Book Excerpt: The Disease Delusion
Publisher: Harper Wave; Reprint edition (March 3, 2015)
At the heart of the disconnect is the fundamental medical fact that an infectious disease can bet raced to a single cause or agent. That fact became the basis of a now well-defined process for developing drugs that could address the identifiable cause or agent and thus cure the disease. It also gave rise to the now humongous pharmaceutical industry that carries out the process.
Remember high school biology and learning about all those metabolic processes going on in our bodies—the zillions of biochemical reactions happening all the time within our cells, step by step by step? Put very simply, think of a disease as caused by an overly active step in one of the metabolic processes going on in the body—a single step that has gone out of sync or out of control. If you can find or create a substance that will interfere with that overly active step—block it, inhibit it, alter it in some way—you more or less transform the effect of the disease and reduce its symptoms. That's precisely what drugs do.
Back in the day—it's worth remembering that the therapeutic use of antibiotics dates only to 1940—drugs were made from natural sources like medicinal plants or, in the case of antibiotics like penicillin, which was derived from a naturally occurring blue mold, were the products of bacterial and fungal metabolism. These naturally derived compounds were pitted against the specific metabolic process known as cell wall synthesis, a process unique to the bacteria that cause infectious diseases; tellingly, the process was not found in animal cells. This lucky distinction between bactericidal and human cell metabolism made the antibiotics both safe to use and highly selective in their action—naturally so. And they did just what the doctor ordered: They literally altered the cause of the illness, more or less morphing it out of existence.
Don’t miss the opportunity to hear Jeffrey Bland speak at the Integrative Healthcare Symposium Annual Conference February 23-25, 2017 in New York City. Click here for more information.