Prof. Adolfo Panfili


"Health doesn't mean absence of disease"

Aulus Cornelius Celsus, extolling good habits, stated: “Remember that Man was born to be healthy; when he is ill it is Nature that is uttering its signals to say that a delicate equilibrium has been upset”.
Orthomolecular medicine reappraises the profound significance of this affirmation, treating and rediscovering “Man” through the unifying humanism of Medicine. “If Nature gives the time to discover diseases, it also concedes the time to cure them....” but the primary therapy consists in avoiding harm....”, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, warned to “Beware of the physician who does not have a unifying (we might say, orthomolecular) vision of the organism, and the physician who abuses some therapies, because many treatments are a contemplation on death!”
Drugs do not always lead to healing, but only to camouflaging the symptoms, converting them into others, more sordid and dangerous.
The first condition for leading a healthy and serene life according to orthomolecular medicine is to be in harmony with Nature, respecting its laws.
In a changing world, so medicine changes too, because people change, and they are tired of the obsolete rules that govern them; it would be opportune that the third Millenium physician be aware of this, and soon.
Within a few decades some of the basic tenets will presumably have changed, that have governed the approach to the patient throughout this century:
1. Health consists in the absence of disease;
2. Symptoms are harmful and so must be suppressed;
3. Drugs and surgery are the means to pursue health;
4. Patients that manifest similar symptoms always present the same initial cause that led to the eventual disorder;
5. Nobody needs to take supplements based on amino acids, vitamins and minerals;
6. The majority of disorders present the same cause:
7. Conditions should be treated by a specialist, who examines just one single organ;
8. Small doses of chemical substances that are daily introduced into our bodies, from the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink, do not result in bio-accumulations.

If we have never suffered specific nutritional deficiencies because of an inadequate diet, or undergone chemical intoxication of any kind (from dental amalgam, water kept in PVC containers, the hole in the ozone layer, the Chernobyl after-effects, etc.), then we probably ignore the importance of the human body's system of detoxication.

Unfortunately the health concept is constantly mistaken and most of the individuals consulted on this matter do not hesitate in stating that health is a synonym of “absence of disease”, or at least of not being ill. And Marziale self-evidently sustained: “to live is not to live, but to live well!”
The absolute worth of health as properly meant, begins with a denial, or the “non-privative”, that excludes the positivity of the actual and profound meaning of the most precious asset at our disposal: “Health”. A healthy body is not the simple sum of a heart, two lungs, two kidneys, etc., but much, much more!
The assumptions of current medical science go back to the XVII Century and are typically Newtonian, mechanistic, and tend to quantify only that which is directly commeasurable and tangible.
Although confirming the incontestable import of the value of Newtonian research, that today allows us to discourse on the corporeal circulations, computerized axial tomography, nuclear magnetic resonance, space flights, etc., it is now time that one should prepare to apply Einstein's principles of quantum physics to the medicine of the third Millennium,- in short, to widen our field of vision.
The human body can no longer be considered a mere ensemble of the workings of a hypothetical clock.
Health is not the expression of the perfect assemblage and functioning of individual pieces that arithmetically make up the human being, not considering even for a moment the causal cosmic energetic inspiration from which everything originated and sooner or later will have to return to, seeing that nothing is created or destroyed once for all seems to bring Newtonian mechanistic medicine and post-Einstein quantic physics together.
Disease arises when an area of the body is detached from the fundamental rhythm.
This is why most scientific objectives were directed at understanding the descriptive anatomic aspect, more specifically aimed at showing up possible anomalies in the basic functional unit, “the cell”, considered the causal event capable of giving rise to the disorder. The organ that ceases to synthetize or metabolize a particular enzyme or hormone or vitamin, creates an imbalance which, if not compensated for in the passage of time and by the individual reactivity, results in the diseased condition. Will the cells' capacity for self-determination scare the third Millennium scientists?
All of this presupposes that the body makes mistakes, or that, in a broad sense, our primitive project of creation would have been realised with a basic defect, something that, besides being over-presumptious, configures the meaning of disease as an erroneous event and thus to be sharply tackled at all costs, utilizing the pharmaceutical armoury.
Let us rather try for a moment to consider that the body is not faulty as such but that sometimes, when some of the basic rules required for its functioning are not complied with by us, a timorous warning lamp lights up on our “dashboard” to warn us that there is a problem and the moment has arrived to confront it, interrupting for a time our mad rush.
As doctors we have to acknowledge that we can often put out the warning lamp with a drug, but the alarm objectively remains, with the aggravating circumstance that we are no longer informed of it. If we do not hurry along to a garage for the proper checks, the damage could turn out to be irreparable.
Mechanistic-Newtonian medicine makes use of some pharmaceutical molecules that directly combat the symptoms responsible for the morbid event, without ever wondering why the event happened.
Hippocrates regarded fever as the expression of the defence reaction adopted by the body to spontaneously oppose some toxins, microbes for example. Nowadays, the slightest shiver of a fever alarms us and the physician, often also to subdue the pressing demands of the patient, administers antipyretic drugs or even antibiotics, that tend to suppress the physiological and precious purging of the fever but do not allow the expulsion of the toxins that “will impregnate the organism”.
After some years the conjugate toxins, as homotoxins, will not falter in restoring the morbid baggage with due interest, under the form of further and apparently unexplainable disorders, for which another colleague will not hesitate to re-prescribe the fateful drug, further worsening the pre-existing endogenous intoxication, according to the principle of Reckeweg's Progressive Vicariation.
Orthomolecular medicine can break this interminable chain, because it re-evaluates Man as the instrument and not as the ultimate end of all things. The crystal of medicine's precious vase is not irreparably broken, we can surely fix it again, but we would have to do this together, with no importance attached to whoever has the role of therapist or of beneficiary.
A human body is much more than the sum of its parts.
Right around the world, researchers have come to the conclusion that both in the digestive system and in the brain, there are receptors for a substance known as V.I.P. (Vasopressor Intestinal Peptide). In other words, the intestine is able to “dialogue” with the brain and vice versa through these messenger proteins that can travel along the blood stream and other energetic pathways of our bodies.
All of this is sensational, if we dwell on the thought that the organism is literally able to dialogue, or communicate with itself; no organ is estraneous from the others.

But how can the apparently lost Eden be found again?
One can only enjoy optimum heath when it is in harmony with the environment. To think lucidly, act promptly, in harmony with Nature and with everyone and with good humour, to be able to carry out desired physical activities with energy and enthusiasm.
Everyone can reach this state of well being, or at least make an effort to do so. The ideal state of health may be achieved with orthomolecular nutrition, i.e. through the introduction of the ideal quantity of nutrients in the diet. Every cell in the body is immersed in a fluid containing nutritive substances, hormones, waste products and other substances needed for its functioning.
The amino acids required by the cell would have to be present in optimum quantities and contemporaneously. However, this is rarely the case given our daily intake and therefore the cells have to compete with each other to share out the limited amino acids available for survival, but certainly not for an ideal health status. The requirement for the amino acid lysine, for example, varies by 700% between individuals who need minimal quantities and those for whom maximum amounts are indicated (e.g. immunodeficient patients). Orthomolecular nutrition seeks to supply cells with the optimum quantities, taking into account the individuality of the person and the variations due to time and stress, often correlated to the environment in which we live. It is particularly suitable for the following categories:
a) healthy individuals who wish to increase their chances of remaining in good health for the rest of their lives;
b) people who are disposed to changing their lifestyles and eating habits in order to achieve a state of good health;
c) subjects who are already suffering from disease or have physical or mental problems.
Those belonging to group c will use orthomolecular nutrition as a treatment, whereas the other two groups will have programs integrated into the context of consummately preventive measures. Wholefoods are best, which humanity has adapted to over the course of evolution. They are the opposite of “junk food” (made up of sweetstuffs, potato chips, snacks, drinks, etc.). Wholefoods contain amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
There is no possibility of treating a food to make it as nourishing as the original food that we started from. Plants produce nourishing food, not people. Food is consumed and digested in order to release the essential amino acids. The body, in its turn, metabolizes the food, transforming it into energy and structures (e.g. muscle). In the absence of nutritional components rich in amino acids, there is an immediate imbalance in the human organism. White flour, for example, cannot be metabolized if amonio acids, vitamins and minerals are not present. When white flour does not supply the right amount of amino acids, the body has to resort to other, alternative food sources, sacrificing its plastic structures and converting them into energy. None of the treated and/or refined food items provide the correct, optimum quota of amino acids, but some are worse than others.
There is only one rule to follow: use wholefoods as often as possible.
Eat wholewheat and not white flour, brown rice and not polished, potatoes rather than pureed mash. Furthermore, wholefoods offer another great advantage for health: they are wrapped by Nature in fibrous material that provides roughage for the body, without which digestion becomes very difficult. Another first-rate rule: if it's manmade and not by Mother Nature, don't eat it!
Cooking changes the nutritional characteristics of the crystalline L-amino acids due to the denaturation action of heat. If possible, it is better to eat uncooked foods. Some foods are cooked to be able to assimilate them by destroying their bacteria or parasites. Pork and poultry should be well cooked, while fish and beef may be cooked less.
Some vegetables (carrots, turnip and celery) can be eaten raw to avoid losing their amino acids, vitamins and minerals. It is necessary to eliminate toxic substances from food since they absolutely do not increase the nutritive qualities, sometimes making them harmful.
Some of the foods eaten raw are attributed with detoxication features and antidotes against poisonous additives inadvertently ingested in the course of everyday consumption: apricots, alfalfa infusions, oranges, asparagus, carrots, cabbage, beet, turnip, watercress, raspberries, lemons, apples, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, grapefruit, celery, mustard leaves, clover and the folowing herbs: borage, fennel, juniper, marjoram, witch-elm (oily), rue, sarsaparilla. 3g daily of Vitamin C (as two parts sodium ascalate and one part calcium ascorbate) offers partial protection from toxic substances and free radicals.

Dietary rules
“Orthomolecular nutrition requires respect for precise dietary rules, inborn in humans but unfortunately cancelled by the development of industrialized civilization.” Let us rediscover them together! A diet that is appropriate and that respects everyone's biochemical individuality.

1) Cut down proteins in the diet to 5%, or less if you can, and introduce the optimum amount of amino acids. This ideal quantity can be determined by doing an Alitest@. Start by reducing the proteins gradually, monitoring the effect on the physical and mental states. Assume foods rich in amino acids as well as supplements that contain them. Avoid proteins in powdered form or protein supplements. You will be able to experience a feeling of well being when protein intake is reduced.
The proteins that are ingested have to contain a sufficient amount of essential amino acids and a low concentration of waste products (ammonium, putrescine, methylindol, indican, etc.). The ideal quantity of amino acids varies according to age, sex, race, activities, and food intakes. This is a prevention and maintenance program recommended for the first two groups described above, that can help those who feel the need to change their lifestyle in order to improve their emotional state.
2) Limit your fat intake to no more than 20%, at least half of which should come from non-esterized fats.
3) Consume at least 75% non-refined carbohydrates, supplied from raw fruit and vegetables. The amount of refined carbohydrates (sugar, white flour, alcohol, polished rice, etc.) could even be nil. Every increase of ultra-refined artificial foods dimihìnishes the diet's nutritive potency. Where there's the will, the ideal diet is possible.
To spend an extra 10 minutes preparing a proper meal for our health's sake is not asking much. Some patients may need supplements, in that their optimal demand may not be satisfied by even the best nutritional program. Amino acids are not medicines: they are foods. Some doctors mistakenly think of amino acids, vitamins and minerals in the same category as tranquillizers, or other unnatural synthetic substances and believe that food supplements should be sold through medical prescriptions, just like antibiotics and other drugs. The physician is quite prepared to recognize deficiency disorders but believes that in our modern consumer society there would no longer be anyone, almost, suffering from amino acid or vitamin shortages.
This is true but only in part; the need for supplements is admitted when there are specific deficiency disorders (vitamin B12 for anaemia, vitamin D for rickets), but are matched by excessive and sometimes toxic pharmaceutical doses. Amino acids, vitamins and minerals should be correctly classified among the nutritive substances. The deficiency syndromes are not common but are easily identified by a nutritionist well versed in alimentation. People have the right to know what they should do acquire good health and prevent the onset of disease.
4) Elimination of allergizing or hypersensitizing foods from the diet can heal many complaints. Many people are allergic to some food or other, and neither they nor their doctors are aware of it. Increasing the intake of such ingredients can cause a rise in mental and/or physical symptoms (headache, dermatitis, colitis, depression, obesity, etc.). When a diet is prepared, the choice of food items is simply a matter of luck, a gamble that may work for many but not for others, so that a return of the above-mentioned symptoms is found.
The main nutrition problems are not the deficiencies of single amino acids or vitamins as much as the sub-clinical multiple shortages or allergies that entail vague and diffused symptoms. There is not any doubt that an ill person would have something wrong but is often unable to explain to us what the problem is.
Only when it is too late and the illness is looming mercilessly, do the symptoms appear very clear. There is not any indication that permits understanding what is wrong in somebody with a metabolic problem. We physicians too, are unable to say what subclinical deficiency, allergy or hypersensitivity is present.

Too much protein is harmful
Jean Paul Sartre sustained that: “Eating means, among other things, filling one's belly”. What spurs us to eat is principally a sensation of pleasure but, as Guy Lazorthes pointed out, in phylogenesis there is a curious “functional competition” among the senses for that which has to do with their disposition to embody what is found outside the body. Some senses such as touch, sight and hearing are particularly valuable for “defence, attack and escape”; biologically, they have survived better compared to the taste and smell senses that are notoriously correlated to the pursuit of pleasure.
The human being was structured, for plain survival reasons, to better qualitatively perceive the pain of pleasure, as confirmed by the correspondence of numerous receptors to the organs in charge of taste and smell. To avoid danger was phylogenetically more vital than procuring pleasure. Public opinion has been conditioned to satisfy the pleasure senses more than those of survival and, as if this were not enough, to consider that taking in ample provisions of food, extremely rich in protein (basically meat and dairy products), helps in health maintenance and being in excellent physical shape, preventing osteoporosis and delaying ageing. This does not reflect our real needs. Besides, it just is not true!
But let us proceed one step at a time.
It is enough to consider that the composition of a mother's milk, a balanced food par excellence, has around 1.5% protein, verifying de vivo that large amounts of protein are not needed to guarantee the growth of new cells.
In 1983, in his nutritional project “The McDougall Plan”, this author even argued that the individual protein requirement should not exceed 2.5% of the total daily calorie intake.
This seemingly low percentage should not amaze the reader so much, if it is remembered that this is still a higher level than is found in mothers' milk, always between 1-1.5% (with alkaline reaction) that allows the newborn to double their body weight in the first 6-8 months of life, precisely through breast-feeding.
Certainly, it is in these early months that the most intense nourishment demands of our entire lives are confronted. And, incredible to say it, with the lowest proportion of protein in our lifetime, equal to about a tenth of an adult's total protein supply. There are also more surprises because the most chilling aspect of the scientific documentation in support of the toxic mega-doses of protein is essentially based on experiments performed on rats, that formulate milk whose protein content is approx. 9%. Such a high percentage is surely right for this species that doubles its body weight in about 5 days after birth and that anyway does not take 18 years to reach full maturity, like human beings.
Another factor not to be neglected is the calcium/phosphorous ratio in the body which, according to Kamen, should be maintained around 2:1.
It is not important how much calcium is consumed, but if the utilization of phosphorous in the diet is higher than that of calcium, through the further consumption of acidifying foods (i.e. capable of producing acidic ash following their oxidation), it will induce a conspicuous loss of calcium. Also, as phosphorous is absorbed into the bloodstream much more rapidly than cacium, a transitory situation is found where acidification is higher than expected with the utilization of a proportion having the correct Ca/P ratio which, in order to be neutralized, will initally require a further quantity of sodium that will be mobilized from individual physiological reserves (Alkaline Reserve).
When the sodium is no longer available, bone calcium will be exploited in the attempt to maintain the blood pH level at the required 7.4.Things then become complicated because once bone calcium is mobilized, a proportional amount of phosphorous will be dispersed, overloading the renal excretory apparatus.