Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Foreign Molecules" in the Food Supply

Everyone knows something about nutrition. Most school kids will name "vitamins" as key to nutrition. Dieters know to count macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates, and fats. People who take supplements think about antioxidants and various phytonutrients associated with health and healing.

Unfortunately, our food supply has both natural molecules (nutrients as nature designed them) and synthetic molecules (designed by manufacturers to improve taste, shelf-life, etc. and also industrial molecules found as waste in our culinary water supplies).

According to a June/July 2007 Integrative Medicine journal article, by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, "What Role Has Nutrition Been Playing in Our Health? The Xenohormesis Connection" makes the case that epidemic increases in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, shorter life spans, and fast food addictions are related. The word xenohormesis is derived from "xeno" (foreign) and "hormesis (control) and Bland argues that the food we're eating could be negatively altering cellular signaling. He writes:

"Thus, the 'foreign molecules' included in foods that have been developed over the past five decades may serve as substances that alter cellular signaling and produce a different effect in the body than substances that humans traditionally consumed before the advent of food processing."

Bland goes on to talk about nutrigenomics and redefining food as "information" that alters cellular function. Illegitimate cellular signaling created by foreign molecules in the body is tantamount to creating chronic stress at the cellular level, which may shift body phenotype to "suit a more conservative state that favors storage of energy and obesity." Bland talks about "stressed phenotypes" as being associated with alterations in immunity and increased inflammation, which lead to disease.

Treating obesity through limitation of calories without addressing inherent cellular signalling malfunction is a mistake according to research on xenohormesis.

Whenver, I hear the word "xeno," I think of the many conversations I've had with Dr. Rodier on the need to detoxify our increasing loads of xenoestrogens, synthetic substances that mimic or enhance the effect of estrogens, and which have been implicated in a variety of medical problems (breast cancer, prostate cancer, etc.). Xenoestrogens in foods and drinking water come from pesticide residues, phytoestrogens, etc. and disrupt the body's endocrine system.

Regardless of the kind of foreign molecules that end up in our diet or water supplies, the end result is often cellular stress and cellular signalling malfunctions.

Dr. Bland recommends more whole foods rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals that protect cells from stress. To turn around decades of faulty cellular signaling, however, Dr. Bland recommends inclusion of nutritional products that contain "concentrates of selective kinase response modulators" for a more rapid improvement in the stress response.

Dr. Rodier concurs with a whole foods diet, but also emphasizes intensive detoxification programs when he starts to work with people with chronic conditions. Remember, his platform is that you have to take care of cell-to-cell communication by addressing cellular TOIL -- specifically toxicity, oxidation, inflammation, and lack of energy.

Detoxification addresses cellular TOIL from foreign molecules of all kinds (i.e., food colorings, preservatives, antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, and various other environmental pollutants).

Combine the advice and it's all about more whole foods, nutrition that normalizes cellular signaling, and detoxification. It's pretty straightforward, just not always so easy.

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