Eight Causes of Disease

By: Professor Eliezer Ben-Joseph

Presumably we can all agree that, despite the cherished value of family and friends and the satisfaction of success and accomplishment, without good health, we have nothing. All things are made possible by our vitality and enjoyed through our longevity. Life span is a concept with which we are all familiar – how long we live. Health span is a concept with which we should all become familiar – the number of years that we live in a state of robust health and vigor, not merely drawing breath.

Scientific research has shown us that the array of diseases that plague modern man, including those which are generally considered to be age related, can be traced to eight causes:

  1. Oxidation
  2. Enzyme depletion
  3. Immune dysfunction
  4. Mitochondrial energy depletion
  5. Toxicity
  6. Inflammation
  7. Stress
  8. Glycation, lipoxidation, and carbonylation

These factors, individually capable of tremendous damage, often work in concert to create life threatening and debilitating physical conditions, and premature aging. In order to truly understand the destructive potential of these adversaries, you need to know their natures.

  1. Oxidation is the enemy of the cells, the 100 trillion living units that make up the human body. The smaller components of the cells are the molecules and atoms, which are orbited by a pair of electrons. When one electron becomes detached, the molecule continues in an unbalanced state and becomes what is known as a free radical which steals electrons from other molecules, perpetuating free radical pathology. This indiscriminate thievery is the process known as oxidation, a self-perpetuating degradation of the body’s integrity. Affecting every body system, including DNA structure, the havoc oxidation can wreak is the genesis for everything from birth defects and cancer to wrinkled skin.
  2. The role that enzymes play in the bio-chemical function of the human body cannot be overestimated. They govern all the chemical reactions that take place, from mental and reproductive functions to breathing. The nutrients we ingest in an effort to provide fuel for our bodies are only able to do so with the help of enzymes to breakdown and assimilate them. Metabolic enzyme deficiency results in nutritional depletion, which, in turn, results in a variety of diseases.
  3. The immune system is a complex structure of cells and organs, working synergistically to protect against disease. It is the foremost indicator of the body’s current state of heath and the promoter of optimum health. Its job is to create barriers against foreign invaders, seek out and destroy infective pathogens, and, through a series of sophisticated machinations, prevent the invaders from reproducing. The immune system is the body’s department of defense and its condition will determine our susceptibility to disease, and death.
  4. As the primary generators of cellular energy, mitochondria act as batteries for running the human body. They provide us with physical strength, energy, and endurance and even a nearly imperceptible decrease in their power output can leave both mental and physical functions tired and vulnerable. Mitochondria replicate quickly, slowing down as we age and the natural series of chemical processes compromise their reproductive capabilities. This diminished condition makes them especially susceptible to free radical attack, which, in turn, perpetuates free radical pathology, the frequency of disease, and premature aging conditions. When the power supply falls below a certain level, the mitochondria may fail to be able to conduct their natural death and cleanup process. Abnormal cells created by this condition may become cancerous and/or add to inflammation in the body.
  5. The unintended consequences of progress are the influx of toxins in our everyday life, from the air we breathe, the nutrients we eat, and the water we drink, not to mention what we take in through our skin. The average family has a cornucopia of environmental toxins in the form of cleaning products, personal hygiene and grooming items, and both prescription and non-prescription drugs. This constant exposure to toxic substances is beyond the body’s ability to overcome and the lack of necessary detoxification leads to disease.
  6. Inflammation is actually a survival mechanism for the body, its defense against infection and irritation. We all know the signs: heat, swelling, redness, pain, etc. After it accomplishes its task, the inflammation usually subsides. It is not meant to be an ongoing condition. However, when the process fails its normal culmination, inflammation can become chronic and result in a variety of diseases including those generally attributed to the aging process, such as Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and Parkinson’s. Scientific evidence now supports the fact that a variety of diseases like cancer, congestive heart failure, and fibromyalgia are the result of chronic systemic inflammation.
  7. Stress is mankind’s one truly common denominator. Whether it’s money, love, ill health, or the state of the world, stress is the psychological and physical burden, real or imagined, that we no longer feel we can cope with on our own. The mind-body connection is such that our emotional response to stress manifests as depression, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, skin rashes, and so many more. Depression alone can so adversely impact the immune system that immune function becomes impaired and more significant disease is likely.
  8. The excess of insulin in the bloodstream is related to the glycation process. Food is converted into energy to nourish each cell, with glucose being the sugar that aids in the assimilation of proteins and carbohydrates. The pancreas produces insulin to address an increase of glucose in the bloodstream. An excess of glucose in the bloodstream is the foundation of diabetes. If left unchecked, this condition can be responsible for heart attacks, blindness, and kidney failure. When blood sugars link up with lipids, lipoxidation occurs and the organs most vulnerable to damage are the ones with the highest fatty acid composition, like the brain and heart. When the surrounding proteins become cross-linked, their function and integrity are compromised. The body alerts the immune system to produce the inflammatory version of chemicals known as cytokines, causing conditions like arthritis, vision loss, wrinkled skin, and cataracts. One of the most commonly observable symptoms of aging is the appearance of brown spots on the skin. This is due to carbonylation, a process much like roasting meat or toasting bread. When proteins oxidize and react to various sugars, lipids, and other bio-chemicals, carbonylation results, causing the proteins to accumulate in the vital organs. As they build up, the organs experience damage and impaired function. This degradation can cause everything from skin discoloration to neurodegenerative conditions. When the cells become unable to identify damaged DNA, the illness and aging process escalate.

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