The last century has seen huge changes in our environment,
in particular the way we produce food and the types of food we eat.
The environmental factors that we are exposed to are vastly different to
that of our ancestors. Our bodies are exposed to the highest levels of
artificial chemicals, toxic metals and electromagnetic pollution in our
history. For example, prior to 1942 all food production was organic.
Human genes have evolved over millions of years in environments very
different to those which we encounter in our present day industrialised
society and it is not surprising that our ability to adapt to these
changes in the past century has been inadequate.
These factors are compounded by nutritional deficiencies that have
occurred as a result of modern farming and food manufacturing processes
as well as changes in our bowel flora. In addition, lifestyle factors
such as cigarette smoking, high alcohol intake, ingestion of medical
and illegal drugs, can all diminish nutritional status with a resulting
reduction in the individual's ability to adapt to environmental changes.
Not surprisingly we see a parallel increase in the incidence of allergies
and chronic degenerative diseases.
The environmental and nutritional approach to medical problems is based on
the concept of cause and effect as well as seeking out the effects of
environmental and nutritional factors on the health of the individual.
In many areas of scientific endeavour, such as engineering, the whole
science is based on isolating the causes of problems and dealing fundamentally
with those causes. In medicine there are some areas, such as the treatment
of microbiological disease (bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc) in which the cause
and effect approach has predominated and been successful. In other areas of
medicine such as the management of most chronic illnesses, the approach has
been neglected to a considerable extent and treatments have focussed on
Thus, headaches are not caused by a deficiency of Aspirin. Arthritis is
not caused by a deficiency of Anti-inflammatory drugs. Asthma is not
caused by a deficiency of asthma inhalers. Eczema is not caused by a
deficiency of steroid ointments.
We consider the approach of investigating chronic illness in terms of
causation a highly orthodox form of medicine. The term Orthodox is
derived from two Greek words meaning straight teaching
(Ortho = straight and dox = teaching). In medical science,
straight teaching should mean that the elucidation of basic
triggers for illness should take precedence over the current
fashion for the predominance of pharmaceutical suppression of symptoms.
There have been huge advances, particularly in the last twenty-five years
in determining the fundamental causes of much human illness and there
have been several thousand clinical papers published in medical and nutritional
journals relating to the fields of Food Sensitivity,
Chemical Sensitivity, Environmental Toxins, Reactions to Disturbed Gut Flora and
Nutritional Medicine. A selection of some the papers
published in this area are available from the clinic.
The British Society for Ecological Medicine (BSEM) is a society of
doctors interested in this approach. In the United States of America,
the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has the same
philosophy as the British society. Both societies contain large numbers
of hospital-based consultants; board certified allergists and nutritional
authorities. The Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine is
readily available and is taken by most members of the British, American
and Australian societies.