Why take nutrition, part 1

July 30, 2014
Dr. Jeff Crippen

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The absence of bad things does not guarantee the presence of good things.

Many people begin taking nutrition to get rid of a symptom that is present or prevent a future disease.

In this context, I am using nutrition to include both high quality nutrient dense foods like vegetables, fruits and organic pasture raised meats, but also whole food supplements made from these same foods.

Taking nutrition to treat a symptom is much like the way traditional medicine uses drugs, which are prescribed to prevent or eliminate something bad.

However, while high quality nutrition can certainly do this as well, a much more powerful reason to consume good nutrition includes not only reversing symptoms and preventing disease, to get rid of the bad things, but to promote the good things by optimizing health and wellness.

Nutrition can do this by nourishing our body, positively modify our gene expression and greatly reducing the risk for degenerative diseases such as cancer, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes.

In this post I will explain how.

Why Take Nutrition?

To answer this question, lets look first at how the body gets sick.

One theory of aging, put forth by Dr. Bruce Ames, states that “Low micronutrient intake may accelerate the degenerative diseases of aging through allocation of scarce micronutrients by triage”

In English, this theory states the body can survive on a diet low in vitamins and minerals in the short term by preferentially sending these vital nutrients to the areas they are most needed right now.

This comes at a cost of ignoring long term repair and maintenance in the body.

Over the long term, if the body has only enough minerals and vitamins to solve immediate needs, we are predisposing ourselves to longer term degenerative changes.

This is a lot like spending all your time plugging holes in the bucket, instead of fixing the bucket.

This method of plugging holes solves a short term problem but does not handle the underlying cause and predisposes you to more problems in the future.

Triage Theory in Action

Lets look at how this applies to the body.

One example is vitamin K which has multiple functions including supporting blood clotting, bone formation and the prevention of plaque build up in the arteries.

In the case of low levels of vitamin K, the vitamin K in the body will be primarily used in its most crucial function, supporting the blood clotting process, without which we would be dead in minutes.

As a result, this sacrifices the less crucial short term needs of Vitamin K such as bone formation and preventing plaque from building up on the arteries.

So, while we will be able to survive in the short term with suboptimal intake of vitamin K, this is laying the foundation for future problems of osteoporosis and heart disease.

Basically, the holes are plugged in the short term but the bucket is still broken.

This is why, in the story of healing, getting rid of symptoms is not the end of the story but just the beginning.

In part two, we will look at how this new theory applies to nutrition, health and wellness.

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