The Future of Medicine
The Future of Medicine
Today we are at the crossroads for the future of medicine. Health care costs currently account for more than 18 percent of the American economy. When the #1 industry in your country is devoted to taking care of sick people, that doesn’t bode well for the future. Furthermore, we don’t seem to get a very good return on investment since by nearly every standard used to measure health status, the overall quality of America’s health system is pretty abysmal compared to the rest of the industrialized world.
We are constantly told that modern medicine is making great strides in curing one chronic disease after another. We are also told that cures for chronic diseases that are currently untreatable such as Alzheimer’s will soon be possible. Then why are health care costs spiraling out of control? This is especially true in America, where we spend more money on medical research than all the countries in the world combined. We also have the most modern equipment and the best medical specialists in the world. Yet we spend more on health care per capita than every country in the world, but have very little to show for it.
The definition of an idiopathic medical condition is that it has an unknown origin. That’s a nice way of saying “I don’t know.” What causes cancer? “I don’t know.” What causes depression? “I don’t know.” What cause autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis? “I don’t know.” “What causes Alzheimer’s? “I don’t know.”
Since modern medicine doesn’t know the causes of chronic disease, it simply treats the symptoms without ever knowing what actually caused the disease in the first place. That is equivalent to saying, “fake it until you understand it.”
Why Chronic Disease is Different Than Infectious Disease
The great success of medicine in the past has come from its victories over infectious disease. For an acute infectious disease, you can identify the real cause of the disease and then develop a drug to stop it. Vaccines to prevent viral infections and antibiotics to treat bacterial infections are great examples.
Chronic disease is different. The initial event that eventually leads to a chronic disease may have occurred at a much earlier period in time and actually may no longer be present in the body. Such an example might be constant exposure to sun as a teenager, and then having skin cancer develop decades later. However, not every teenager who went to the beach develops skin cancer. Why? I don’t know. That’s why chronic diseases are idiopathic diseases. We tend to make up stories why they develop, but unlike acute infectious diseases there is often no clear reason. However, I feel that chronic disease may be a consequence of the body’s failure to mount a strong Resolution Response to completely heal the damage caused by any initial injury to the organ. In essence, chronic disease may be better understood as the result of blockage of your Resolution Response. Any unresolved cellular inflammation caused by an initial injury can be further amplified by new factors such as diet- and/or gut-induced inflammation that had nothing to do with the original injury. The damaged cells in the organ are caught in a biological dead end of continuing reinjury and inability to fully heal until eventually there is loss of organ function with increasing fibrosis. That loss of function is then given a name indicating it is a chronic disease. For some it may be diabetes, for others it might be heart disease, still others it may be Alzheimer’s.
Let me give you a personal example that started me on a journey to understand why my family had a history of early mortality from heart disease. Forty-six years ago, my father died of heart disease at age 53 and he was a world-class athlete. What he really died from was a blocked Resolution Response. The initial injury that usually causes the development of an atherosclerotic lesion is the turbulent flow that continually takes place at the branch points of the arteries. Normally a strong Resolution Response would completely heal the injury. However, if the Resolution Response is blocked, the unresolved initial injury can now be amplified by diet-induced inflammation to develop into an atherosclerotic lesion filled with dead (i.e. necrotic) cells. This is known as a soft vulnerable plaque. If that plaque ruptures due to increased cellular inflammation, then the necrotic debris inside the plaque is dumped into the bloodstream initiating a rapid clot formation that usually results in sudden death. The initial cause of the inflammation in my father’s artery may likely have been an injury caused by turbulent blood flow amplified by diet-induced inflammation, but the real cause of his death was ultimately a lack of a robust Resolution Response. This is why our current medically thinking of “one cause, one drug” that was so successful in treating acute infectious disease fails to adequately describe the development of chronic disease.
Yes, there are drugs that can manage the symptoms of chronic disease, but those drugs do not cure the disease because they can’t activate the Resolution Response essential for healing to take place. Furthermore, those same drugs can now cause numerous side effects (like damage to the mitochondria) that not only further inhibit the Resolution Response, but also can start a new series of injuries that lead to the acceleration of new chronic diseases.
Injuries are random and can occur simultaneously in different parts of your body, but the healing of those injuries requires a highly orchestrated Resolution Response to resolve the inflammation the injury initially generated and then repair the damage caused by that injury. This is why inflammation and the Resolution Response are on-demand responses. Once the injury is healed, both inflammation and the Resolution Response are turned off until the next injury occurs. This is why following the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system must be constant dietary lifestyle because the Resolution Response must always be ready to address the inflammation caused by the random injury. The clinical markers that define the Zone indicates your ability to activate each stage of the Resolution Response when needed.
Furthermore, as you age your Resolution Response becomes less efficient, so you must even work harder on the dietary factors that can maintain your Resolution Response at full strength. Consider maintaining an optimal Resolution Response as your ultimate health insurance policy.
Definition of a Cure
Hippocrates stated that the primary responsibility of a physician is to prevent disease. Failing that goal, then the physician should cure the disease. And if that isn’t possible, then the physician should reduce the pain.
The best way to prevent a chronic disease is to maintain a state of wellness supported by an optimal Resolution Response. The end result is healthy aging with an increased healthspan. Unfortunately for many, “healthy aging” has come to mean managing chronic diseases with lifetime use of drugs. Obviously, that reality is a far cry from Hippocrates’ original vision of how medicine should operate.
How do you know if your Resolution Response is working at optimal levels? One definition might be the lack of any chronic disease. You might have some unresolved cellular inflammation, but there is not enough organ damage that results in having to take a medication for a lifetime to manage its symptoms. Nonetheless, this is how most people would define wellness. However, my definition of wellness is stricter. To be well you have to have a robust Resolution Response always on alert to reduce the inflammation caused by random injuries. This is only possible if all three clinical markers of the Zone are in their appropriate ranges. By that criteria, I estimate about one percent of Americans are probably well.
Then if you can’t prevent a disease, how do you know if you are cured? The definition of a cure might be having no symptoms of the chronic disease for an extended period of time without the use of any drug to manage those symptoms. But for how long? A classic case might type 2 diabetes where very aggressive dietary therapy can normalize blood sugar levels and maintain them. If your blood sugar levels (and really your HbA1c levels) are normal for at least two years without any drugs, then it would be a reasonable assumption that you no longer have diabetes. Five years is even better, and ten years more so. However, the stabilization of blood glucose levels can only occur if your beta cells in the pancreas have healed and are now working more effectively.
The same is true of hypertension. You should be able state confidently that you are cured of hypertension if your blood pressure remains normal for at least five years without the use of any drugs. Thirty million Americans have diabetes and 75 million Americans have hypertension. It doesn’t look like either chronic disease will be cured in the foreseeable future.
At least diabetes and hypertension chronic diseases are defined by numbers. Healing other chronic diseases are not so easy to determine, so rather than curing, you should be able to manage them without drugs. If you have rheumatoid arthritis and the pain is absent for more than five years without using a drug, you probably have managed the disease. If you have macular degeneration or optical nerve damage and your eyesight improves significantly over the next two years without using a drug, you have probably successfully managed macular degeneration or optical nerve damage. Cancer is trickier since cancer drugs and radiation are known to cause new cancers that may take a decade to develop, so in my opinion you would need at least ten years (not the standard five years) of cancer-free life without any drug intervention to be considered truly managing the disease. Regaining cognitive skills or not having depression are even more subjective, but they can be assessed by standard testing. Heart disease is even more difficult since surrogate markers like cholesterol levels don’t count since half of the people who have normal cholesterol levels die of heart disease. Bottom line, we are a long way from managing most chronic diseases without the need for constant drug therapy.
The reason may be the wild card in curing or managing many chronic disease is the levels of fibrosis that may have developed from lack of a robust Resolution Response in the past. If that area of the organ is covered by scar tissue, then the function in that area of the organ is probably never coming back. If enough of the organ has fibrosis, it’s function will be permanently compromised. Even under those conditions of extensive existing fibrosis, the use of the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system should be able to significantly reduce the current levels of medication to the minimum required to better manage that chronic disease.
A Potential Solution
Is there a solution to our current medical morass? I think there is, but it requires rebooting medicine and going back to the earliest beginning of medicine that started with Hippocrates.
Let’s start with three more of his statements that still echo clearly today.
- Do the patient no harm
- Let food be your medicine, let medicine be your food
- Disease begins in the gut
The power of the Zone Diet is that it can do no harm. You have to eat, but you should also eat smart. By that I mean understanding how the food we eat affects our hormones and the expression of our genes that control the Resolution Response.
Let’s face it, drugs have side effects. That’s why they have what is called a therapeutic zone. If you give the patient too little of the drug, it has no benefits. It’s essentially a placebo. Above some upper level, a drug has toxic effects. Between those two ranges is the drug’s therapeutic zone. The benefit of a drug is that patient compliance is usually better than with a diet. Just pop a pill into your mouth or have the doctor give you an injection and you don’t have to change your diet (of course that’s what probably got you into the problem in the first place).
However, the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system also uses concentrated nutrients to enhance the resolution and repair of cellular inflammation. Any concentrated nutrient can have side effects, this is why you have to have them extremely purified to reduce any such possibility. This can now be done with purified such as ultra-refined omega-3 concentrates and refined polyphenol extracts. Nonetheless, the extent of their use is governed by maintaining the clinical markers for the Zone ensures that the use of supplementation with high-purity omega-3 fatty acid concentrates and polyphenol extracts will have no toxicity. The appropriate ultimate dosage with such supplements is determined by the clinical markers of the Zone because the ranges of those markers are known to be strongly associated with a longer healthspan.
Usually the only thing that stops dietary compliance of such purified omega-3 fatty acid concentrates and refined polyphenol extracts is their cost (they aren’t reimbursed like drugs) or lack of results (as you would expect when you take a placebo dose of either omega-3 fatty acids or polyphenols). This is why the levels of supplementation using highly-refined omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols you need to optimize the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system is ultimately determined by your blood levels thus taking into account genetic and biochemical diversity.
This brings me to the second point made by Hippocrates about letting food be your medicine. Diet has the largest therapeutic zone of any medical intervention, but you have to be very compliant to get consistent results. The reason that diet is a good starting point for treating virtually all chronic disease starts with the reduction of the intensity of diet-induced inflammation that is usually the major factor that blocks the Resolution Response. If that first stage of the Resolution Response (i.e., reduction of diet-induced inflammation) is complete, then you have a greater opportunity to resolve and then repair the tissue damage before fibrosis occurs. That is the molecular definition of healing. Since I believe unresolved cellular inflammation is the underlying cause of all chronic disease, then dietary programs to better reduce, resolve, and repair the damage caused by cellular inflammation should be the primary foundation for all medicine in the future.
Finally, our growing understanding of the complexity of the diet and its effect on generating inflammation in the body reinforces the third point made by Hippocrates that disease begins in the gut. If you expand the definition of the gut to include the food we consume, then this makes perfect sense. This means the reduction of the diet- and/or gut-induced inflammation caused by your diet must be the first obligatory step in treating any chronic disease as well as preventing it from developing in the first place.
A New Vision
This is why I believe the future of medicine will eventually have to embrace the basic principles articulated by Hippocrates to optimize the Resolution Response through understanding how hormones and gene expression can be controlled by the diet. This can be visualized below.
Changing of the levels of hormones (eicosanoids and resolvins) and gene transcription factors (NF-kB and AMP kinase) that control the Resolution Response is under your dietary control. Your success balancing these hormones and gene transcription factors are determined by the clinical markers of the Zone. If each of the markers of the Zone are in their appropriate ranges, then each step of the healing process is not likely to be inhibited. This balance cannot be accomplished with drugs, but it can be accomplished with the consistent use of the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system.
Reducing Drug Use
Combining the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system with existing drugs is likely to significantly reduce the amounts of any drug currently required to manage the symptoms of any chronic disease. A basic rule of pharmacology is that every time you reduce the dose of a drug by one-half, you will also reduce the side effects of that drug by a factor of four. That’s a great return on investment for simply following the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system.
The Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system has three distinct dietary components to reduce drug use to manage existing chronic disease: (1) the Zone Diet to reduce the intensity of cellular inflammation, (2) omega-3 fatty acids to resolve the remaining cellular inflammation, and (3) polyphenols to accelerate the repair of the tissue damage. Each dietary component of the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system has its own unique role in the Resolution Response, but to be totally effective they must be used in a biological systems-based approach to develop a highly personalized, but comprehensive strategy for addressing unresolved cellular inflammation based the on the 3 R’s of Reduce, Resolve, and Repair described in this book. Current drug technology simply doesn’t have that potential to achieve these necessary outcomes. That’s because the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition systems operates at a different level than drugs. In particular, it’s your ability to constantly balance that biological gyroscope consisting of gene transcription factors and hormones controlled by the diet and specifically by the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system without toxicity.
Evidence-Based Wellness versus Evidence-Based Medicine
The drug industry has made the mantra “evidence-based medicine” their calling card for justifying ever-increasing drug costs. The true “drug” you are looking for is a dietary strategy which can control the appropriate gene transcription factors and hormones needed for optimizing your internal Resolution Response. This is my definition of “evidence-based” wellness.
Furthermore, the drugs developed as a result of today’s “evidence-based medicine” always seem to work better in clinical trials than real life. This is because drug trials cherry-pick their patients by using rigid exclusion criteria often representing only a small fraction of the general population who are then led to believe (primarily by TV advertising) that the newest “breakthrough” drug will solve their problems. Furthermore, randomized controlled trials (RCT) are extolled as the only way to test a drug to find a therapeutic dose somewhere between a placebo level and toxic dose. The result is a very narrow therapeutic zone of the drug that must be taken for the rest of one’s life to treat the symptoms of a chronic disease based on the assumption that everyone is genetically and biochemically the same.
In the real world, few drugs work as well as their advertising because they are not addressing the true underlying cause of the symptoms which is the continuing buildup of chronic unresolved cellular inflammation that constantly blocks the Resolution Response. As a result, the patient takes increasingly complex “cocktails” of different drugs to hopefully manage a chronic condition. Eventually these multi-drug mixtures for one chronic condition cause new complications requiring more drugs from different drug classes until the patient becomes a walking poly-pharmacy. The real clinical end result is that the quality of life for the patient usually decreases as their number of medications increase and their healthspan decreases.
Evidence-based wellness presents a totally different perspective. It starts with the premise that there is significant genetic variability between individuals and the goal is to bring their blood markers into appropriate ranges to optimize the Resolution Response so that cellular inflammation can be effectively managed.
Evidence-based wellness can be considered a cellular inflammation clamp. You follow the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system to reach optimal ranges of the clinical markers that define the Zone. It is your blood that tells you what the correct levels of each dietary intervention should be. Although they will be some adjustments (especially the omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols) with time to take into account the aging process, so you are constantly maintaining the same ranges that define the clinical makers of the Zone. Rather than finding different drugs for different chronic diseases, Evidence-based wellness has one approach (reaching the Zone to optimize the Response Response) that is applicable for every chronic disease.
In the following table, I further compare the differences between Evidence-Based wellness and Evidence-Based medicine.
Titrating to goal has no toxic side effects
Therapeutic drug dose always has side effects
Choosing the right dose
Titrate to the same goals for everyone
Use RCTs to find appropriate drug dose for highly screened populations
Considers genetic diversity
Ignores genetic diversity
Seeking hormonal and genetic modulation using nutrition
Seeking “druggable” targets for new patentable drugs
Not reimbursable by insurance companies
Reimbursement by insurance companies
The last point of comparison indicates why the pharmaceutical industry will continue to embrace “evidence-based medicine”—they make a lot of money. Insurance companies reimburse their drugs, letting you think you are getting a great deal on health care even though you are paying a significant portion of your income taxes for Medicare in addition to probably purchasing additional medical insurance to get that “great deal.”
However, virtually all of the easy druggable targets were found decades ago. This is why current drug development costs are so high. This is also why the drug industry continues to play a shell game of constantly increasing the price of older generic drugs to maintain their profits while telling the public that new drug discovery is incredibly expensive to justify the extraordinary prices of new drugs. As an example, the price of insulin actually decreased from 2002 to 2006, then dramatically increased by 300 percent from 2007 to 2013.
Rethinking Chronic Disease
I often use the analogy of an iceberg when describing chronic disease. Although you see an iceberg floating in the ocean, 90 percent of its mass is below the surface. The same is true of chronic disease. The tips of the iceberg represent chronic diseases we can observe like cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, neurological diseases and even the aging process. We think of each chronic disease as separate from the other, but they are all interconnected by unresolved cellular inflammation that represents the vast mass of the iceberg below the water that remains out of sight.
Each of those chronic diseases begins with some type of injury (external or internal) that was not sufficiently healed by the body’s natural Resolution Response. As a result, unresolved cellular inflammation is created and can be amplified by continuing diet-induced inflammation. With time (usually measured in decades), organ function is decreased to the extent that we call it chronic disease and try to manage its symptoms it with drugs. Chronic diseases are not the result of a drug deficiency, but are the result of a continuing build-up of chronic unresolved cellular inflammation caused by a blocked Resolution Response.
The more you reduce the levels of cellular inflammation following the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system, the size of the remaining peaks, the various chronic diseases, begin to significantly decrease. Furthermore, by following the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system you are applying the basic principles first articulated by Hippocrates to practice a lifetime of hormonal and gene therapy in your kitchen.
This doesn’t mean that the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system will completely replace drug therapy in the future. On the contrary, there will always be a place for drugs that have a long-standing track record of relative safety as back-up support to help manage any remaining symptoms of a particular chronic disease.
On the other hand, unless we begin to reduce the underlying cause of chronic disease (i.e., unresolved cellular inflammation) by optimizing your natural Resolution Response, we will continue to watch medical expenditures rise uncontrollably. Unfortunately, that is the direction we are headed for, and we simply do not have the money to pay for such “evidence-based medicine” in the future.
The Answer Was Hiding in Plain Sight
More than 35 years ago, I had my “aha” moment with the discoveries of the role that eicosanoids played in the inflammatory process. This provided me with my initial insight that inflammation was a likely driving force behind virtually all chronic disease. I reasoned that if you could control inflammation in the body, you would get to the ultimate cause of chronic disease.
My journey was far more complicated than I anticipated, but as a result my thinking has become more refined over time. It wasn’t inflammation per se, but the blockage of the Resolution Response that results in the growing levels of unresolved cellular inflammation that causes chronic disease. The real destination of my journey was hiding in plain sight for more than 35 years, but the existing scientific knowledge needed to understand the molecular complexity of the Resolution Response was not sufficiently developed until recently. It was the optimization of the Resolution Response, not the reduction of inflammation that is the key to the future of medicine. It just took me a long time to realize it.
There are more than 7,000 chronic diseases and the vast majority of those diseases are driven by excess cellular inflammation caused by blocking your natural Resolution Response. Yet we have drugs that only treat 500 of them. Even more disturbing, we still don’t know how many of these drugs really work. The Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system allows you to better manage all 7,000 chronic diseases with a single dietary intervention. What I have tried to demonstrate in this book is that while the molecular events that constitute the Resolution Response in your body are incredibly complex, your diet can help keep that complex system running smoothly and with relative ease in your kitchen.
If the continued increase in unresolved cellular inflammation caused by the continual blocking of the Resolution Response is indeed the driving force for the development of chronic disease, then optimizing your internal Resolution Response should be the critical first step in any treatment process. If you are diagnosed with a chronic disease, your first step should be the immediate implementation of the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system with consistent blood testing to determine your dietary compliance in addition to using any drug therapy that might be suggested by your physician. This allows you to simultaneously address the acute symptoms of the disease with the drug, but also begin addressing the real underlying cause of your condition which is unresolved cellular inflammation caused by a blocked Resolution Response. Simply taking drugs without optimizing your internal Resolution Response is a surefire prescription to require more medication in the future not only for managing your current condition, but also increasing the likelihood that other chronic conditions (it’s called co-morbidity) that are likely to emerge since you are doing nothing to reduce chronic unresolved cellular inflammation in the body. As you move toward the Zone and start to optimize your internal Resolution Response, you now have the potential to use the least amount of proven “older” drugs to manage the remaining symptoms of any chronic disease.
The Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system means you must use a systems-based dietary approach and not placing all your bets on a single dietary intervention. Only this type of a comprehensive dietary working as finely-tuned system will allow you to potentially achieve more meaningful therapeutic results.
The good thing about working with the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system and its inherent non-toxicity is you can begin to immediately reduce unresolved cellular inflammation that has been driven by the worldwide epidemic rise of diet-induced inflammation. The Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system provides an alternative approach to usher in a new way of not only more effectively managing chronic disease, but also maintaining wellness for a longer period of time if you don’t have an existing chronic disease. This increases your healthspan. Unlike current processed food technology that causes diet-induced inflammation, the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system reduces, resolves, and repairs that damage caused by diet-induced inflammation by enhancing your Resolution Response to reduce existing unresolved cellular inflammation.
Developing a Zone Lifestyle
There is obviously more to a longer and better life than simply following the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system. That’s why I use the 80-15-5 rule as a general guideline for assessing the impact of various lifestyle components that also help reduce unresolved cellular inflammation to maintain wellness for as long as possible. The lifestyle components that you have total control over are diet, exercise, and stress reduction.
Eighty percent of your ability to maintain wellness and achieve a longer healthspan is the consistent use of the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system that I have outlined. It takes an effort and consistent discipline to reap the health and performance benefits. Is it worth it? I think it is. The longer excess cellular inflammation exists in different organs, the more structural damage you can expect. Following the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system at any stage of life allows you to have better control of hormonal responses and gene expression. The sooner you reduce cellular inflammation to prevent new structural damage caused by fibrosis, the greater your likelihood of moving back toward a higher state of wellness and enjoy a longer and better healthspan.
About 15 percent of your eventual wellness will come from consistent exercise. The percentage isn’t higher because even the best exercise program will never overcome a poor diet that constantly generates diet-induced inflammation. You can run, but you can’t hide from the overwhelming impact of diet-induced cellular inflammation.
It is often said you if you put exercise into a pill, it would be a wonder drug. Why? Because exercise increases the activity of AMP kinase.
So, what is the best exercise program where you get your greatest return on investment? The answer is simply not sitting. The more you reduce the effect of gravity on your body by sitting, the more rapidly the benefits of any exercise or dietary program are eroded. You can see this plainly in the old newsreels of the Mercury astronauts getting out of their space capsules after a limited time in a zero-gravity environment. They were so thoroughly weakened, they had to be physically assisted walking on the deck of the ship after their water landing. It was the ultimate example of physical de-training. The same physiological effects happen, but to a lesser degree when you sit. The data is quite clear that the longer you sit during the course of the day, the greater your chances of an early death. In particular, it appears the reason why sitting increases mortality may be related to a breakdown in the heart muscle as measured by the increase of the protein troponin in the blood. This is the same protein also released in high amounts during a heart attack.
What’s a realistic solution? Try to stand up every 20 minutes and walk around for two minutes then return to your desk. In an eight-hour day, this would account for 48 minutes of walking. This simple exercise change will result in your greatest return on exercise investment. For an additional exercise benefit, park your car or get off public transportation about 15 minutes away from your destination so you are forced to engage in another 30 minutes of walking every day. Another helpful hint is to use the stairs whenever possible. The more you work against gravity, the greater the benefits.
Unfortunately, such a relatively small change will have little impact on reducing insulin resistance or increasing mitochondrial efficiency by activating AMP kinase activity. The most effective exercise to achieve both those goals is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This type of exercise induces higher energy demands reducing the levels of ATP in that particular muscle group used resulting in a significant increase in AMP kinase activity that promotes new mitochondrial biogenesis. HIIT is hard work because you are trying to fatigue all the cells in a particular muscle group, but the return on investment for improving wellness is immense.
Finally, about 5 percent of your future health can be enhanced with stress reduction. Stress reduction is actually the reduction of long-term chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system that results in an increased release of cortisol into the blood from the adrenal glands. Cortisol is actually an anti-inflammatory hormone that reduces the formation of eicosanoids. However, it creates significant collateral damage if cortisol remains constantly elevated during periods of long-term chronic stress. This is because elevated cortisol also increases insulin resistance, causes immune suppression, and destroys memory cells in the hippocampus. It is far more effective to reduce unresolved cellular inflammation and its associated insulin resistance by following the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system than using standard stress reduction activities such as meditation. That’s why I give stress reduction only 5 percent, but even that small percentage can be a lot in today’s world.
One way for relieving stress is sitting in a comfortable chair for 20 minutes every day and trying not to think of anything. It’s actually hard work because you are consuming large amounts of blood glucose for the brain to keep yourself focused on thinking of nothing. Another good way of reducing stress is developing a philosophy of life that allows you to remain resilient when adversity arises. That usually takes a lifetime of constant awareness and practice just like following the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system.
As Hippocrates stated 2,500 years ago, the primary task of medicine should be to prevent disease. Today this means maintaining your wellness to increase your healthspan. This is a lifetime process. Lifestyle is important, but realize that your diet will be the major contributor to your success. In particular, it means reaching the Zone, and more importantly, staying in the Zone to optimize your Resolution Response. The Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system provides you with a clinically proved dietary pathway to continuously control both the hormones and the expression of key genes that are both necessary for optimization of the Resolution Response, but it also requires a consistent effort on your part. Likewise, you want to apply the same dietary discipline with regard to exercise and stress reduction for consistent results. The ancients understood the need for being strong in mind and body. Today, this means using diet, exercise, and stress reduction as powerful “drugs” that can significantly influence our hormones and gene expression that optimize the Resolution Response. The only question is if you have the will and discipline to tap into these readily available reservoirs of proven pathways to maintain wellness.
Hopefully this book provides you a new dietary pathway out of the current inflammatory mess we have gotten ourselves into. It is the story of unresolved cellular inflammation: How you increase it by your diet, but also how you can also reduce it by your diet. Equally important is how we can repair the damage caused by increasing cellular inflammation by unblocking the highly orchestrated internal Resolution Response that leads to healing. The more inhibited your internal Resolution Response becomes, the more likely that unresolved cellular inflammation will accelerate the development of any chronic disease especially if amplified by diet-induced inflammation. On the other hand, if you are successful in using the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system, you have the potential to cut the Gordian knot of chronic disease by going to its core to simultaneously reduce excess unresolved cellular inflammation while simultaneously increasing the strength of your Resolution Response. That combination leads to a longer healthspan. That’s the promise of the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition system and its ability to optimize the Resolution Response. I hope you agree.