The prefix “homeo” means “the same, steady”, and the definition of homeostasis is “the tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes”. Although we are surrounded by bacteria and viruses that are ready to attack us, generally speaking we remain healthy. We can assume that the body’s capacity for maintaining health has adequate energy to maintain homeostasis. That must mean that we are defending ourselves continuously, but any form of imposed stress, such as an infection, demands a surge of energy to meet it. The miracle of being alive means that our defensive machinery is always operating automatically. The body consists of between 70 and 100 trillion cells, each having a responsibility in its own right. We exist because we have inherited a code from our parents called DNA. If this is in a perfect state, all that is required is food to supply energy. The defense is referred to as “an illness”.
How We Defend Ourselves From Infection
As an illustration, I am going to use the form of a typical attack referred to as a streptococcal sore throat, whose technical name is “acute febrile lymphadenopathy”.
Why does the throat become sore?
As we all know, because of inflammation. This is a defensive process because the inflammation is an attempt to block the passage of the bacteria into the body.
Why do we get swollen glands in the neck?
The swollen glands are known as lymph nodes. They become enlarged because it is an attempt to capture and destroy the bacteria as they pass from the throat into the body.
Why do we develop a raised body temperature?
As we all know, the normal body temperature is 37° C. This is the temperature at which bacteria are at their most efficient state. By raising the body temperature, the efficiency of the bacteria is reduced.
The Brain and the Inflammatory Reflex
We now know that inflammation is under the control of the brain. It sends signals through the nervous system that is known technically as “the inflammatory reflex”. In fact, the entire defensive system is under the control of the brain, as is illustrated by a case that I have already described on this forum, but bears repeating.
Years ago, I was confronted by the case of two boys, both of whom experienced recurrent acute febrile lymphadenopathy. Of course, they had been treated by repeated antibiotic therapy, even though any form of infection had not been proved. Cutting out the technicalities involved, I was able to show that both of these boys were deficient in thiamine, leading to a reduction in brain energy. Each of these two boys had been indulged throughout life with an ad lib ingestion of sweets. It was probably responsible for the thiamine deficiency. Again, without going into the necessary technical factors, the lower part of the brain that controls the defensive machinery becomes unduly sensitive from the energy-deficiency caused by the insufficiency of thiamine. What was really happening was that the part of the brain that controls the defensive machinery had become hypersensitive. It was reacting to a variety of otherwise harmless environmental stimuli under the false Impression that an Infective microorganism was the stressor. There were other factors that supported this explanation, but they are highly technical and inappropriate for this post. The case was published in the medical literature.
It is not easy to understand that the acute febrile lymphadenopathy in each of these 2 boys was really a perfectly appropriate defensive reaction to non-existent bacterial attack, if such an attack had been the reality. If we acknowledge that bacterial invasion of the body is a form of stress, we are supporting the conclusion that “stress” requires a surge of brain energy to operate the defense. This is true for any form of stress, including trauma and mental action.
Because lack of oxidation had made the brains of these boys hypersensitive to any form of stimulus, they must have been overreacting to the perception of some form of environmental stress under the false Impression that it represented a bacterial invasion. Of course, we cannot know if this is the truth, but all the biochemical studies supported this explanation of the observed facts.
The perfect structure of the human body is undoubtedly the ideal. It would mean that we had inherited a perfect genetic code in DNA. It is unlikely that perfection in structure is ever achieved in any of us and that we each have a share of genetic mistakes known as polymorphisms. These are not sufficient to cause disease on their own, but perhaps they introduce genetic risk. Another factor may have to play a part. For example, type 1 diabetes has a gene or genes in its background. But the disease does not emerge until later in life, often after a minor stress such as a cold or injury. If the gene(s) were the sole cause, the symptoms of diabetes could be expected to appear at birth. What I am hypothesizing is that a breakdown in health requires more than a single factor. We have indicated that Imperfect genetics is one factor and some form of stress is another.
Nutrition and Malnutrition
We have indicated that a surge of energy is inevitably required for the automatic machinery to go into defensive action. That comes from our food whose efficiency in synthesizing that energy comes from two distinct parts. The first part is called calories and the second part is known as non-caloric micronutrients. Mother Nature “knows” the exact proportion of each part of the food. We do not! Is it not obvious that our food has to be that supplied only by MN?
Because the brain is the organ that needs the largest amount of oxygen, it quickly reacts to a mild insufficiency by producing a variety of sensations called symptoms. It is almost as though the brain is trying to warn its owner that it is lacking energy. Of course, the trouble with that is that the cause has to be interpreted in practical terms. The lower brain that controls the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is highly sensitive to oxidative deficiency, so the many symptoms experienced by the patient come from dysregulation of that system. For example, a common symptom is heart palpitations. The explanation for them often given by the physician, is that it is from “heart disease”. Dysfunction of the ANS is not considered. A series of laboratory studies found to be abnormal in heart disease are applied. Abnormal laboratory results are essential to the present concept of “real disease” and when they are found to be normal, the interpretation of the palpitations is that it is “psychosomatic”. Unfortunately, there are millions of patients who go through a series of specialists seeking an answer to their multiple symptoms. Each specialist gives an answer that is governed by current diagnostic concepts or their particular specialist status. Some of these unfortunate patients have recorded their experiences by posting on Hormones Matter and anyone seeking help may find the solution in one or more posts that address this problem.
Chronic Illness and Covid Longhaulers
Consider this. An attack by ANY microorganism is a “declaration of war”. There are only 3 outcomes: the microorganism wins (death), you win (cure), or there is stalemate (chronic disease). The brain is responsible for organizing and controlling the defense. If its inherited construction is perfect, all it requires is energy. Probably a perfect DNA never occurs and many, if not all of us, have gene defects known as polymorphisms that are insufficient to cause disease on their own. Epigenetics tells us that genes (say, polymorphisms) are influenced by nutrients. Any form of “stress” (a nasty divorce, a deadline, surgery, even an inoculation) demands a surge of energy to meet it. I suggest that “Longhaulers” after Covid-19 are suffering stalemate. Thiamine and magnesium together stimulate energy production, making the job of the brain more efficient to “win the war”. That is why thiamine deficiency has been reported in critical illness (stalemate) and after surgery. It strongly suggests that people who die from Covid-19 were experiencing high calorie malnutrition when they were assaulted by the virus. It also suggests that nutrition in America is inadequate to meet the stresses of modern life!
We Need Your Help
More people than ever are reading Hormones Matter, a testament to the need for independent voices in health and medicine. We are not funded and accept limited advertising. Unlike many health sites, we don’t force you to purchase a subscription. We believe health information should be open to all. If you read Hormones Matter, like it, please help support it. Contribute now.