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Does the common use of the word "disease" bypass critical reasoning to effectively mislead scientific thought? Modern medicine describes hundreds of individual "diseases." Each "disease" is generally named for a group of symptoms and the area of the body affected. Many are suffixed by -itis, meaning inflammation of... like tonsill-itis or arthr-itis. And interestingly, recent studies are finding inflammation involved in virtually all of them. Does this terminology serve to pigeonhole distinct "diseases" and distract us from seeing the big picture of inflammation as the disease? Have we been looking at secondary pathologies and opportunistic microbes, and treating them at symptom-level... instead of addressing a common root cause? Is there some imaginary partition that separates human health from chemistry, physics and cell biology?
Whether inflammation is acute like appendicitis or chronic like atherosclerosis and obesity, an immune response is taking place. In-flam-mation literally means "on fire" and is classically marked by the Latin: rubor, tumor, calor and dolor — or redness, swelling, heat and pain — so we know from those words that oxidation is at work.
Oxidation is simply fire or rust or whenever one molecule seizes an electron from another molecule. The needy oxidant grabs or shares the electrons of an electron rich anti-oxidant. When the electrons are stolen from chemical bonds, those molecules (like DNA) come apart or are deformed (like fats) and said to be oxidized, burnt.
Inflammation does not just happen; a bacterium or toxin or some other irritant triggers an immune response. The ammunition used by the body for immune firefights is singlet oxygen, an all-purpose defensive weapon. With an unpaired electron, an oxygen radical is a powerful oxidant.
It can deconstruct and destroy pathogens, poisons, cell debris and other unwanted substances, molecule by molecule, by snatching the electrons that hold them together. Immune cells initiate the conflagration, armed with mini-flamethrowers that generate oxidative bursts of singlet oxygen to burn the area clean.
Mounting an oxidative immune response is dependent on the strength of the body's electrochemical charge, which in turn hinges on a delicate balance between oxidants/acids (both electron-hungry) and overall body charge. (This charge is generated in mitochondria and at fluid/membrane interfaces. It is stored in fatty membranes, "anti-oxidant" molecules and water, and even flows from the Earth itself. Charge is transmitted via nerves and connective tissue meridians. If a potato can generate electricity, so can your body!) In the end, it is the electrochemical charge terrain that determines biochemical reactions, molecular integrity and health.
An oxidative immune response must be powered with, and yet contained by, abundant electrons, or damage will result to the cells it is designed to protect. To halt inflammation, the cause of the immune response needs to be removed, and then the flames of the defensive assault itself must be extinguished so charge can rise to normal and cells can be repaired or replaced.
So if we equate disease to inflammation, and understand that inflammation is oxidation, then we can understand that the common denominator of "disease" is oxidative stress — chronic unrelenting "fire" — loss of electrons, DNA dysfunction, and molecular and cellular deterioration.
Nearly undetectable low-level oxidative stress takes place even in healthy individuals and has become a focus of longevity research. Some of the most promising studies are concerned with the integrity of telomeres and mitochondrial membranes that take a beating, being at the center of metabolic oxidation and electron energy production. Fatty cell and mitochondrial membranes are prone to destruction when improper fats are consumed — making an All-American low-fat, high-glycemic, high-grain-carb/sugar/vegetable oil diet a train-wreck in progress.
Impaired membranes cannot transport oxygen or other substances to the cell, nor can they hold electron charge. These conditions bring disease, invite pathogens, cause cells to revert to cancerous anaerobic state, and eventually lead to cell death by suffocation. Undamaged Omega fats and varied saturated fats like butter and coconut oil are essential; crooked hydrogenated/oxidized/trans-fats/easily-oxidized polyunsaturated oils and a grain-based diet kill.