What is health and how do we know when we are healthy? These are not questions that can be easily answered. I have known individuals who have walked out of a specialists rooms having just passed through the usual ECG and other common tests with flying colours and suffered a heart attack in the lift on the way out of the building.
Many cancer patients have been extremely well until on routine examination a lump is diagnosed which turns out to be malignant. Thousands upon thousands of people without any symptoms and who regard themselves as normal and healthy are diagnosed every day with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, early diabetes, abnormal pap smears, cancers, enlarged prostates, nodules on thyroids and other medical conditions and yet would of regarded themselves as healthy. Modern medicine has made possible the detection of a whole range of diseases, which until fairly recently would have gone undetected.
Is a person who feels well and regards himself in good health indeed healthy if he has an underlying high blood pressure, increased cholesterol or even a hidden cancer? How are we to incorporate ideas of psychological health? Is this separate from health of the physical body? If a person is depressed, but physically healthy, is such a person to be regarded as healthy? Is psychological health or physical health more important?
We can begin to see how complicated this issue is and that no simple answer is possible. Collins dictionary defines health as physical and mental well-being; freedom from disease. As indicated above physical and mental well-being does not mean that the person is however free of disease. It is possible of course that as our means of detecting the earlier stages of disease becomes more sensitive, that more and more people will be labelled as ill without having any symptoms and signs.
Already today many thousands of “healthy” individuals are taking expensive medication for high blood pressure long before it produces any obvious symptoms. This medication must be taken for the rest of that person’s life and may produce mild to severe and even life threatening ill health. The benefits of taking the medication are regarded as better than the risks of not taking the medication. I will be looking at the issue of drugs in another blog.
This is an extract from the book Healthy Medicine by Dr Bernard Brom. Look inside the book here.
With GMF we have a deliberate attempt from the beginning to confuse and to bypass the normal safety channels. Information was suppressed and deliberately contorted and attempts were made to present part of the story only, giving an impression that studies showed that GMF were safe to use when very clearly this was not exactly what all studies had showed. In fact there is good evidence that the opposite is true. Many substantial studies showed that GMF could be dangerous to our health, yet every effort was made to get these products into the market place as fast as possible before too much evidence as to their safety was available.
If one introduces a novel man made food product into the market the long term consequences could be seriously problematic. Cancer takes 10 to 20 years to develop and this also applies to many of the chronic diseases we see today. Research of only a few months in animals cannot possible give such long term prediction of harm or harmlessness and even a few studies showing harm should raise alarm bells. It is really not good enough that some short term studies showing safety should satisfy professionals in the face of the real possibility that genetic modification is touching the very heart of the cell structure.
GM crops have not been proven unconditionally safe and there is sufficient evidence to make many good scientists wary of this process. With this huge question mark around GM products, allowing them to be used freely by human beings and especially children is experimental. It is the kind of science that should not be allowed. Why would companies selling GM derived foods not want that information available clearly on the package?
Rats fed GM potatoes have shown serious defects. The rats suffered damaged immune systems; the thymus and spleen showed evidence of damage and some of the rats had smaller, less developed brains, livers and testicles. There were other defects that were interesting and of some concern. Some of the GM potatoes were nutritionally different to their non-GM parent lines even though they were grown in identical condions.
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A herbal medicine may be natural, but is its active ingredient when separated by chemists still natural? Is an alcoholic tincture of the herb natural and can the herb be separated into its constituent parts and then put together again in order to control the chemical constituents still be regarded as natural?
There are good reasons for doing all this to natural substances. It is well known that the chemical constituents of plants will vary during the year and according to the weather conditions. Doctors need to be sure that what they give their patients have sufficient active ingredients to do the job required. As we process the herb more and more, trying to remove the most active parts of the herb however, it very often begins to look more like a drug than a natural herbal substance. The herb is extremely complex while the drug is a pretty simple chemical structure by comparison. While it may make sense that the so called ‘active’ ingredient part of the plant is all that is required ,this may nevertheless be an assumption based on our limited understanding of plants and herbs and how these are processed in the body.
Vitamins and minerals are generally thought of as single isolated substances but that is not how they appear within the plant structure. Water for example is hydrogen and oxygen but they do not exactly appear as single isolated elements within water but rather blend into each other in a unique way. Vitamins and minerals are also blended into the structure of the plant.
Most vitamins found in supplements are synthesized from petroleum derivatives or hydrogenated sugars. So even though they are called natural and regarded as identical to the natural vitamins found in foods there are good reasons to question these assumptions.
How should one consider processed foods such as corn flakes made from natural ingredients, fortified brown health bread, tinned food, and alcoholic beverages? These foods do not obviously grow out of the ground and yet will often carry the label “natural” with it. Fruit juices are often heated to sterilize the contents at temperatures, which destroy its natural vitamins and enzymes. They carry labels such as ‘natural’ free of preservatives and colourants but are they natural…as found in nature: unaltered by man.
Extract from our new title Healthy Medicine by Dr. Bernard Brom
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