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physiology, homeostasis, and drug therapy: a misguided paradigm

Cellular Homeostasis: Contrary to What You’ve Heard, Drugs Do Not Truly Change Physiology

If you’ve ever sat through a biology class, you’ve heard the term “homeostasis”. Homeostasis describes your body’s ability to achieve a near steady-state — a consistent / constant internal environment no matter what’s going on around you.  For instance, your body is always at work to keep your TEMPERATURE, PH, BLOOD SUGAR, BLOOD PRESSURE, BLOOD CHOLESTEROL LEVEL, etc, etc, etc, within very strict ranges.  If you fall outside of these ranges, bad things start to happen.

According to Boundless dot com (What is Disease?) we learn that, “Disease is any failure of normal physiological function that leads to negative symptoms. While disease is often a result of infection or injury, most diseases involve the disruption of normal homeostasis.” 

Although we cannot measure homeostasis, per se, we can look at lab values and see whether they look good, bad, or ugly — are getting worse or improving.  You have to be aware that in many cases, disruptions in homeostasis are, at least at first, subtle and do not involve gross pathology (HERE).  When lab values begin getting out of normal range, what does our medical community do?  Simple — they whip out the prescription pad and begin writing.  How much writing (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH TYPING) do they do?

I’ve PREVIOUSLY SHOWN YOU the absurd percentage of the world’s medications taken by Americans (about 75%), which is particularly egregious considering we make up just over 4% of the world’s population.  Medical schools teach and doctors believe that this amount of drugs is needed to restore and maintain their patient’s homeostasis.  But is restoration and maintenance of homeostasis what drugs are really doing?  That, folks, is the topic of today’s post and a question we will attempt to answer.

Plugging the terms “Inflammation Homeostasis” into the PubMed search bar brought up over 14,000 studies, of which some were frankly pretty cool.  For instance, the April 2014 issue of Molecular Cell (Stress, Inflammation, and Defense of Homeostasis) concluded…

Inflammation can also be induced by tissue stress and malfunction in the absence of infection or overt tissue damage. Here we discuss the relationship between homeostasis, stress responses, and inflammation. Stress responses have cell-autonomous and cell-extrinsic components, the latter contributing to tissue level adaptation to stress conditions. Inflammation can be thought of as the extreme end of a spectrum that ranges from homeostasis to stress response to bona fide inflammatory response. Inflammation can be triggered by two types of stimuli: extreme deviations of homeostasis or challenges that cause a disruption of homeostasis.” 

Not surprisingly, I found hundreds of similar studies, including many dealing with GUT HEALTH.  Below are three such studies clustered around a nine month period from a couple of years ago (as always, everything is cherry-picked due to restraints on time and space).

The September 2014 issue of International Immunology (Inflammasomes and Intestinal Homeostasis: Regulating and Connecting Infection, Inflammation and the Microbiota) concluded…. “

In the intestine, activation of the inflammasome leads to an inflammatory response that is important for controlling enteric infections but can also result in pathological tissue damage.  Recent studies have suggested that the inflammasome also regulates intestinal homeostasis through its effects on the intestinal microbiota. Here, we attempt to highlight the many ways that the inflammasome contributes to intestinal homeostasis and pathology and exploring the potential role of alterations in the microbiota in these studies.” 

Not sure what an INFLAMMASOME is?  Just click the link.

Earlier that same year, the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine (Role of the Enteric Microbiota in Intestinal Homeostasis and Inflammation) dealt with an issue I HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT FOR YEARS

The intestine encounters many more microorganisms than any other tissue in the body thus making it the largest and most complex component of the immune system. Indeed, there are greater than 100 trillion microbes within the healthy human intestine, and the total number of genes derived from this diverse microbiome exceeds that of the entire human genome by at least 100-fold.

Our coexistence with the gut microbiota represents a dynamic and mutually beneficial relationship that is thought to be a major determinant of health and disease.  Failure to properly regulate intestinal mucosal immunity is thought to be responsible for the inflammatory tissue injury observed in the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD; Crohn disease, ulcerative colitis).

An accumulating body of experimental and clinical evidence strongly suggests that IBD results from a dysregulated immune response to components of the normal gut flora.  The objective of this review is to present our current understanding of the role that enteric microbiota play in intestinal homeostasis and pathogenesis of chronic intestinal inflammation.”

The December 2013 issue of the European Journal of Immunology (Mucosal Innate Immune Cells Regulate Both Gut Homeostasis and Intestinal Inflammation) dealt with an issue I covered in my LAST POST — “The Leakies”.

Continuous exposure of intestinal mucosal surfaces to diverse microorganisms and their metabolites reflects the biological necessity for a multifaceted regulatory system. The development and function of the host cells responsible for the barrier function of the intestinal surface are strictly regulated through both positive and negative stimulation by the luminal microbiota. 

Mucosal immune cells located beneath the epithelium play critical roles in regulating both the mucosal barrier and the relative composition of the luminal microbiota.  Disruption of mucosal homeostasis causes intestinal inflammation such as that seen in inflammatory… pathological conditions.”

Other than the fact that each of these studies specifically deals with Gut homeostaisis, what’s the point?
Easy.  Health starts in the Gut and as your Gut goes, so goes your health.  In other words, the health of your gut (whether it “LEAKS” or not, and / or its MICROBIOME is healthy and intact) is the number one factor as to whether or not you’ll enjoy good health (including a normal weight). 

Now; let me ask you another question.  What drug(s) are you going to take to fix a Leaky Gut or bring your Gut bacteria back into homeostasis?  That’s right; there are none — not a single solitary one.  But even worse, allow me to let you in on another of the medical community’s dirty little secrets.  Medicine (antibiotics are by far the biggest culprit) absolutely destroy your body’s homeostasis (HERE).

Over at FAQS dot org’s health section, found in their article about antibiotics, they tell their readers….

The body’s balance between health and illness is called homeostasis. Homeostasis largely depends on the relationship of the body to the bacteria with which it lives.  For example, bacteria are always present on human skin. When the skin is cut, the bacteria are able to enter the body and may cause infection.  When there are too many bacteria for the system to handle, illness results and antibiotics are needed to help restore homeostasis.” 

While the first two sentences are undoubtedly true, trying to convince people that know better that antibiotics “restore homeostaisis” would be laughable if it weren’t such a gross distortion of the truth (HERE).

When people (OR ANIMALS) are given antibiotics, it always causes at least some degree of something called dysbiosis.  DYSBIOSIS describes the abnormal ratios of bad bacteria to good bacteria (or OTHER ORGANISMS).  Unless you are seriously immunocompromised (HIV, Cancer, etc), the ultimate cause of your Dysbiosis is taking antibiotics —- even just a round or two over the course of your lifetime (HERE). 

Women tend to understand dysbiosis better than their male counterparts because they understand vaginal yeast infections.  But what if I told you that yeast can become blood-borne (or get into your intestines) and set up shop (HERE).  This is a common form of Dysbiosis as well.

While antibiotics are causing dysbiosis, it’s our HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE that’s feeding this beast.   Here’s a little “fun fact” to think about.  Science has shown us that antibiotics are a significant cause of cancer (HERE).  Science has also proven that sugar is cancer’s food of choice (HERE).  Thus, it’s no wonder that so many studies are talking about the relationship between cancer and dysbiotic fungal / yeast infections (HERE).  But there’s an even bigger problem in all of this. 

It takes about two minutes of Google searching to realize that not only do antibiotics cause dysbiosis, but numerous classes of other drugs do as well (HERE).  In fact, it’s common knowledge that most of “THE BIG FIVE” are not only intimately related to IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPRESSION, but are intimately related to both microbiota dysfunction and Leaky Gut Syndrome; automatically linking them to dysbiosis.

As you should start to be realizing, while sometimes needed, drugs in no way, shape, or form, restore homeostasis.  The cold, hard, truth is that while creating a desired effect, they foul it up, creating an undesired SIDE EFFECT.  Big time.  Even though drugs have the ability to change certain symptoms, they are not changing underlying physiological dysfunction.  

Unfortunately, in most cases, this is true of nutritional supplements as well (HERE), which also have the potential to cause dysbiosis — a big part of the reason you can’t simply take probiotics to clear most hardcore Gut issues (HERE).  Before we move on, let’s talk for just a moment about another way that drugs foul up homeostasis — side effects.

Often referred to in the scientific literature as “Adverse Events” or ‘A.E.’s, side effects are an ever-present consequence of consuming medication.  How common are drug side effects?  Dog common!  The truth is, they are far more common than the medical community lets on (see first link in previous paragraph). 

Part of this is due to the fact that when it comes to doing the studies for drugs, the fox is guarding the hen house.  The FDA, along with numerous other governmental watchdog organizations, often rubber-stamping large numbers of fraudulent studies put out by that BIG PHARMA.  The general public (not to mention the medical profession) is then told that these studies are the “BEST EVIDENCE” as far as your treatment is concerned.  You really want the truth about side effects? 

When you actually look at large meta-analysis (plural), you find that SIDE EFFECTS of drugs (vaccines included) are being under-reported by at least 90%.  In other words, at the very most, only one in ten drug-related AE’s are ever reported to the proper authorities, which dramatically skews the safety profile of said medication.  Usually it’s closer to 1 in 50 or even 1 in 100 (gulp).

If you think I am overstating my case concerning today’s post, take a gander at the scientific paper from one of Spain’s oldest universities (established in 1446); University of Girona (Chronic Inflammatory Diseases are Stimulated by Current Lifestyle: How Diet, Stress Levels and Medication Prevent our Body From Recovering), and published in the April 2012 issue of Nutrition and Metabolism.  Listen to what the authors say about the relationship between drugs and homeostasis.

“Serhan and colleagues introduced the term “Resoleomics” in 1996 as the process of inflammation resolution. The major discovery is that onset to conclusion of an inflammation is a controlled process of the immune system. Resoleomics can be considered as the evolutionary mechanism of restoring homeostatic balances after injury, inflammation, and infection. Under normal circumstances, Resoleomics should be able to conclude inflammatory responses. Considering the modern pandemic increase of chronic medical and psychiatric illnesses involving chronic inflammation, it has become apparent that Resoleomics is not fulfilling its potential resolving capacity.”

And why, pray-tell, is the body not resolving CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASES?  Easy.  Drugs can never address the, “drastic changes in lifestyle, including diet and psycho-emotional stress.  These new lifestyle factors, including the use of medication, should be considered health hazards, as they are capable of long-term or chronic activation of the central stress axes.”  

Face it folks; for the average American (or any number of other countries eating a progressively “Westernized” diet of HIGHLY PROCESSED CRAP, drugs cannot overcome the physical, mental, and dietary stress associated with (HERE and HERE are pictures of what chronic activation of the central stress axis actually looks like, or you can simply look at our material on the HPA AXIS).  Follow along as the authors tell you why long-term use of drugs is a pipe-dream as far as correcting aberrant physiology (pathophysiology) is concerned.

“The immune system is designed to produce solutions for fast, intensive hazards, not to cope with long-term, chronic stimulation. The never-ending stress factors of recent lifestyle changes have pushed the immune system and the central stress system into a constant state of activity, leading to chronically unresolved inflammation and increased vulnerability for chronic disease.”

While the government continually attempts to tell us what foods are healthy and how we should be living out lives, our national health is, NOT SURPRISINGLY, falling to pieces.  It’s yet another case of Nero fiddling, while Rome continues to burn (HERE).

“Current anti-inflammatory medication used in RA treatment is aimed at the suppression of the immune system and its inflammatory response and thus hinders Resoleomics. In addition, these medication interventions do not solve underlying catecholamine, cortisol and insulin resistance, and consequently make it impossible to achieve full recovery of the chronic inflammation. This suggests that chronic use of anti-inflammatory medication in fact impedes the body from making a full recovery. Furthermore, the ongoing low-grade inflammation will continuously trigger the activity of the systemic stress system.”

Did you grasp the importance of what the authors are saying here?  Plainly stated, they are telling their readers (most of whom live in the world of academia) that not only are drugs not helpful for, “achieving full recovery of the chronic inflammation,” they actually “impede” resolution of the underlying problem(s).  Read my material on NSAIDS (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) and CORTICO-STEROIDS and you’ll see why the authors are spot-on in their analysis of the situation. 

Which logically brings up the next question; if drugs are not the answer as far as changing physiology and restoring homeostasis, what is?  If you’ve been paying any sort of attention, this last study gives us a pretty good idea.


How complex is homeostasis?   It’s crazy complex.  In fact, the more we learn about molecular physiology and the deeper we dig into cellular function, the more complex it all becomes.  This is the exact opposite of what Charles Darwin believed when he “officially” proposed his theory of evolution in 1859 via his magnum opus, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. He was so sure of his theory that after talking about the eye, he actually made a very bold and scientifically falsifiable statement (you’ll find it in the last two sentences of the quote below).

“It is scarcely possible to avoid comparing the eye to a telescope. We know that this instrument has been perfected by the long-continued efforts of the highest human intellects; and we naturally infer that the eye has been formed by a somewhat analogous process. But may not this inference be presumptuous? Have we any right to assume that the Creator works by intellectual powers like those of man? 

Further we must suppose that there is a power always intently watching each slight accidental alteration in the transparent layers; and carefully selecting each alteration which, under varied circumstances, may in any way, or in any degree, tend to produce a distincter image. We must suppose each new state of the instrument to be multiplied by the million; and each to be preserved till a better be produced, and then the old ones to be destroyed. In living bodies, variation will cause the slight alterations, generation will multiply them almost infinitely, and natural selection will pick out with unerring skill each improvement.

Let this process go on for millions on millions of years; and during each year on millions of individuals of many kinds; and may we not believe that a living optical instrument might thus be formed as superior to one of glass, as the works of the Creator are to those of man?  If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.”

What is this creative “power” that Darwin writes of?  It is certainly not a “creator” as Christians would interpret the word today (even though he capitalized it twice).  He believed this power to be natural selection (only the strong survive) ultimately driven by nothing but PURE RANDOM CHANCE

How logical is this position in light of what we continue to learn about the complexity of physiology?   Regarding natural selection, we have been told for so long that given enough time, the impossible becomes possible, the improbable becomes probable, and the unlikely becomes reality.  But is this really true and does it even make any sense?

The world’s greatest mathematicians certainly didn’t think so back when they put pen, paper, and computers to this idea at 1966’s famous WISTAR CONFERENCE.  The truth is that the more we learn about chance as it relates to GENETIC MUTATIONS, the more we have to admit that we are talking about things like birth defects and cancer as opposed to the advancement and betterment of a species. 

Listen as Jim Stephens (#29 Mathematics) gives an explanation of the conclusions of the scientists and mathematicians that were at Wistar the year before I was born (by the way, I have this booklet / study).

A mathematician calculated the time it would take under very suitable conditions for a usable protein to hook up from available amino acids. That number was 10 x (power 171) years. When we start getting into really big numbers, they are very hard to comprehend. That doesn’t seem like such a big number. (Actually there are only 10 x (power 80) atoms in the universe.) Here is what that number would be in some sense by our reality.

If you gave an amoeba 10 x (power 171) years, he could carry every single atom in the universe, one by one, all the way across the universe and back (30 billion light years), more than 600,000 trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion times if he were traveling at the unbelievably slow speed of 1 inch every 15 billion years (the age of the universe).

Although the famous lens-maker Carl Zeiss had recently come on the scene, at the time Darwin wrote Origins, microscopes were still rather archaic.  History of the Microscope dot org, which describes itself as, “a complete microscope history,” attributes the first “real microscope” to someone we all learned about in junior high school; the Dutch cloth-salesman-turned-scientist, Anton Van Leeuwenhoek. Leeuwenhoek wanted to see the quality of the thread he was buying and wound up inventing a new kind of tool (the microscope) for doing so. 

His discovery eventually led him to creating better lenses in the late 1600’s.  He kept them secret, making him (by default) the leading authority on microscopic discovery until his death in 1723.  History of the Microscope dot org goes on to say of Leeuwenhoek’s microscope….

“Van Leeuwenhoek made many biological discoveries using his microscopes. He was the first to see and describe bacteria, yeast plants, the teeming life in a drop of water, and the circulation of blood corpuscles in capillaries. During a long life he used his lenses to make pioneer studies on an extraordinary variety of things, both living and non living, and reported his findings in over a hundred letters to the Royal Society of England and the French Academy.  Despite these great achievements in microscopy, microscopes didn’t change much over the next 200 years.”

Thanks in part to Zeiss’s lenses, by the end of his life in 1882, Darwin had come to the conclusion that the cell was definitely more complex than he had originally believed it to be. 

“...we may fancifully look at each animal and plant as being compounded of many beings, in the same manner as a tree or coral is compounded of many similar beings….. On this view, each organic being may be looked at as a little universe, formed of a host of different self-propagating organisms, almost as numerous as the stars in heaven, and as minute as they are immense……  a cell is a complex structure, with its investing membrane, nucleus, and nucleolus.”

Darwin, however, could not have begun to contemplate the  amazing complexity revealed by today’s technology and modern scientific techniques.  Neither could he have foreseen the truth about genetic mutations (the Czech priest Gregor Mendel was in the middle of his genetic experiments with peas when Origins was published).

The indisputable truth is that the vast majority (something like 99.999%) of genetic mutations are bad, leading to a wide array of health problems (and death), long before any ‘good’ mutations could possibly attain the creative powers they’ve been ordained with by modern science, which is by definition, atheistic and mechanistic (mechanistic — purely physical mechanisms can explain everything in nature, living or non-living, seen or unseen).

Unlike in Darwin’s day, we see unfathomable levels of cellular complexity that completely boggle the mind (HERE) — a fact not always grasped by the average lay-person, but revealed in these super double extra cool cellular animations.

Why do I bring this up?  Simple.  Because it goes to the very heart of the different philosophies of healing.  As I’ve already shown you, the medical community believes they are changing physiology through the use of drugs, even though I’ve also shown you very clearly they are not.  The fact is, there is a gap between these two opposing philosophies that is almost as large as THE CHASM between medical research and medical practice. 

While not all scientists are atheists, and not all non-scientists are religious (by “religious” I mean anyone who believes in a higher power, whatever they believe that power to be) there is a foundational principle here.   It boils down to the age-old DEBATE BETWEEN VITALISTS AND MECHANISTS.

You can read the arguments by clicking the link, but realize that these two groups treat their sick very differently.  For instance, vitalists realize that while there is certainly a time and a place for Western medicine, they also understand the symbiotic relationship between health and disease.  For a better idea of what I mean by this odd statement, HERE is a great example.  But one of my favorite examples of how a vitalist would treat different than a mechanist has to do with Diabetes.

Thanks in part to the ridiculously addictive nature of processed carbs and sugar (HERE), not only is diabetes running rampant in America, so is pre-diabetes (HERE and HERE).  What is America’s medial machine (a machine that could now best be described as “corporate”) doing about this?  

Instead of educating patients about diet and lifestyle (HERE), they are trying to induce homeostasis via prescribing a group of drugs that has been proven time and time again to be largely ineffective at doing anything other than lowering blood sugar (they do not significantly diminish morbidity or mortality — HERE and HERE).  Yet another example of the medical community getting to PICK AND CHOOSE the “EVIDENCE” they like, while discarding what they don’t.

If you are interested in seeing the bigger picture as far as restoring homeostasis and returning to health are concerned, HERE it is.


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