I take no statin drugs, stomach acid-blocking drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, antihistamines, antihypertensive drugs, antidepressant drugs, nor drugs for headache, constipation, knee pain, anxiety, or insomnia. I take zero drugs.
I take no drugs because the vast majority of drugs are simply unnecessary. This seems unusual in a world in which we are intensively marketed prescription drugs through direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug advertising, pushed on us by doctors who have little else to offer. Seeing TV ads for drugs for arthritis pain, inflammation, depression and other conditions leads us to believe that, without drugs, we would be hopeless. This is simply not true. Follow a lifestyle that addresses the causes of modern chronic diseases and you won’t have need for pharmaceuticals.
But it means that, in order to avoid or eliminate drugs, you need to address the factors that allow modern chronic disease conditions to emerge in the first place. Factors common in modern life that cause diseases largely unique to people of the 21st century include:
- Consumption of wheat and grains–Humans lack the digestive enzymes that break down the proline-rich amino acid sequences unique to seeds of grasses, i.e., grains. It means that many wheat/grain proteins are either indigestible or only partially digestible. This is why the gliadin protein of wheat, for example, is broken down into 4- or 5-amino acid long peptides, not single amino acids like other proteins, that exert opioid effects on the human brain. This is why wheat germ agglutinin is completely impervious to human digestion but exerts direct toxic effects to intestinal cells in its passage from mouth to toilet. For me personally, banishing all wheat/grains eliminated crippling mind fog, eczematous skin rashes, irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, and fatigue.
- Vitamin D deficiency–Vitamin D participates in many bodily functions. But it has an especially significant role in reducing resistance to insulin, anti-inflammatory effects, and mind/mood effects. When I added vitamin D to my regimen many years ago, I experienced a perceptible lifting of winter “blues” along with further improvements in mental clarity.
- Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency–While the debate continues over whether EPA+DHA yields reductions in cardiovascular risk, we know that they provide other advantages. One of the most important may be how omega-3s activate the intestinal enzyme alkaline phosphatase that disables the lipopolysaccharide, LPS, toxin released by unhealthy bowel flora species, thereby reducing endotoxemia.
- Magnesium deficiency–Drinking free-flowing mineral-rich water from a stream would likely make you sick in today’s world. So we filter drinking water using processes that remove all magnesium. We also consume plant matter grown with modern agricultural methods, not grown wild and thereby with reduced magnesium content.
- Iodine deficiency–Many people have forgotten that iodine deficiency was among the most widespread and crippling of public health problems until iodine was added to salt in 1924. Decades later, dietary advice to reduce fat and increase reliance on grains led to widespread sodium retention, prompting the FDA to warn Americans to reduce salt intake, completely forgetting about iodine. The result: a return of iodine deficiency, goiters, and hypothyroidism. Couple this with the growing but silent epidemic of thyroid disease due to pesticide/herbicide exposure, industrial chemicals like perfluorooctanoic acid and bisphenol A, and gliadin protein-initiated autoimmune thyroid inflammation, and disrupted thyroid status has become incredibly common. T4-to-T3 conversion is also disrupted by dysbiosis, so we address that also.
- Dysbiosis–Glyphosate in corn, soy, wheat; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, stomach acid-suppressing drugs, statin drugs; overconsumption of sugar; emulsifying agents in ice cream, salad dressings, and other foods; aspartame and sucralose; antibiotics and numerous other factors have altered the composition of the modern human microbiome, making it almost unrecognizable compared to the ancestral microbiome, including loss of a number of species. We therefore work to reduce unhealthy bacterial species, especially those in the Enterobacteriaceae group, while restoring microbial species that were lost, such as Lactobacillus reuteri. Breathtaking health changes can occur with this strategy including restoration of youthful strength and muscle, thicker smoother skin, deeper sleep with prolongation of REM, and enhanced libido.
I don’t talk too often about my own health journey. Like many other people following the Wheat Belly lifestyle, I too have had to struggle through many health conditions before I came to understand how to not have these conditions. Let me re-emphasize that point: What we do in my programs, Wheat Belly and Undoctored, is address the factors in modern life that allow diseases to emerge in the first place. We avoid the notion of “treating,” say, high blood sugar or irritable bowel syndrome or autoimmune inflammation–that is how it is done in modern healthcare and Big Pharma: identify a mediator of a biochemical or physiologic pathway, then block it, while rarely addressing underlying causes. We never ask questions such as “What alternative treatments are there for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, ankylosing spondylitis, acid reflux, etc. etc. etc.” Instead, we address the factors in modern life that allow diseases to emerge and, more often than not, they go away.
Address the list of conditions above and wonderful things happen. You reverse or minimize insulin resistance, inflammation, hormonal disruptions, endothelial dysfunction, and a disrupted microbiome, the phenomena that drive the majority of modern human diseases. It means that type 2 diabetics are no longer diabetic. People with irritable bowel syndrome, hypertension, or rheumatoid arthritis experience their conditions improving or regressing completely. Excess body weight is released and further health benefits experienced. You no longer need prescription drugs while enjoying a level of health that dramatically exceeds the poor excuse for “health” achieved by modern healthcare. Not only will you be healthier, you will also spare yourself all the expense and adverse effects of pharmaceutical agents.