Seeds of Wisdom with Dr. Davidson Presents
“Healthcare that Goes Beyond Disease Care and Symptom Management”
All too often, physicians in the conventional medical system try to manage disease by suppressing the symptoms rather than addressing the cause of the problem. This is analogous to putting a bandage over a patient’s festering wound and giving them pain medication. The wound is still there and will continue to get worse until it’s properly taken care of despite the fact that the medication suppresses the pain it causes. Although taking good care of the wound to promote its healing is not as quick as taking pain medication to relieve the pain it causes, covering up the problem will only make it worse in the long-run.
As an example of this, let’s take a look at heartburn and indigestion. A common conventional treatment for this condition is to take stomach acid-suppressing medication. While there is a small role for this type of approach in acute conditions, such as with gastrointestinal ulcers that may be aggravated by stomach acid, it is usually only meant as a short term measure and does nothing to address the underlying cause of the problem. On the contrary, if the heartburn is caused by incomplete digestion of food, such an approach can only exacerbate the problem while covering up its symptoms, such that the patient won’t even realize the problem is getting worse. So what’s the harm in merely suppressing heartburn symptoms with medication? Aside from worsening indigestion, long-term therapy with these medications results in a host of detrimental health consequences ranging from bone fragility, to increased susceptibility to infections and food poisoning, to depletion of essential nutrients, etc. When there is insufficient stomach acid and/or pancreatic enzymes to completely digest food in the stomach, the remains can become colonized by bacteria that will start breaking down the undigested food particles; this process produces organic acids that can then lead to heartburn.
Thus, by suppressing stomach acid (which is needed to digest our food) with medication, we may actually be compounding the problem which is causing the heartburn in the first place. To address the root cause (functional medicine model), we must first understand that the heartburn is not the problem; it’s only a symptom of the problem. The real problem, in this case, may be a diminished ability of the stomach to produce hydrochloric acid(HCl) (necessary for proper digestion). Indeed, to correct this problem at the root, one has to first identify the cause (which is certainly not a deficiency of acid-suppressing drugs). The cause is very often related to lifestyle factors, which can be as simple as eating too much animal fat or protein, poor eating habits (eating too quickly or not taking the time to chew the food thoroughly or drinking too much water during meals), excessive stress combined with poor stress coping abilities, sodium, thiamine or zinc deficiency, and excessive alcohol consumption, are all common causes of a diminished ability to produce HCl, and most of these are easy to improve or correct without the need for drugs or invasive procedures. So how do we address the root cause of this health problem? We might consider simply helping the person to better digest their food by giving them the digestive enzymes and stomach acid (in supplement form) that they themselves failed to produce. However, to find the ultimate solution would have to dig even deeper. In other words, assess the most likely reasons why they’re not producing the required digestive substances and correct them. Often the underlying cause can be corrected by making some simple dietary changes, to include more mineral-rich foods in the diet and some green vegetables containing compounds that are required by the body to produce stomach acid.
Ever hear the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? While conventional medical systems claim to recognize the importance of preventive medicine, their actual focus is often only on treating disease. It is important to understand that health is more than merely the absence of disease. Indeed, preventive medicine is a synonym for enhancing health or wellness, which is a spectrum that ranges from the brink of disease to even beyond presumed peak physiological condition with no limits. Thus, while conventional medicine attempts to treat the disease, naturopathic and integrative systems focus on improving the health of the patient instead, i.e. treating the person rather than merely the disease. At Dr. Davidson Integrative Medicine, the focus is on improving the health of each organ system and indeed the whole person. You will find that disease simply cannot persist when the body starts functioning more harmoniously, becoming resilient enough to resist disease. Make an appointment today and embark on your journey to more robust and vibrant health with no limits! To set an appointment, please use the contact form on the website or email: DrMD@DrMDavidson.com.
Michael Davidson, Pharm.D., ACN
Dr. Davidson Integrative Medicine
“Helping to Correct Your Health Problems at the Root”
The information provided in this article should not be construed as a claim or representation that any formula, procedure, or product mentioned constitutes a specific cure, palliative, or ameliorative for any condition. The material contained herein has not been reviewed by the FDA and is not for the diagnosis or treatment of any disease.This article and the information it contains is for educational purposes only; it is not a substitute for individualized guidance from a qualified healthcare professional. Readers are cautioned not to use any substance or product mentioned herein without reviewing it with their qualified healthcare professional to determine if it is appropriate for them.