What Causes Disease?

I am currently reading Robbins and Cotran’s “Pathologic Basis of Disease,” a book that is required reading in many medical schools.


This book has more than a thousand pages and yet it does not present one comprehensive basic theory of why disease happens. It starts out discussing the genome and the basics of cell biology, and so from that, I guess you can infer that disease starts at the cellular level, which is true. But they never say it. And they don’t discuss the two main theories that explain disease, mostly because Western medicine has chosen to emphasize one of these theories to the exclusion of the other. But in my opinion, they’ve chosen the wrong theory. We shall discuss them both.


The Germ Theory – Antoine Beauchamp, a contemporary of Louis Pasteur, discovered that airborne organisms seek out appropriate growth mediums containing sugars and then cause fermentation. This was the basic premise of the germ theory, which Pasteur later plagiarized and took credit for. This viewpoint emphasizes that disease is caused by outside forces that attack the body.


The Cellular Theory – this theory is drastically opposed to the germ theory. Cells contain internal structures that under the right conditions can transform into organisms resembling bacteria. This does not happen unless there is an internal environment that provides the appropriate conditions for this transformation to take place. In this case, disease is not cause by something outside the body attacking it, but rather when conditions within the body are less than ideal, disease develops from within cells.


We don’t deny that there are microorganisms in the world. But the majority of disease begins with disordered cellular functioning. This disordered functioning has two causes – substances we put into our bodies or allow our bodies to be exposed to that change the internal environment so the cells cannot function normally, and epigenetics, the way our environment effects gene expression.


The major determinant of whether your internal environment encourages or discourages disease is your diet. Almost all chronic disease begins in one place – hyperinsulinemia. Elevated insulin levels will eventually cause diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or an autoimmune condition. Hyperinsulinemia results in cellular dysfunction that causes epigenetic regulation of gene function. This means you might have a dysfunctional gene, but whether that turns into a disease or not depends on whether you provide the right environment to keep that disease from being expressed.


This puts the responsibility for health or disease squarely on our shoulders. We will be discussing on other pages how to avoid disease by encouraging the proper internal environment.


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