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Rethinking Illness, Rethinking Medicine

The founding mission of Root Resolution Health is to support folks in (or even lead them to) a new way of thinking about illness and health, observing that (with a handful of exceptions) prescription drugs and surgery don't really fix anything, only mask more fundamental problems. The "drug it out, cut it out" approach that doctors & nurses learn in medical school works great for infectious disease and emergency room medicine (and we're grateful for that), but where chronic illness is concerned it's not the path to creating and sustaining true health. 

A functional medicine "root cause" approach might be greeted by some as heretical, but if you strip away a lifetime of "match the pill to the ill" cultural programming, approaching illness and health with questions like "how?" and "why?" suddenly seems like common sense. After all, it's at the very foundational level— assimilation, elimination, signaling, nutrient (& hormone) sufficiency and detoxification capacity— that the elements of health and wellness lie.

Guy Raz and Siddhartha Mukherjee (of "Emperor of All Maladies" renown) put together a 12-minute "soil vs. seed" clip about this a few years back, as part of a series on "Rethinking Medicine" for the TED Radio Hour. While Mukherjee's specific example is about stem cells, the concept of building up from a solid foundation is the same. I can hear the voice of one of my naturopathic instructors in my head this very moment, "Fix the terrain, fix the terrain." And so we do.

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#mybody #primumnonnocere #detectivemedicine #goodinbadout #foodfirst

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Scientists now believe that as many as one in three people infected with the Sars-Cov-2 will go on to develop long-haul disease, lasting for several months or even longer. In July of this year,  the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services declared long Covid a recognized disability under the ADA.

In a provocative new paper published last month, a group of Hong Kong-based researchers argue that the health of your gut microflora may very well determine your risk of developing serious acute disease as well as long-haul Covid.

The study involved only one hundred volunteers, but still the results were striking. Study volunteers with the lowest levels of three species of gut bacteria— Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Eubacterium rectale, and Bifidobacterium longum— were 6-8x more likely to experience severe disease and/or chronic Covid symptoms.

While unlikely to be the only three heavy lifters, everyday it becomes clearer that an imbalanced gut microbiota ("dysbiosis") appears to predispose us not only to autoimmune, brain and even skin disorders but even to more severe Sars-Cov-2 infection and long Covid.

It is emerging that a kind of boilerplate "weed, seed & feed" microbiota care program works for the majority of people, with others, where there is a predominance of fungal (as opposed to bacterial) overgrowth and/or overgrowths that have crept up into the small bowel, often requiring addition layers of treatment as well as additional time.

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Alzheimer's disease is the major dementing disorder of the elderly that affects over 20 million people world-wide. And while, upon autopsy, there are brains full of amyloid with no signs of dementia (and conversely full-on dementia with no signs of amyloid), accumulation of amyloid beta peptide ("A beta") is still widely believed to be an early and critical step in the neuropathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, likened to the brush fire that sets in motion a much larger conflagration involving rampant microglial cell activation, hyperphosphorylated tau proteins (leading to the telltale "tangles"), and ultimately flat out destruction of neurons.


But there is also a growing body of evidence implicating the kynurenine pathway with this pathophysiology.


The kynurenine pathway, a neurotransmitter pathway in the brain by which the amino acid tryptophan is either fed into the production of serotonin or diverted to produce neurotoxic quinolinic acid, is a major route of L-tryptophan catabolism leading to production of a number of biologically active molecules.

The preferential production of the neurotoxin quinolinic acid, considered to be involved in the pathogenesis of a number of inflammatory neurological diseases, and quite possibly one of the critical factors in the pathogenesis of neuronal damage in Alzheimer's disease, appears in response to systemic Candida infections as well as the dead cell walls of certain gram-negative bacteria called lipopolysaccharides or LPS.

See this paper (and there are others), by Harvard's Rudolph Tanzi and others, on the "antimicrobial protection hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease."


Some early signs of elevated levels of quinolinic acid include depression and fatigue.

woman 10

I became intrigued when I saw my little brother's behavior issues kind of magically resolve once we discovered he had a yeast overgrowth and a sensitivity to gluten. No ADD drugs for him!

My issues were bloating, anxiety and skin. So I thought I'd give it a try. Fast forward two months. My skin is much, much better. Anxiety gone. I have more energy and even lost ten pounds. Even my periods have changed for the better. There really seems to be something to this "root cause" detective medicine.

Riley J.

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 “One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine." *

Sir William Osler, MD
Founder, Johns Hopkins Hospital,
Royal Society of Medicine, London
(*not including immunizations)

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