A large percentage of individuals and institutions resources are spent on the war against disease. Even though it has been and always will be a losing battle, the spokespeople for this war are becoming even more ambitious, claiming a genetic basis for many diseases that they will be able to detect with computer chips planted inside our bodies that will be able to nip these disease processes in the bud. But there is one problem. Most of the so-called diseases are provably a feature of the design and not a flaw in the design. Fighting disease is a red herring, but because the idea of people dying from disease is so entangled in peoples minds, we have to go through the tedious task of explaining how and why this is a distraction so you can focus on the right thing.
Consider the cells in your body as a collective engine. The cells eat food like the engine eats gas. Whenever, for example, we exercise our cells eat more food than normal, and the body responds by bringing more fuel. Sometimes the body can’t deliver the food as fast as we need it and the system is strained. For example it might be that the amount of sugar or oxygen is lowered because the cells are eating it faster than it can be delivered. In that case, the body responds over the next few days or even weeks by increasing the capacity of that nutrient so that you can better perform the same task that next time. That is called conditioning.
After training, your physiology changes to meet the demands put on it. Anyone who wants to get stronger would exercise and just wait for the body to change during recovery. It is so clear that training is the primary way to increase ones strength or endurance that there might be no need to elaborate further.
But the perspective never taught regards the necessity of the reverse. What if, instead of the system being strained in the form of low nutrition as occurs during training, the system is actually flooded with too much food? Everyone who is a little older knows what it means to flood the engine in the car or lawn mower.
In this scenario, the body has to adjust, not to bring more nutrition, but to bring less nutrition. The engine that got flooded with gas could not drink the gas as fast as it was being inundated with gas. A cell has a finite capacity at any one time to eat sugar. Sure, under stressful circumstances the relevant brain cells will take in more sugar than other times, but as that limit is reached, there is no possible option other than the cell to stop taking in more sugar. Of course the amount of sugar remaining in the blood is now higher, but when getting the diabetes diagnosis, should we be upset about the diabetes or recognize that the rejection of the sugar by the cell actually protects the cell. If, instead, a person with a different genetic makeup dealt with the excess of sugar by reducing the total volume of blood, or diameter of the blood vessel or a less efficient heart beat, are we really going to claim, with a straight face, a genetic flaw that we hope to fix one day with gene therapy? Or is it more plausible that, in the same way our body adjusts to training in the form of increased capacity that it adjusted to flooding in the form of a diminished capacity?
The issue we just call flooding is relatively straightforward in the sense that each cell or the collective cells can only process a finite amount of sugar at a given point in time. But there is another great example of why the body must control the flow of nutrition. In other words, most people would assume that the more blood flowing the better. The more breathing the better. That is why oxygen is given out like candy, and poor circulation issues are always seen as some sort of malfunction of the heart or blood vessels. But in reality, the flow must be regulated. On the one hand any endurance athlete will have a the capacity for much more blood flow. On the other hand, if you were to implant the circulatory apparatus of an endurance athlete into a sedentary persons body, they would either die or find a way to reduce their flow to the levels before the implant.
Before going into the chemistry of why this is the case, think of the classic example of when a person hyperventilates maybe because they are nervous, and ends up having to breathe into a brown paper bag. If you were to sit still and start breathing as fast as possible, you might be able to make yourself pass out, or at the very least get light-headed. Instead of understanding why, which has taken me at least 10 years to really understand, at least you know the feeling. One thing you might not consider is that if, instead of breathing really fast, your heart rate increases even though you are sitting still, has a similar effect. The blood carries the name nutrients too and away from the lungs. If hyperventilation causes the light-headedness due to low carbon dioxide, increasing the heart rate has the same effect. The only point is simply that excess flow is not better, but instead the flow of nutrition has to be regulated. Think of instances of diminished capacity of the lungs, which are presumed to be another disease under the umbrella as COPD, which has Obstructive in it. It is as if there is an obstruction. But why are we to assume that some disease process just randomly started? Would we ever assume that some person with huge biceps has some genetic defect or would we not just assume that he was spending a lot of time at the gym?
Carbon dioxide is produced by cells when they use oxygen. When carbon dioxide levels rise in the areas around the same cell, more oxygen is released into the same cells, which is a known phenomenon called the Bohr Effect. Even without increasing the flow of circulation, the cells can get way more oxygen in the presence of carbon dioxide. The use of oxygen is simply a sign that the cell is functioning very efficiently but that system takes some time to warm up. Sometimes you need a sudden injection of sugar to instantly ramp up production, and in this situation the flow much increase in order to carry away the dramatic increase on acid production. Without elaborating too much, the simple point is that there are situations that call for more or less flow, and the body has a way to dictate precisely how much flows. More flow is necessary at times, and less flow is necessary at times.
But what happens if when the body swells and there is edema in the ankles? Are we to assume that this is a situation of the heart being backed up? The strange reality is that as circulation decreases, that actual amount of oxygen entering the cells often increases. It has to do with the fact that less carbon dioxide is leaving the area, and that allows for more release of oxygen into the cells. The edema has a similar effect as something like asthma, in which the lungs contract. But it so happens that collapsing of the lungs protects the loss of carbon dioxide in the same way breathing into the brown paper bag does or edema does. It also so happens that the traditional way to deal with asthma is to try and expand the lungs, but and alternate therapy is to slow the breathing which always seems to reduce the asthma symptoms.
For now, just consider the possibility that the body changes form out of necessity to adjust to the environment. Now, think of the futility of looking at the results of your physiology instead of looking at the cause. Think of how many medical professionals are stressed out studying the chemistry of the body in order to help sick people as they are creating the same diseases in themselves. They illustrate the fact that they believe theses disease processes occur independently of their lifestyle.