Battle Disease with Nutrition

Assorted coloured pills by pill bottle, close up

Paul Tearle

So often, our first impulse when we’re not feeling well is to call the doctor to get a drug. But there are other ways to restore us to tip-top shape.

Chiropractor Cheryl Shea of Complete Wellness Center recommends supplements to keep bodies functioning their best. “Minerals, in particular, are depleted from the soil, compared to 80 years ago,” says Shea. She says cooking and food processing deplete minerals and enzymes even further.

Shea cites a double-blind study conducted in France over a seven-year period that compared people on no supplements with those on low-dose antioxidants. The supplemented group had a 37 percent lower rate of heart disease and a 33 percent lower incidence of cancer. In her practice, Shea has found that people can have trouble digesting food or supplements. It’s often due to stress and the overuse of antibiotics, so she works on undoing those effects. “By identifying stressors such as high blood sugar, food allergies and work, I can use supplements judiciously. Aloe and glutamine help repair the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. I also frequently use omega-3 oils, enzymes, chromium to help regulate blood sugar, B vitamins, and multi-mineral supplements.” She encourages the use of local organic produce, and says our greatest tool for health is our fork and what we put on it.

Rob Elder of Metro Chiropractic and Nutritional Wellness Center makes the distinction between what are called nutriceuticals and whole food nutrition. The former combines the words ‘nutrition’ and ‘pharmaceutical,’ and means a food that provides medical benefits. Elder uses small amounts of nutriceutical-concentrated supplements to jump-start the healing process, but he uses mostly whole food nutrition in his practice, he explains. “Medical professionals often focus on symptoms; I want to find the cause of the symptoms,” he says. “Why can’t the person lose weight? Is it a thyroid or a bowel issue?”

He relates one case in which the patient had very tight muscles all the time. “We were always massaging them,” he recalls. “I asked about her bowels, and she admitted she was very irregular. Once we solved that problem with the proper diet and supplements, she lost weight and her muscles relaxed.”

    Whole food nutritional supplements in the form of tablets and capsules (Elder prefers the brand Standard Process), combined with a proper diet tailored to the individual’s needs, helps the body heal, he says. After the diet is stabilized and the body rebalanced, patients often can go off the supplements. “All supplements aren’t created equal,” Elder notes, warning people not to be fooled by attractive prices and mass-produced products. “Vitamin C from a health food store or Walgreen’s isn’t really vitamin C; it’s ascorbic acid, the part of the vitamin C made in a lab. Cataplex C, on the other hand, is a Standard Process whole food complex with all the components of natural vitamin C.”

Chiropractor Sean Branham of Premier Health Care specializes in endocrine issues like type II diabetes and hypothyroidism. He does comprehensive blood testing to customize a treatment plan to each patient. “We can reverse many conditions and get some patients into a non-diabetic state,” Branham says. He says each diabetic case is different, but medical doctors tend to treat all diabetic patients with a broad brush. “Their doctor tells them to lose weight and exercise but they don’t know how. We test the organs involved in diabetes and get baseline tests for later comparison. We customize the diet with each meal and snack to each patient because there are different causes of diabetes: gastrointestinal infections, parasites or generalized inflammation.”

Branham uses nutriceuticals specific to that patient’s needs and reports drastic changes in short periods of time thanks to the effects of diet. With diabetes, they’ve seen a reduction in fasting blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure thanks to herbs used to change markers at the cellular level. “Then they can take their lab results back to their primary physicians. As their health improves and they get off their medications, patients see improvement in things like erectile dysfunction, vision and vascular quality of the eyes,” Branham reports. “One patient lost 45 pounds and cured her acid reflux as a side benefit.”

He says low thyroid is the same. “Many people we see with hypothyroidism have been on thyroid medication for years. Eighty percent of them actually have Hashimoto’s syndrome, an autoimmune condition. Patients don’t normally even get tested for Hashimoto’s because there is no drug for it. When we treat their hypothyroidism as an immune system issue, they get better.”