What to prevent? How to prevent?

The idea that prevention is better than treatment applies not only to medicine, but also to other aspects. Former Vice President Wu Guanzheng once cited prevention as a cure for China’s serious corruption.

More than 2,000 years ago, Bian Que (407-310 BC), a highly respectable Chinese medicine practitioner, first proposed the idea that advance prevention was better than treatment. In today’s world, the phrase “prevention is better than treatment” is not only a common language of Chinese and Western culture, but it is also regarded by both Chinese and Western medicine communities as one of the highly regarded “disease healing” methodology. Unfortunately, we still couldn’t find a comprehensive “theory of disease prevention” in Chinese and Western medicine.

What shall we be preventing from?

Why are we asking such question? In short, to prevent, you first need a target to prevent yourself from. For example, castles are built to guard against enemies; locking the doors and windows are to prevent thieves from entering your properties. And so, to prevent disease, you have to have a target to prevent it from.

For thousands of years, traditional Chinese medicine has been based on the theory of balance between “yin” and “yang” as the basis for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, it can be said that there is no real object causing diseases. Not in the past, not now, and it is unknown for the future, unless we integrate a more scientific and systematical approach for traditional Chinese medicine. In other words, traditional Chinese medicine isn’t preventive medicine as in now. Therefore, the phrase “Advance prevention is better than treatment”, can only be regarded as an unachievable idiom.

What about western medicine?

Prior to the 17th century, traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine had one thing in common, that is, non-scientific! As time passed, traditional Chinese medicine had not made any progress since then, on the other hand, Western medicine has been developing continuously with scientific approach.

Although Li Shizhen’s “Compendium of Materia Medica” (1518-1593) has received the attention of the Western scientific community and even been cited by Charles Darwin (1809-1882), it has far less influence than Dr. William Harvery (1578-1657)’s Research on “An Anatomical Study of the Motion of the Heart and of the Blood in Animals”. Dr. Harvey’s accomplishments are unprecedented and worked as an inspiration of many people. In his book, he proved that human blood is circulating through an artery, vein network. The thing that created the most significant influence on today’s researchers is Dr. Harvey’s meticulous “Scientific Method – experimental proofs of the validity”. It became the gold standard for latter scientific research. In science, any hypothesis, concept, theory or discovery must be proved to be acceptable.

Not until Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) proved that bacterial theory was correct, the medical community did not believe the existence of bacteria. No one has any idea that bacterial and virus caused the serious epidemic in 19th-century. Only after the concept of bacteria has been proven, the medical community had:

  • accepted that there is a cause that triggers the infectious disease,
  • admitted that washing hands before delivery and surgery can help prevents bacteria spreading from the doctor’s hand to the mother and the patient!

Since then hygiene measure such as hand washing, and disinfection became the golden rule for preventing infectious diseases. However, the real nemesis of infectious diseases are antibiotics and vaccines as its application has dramatically reduced infectious disease mortality in developed countries.

So, what has replaced infectious diseases as top life-threatening diseases? That really depends on the ranking of deaths causing disease in every country.

Most developed countries, such as the US, have coronary heart disease, cancer and stroke, while China and Hong Kong have cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke. Regardless of which developed countries, the sum of these three diseases is accounted for 75% of the mortality rate in those countries! You know how to prevent these three killers? It’s not surprising that you don’t as most doctors don’t dare to give you a promising answer.

If their answer is what you, me and kids have known, which are “Eat well, exercise, quit smoking, quit drinking, lose weight”, I am sure that you won’t be happy with that answer. These answers do not give you a real target to prevent from.

In reality, most of the above-mentioned prevention methods cannot help reducing the mortality of cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke, especially for cardiovascular diseases. If those methods are meant to be effective, there won’t be more and more patients with heart attacks or strokes, and also the age range of sudden death victim shouldn’t get lower in a progressive manner. Even taking cholesterol-lowering drugs and blood-thinning drugs won’t help. Apparently, avoiding intake cholesterol is the right prevention method!

So what is the real deal for us to prevent from?

Free radicals!  Free radical is a term coined by Denham Harman 1916- during the study of aging.  He applied the term to his 1962 publication “Free Radical Theory of Aging”. This theory is seen as one of the great breakthroughs of twentieth-century medicine.

Today, free radicals are household names. Antioxidants have also become one of the many products that have flooded the market.

But few consumers know how radicals are formed; how does it hurt our bodies; How does it make us sick, especially the three killers “cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke”. We know much less on what to do to prevent these diseases from happening and getting worse.

Free Radicals are abnormal oxygen molecules; where its number of its electrons is in singular form. To use a metaphor to describe such condition is that if a wheelchair has an extra wheel or missing one wheel, so it is not unbalanced or unstable.

Through breathing, oxygen molecules in the air are transported from the blood to each cell. The oxygen molecules entering the cells penetrate into the mitochondria (mitochondria) and participate in the production of energy. In the process of energy production, the oxygen molecule is picking up an addition electron, that made it become oxygen free radical, which is also called free radical.

In other words, free radicals are oxygen molecules with one more electron and are inevitable by-products of the production of energy. Because of the addition electron, the free radical would recover an electron from the other molecules as soon as possible to restore equilibrium. But by doing so, the molecule, which is missing one electron, becomes free radical.

A single free radical is not harmful, as each individual cell has a natural antioxidant defense system, sufficient to neutralize normal production of free radicals. The antioxidant defense system gives free radicals an electron, and it stabilizes.

In some cases, the number of free radicals increases dramatically, making the antioxidant defense system overloaded. Excess free radicals rob electrons from each other, and it triggers a chain reaction that destroys any substance around them with explosive power. Especially mitochondria, its bear the brunt of attack by its own free radicals, this made them unable to produce energy. The more mitochondria stop producing energy, the more cells age.

Aging plate cell is weak in resistance and susceptible to infection or illness. Cells mutated If free-radical attack gene (DNA), this can eventually lead to cancer and atherosclerosis.

In conclusion:

  • When cells age, people age;
  • When cells sick, human get sick;
  • When a certain number of cell death, the human will die

In addition, everyone knows that air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution and food pollution are harmful to people, but few know the reason behind. In fact, we must focus on toxic metals in pollutants like lead, cadmium and mercury, because they can catalyze a million-fold increase in the number of free radicals.

Another reason for the excess of free radicals is the lack of essential nutrients in the antioxidant defense system, which lowered the functionality of the whole system. Many people were misled into believing that a few vitamins and calcium tablets a day could help prevent disease.

That’s Wrong! The antioxidant defense system is not only composed of one or more antioxidants. It works like a string band, which comprise of a variety of components that coordinate and create synergies. Members include anti-free radical enzyme, antioxidant, vitamin, essential metal and cofactors.

So, how do we prevent from having excessive free radical?

We now know that free radical excess can cause many diseases, including the following chronic degenerative diseases:

1. Cardiovascular disease
2. Cancer
3. Diabetes
4. Arthritis
5. macular degeneration
6. Cataracts
7. Alzheimer’s disease
8. Parkinson’s disease
9. multiple sclerosis.

The way to prevent excessive free radical is simple:
(1) Improve living habits;
(2) Strengthen every cell’s antioxidant defense system
(3) Remove toxic metals from your body

Improving living habits, including beware of what you eat, regular exercise, smoking cessation, stress reduction, losing weight, all these would require determination and perseverance, and must be on your own.

The antioxidant defense system works by neutralizing free radicals, preventing them from triggering chain reactions, and then producing more radicals that harm our cells, tissues, and organs.

Since we are unable to consume the most desirable quantity of essential nutrients from daily food, we must take nutritional supplements to prevent the proliferation of free radicals and chain reactions caused by the lack of nutrients.

You must be careful on the choice of nutritional supplements:

1) Types must be sufficient to achieve synergy effects
2) The quantity must be optimal for it to take effect.
3) A reliable manufacturer that can offer the best quality

Chelation therapy is the only effective way to remove toxic metals in humans. Chelating therapy uses a chelating agent to “clamp” toxic metals wrapped in human tissue, then remove them and expel them from the body. Free radicals are considered the cause of many chronic degenerative diseases, and toxic metals are responsible for the dramatic increase in free radicals. Thus, it is obvious that it is logical to prevent chronic degenerative diseases by removing toxic metals.

Can your health wait?

In 1847, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweiss (1818-1865) recommended that doctors wash their hands before delivery, successfully reducing maternal mortality from 20% to 1%! But his hand-washing proposal was only accepted by the medical community 50 years after his death, causing tens of millions of lying-in women to die, only because no doctor would admit that his hand was the medium for maternal death!

Is history repeating itself?

Dr. Havin (1916-) is still alive. His radical theory was published in 1962. Shall the medical community wait for another 50 years before accepting his theory of disease prevention? Can your health wait?

Author: Dr. Kenneth Ing
The author graduated from the University of London School of Medicine in 1970. He has practiced medicine in Britain, Canada and Hong Kong. He is currently a preventive medicine consultant at BMS Clinic, and is also engaged in preventive medicine research. He has also begun to focus on compiling and publishing his years of preventive medicine knowledge and experience. His published works include (prevention is better than treatment), Wing Chun Warrior, Ode to Spring and Good War.