Treating the source or treating the symptoms of the source? That is a question for the human condition. Medicines make trillions of dollars a year treating symptoms. If medicines treated the source to eliminate symptoms, how would the human condition improve?
COVID-19 brought a flurry of activity to quell symptoms, and a flurry of controversy in the process. The human condition is driven genetically with some results we cannot change, and some that are 100% in our control. The science of epigenetics says 5% of disease risk factors are in the cannot change category, and 95% are related to our environment and choices regarding foods, exercise, and stress management. Early on in the pandemic, those with higher risk of severe symptoms and death were those who were obese, overweight, and over 60 with additional health problems. Was this really a surprise? To me as a fitness expert, not at all.
We cannot consciously control the ingredients of our genetic material. All humans have the same genetic code, it is just arranged differently for each of us. What dictates 95% of our gene expression are nutrition, air pollution, physical activity, stress, water intake, what we think, and what we believe. All of these factors directly contribute to our immune systems and the ability to fight viruses, bacteria, and environmental stressors. When these stressors overload our genes’ ability to adapt, we are more likely to have severe symptoms from viruses and bacteria.
I work in a health club, which is populated by generally healthy individuals. Yes, some members and employees contracted COVID-19. Nothing can stop a virus from mutating and spreading, that is scientifically proven. Unlike places where people with high disease risk factors lived or worked, there was not an outbreak of severe infections. Is this coincidence, I think not, it is more scientific evidence through gene expression. Healthy individuals have a higher antioxidant level through proper nutrition, hydration, and exercise, than those that are sedentary with poor nutrition.
Regardless of what side of the political aisle you are on, the one constant is nobody in public health discussed the SCIENCE of improving our immune systems to naturally fight infections. Instead, public health said gyms are infection spreaders and then don’t leave the house unless you have too. If public health is really about public health, they would say to exercise 150 minutes per week at a moderate-to-vigorous level, do weight training twice per week, and eat a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, with plenty of water on a daily basis. That message never got out as your body’s best defense against severe symptoms and death, even though the CDC has evidence to show it.
Back to the question beginning this blog, treat the source or the symptoms? By treating the source, proper diet and exercise, the risk of severe symptoms take care of themselves in 95% of the population. The human body is the most resilient and efficient machine on earth. Unfortunately, 1/3 of Americans treat it miserably, and almost half or more terribly. Yes, that corresponds to 1/3 being obese and half or more overweight. No medicine can improve our immune system, it only treats the symptoms of disease the immune system cannot handle. Medicines can only go so far on their treatment efficacy. When the body is in shambles from disease and abuse, the dyke will have more holes than fingers to plug the holes.
I am my own testimonial to the contents of this blog. Since 1997, I have not seen a doctor for illness, or have been on any prescriptions. At the age of 46, I eat, drink, and consume alcohol moderately. My weekly exercise exceeds the 150 minutes, yes, and I do not jog or run for any of my aerobic movement. Am I a freak of nature? No. Am I superhuman? No. I take care of my body and trust it to work properly because I treat it properly. Funny how that all works, isn’t it.