It's the Terrain

In the 1800s, the French chemist Louis Pasteur popularized the germ theory, proposing that microorganisms are the cause of most diseases.  This paved the way for antibiotics—which kill both good and bad bacteria—and vaccines—which seek to prevent single diseases. 

By contrast, Pasteur’s friend, physiologist Claude Bernard, taught that the ‘terrain’ of the human body was more important than the ‘pathogens’ that infect it.  We are surrounded by, and even harbor, microorganisms in our bodies.  When exposed to pathogens, we become ill if our defenses are weakened by deficiencies or toxicities.  Unlike the germ theory, the terrain theory explains why some people get sick while others, when exposed to the same pathogens, do not.  For this reason, it is said that on his death bed, Pasteur admitted, “Bernard was right: the pathogen is nothing, the terrain is everything.”

Nearly 200 years later, health experts continue to ignore Bernard’s wisdom, focusing solely on finding ways to kill ever-changing microorganisms.   Conspicuously absent from all the public pronouncements are recommendations on how to strengthen the immune system so it can protect you from the current pandemic, the next one, and the one after that.

While COVID-19 has led some to become paralyzed by fear, others have taken it as a wake-up call to get their health in order.  There is actually a lot you can do to strengthen your immune system, and it doesn’t just work for Coronavirus.  It works for all infectious diseases, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and degenerative diseases.

The majority of Americans live in a constant state of fight or flight, which is called sympathetic dominance. Some people are so used to it that they don’t even recognize it. But it is easily detected using a digital photoplethysmography device in our office. Sympathetic dominance prioritizes immediate life-or-death threats over long-term threats to our health.  Whereas a bad infection can kill you within hours or days, your body considers this a lower priority than something that can kill you within seconds to minutes. The problem is that your autonomic nervous system does not know the difference between the stress you feel as you see an oncoming car driving in your lane, and other stressors: taking a test in school, having an argument with your partner, worrying about your child making unwise life decisions, or panic about the latest pandemic. Each of these stressors and many more shift your body’s resources away from what you need most during a pandemic: a strong immune system.  Balancing the autonomic nervous system is critical to robust immune function, not to mention heart and brain health.  We can show you how.

These are some of the key steps you can start taking today to fix your terrain. In the coming months, a number of SARS Coronavirus-2-specific vaccines will be approved by the FDA. If you feel your interests are best served by focusing your immune system’s attention on a single microorganism, be sure that the vaccine you choose has been well tested for both long-term efficacy and safety. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a copy of the full package insert to make sure the vaccine you are about to receive does not contain any known brain and immune toxins. Some common toxic ingredients include mercury (thimerosol), polysorbate 80, aluminum, MSG, dyes, and antibiotics. Each of these toxins impairs immune function and contributes to brain diseases such as dementia, another ongoing pandemic. Unfortunately, the body does not have very effective means of removing these toxins.

There is no pharmaceutical product or other intervention you can undertake that will guarantee an infection-free life.  But the steps above represent your best defense against all microscopic threats to your health and life.  The bonus is that they also help you create health and resilience, which is far more beneficial than the absence of disease alone.  They enable you to enjoy doing the things you love for years to come.

Ray Andrew, MD

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