ARTHRITIS — Searching for THE TRUTH — Searching for THE CURE
Drs. Randolph and Rea found that indeed almost everyone with a chronic degenerative illness had a portion of their symptoms linked to environmental sensitivities. Foods weren’t the only culprit. In almost all cases the more common airborne allergens like dust, molds and pollens were also involved. Sensitivities to specific chemicals could also have profound effects. Things as seemingly insignificant as the chlorine used to disinfect tap water or natural gas emanating from a stove would have a sort of multiplier effect in making food sensitivities even worse. The ubiquitous use of solvents in paints and carpet adhesives coupled with formaldehyde in wood products, made poorly ventilated new office buildings a new source of illness.
The obvious question became why did some folks find these surroundings so toxic while others seemed to be relatively unaffected? Walt Stoll, M.D. gave the most eloquent explanation for the mechanism behind observed food, chemical and other airborne sensitivities in his book SAVING YOURSELF FROM THE DISEASE-CARE CRISIS. In it he describes how our intestinal tract offers the largest single source for antibody activation and the resultant inflammatory responses that we experience as symptoms. More importantly he explains the mechanisms that lead to this situation. Before examining that, we need to back up a bit and get a rudimentary understanding of how our immune system functions.
Our immune system creates antibodies whenever something foreign to it penetrates our protective shell. I use the term ‘shell’ here in a figurative sense to include both the structures that are inside our body (including our mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines, colon, etc.) as well as the skin covering the periphery of the body. Our body also uses a variety of non-structural secretory systems to limit alien substances from entering the bloodstream. Examples of this type would include excess tearing of the eyes and greater production of mucous to cover the nasal tissues when exposed to a dusty environment.
Once a foreign substance penetrates these structural and secretory barriers for the first time an immune response is launched. Initially it involves fluids that clump the foreign substance together so that they can be more easily recognized and carried out of the body. A subsequent and more sophisticated immune response then takes place involving a certain type of cell (called a lymphocyte) that singles out the foreign substance. These lymphocytes are antibodies that are able to chemically adapt to fit and lock onto the structure of the invader. Once this happens a cascade of events take place. Other lymphocytes rush to attack, enzymes are released and hoards of new lymphocytes are bred (or cloned) to ‘search out and destroy’ that particular invader.
This cloning is the way our immune system develops a ‘memory’. This memory is important since the next time this particular invader breeches our protective barriers our immune system will be prepared to launch an immediate and much more powerful response.
Immunological memory works on our side when we receive vaccinations. A good example is the flu shot. Fragments of a dead virus are injected and the body responds to this foreign antigenic material by creating specific antibodies. It’s important to note that it’s not necessary to inject the real virus, just some of the pieces, since they contain the protein chains that our antibodies use to identify the virus as an invader.
Our body responds with a mild immune response. The intruder is recognized but there are few antigens that have been created to attack it. We might experience weak symptoms of headache and slight fever as more antibody cells form and attack the virus fragments (which remember are dead). They proceed to clone themselves and multiply to prepare for a prolonged battle or a new infection.
Later when we are exposed to the real virus, we have a massive army of antibodies that are ready and waiting to stop the intruder in it’s tracks. In essence we have ‘tricked’ our immune system into launching a more massive attack on the living virus, by introducing something prior (in this case dead protein chains) that only somewhat resembled the real thing.
This memory can also work against us. When someone is exposed to poison ivy for the first time there will be little if any consequence. However the second contact is a different story. The immune system has had the opportunity to employ it’s ‘memory’ to manufacture specific antibodies to the poison ivy antigen which consequently results in a much stronger response.
The immune response starts a complex avalanche of biochemical reactions which, when given the right situation, can be much more toxic to the body than the poison ivy antigen would have ever been by itself. This example illustrates how the downstream cascade of biochemical reactions can almost be completely responsible for the severity of our symptoms. Remember, everything is initiated by the antigen/antibody reaction alone. If you don’t come in contact with the poison ivy you won’t have any symptoms.
The majority of rheumatologists perceive (and tell their patients) that rheumatoid disease is ‘auto-immune’ in nature. In other words they believe the body produces antibodies that turn on itself by attacking it’s own tissues. This is true in the strictest sense, but what drives the production of these ‘self’ attacking antibodies is where the argument begins.
Some antibodies (in their early development) may actually be capable of reacting with ‘self’ tissues. Almost always these cells are killed or inactivated before they can do any harm. Rheumatology believes that due to some genetic defect that these self reacting cells are not killed. Rather they are allowed to clone an army of other self reacting antibodies that ultimately strike out against our own tissues.
THIS IS NOT WHAT IS HAPPENING. Instead antigenic material that is not routinely able to penetrate the secretory and structural barriers of the body is somehow finding it’s way into tissues and then the bloodstream. This antigenic material comes from a variety of sources. Some that we’ve already described include poorly digested food proteins, chemicals and inhaled allergens. Others (that will be described later) encompass the world of all living micro-organisms.
Once formed, antibodies seek out the protein component of invaders that match their own molecular structure and subsequently lock onto and carry them out of the body. Unfortunately if any of our healthy tissues have a protein component that looks similar to those of the invaders our feisty antibodies will attack.
The protein backbones of these molecules don’t even have to be that closely related. Stanford University researchers have found that the amino acid sequence of a virus only needs to be identical to a ‘self’ protein for 5 amino acids (the building blocks of all proteins) within a stretch of 10 amino acids in order to ‘trick’ the antibody cells into attacking the self tissue. In this case while the antibody is attacking the virus, many are circulating throughout the body and doing the same with ‘look-alike’ cells comprising healthy tissues.
Rheumatic fever dramatically displays this mechanism. Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that can affect many connective tissues of the body — especially those of the heart, joints, brain or skin. It begins with a strep throat from streptococcal infection. The antibodies that our immune system has created to target that streptococcal infection begin launching an attack on healthy tissue. The resulting damage might lead to rheumatic heart disease which may last for life.
This might be more immunology than you ever wanted to know and the differences in point of view might seem subtle. Certainly the destructive results are the same. But it is important to understand that your rheumatologist believes that we are a ‘sealed’ system.
In other words that the driving force for producing these destructive self attacking antibodies is completely internal in nature. Something has gone awry, perhaps due to a genetic defect, but they don’t know what it is. They just know that it, the immune system, shouldn’t be functioning this way. Contrast this with the view that our immune system is indeed producing these antibodies, but the true driving force for their production is from sources outside the body.
Rheumatologists suggest the auto-immune response as being the result of a hyper-active immune system. Initially it is hyper-active. As you will find later, the floodgates have been opened allowing a massive onslaught of outside invaders. However folks with auto-immune disease will eventually become immuno-suppressed from the constant demand to address all these outside invaders. Over time their immune system will be even less capable of dealing with a variety of ever present opportunistic micro-organisms that were previously handled in a routine manner.
If auto-immunity is really due to a foul-up in the internal works of the immune system our only way of turning it off would be to use powerful immune suppressing drugs to numb or slow the process. The fact that you can turn the auto-immune process down, and back up again (without drugs), gives decisive proof that modern rheumatological thought cannot be correct. By controlling the flow of antigenic invaders into the body we can control arthritis.
Associating a rash on the same part of the skin that recently came in contact with an oily leaf (like poison ivy) seems fairly obvious. Connecting an anaphylactic reaction (where the response is so severe that breathing can stop) from a bee-sting on the toe is a little more difficult. Somehow a minute amount of antigen (from the bee stinger) can effect distant, unrelated tissues. We are still very much in the infancy of understanding the mechanisms involved with our immune system. Fortunately, getting stung by a bee and having breathing spontaneously stop are not common events in our everyday life, so we’ve been able to make the connection.
Unlike this example, the process that leads to our intestinal tract becoming the primary gateway for antigens into the body is usually a slow, cumulative process. It is not available for direct observation. Maybe this is why the relationship between a ‘leaky’ intestinal mucosa and rheumatoid disease has been so elusive to modern rheumatology.
Walt Stoll, M.D. not only saw the connection between a chronically ‘leaky’ intestinal mucosa and disease but found ways to reverse it. This enabled patients to turn their symptoms off completely or dissipate them to the point where they were much easier to manage. He spent over 20 years treating sufferers that, for all intents & purposes, other physicians had cast aside and deemed ‘resistant to conventional therapies’.
Dr. Stoll found that these patient’s bodies had become very ‘resistant’ to drugs that were solely targeted at suppressing symptoms. However once the mechanisms that led to ‘leaky gut syndrome’ were addressed, the primary obstacles to healing were removed and symptoms would resolve on their own. For the first time since becoming afflicted these patients were giving their bodies a chance to normalize, and in so doing, tap their innate healing powers.
Dr. Stoll was very familiar with the research work done by the eminent physiologist Hans Selye, M.D. Selye found that he could induce symptoms and ultimately chronic illness in his test animals if he exposed them to any of a wide variety of physiological burdens. These included such things as starvation, prolonged exposure to heat or cold, excessive muscular exercise, surgical injury or sub-lethal doses of drugs. It wasn’t any surprise that these animals failed to prosper under such harsh conditions.
What was totally unexpected was that the symptoms induced in the animals were the same. They were completely independent of the type of burden (or stressor) placed on their system. In other words it didn’t matter whether the animal was exposed to cold or a sub-lethal dose of a drug. The animal would predictably have the same physiological response and develop the same symptoms.
Prior to this Dr. Louis Pasteur had become famous for his work in developing what today is termed the germ theory. As you might know, before Pasteur’s discovery doctors did not wash their hands before performing such tasks as surgery or the delivery of babies. Infections seemed an unpredictably fickle part of doing these procedures, probably brought on by demons and devils. Aided by the invention of the microscope, Pasteur was able to see a world teeming with micro-organisms and make the key connection to infectious disease.
Since Pasteur’s discovery medical science has focused the great majority of it’s energies in defining the vast array of microscopic organisms that interact with humans. Once these ‘bugs’ were isolated attention turned to creating antibiotic pharmaceuticals to help rid us of these invaders. The quest has continued to this day and unfortunately, in the process, dwarfed the badly needed research to understand the flip side of the coin.
The synthesis of these vaccines and antibiotics was undoubtedly of major importance. However the overwhelming focus of treating the micro-organism led to an out of balance view of our world. The adaptive and natural resistance abilities found in the animal (or host) were considered static and unchanging (or at least unchangeable). Laboratory research was much easier if medicine could make the (false) assumption that the immunological status of the animal was constant (a perfect control) while testing the effectiveness of various antibiotic drugs. For all intents & purposes, medical research neglected what was at least half of the picture.
If the importance of the natural resistance of the host (in this case human beings) hasn’t occurred to you, yet you’ve probably fallen into the same trap as most of our modern medical practitioners. It’s the erroneous belief that we can defend ourselves from any infectious invader, if we just have the right antibiotic.
You will find your physician can talk at length about any type of microbe and the proper antibiotic to treat it. Odds are excellent that if a patient has a malady their doctor ‘will have a pill for it’. But, if you ask what you can do to help boost your innate immunity, a deathly silence will follow. Physicians have next to no training in this matter and their patients have suffered for it. Pasteur, who devoted his entire life to understanding germs, admitted late in life that he had only ‘worked one side of the street’.
Let me point out that Pasteur was the first to declare that disease was caused by microscopic germs. Being the first he was sharply criticized by many of his enemies for failing to recognize the importance of the terrain (the soil in which disease develops). They accused him of being too one-sidedly preoccupied with the apparent cause of disease: the microbe itself. There were, in fact, many debates about this between Pasteur and his great contemporary, Claude Bernard.
The former insisted on the importance of the disease-producer, the latter on that of the body’s own equilibrium. Yet Pasteur’s work on immunity and what was induced by applying serums and vaccines showed that he did recognize the importance of the soil (the immunological abilities of the host). Pasteur attached so much importance to this point that on his deathbed he said to Professor A. Re’non who caring for him:
“Bernard avait raison. Le germe n’est rien, c’est le terrain qui est tout.” (“Bernard was right. The microbe is nothing, the soil is everything.”)
As age draws us closer to a natural death, it becomes obvious that our natural immunological resistance is ‘everything’. It is the true warrior and it has been all along. Antibiotics, vaccines and the like certainly have their place, but best used only to fill in the gaps.
Dr. Selye observed three levels of physiological response. Stage 1 (the alarm reaction) starts about 6 to 48 hours after an initial injury. It is characterized by a lowering of blood pressure, loss of muscle tone, and shrinkage of the adrenal glands as they pump out as much cortisone as possible. Selye also noted other symptoms such as swelling due to leakage of fluid from smaller blood vessels into surrounding tissues.
Stage 2 starts about 48 hours after the original injury. By now there was considerable enlargement of the adrenal glands and the previously seen swelling in the tissues (produced by the leakage of fluid from the blood vessels) started to subside. The pituitary gland, which controls virtually all the other glands in the body, produces increasing amounts of adreno-cortico-stimulating hormone which causes the adrenal glands to produce even more cortisone.
It was during Stage 2 that Selye observed when he applied further small, repeated doses of the harmful stimulus (be it an allergy producing stimulus or any other) the test animals built up a resistance. They had now seemingly become adapted to the stressor and showed no observable external symptoms at all.
If the rats in this adapted stage were removed from the harmful stress (for example a persistent cold stimulus) they lost their newly acquired resistance (or adaptation) to the cold within a few days. When re-introduced to the cold environment they had to once again go through the Stage I alarm reaction (with all of it’s associated symptoms) before re-acquiring their ‘adaptation’. Conversely, if the rats were left in the cold, they continued to adapt for a long time, and appeared (at least externally) to have grown completely accustomed to it.
Selye noticed that if the rats continued to be exposed to the cold for a longer time that they would start showing new external symptoms. This was Stage 3 and it seemed that the animals had exhausted their resistance and had now become ‘maladapted’ to their surroundings. There was no Stage 4. If these animals continued to be exposed the cold they would quickly grow very ill and subsequently die. During Stage 3, warming the cold environment a bit was not helpful. Only the COMPLETE removal of the harmful stimulus would produce a healthy animal again. The transition from the adapted to the maladapted/exhaustion stage was, clinically speaking, what doctors would describe as the start of chronic disease.
Selye (without knowing it) had witnessed and described the mechanism that Dr. Rinkel had found so painfully with his experience of ‘masked’ food allergy to eggs. With the long term ingestion of eggs Rinkel had moved to Stage 2 and a form of adaptation to the ongoing stress of antigenic material in his body from eggs. There was no initial alarm reaction since the build-up of masked food allergy is a relatively long process.
As this adaptation petered out and physiological exhaustion settled in, Rinkel experienced greater chronic nasal problems (rhinitis) characteristic of Stage 3. When the offending stressor (the eggs) were completely removed from Rinkel’s diet for 5 days the rhinitis disappeared. However when the body was re-exposed to eggs he experienced a hyperacute response (falling unconscious) consistent with what Dr. Selye predicted as a Stage 1 alarm reaction.
While Dr. Stoll was teaching at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine he gathered data from the physiology lab showing the effect of exercise stress on various organ systems. While at rest the abdominal organs (stomach, small intestines and colon) exhibited the highest blood flow, but once even light exercise began, the flow to the heart, muscle and skin tissues grew geometrically. At the same time flow to the abdomen rapidly decreased. In fact the abdomen lost a greater percentage of blood flow than any other system when engaged with the slightest stress.
The reason for this response to stress is an inborn throwback to our ancient ancestors and has been labeled the ‘fight or flight’ response. Herbert Benson, M.D. (Associate Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical Schools gives the best description of the human reaction to stress in his book THE RELAXATION RESPONSE. This innate fight-or-flight reaction is well recognized in animals. A startled cat standing with it’s back arched and hair raised is suddenly prepared to run or fight; a dog on the attack with dilated pupils, snarling at its adversary; a gazelle running from a predator; all are responding by activation of the fight- or-flight response.
We tend to think that we have lost this side of our being and replaced it with rational control. This is simply not the case. Benson’s research showed that when faced with situations that require adjustment of our behavior, an involuntary response increases our blood pressure, heart rate, rate of breathing, blood flow to the muscles, and metabolism, preparing us for battle or escape.
Dr. Stoll recognized that any activation of this ‘fight or flight’ response would lead to tremendous loss of blood flow to the intestinal tract. Our ancestors millions of years ago would use this response to their advantage when needed and then quickly return to a relaxed physiological posture where normal blood flow would be restored. But a more chronic activation of fight-or-flight response is common in modern man where there is an abundance of lights, horns, ringing telephones and demanding work situations to trigger the reaction.
At the same time Stoll knew from Selye’s work that ANY environmental burden would act on us as a stressor which would demand the physiology to make an adaptive response. The net sum of all this research pointed to the absorptive endothelium of the small intestines as the primary ‘target tissue’ that would have to bear the majority of the brunt of these involuntary physiological responses.
As mentioned before this intestinal lining has a high demand for cellular regeneration as it is replaced on the average of every 14 hours. If chronically starved for blood the intestinal tract will no longer do it’s job perfectly. This in turn makes the ecology of the colon much more susceptible to the growth of disease-causing parasites which can damage the lining even further.
The stage has been set for ‘leaky gut syndrome’ with the subsequent transmission of all sorts of antigenic material into the body which can ultimately precipitate an autoimmune response.
You’ve probably noticed that none of the discoveries revealing the underlying mechanisms causing autoimmunity were coming from the field of rheumatology. In fact most of the early contributions were from physicians working with patients with psychiatric disorders rather than musculoskeletal problems. There was a very good reason for this phenomenon.
With the advent of the manufacture of the synthetic hormone cortisone, rheumatologists thought that they had finally conquered the terribly destructive symptoms of rheumatoid disease. The cortisone drugs were dramatically effective, at least initially. Most rheumatologists were convinced that this type of cortisone supplementation was required to offset a low or of inferior quality of natural cortisone production by their patients. They likened the situation to a diabetics need for more insulin. This excitement quickly faded when it was noticed that the extra cortisone would lose it’s effectiveness over time.
Hormones in the body are regulated by internal ‘feedback loops’. When excess synthetic cortisone is detected, the adrenals (which are responsible for making natural cortisone) responded by lowering their production. Over time the adrenal glands would actually shrink. This left the patient in an even more perilous circumstance. If they missed their daily dose of synthetic cortisone the body (now with atrophied adrenals) couldn’t respond by making up the difference.
To make things worse, high doses of synthetic cortisone led to ulcers, weight gain, increased blood pressure, diabetes, premature cataracts and osteoporosis. Less obvious were the problems from induced immunosuppression. Cortisone drugs were an engraved invitation for opportunistic organisms (viruses, fungi, etc.) to multiply. Plantar warts could emerge. Any warm, moist areas of the body were especially prone to fungal infections.
By contrast the physicians working with mentally ill patients had no breakthrough drugs during this time. Psychotherapy was a mainstay but was ineffective for the vast numbers of patients with more severe problems. Most of these cases were institutionalized in mental hospitals.
These settings provided a unique opportunity for physicians. Doctors were forced to come to their patients to observe, diagnose and treat rather than the converse. More importantly the entire environment of the mental hospital was fairly consistent and could be controlled somewhat, especially when compared to the outside world. It was an extraordinary chance for doctors to have access to the entire climate of their patients and observe their goings on day or night.
Theron Randolph, M.D. made most of his discoveries while working at such mental institutions. His initial practice was limited to psychiatry. Once he observed the impact of environmental conditions (i.e. – foods, chemicals, inhaled allergens, etc.) on his patient’s mental status he tried to share it with the psychiatric community and was summarily scorned for these new ideas. He decided he needed a better understanding of the field of immunology to help his patients so he returned to school and added this discipline to his medical repertoire’.
William Philpott, M.D. was another psychiatrist that made an impact in this area. Philpott initially resisted the idea that any type of allergy could be involved with the behavior of his patients. He had the good fortune to be exposed to many fine physicians in the field of allergy. They documented case after case showing such associations.
At the request of S. Klotz, M.D. (a physician that he held in the highest esteem) he read the works of Drs. Rinkel, Zeller and Randolph. The evidence was overwhelming. Finally he confronted himself with a decision. Should he dismiss these new ideas out of hand and rationalize that all these doctors were wrong, that they simply didn’t understand enough about psychiatry, or should he let the evidence speak for itself? Once he overcame this hurdle he was able to make an enormous contribution into understanding the biochemistry of individuals suffering maladaptive reactions. His outstanding book BRAIN ALLERGIES outlined these important insights.
Dr. Randolph realized that the best medicine for his patients suffering from maladapted reactions was to simply avoid the offending substances. In most cases patients could immediately improve their environment (and their health status) by perhaps repairing their leaky gas stove, closing paint cans tightly, making sure bedding was dust free or removing moldy objects from the house. Foods however presented a different problem. We all have to eat.
Dr. Randolph would initially ask that all severe food allergens be completely removed from the patient’s diet. Usually after three to six months of complete avoidance many patients could reintroduce these foods back into their diet on a limited basis. Unfortunately he found that his patients would very often develop sensitivities to new foods, almost anything, especially if it was eaten in a repetitive manner .
To avoid this dilemma he asked patients to eat as wide a variety of foods as possible and devised several ‘spacing’ strategies. He found if a food, say an orange, was only eaten once every four days, that the patient would probably avoid developing a sensitivity to it. This is the basis for what is now known as a ‘rotation diet’. Foods are spaced apart by a minimum of four days for each rotation in a patients diet.
Some of the rules of the diet were quite elaborate. Randolph found that foods from the same families (i.e. oranges and grapefruit — both from the citrus food family) needed to be spaced. In other words since oranges and grapefruit fell in the same citrus family they should not be eaten on the same day. In fact if you ate an orange on Monday you should provide a space of two days before eating your grapefruit on Wednesday. Re-learning how to eat in this manner could be a challenge, but worthwhile considering the dividends of drug free relief of most of your chronic symptoms.
Dr. Philpott adopted these techniques and his patients experienced similar success. He provided important new research by making biochemical measurements of his patients, comparing them to healthy individuals. One significant discovery found that his ‘maladapted’ patients displayed abnormal amino acid profiles in contrast to those of the healthy control subjects. Amino acids are THE major building block for all cellular and chemical (including hormonal) activities in the body. Philpott perceived that if there were a prolonged shortage of these amino acid building blocks, that a vicious, degenerative biochemical cycle would ensue.
Food is mechanically broken down by the chewing action in the mouth. Enzymes are secreted at this time initiating chemical breakdown. The stomach generates hydrochloric acid to continue the process of turning the rather large food molecules into smaller molecules that can be more easily absorbed in the small intestines. Next the food heads through the duodenum where bicarbonate is released to turn the acid mix into a slightly basic pH. Here the pancreas excretes more digestive enzymes and the food proceeds to the small intestines for absorption. If everything works perfectly the protein portions of food will be completely broken down to it’s smallest base molecule — the amino acid.
Philpott found that if his patients took amino acid and pancreatic enzyme supplements prior to eating as well as specific vitamins (primarily B-6, B-3 and C) that reactions to known food allergens would be lessened. This led him to believe that amino acid deficiencies were the major culprit in starting an ever increasing downward spiral of needed biochemicals. If amino acids were not available in adequate quantities there wouldn’t be enough building blocks for the body to create more digestive enzymes (not to mention hormones, antibodies, and materials for basic cellular regeneration). If enzyme production was compromised, so would digestion (the process of converting large food molecules into amino acids).
With each digestive cycle the percentage of food broken down completely into amino acids would drop (due to the lack of enzymes). At the same time there would be an increased percentage of peptides (larger food molecules) that are the culprits inducing maladaptive food reactions. The body would also be systematically starved for certain nutrients. Mega-supplementation of the above appeared to be the obvious way to reverse this trend. The fact that this mega-supplementation did work somewhat was a key impetus for the multi-billion dollar health food supplement industry that exists today.
Generally speaking the basic, caloric food components fall into three broad categories — fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables are our primary natural carbohydrate sources. Dr. Philpott noticed that a high percentage of his patients had what was termed disordered carbohydrate metabolism or carbohydrate intolerance. His patients didn’t seem to convert carbohydrates into glucose (a major energy source, particularly for the brain) in a manner consistent with healthy persons.
Philpott monitored the glucose present in the bloodstream at different time intervals following the ingestion of a test meal. Healthy individuals demonstrated a predictable pattern.
The first hour after eating, blood sugar (or glucose) levels would rise slowly and then peak. This corresponded to the time-line for the normal digestive process. On average it takes 30 to 45 minutes for food to reach the small intestines. After cresting, blood sugar started a gradual decline continuing throughout the next hour. At the end of this period glucose levels would come to rest very close to the initial fasting measurement (the level noted prior to the meal).
This decline in blood sugar was due to the release of insulin causing glucose to be moved from the bloodstream and into the tissues. Once there it would be transported across the cell walls and converted to useful energy. Finally, during the next 3-4 hours between meals, glucose levels would remain essentially stable. Stored glycogen in the liver and muscles provide a buffering effect during this time.
Most of Philpott’s ‘maladapted’ patients demonstrated a diabetic curve or displayed just the opposite, a hypoglycemic blood glucose curve. The diabetic curve was characterized by a very large and rapid jump in blood sugar levels after ingestion of the test meal. Instead of cresting, the diabetic curve reaches it’s peak and flattens out at that elevated level for several hours. The diabetic feels weak after eating since the energy potential from the glucose is locked in the blood and has trouble making it’s way into the tissues where it can be used.
Conversely the hypoglycemic usually has a rapid rise and then a precipitous drop in blood sugar levels. Their blood sugar usually dips well below fasting levels within only hours after eating. The hypoglycemic can have a myriad of symptoms develop when this happens. We all need a modicum of glucose in the bloodstream to fuel the brain. The liver and muscles must hold sufficient glycogen that can be converted to energy and drawn upon in times of stress. The hypoglycemic lacks this reserve while the diabetic has difficulties converting this reserve into energy. Both diabetic and hypoglycemic tendencies put a huge stress on the human physiology.
Up until this time medicine considered these abnormal blood glucose curves as only being related to the ingestion of carbohydrates. Dr. Philpott discovered that these types of abnormal (and physiologically stressful) blood sugar reactions were not limited to carbohydrates. They could be evoked by foods of all types, including fats, carbohydrates or proteins. Petrochemicals would also induce abnormal sugar levels in susceptible persons.
Dr. Philpott hypothesized that an abnormal blood sugar curve was simply a general expression of some sort of undiscovered maladaptation. It added a tremendous, often hidden stress, to the physiology of his patients. It’s important to reiterate that any form of maladaptation will, given enough time, express itself in chronic degenerative disease including arthritis, diabetes, mental disorders, etc. These can and do exist individually or in combination. Philpott had case histories of many patients that first presented with rheumatoid disease and then later with diabetes. He also observed cases where diabetes would be a pre-cursor for arthritis. The sequence of the appearance of these chronic diseases seemed to be dependent on the genetic make-up of the individual.