies. If we don’t deal with them directly we are just dealing with the effects – and not addressing the real causes of disease.

Getting to the root of the environmental influences on your health and your life is the beginning of the possibility of your achieving UltraWellness – something we all are capable of enjoying.

These environmental factors influence all of the core systems in the body.

Over the next 6 articles I will teach you how each of these core systems in your body holds the key to understanding why you are sick and how to navigate your way to UltraWellness.

To your good health,

Mark Hyman M.D.

Naturally, we would love to have you visit us at our Lennox, MA. UltraWellness Center if you would like to experience the healing power of UltraWellness first hand. If you are interested in information on becoming a patient please visit www.ultrawellnesscenter.com.

Continue to Lesson 2 >>