Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Falling Apart Syndrome: Are Infections the Cause of Most Diseases?

Anyone who has read my blog will know that I've made a lot of noise about how the Western diet and lifestyle can cause disease. From all the reading I've done, it's easy for me to believe that the new foods humans started to eat within the last 100-200 years (e.g., refined sweeteners, white flour, non-traditionally-processed soy, canned products, margarine, ready-made meals, high-omega-6 oils) are making us unhealthy.

But is it possible that this modern diet's constant supply of nutrient-devoid, toxin-laden, sugar-infused, overly-processed junk also chronically suppresses the immune system to such a degree that we have greater odds of developing diseases like heart disease, stroke, and/or obesity? Consider this:

As I understand it, the essence of this belief is that if your immune system is suppressed, it can only prevent infections from overwhelming the body, not completely kill them. During this draw, if the immune system is adequately nourished, or the number of battles it has to fight is low, then you go about your day without feeling sick. However, if the immune system becomes compromised, you acquire one too many infections, or you get hit with an especially nasty bug, then you become sick. If this situation is chronic, then you may develop diseases that are believed to be non-infectious (e.g., heart disease, obesity). I find that seriously interesting!

Working to make a better argument for this idea is Russ Farris. Farris is a field engineer who wrote the book The Potbelly Syndrome, which talks about how infections can specifically cause obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. He has updated and expanded his theory and is previewing his manuscript for his upcoming book The Falling Apart Syndrome. Here's his basic idea:
"This website [for the Falling Apart Syndrome] explores three related ideas:
  • Most of the disorders we attribute to old age are caused by infections.
  • Many hard-to-treat disorders are caused by multiple, i.e., polymicrobial, infections.
  • Every chronic infection makes us more susceptible to the next one. The result is called immunosenescence."
It's a relatively quick read, so check it out!

1. Ravnskov, Uffe. Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You. Sweden : GB Publishing, 2009.
2. Jaminet, Paul. Perfect Health Diet. s.l. : YinYang Press, 2010.

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