Modern medicine signs its name with “allopathy” when pressed for its roots. Allopathy basically means that we come against disease (pathos). If bacteria invade our body’s sanctuary, we respond with anti-bacterials. If cancer arises, we respond with anti-cancer agents called chemotherapy. This paradigm has served us well for decades in the acute war against disease.
Yet, the face of our enemy has changed with the epidemic of chronic illness. The acute war could often be won and finished. The chronic war rarely comes to a close except in death, not the outcome we hope for. Our “anti” tools at best slow the decline or produce trench warfare.
As I listened to a lecture by Dr. Robert Naviaux discussing the Cell Danger response, he offered a different approach to the chronic illness epidemic. He agrees we have to remove the triggers which hijacked out health, dragging it into illness. However, as the burden of environmental stressors has grown, our bodies are less likely to return to health without help. Rather than our cells shifting gears through a metabolic process called the cell danger response which leads them to wellness, they remained trapped at different steps of the process. In these sticking points, the cells behave in ways that cause ongoing symptoms. The tissues, organs, and bodies which arise from these dysfunctioning cells are left with disability and suboptimal life.
He proposes the broader concept of “salugenesis”, or the promotion of wellness. He described the metabolic pathways which lead to health restoration. These pathways occur as mitochondria, our cells energy factories, progress through different stages. These stages remain nearly identical regardless of the chronic disease under investigation. Inflammation is followed by proliferation which is followed by anti-inflammation at the cell level each with identifiable changes in the cell’s mitochondria.
By understanding these mitochondrial and healing cycle changes, we may identify means of encouraging these processes in a beneficial direction. If we can help our cells move through inflammatory and proliferative stages into the resting anti-inflammatory stage, we may see subjective and objective restorations in health. With the role that this process plays in aging, we may even see prolongation of life.
What are the keys to “salugenesis” which God hardwired into our amazing metabolism? Science has unveiled many such keys such as NrF2 activators, anti-inflammatory fats and herbs, and lifestyle factors like exercise. We may already use these to our benefit even as we learn their application and search for more modulators of the cell’s healing cycle. Just one of the many reasons that a functional MD like myself enjoys his work restoring patient’s health.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.