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Chronic Conditions


While some people suffer from one or more day-to-day health problems, others may be unfortunate enough to develop a chronic, lasting condition, sometimes with a genetic component.  These may include heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, emphysema or chronic asthma, or C.F.S./M.E. (see separate briefing).

Like heart disease and cancer, many of these conditions could be influenced by lifestyle, with the biggest single factor often being diet.  Others may be partly genetic, but we all carry genes for specific diseases, and whether a gene is turned on or off tends to depend on how we choose to live.

The good news is that the body may not be being fed properly with the right nutrients. As a result it may get itself into a state where certain biochemical pathways (for example in nerve transmission, energy production or pain control) start to work less well, causing severe and/or disabling symptoms.

In nearly all cases, there is an element of inflammation associated with damage to cells caused by excess free radicals, unhealthy cells which damage healthy cells in a chain reaction.  The process often starts with poor digestion creating a build-up of toxins, which then cross the gut wall into the bloodstream and overload the body’s detoxification systems.  This then creates even more free radicals in a vicious cycle where the body is constantly inflaming itself.

With any chronic condition, you need to be under medical supervision.  However, many people have found that a nutritional assessment can identify – sometimes by using clinical tests – the factors that are making things worse or may even have kickstarted the process, such as specific nutrient deficiencies, leaky gut, disturbed gut bacteria, or an imbalance between the two phases of the liver’s detoxification process.

In my experience, a clean diet and use of the right supplements to correct the identified problems can in some cases reduce people’s symptoms dramatically and enable them to have a better quality of life. 

See also separate briefings on C.F.S./M.E.
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Sally Whitman of Blackberry Nutrition experienced nutrition consultant and nutritional therapist with a very busy clinic in Cheltenham, near Gloucester, Gloucestershire