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Dr. Kennedy, health healing medical medicineby Ron Kennedy, M.D.
(For an appointment with Dr. Kennedy in
Santa Rosa, CA, write to nexus@sonic.net)

Nutritional Medicine Approach

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The Standardized Allopathic Approach

First, let us define what the nutritional medicine approach is not. It is not standardized allopathic medicine. The word "allopathy" was coined by Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy. The roots are Greek and mean "other suffering," or "other illness." Hahnemann was pointing out that standard medicine attempts to combat symptoms by producing other symptoms to cancel the original symptoms. His point was that this is a relatively fruitless endeavor in that this balance is almost never achieved. All this becomes less obscure when you think of, for example, the patient who has high blood pressure and is prescribed a medication which tends to produce the opposite condition, low blood pressure. However, in the process it also produces other symptoms, for example nausea, headache, dizziness, "brain fog," etc.

Standardized allopathic medicine does not attempt to actually cure disease, but rather to simply suppress the expression of disease symptoms. For example, if you have a headache, and you take a pill for it — aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc. — the cause of the headache, perhaps a congested colon badly in need of a cleanse, an allergic condition, environmental toxin, or whatever, has not been dealt with. If you have a runny nose and take an antihistamine, you may suppress the runny nose, but whatever caused the problem in the first place has not been diagnosed or treated. If you are nervous, and the doctor prescribes a tranquilizer, you may not be nervous anymore but the cause of the nervousness remains unknown. If you have gallstones, the doctor cuts them out, but you never know what went wrong with your body to produce gallstones.

(This is all justified by "double blind studies" in which the drugs are proven to have an action. If they have an action they are approved by the FDA, never mind that the basic disease processes are left unaddressed. Meanwhile brainwashed doctors sneer at unpatentable natural remedies because they do not have "double blind" studies behind them. Never mind that the double blind studies required by the FDA are far to expensive to carry out to be justified on the probability of making a huge financial killing later because, remember, no patent, no exclusive rights, no humongous price for these natural remedies. Ugly situation, isn't it? That is one price we pay for the benefits of capitalism.)

If you stop the drug in one of the above situations (headache, runny nose, nervousness), the symptom will return. So you either remain on the drug or experience the symptom, take your choice. If you take the drug, you can be sure you are, at best, stressing your body to get rid of the drug which is, as far as the body is concerned, a foreign chemical. At worst you are putting a carcinogen or teratogen (causing cancer or birth defects) into your body, which has not yet been identified as a carcinogen or teratogen.

The classic, but by no means only example of this is Thalidomide in the 1960s. Touted as a breakthrough anti-anxiety agent, originating in Europe, it was taken by millions, including pregnant women. Many of these women, about 5,000 in the U.S. alone, then gave birth to babies with phocomelia, a condition featuring short or absent arms. Thalidomide was approved by the FDA, the same government agency which bans substances natural to, and already found in nature and the human body — for example the amino acid L-tryptophan which was banned for years (on the thin excuse that a contaminated batch from Japan once caused some problems). L-tryptophan is a wonderful antidepressant and sleep-inducing agent, but it would compete with the newer antidepressants, and cause the pharmaceutical industry serious loss of income. The FDA would not allow it, despite that, for many people, it was the only thing that worked. When it returned the price had tripled. Figure out where the money went and you will know why it was banned in the first place. This is a thorn in the side of holistic doctors who prefer to recommend safe substances, found in nature, which handle the basic cause of an illness.

In contrast, if an allopathic doctor does not understand the illness, but if the symptoms are, nevertheless, successfully suppressed with drugs, the doctor is likely to proclaim a "cure," even in the presence of unpleasant side effects and who-knows-what long-term damage.

This applies to many diseases for which patients come to doctors' offices; for example: acne, cataracts, bursitis, congestive heart failure, diabetes, emphysema, fatigue, glaucoma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, PMS, scleroderma and a host of others. These all are diseases which are not understood by standardized medicine, yet there are synthetic drugs available to suppress the associated symptoms.

The doctor rarely pays attention to the diet which may be contributing to the disease process, and if there is a comment made, it reflects the training the doctor received in grade school, because he or she did not receive any significant training in nutrition in medical school. Then comes the prescription for an expensive, laboratory-created, synthetic drug featuring a molecule often made to resemble a molecule which works better and is found in nature but cannot be patented (the progestins for natural progesterone, for example).

Many diseases, like gallstones and coronary artery disease, can usually be handled with nutritional medicine rather than surgery with less expense, less physical pain and less risk. No one should submit to surgery without first finding out if the disease can be handled in another way. The surgeon will not always tell you and may not always know. Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware.

The Nutritional Medicine Approach

Nutritional medicine, on the other hand, rejects the use of synthetic drugs on the basis that nature makes better pharmaceuticals than the lab of man can ever make. The first natural pharmaceuticals we concern ourselves with are the foods and liquids which are ingested. Averaged out over your life, food, air and water are the most powerful medicines you will take, and an adequate intake of healthy food is the beginning of nutritional health. For many people, especially those under the age of forty, this is all that is required for a healthy body.

While your nutritional doctor can advise you about a healthy diet, it is up to you to learn what is health promoting and to convert this knowledge into a pleasurable lifestyle. For more information in this direction, go to this hyperlink: Nutrition. Most disease, in the view of the nutritional doctor, is an outcome of many years of unbalanced nutrition. It is possible that many diseases represent starvation states of specific enzyme systems in the body. Aging may have a lot to do with a progressive loss of enzyme systems which leaves the body with a limited repertoire of pathways to produce the energy required of living processes. This loss of enzyme systems may be due to suboptimal levels of vitamins and minerals in the body, ingestion of chemical-laced, processed food, or the taking of synthetic drugs, all over a long period of time.

Much research needs to be done in this area. However, vested capitalist interests (pharmaceutical companies and government) have no interest in spending money to find out things which, if made known, will result in decreased profits for the pharmaceutical and processed food industries and, in the long run, the surgical industry and the government itself.

The FDA/pharmaceutical industry/surgical industry/food industry complex is an "Old Boys' Club." People frequently make career moves from one of these organizations to the next, and they do not leave their professional bias behind them. The FDA was commissioned to represent the interests of the people. It is very questionable that they do, or ever did.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health), where most of our tax dollars for medical research are spent, sits out on the periphery of this situation. A few years ago, under intense public pressure, they established a small corner (about one percent) of their mighty organization to study progressive medicine. Vitamins and minerals are being studied through the NIH, but very slowly.

Vitamins and minerals, by definition, cannot be manufactured in the body. Therefore, vitamin and mineral deficiencies become a real possibility. There are other substances, not strictly vitamins or minerals, which can be manufactured in the body (niacinamide and glucosamine for example), but as we age we are able to make less than is necessary for perfect functioning. These kinds of substances have important roles in nutritional medicine.

Most vitamins are less well absorbed as we age. Therefore, just when we need more of them, we are getting less (same situation as many hormones). Premature aging, a common condition, has a lot to do with poor absorption of nutrients.

Vitamins and minerals may be taken orally, given as an injection in the muscle or infused directly into the venous system. Oral vitamins and minerals are important, and I believe everyone, especially people over forty, should be taking a well-rounded preparation of vitamins and minerals daily, even twice daily. I do, my wife does, and we offer it to each of our children as well. This is a great way to offer your body the maximum opportunity to remain healthy. I believe a healthy diet, exercise, adequate rest, and vitamin/mineral supplementation to be the best method of disease prevention available.

Rationale for Parenteral (Intravenous and Intramuscular) Vitamin and Mineral Therapy

By the time symptoms of disease have made their appearance, it is sometimes too late for oral vitamins and minerals to make much difference. Nevertheless, these same vitamins and minerals, given intramuscularly or intravenously, can benefit many diseases. At first glance, this looks like a contradiction. If nutrients can be used to handle disease, it should not matter by which route they enter the body. However, there is a good reason why it does matter.

It is a fact of biology that all life, except for viruses, is composed of cells and cell products. When we attempt to bring a disease under control, what we are really trying to do is provide cells with all the nutrients they need to get the job done. If the cells are not healthy, we are not healthy, since our bodies are composed entirely of cells and cell products.

So we approach the problem of curing disease as a problem of "the cell." We think of the health of a single cell to clarify our thinking, understanding "the cell" is actually billions of cells. We want to provide the cell what it needs to exist in a healthy condition. What the cell needs to be maximally healthy is always found in nature and is never found in a pharmaceutical lab test tube.

However to work, these nutrients must be admitted into the cell, through the cell wall, to the inside of the cell. This is called "transport" and constitutes work done by the cell and thus requires energy. The best nutrient formula does no good when the nutrients remain in the extracellular space (outside the cell), circulating around the body, waiting to be filtered out by the kidneys.

There is another method by which nutrients enter cells: by absorption. Nutrients slip through the wall without requiring the participation of the cell or any work from the cell. The cell wall is thus said to be "semipermeable"; i.e., it will keep out all but a small percentage of nutrients unless they are actively transported from the outside of the cell to the inside. Absorption is a minor method of nutrient entry into cells, under ordinary conditions. It depends on a "concentration gradient," as the biochemists call it; i.e., it depends on nutrients being in a higher concentration on the outside of the cell compared to the inside of the cell.

Now comes the point: if the cell is sick, it does not perform its functions well. One of these functions which it does not perform well is transport of nutrients across the cell wall. Therefore, we have a Catch-22: the cell is sick and does not transport well. What is needed to make the cell healthy are nutrients inside the cell; however, the cell is too sick to transport the nutrients in sufficient quantity to create health. What to do?

The answer is simple: give nutrients in a concentration high enough to force those nutrients into the cell by means of a high concentration gradient and the ability of the cell wall to absorb without expending its energy on active transport. When given in high concentration, IV or IM nutrients enter the cell by shear force of numbers. Highly concentrated on the outside, the "semipermeable" cell wall admits the nutrients due to the high concentration gradient which has been created.

Therefore, if the cell can only absorb ten percent of what it needs under conditions of usual concentration, and we increase the concentration of nutrient available by 1000% (ten times the usual), we automatically increase absorption to 100% [10% (0.10) x 1000 = 100%] of normal. Then, provided we introduced the proper nutrients, the cell becomes healthy and able to transport needed nutrients when those nutrients are in usual concentrations. The numbers used here are not meant to be accurate for any particular nutrient but simply to demonstrate the principle involved.

The only way to increase the concentration of a nutrient by this "1000%" is by intravenous or intramuscular administration. Why is this? Because the cells of the stomach and intestine can transport and absorb only so fast, and this is not fast enough to create a high concentration gradient throughout the body. IV and IM administration bypasses the stomach and produces an instant large increase in concentration, which is presented to every cell in the body. The intravenous route is especially useful for this purpose, because no time is required for absorption from an injection site in a muscle.

It is not always necessary to resort to the "parenteral" (intravenous or intramuscular) routes of administration, and we do not do this unless it is necessary. Many diseases can be handled by large oral doses of vitamins and minerals, but when this is not effective, parenteral administration provides a real benefit.

Because the effects on normal body function of synthetic drugs are unpredictable, especially when given parentally, there is a great fear of this route of administration. Most people have known or heard of someone who has died from an IM or IV synthetic drug. The situation is different with vitamins and minerals. These substances are natural to the body and, when given in proper doses by an experienced physician, are as safe as the day is long. "Idiosyncratic" reactions, which often happen with synthetic drugs, do not happen with substances which are natural to the body.

Formal research into the effects of large doses of vitamins on disease states is not progressing as fast as you might think. Vitamins and minerals are not patentable items, and therefore no great profits are be made in their preparation and sale. Pharmaceutical companies do not come loose from their billions of dollars earmarked for research if there is not a large profit to be made.

What research there is, is being done by clinicians, the people who render care directly to patients. This research is done on an empirical, clinical basis: try it, and see if it works. If it works, tell your colleagues, so their patients can benefit.

Here are some related hyperlinks:


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The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.
Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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