Before we review the Components of Every Holistic Rx, let review the facts. Half of all adults have one or more chronic health conditions. One in four has two or more chronic health conditions, and, sadly, this number continues to grow at an alarming rate. More and more patients are looking for an integrative, functional, holistic approach to help prevent and/or heal chronic disease, getting them back on the road to wellness. It could be confusing. Let me help you clear the waters and focus on the key basics. We would need to focus on the root of chronic disease, chronic symptoms… Inflammation.
Chronic Disease and Inflammation.
Inflammation is the common denominator among chronic disease.
The increased rate of chronic illness we see in our society is a direct outcome of increased rates of inflammation. – Tweet this!
Chronic inflammation gradually destroys an otherwise beautiful system. Chronic inflammation is that hidden smoldering fire created by your immune system as it tries to fight off unhealthy food, stress, toxins, allergens, an overgrowth of bad “bugs”, and even low-grade infections. These triggers all cause an increase in the release of inflammatory molecules of your immune system called cytokines. Cytokines are important in fighting off infection and cancer, and they help your body distinguish between friend and foe.
However, when inflammatory cytokines get out of control, they cause chronic diseases of every stripe and not only cause damage in vascular tissues and organs but cause damage throughout all body tissues. This self-perpetuating cycle is the common denominator of most chronic diseases and difficult-to-explain symptoms, including celiac disease; even symptoms that may accompany the main disease like depression/mood disorders, thyroid disease, digestive issues, skin disorders, or more general symptoms like pain and fatigue. These seem like different problems, but they have one thing in common: inflammation — the root of most chronic diseases.
Most of us are suffering from one or more of these disorders but have no idea how to eliminate inflammation. Most doctors are utilizing pharmaceuticals in lieu of getting to the root cause, but this strategy simply “band-aids” the issues, until it becomes unmanageable. To truly be effective at managing and/or hopefully overcoming a disease, we need to address these processes at every level. We need to start by answering the question:
“What is causing the inflammation, and how do we treat it most effectively?”
Let’s focus on the key components as deficits on the following could cause inflammation:
Digestive Health and Detoxification
The gut being the largest gate between the outside world and our internal environment is the integral part of healing and or prevention of disease. With 70-80 % of the immune system located in the digestive system, it is critical to keep this part healthy. To keep us in good health, our gut relies on carefully maintaining a symbiotic relationship with trillions of microorganisms. These bacteria (“bugs”) need an optimal environment to do their job. If that environment is compromised via chronic stress, environmental toxins, inflammatory foods, chronic infections, medications, etc.—these good “bugs” die and get replaced by bad “bugs” not working well for us.
The imbalance leading to things getting through that shouldn’t be getting through, called Leaky Gut Syndrome. Leaky Gut Syndrome results in a fire in your body as 70%-80% of your immune system tries to defend its borders. Through the gut, the immune cells, when activated, release many inflammatory molecules that travel throughout the body and causing inflammation in our joints, skin, blood vessels, brain—everywhere, you name it!
Improving your digestive health by removing the offending agents (grains, dairy, sugar, processed foods, alcohol, other food sensitivities) and replacing them with key nutrients like veggies, clean protein, healthy fat and adequate hydration, enhanced by probiotics and prebiotics, resealing with bone broth and gut healing nutrients (like fish oil and vitamin D) and rebalancing the body (nutrition, detoxification, and the four big S’s) is an essential way to overcome inflammation and chronic disease.
See how important your gut is ☺… Stop looking down at that beer belly, that’s not the gut I was referring to.
Nutrition and Insulin Resistance
Despite being on a “gut healing diet” or any diet, one may still have symptoms that could be due to insulin resistance. This is a growing problem that leads to inflammation and is an integral part that needs to be addressed for healing and prevention of disease. Anything that causes insulin resistance will cause inflammation, and vise-versa. Insulin resistance results in rapid and premature aging, along with diseases like heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer.
Your food should meet these criteria. – Tweet this!
Healing Foods not only communicate with your genes, but whenever you put a bite of Healing Foods in your mouth:
Living healthy and boosting immunity always starts with diet and can’t be replaced. Nutritional deficiencies can interfere with you getting better, so supplementing can give you the extra boost you need to expedite healing.
Supplements can give you the extra push in the right direction towards healing, supporting the immune system; allowing it to be healthy and balanced.
Toxins are all around us and are often invisible. Slow regular exposure can cause the toxins to accumulate in our bodies. We depend on your liver to remove these toxins. A high body burden of toxins can prevent you from losing weight, or worse, damage your metabolism. Clean eating and healthy lifestyle are extremely important. Some people have accumulated such a high body burden of persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals (mercury, lead, arsenic, etc.) that they need additional support for detoxification using detox-boosting foods, supplements, herbs, saunas, and sometimes chelating medication to get rid of heavy metals (to be done under a doctor’s supervision).
The Four Big S’s
The 4 Big S’s: Stress, Sleep, Social, Spiritual. – Tweet this
With stress causing more than 80% of the complaints that are presented to primary care physicians, discussing stress management is essential in healing and prevention of disease. This is part of mind-body medicine, a branch of integrative medicine, that looks at one’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions and how it affects physical health and how your physical health affects your spiritual and emotional well-being. It refers to your overall psychological well-being.
When mind-body techniques such as meditation, guided relaxation, and guided imagery are practiced regularly, they can have a powerful positive effect on you and your health. There are two main benefits you will gain by beginning a mind-body practice. You can teach your body different kinds of responses to a situation so that the body doesn’t turn on the damaging hormones, maintaining a balanced inner world preventing and reverse any chronic illness you may have.
During the eight or nine hours of sleep that our body requires, it doesn’t consume as much energy, which leaves more available energy for toxin removal, hormone manufacture, and infection fighting. When we fail to get enough rest, our bodies may not complete those important tasks, increasing the chance of developing problems due to excess toxins, inflammation, and hormone imbalances.
Social environment is important for overall health as the feelings of being loved releases a flood of potent hormones into our blood streams, which makes us feel better emotionally with the added benefit of strengthening our immune systems significantly. Receiving love from those around us helps the body heal itself.
Keep people around you that will lift you up and not drag you down. You are so worth it!!! – Tweet this!
As we are all mind, body and soul, healing the soul is an important aspect in prevention and healing of disease. Scientific studies indicate the positive relationship between spirituality and health. When the thinking mind stops, and spiritual energy begins to flow through you, it causes healthy changes in the physical body especially if one practices spirituality daily. Spirituality effects the physical body by improving blood circulation, decreasing blood pressure, improving digestion and detoxification, turns off unhealthy genes and helps in improving the overall immune system.
Focus on 10 things every morning that you are thankful for. Positivity heals from the inside out!
Other Tools in Your Healing Tool Belt.
With so many tools in our tool belt for healing, it’s the patient’s right to know most the options that exist in healing or preventing their ailments. So much hope!!!! I share with you:
Adjust the Holistic Rx for your Condition.
Everyone is composed of different puzzle pieces – we must figure out which ones don’t fit or are missing to complete that beautiful master piece and get you to where you want. Getting labs is always key, so work with your primary care provider to get an initial set of lab tests. The Base Line Labs that I offer my patients are: CBC, CMP, fasting insulin, fasting lipids, homocysteine, hsCRP, vitamin D, HbA1c, TSH and thyroid antibodies, ANA, B12 and magnesium.
So Much Hope!!!
Look at what you have accomplished being less than 100%, now imagine what you can do when you are more than 100%! Think about not just what you will be able to accomplish in the bedroom; the sky is your limit. I mean you could accomplish anything you would put your mind to! I’m so excited for you, I am getting goose bumps! I am here for you!
We can do this together! Take it one day at a time, one meal at a time! Slowly you will transform into who you were meant to be, the real and authentic you! Transform to a more energetic you! Transform to a pain-free you! Transform into a happier you! The ups and downs in your journey will only make you stronger! It’s time to break from the hamster wheel! You are so worth it, do this for yourself.
Look out world, here you come!! Yay!!! You got this!!!!!
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Taking Your Life Back,
Madiha Saeed, MD ABIHM
Holistic Mom, MD
I am a practicing family physician and an integrative holistic family physician, in Illinois!My book “The Holistic Rx: Your Guide to Healing Chronic Inflammation and Disease” was #1 new release in 4 categories and a best seller on Amazon, all before the official launch.The book has since been picked up by medical schools. We are changing the face of medicine!!!I’m the director of education at Documenting Hope - a national organization dedicated to heal chronic disease in children, a writer for Holistic Primary Care and a proud mother of 4 holistically-raised boys (who share their healthy habits on YouTube). On social media I'm HolisticMomMD . I speak nation wide igniting the world with my energy and passion to start a healing revolution! I have appeared on the Thriving Child Summit and I am the featured speaker for many more summits including the Shift Network's Winter of Wellness 2018 Summit – the most prestigious holistic online event (www.winterofwellness.com). I will be the featured guest on multiple episodes of the Emmy nominated medical lifestyle show Ask Dr. Nandi speaking on parenting and healing chronic illness.