In 1951, a study was conducted by the National Academy of Sciences about the structure of the human body and the relationship between protein and body function. The study involved Dr. Linus Pauling.
If that name sounds familiar, Dr. Pauling was the subject of a blog post I wrote last year about a true genius. Dr. Pauling is a hero of mine and the father of molecular medicine.
Dr. Pauling stated that that underneath human physiological structure is the molecular level, and we can better understand body function if we understand body structure at the molecular level.
In other words, if we get the structure right, the function will follow.
Most of us think of the physiological structure – bones, muscles, connective tissue and organs – as permanent. In reality, these systems are replaced on a regular basis.
Red blood cells are replaced every three months. The digestive tract is replaced every few days. Bones are replaced every few years. Our bodies are in a constant state of change.
At the molecular level, the smallest building blocks of these structural elements are proteins. Ultimately, we’re only as healthy as the health of our proteins.
This study found that an alteration in the structure of protein can then modify the function of that protein and, in turn, the individual. Pauling called this molecular disease. Just like proper structure results in proper function, improper structure results in improper function and illness.
Managing molecular disease requires a very different approach than managing infectious disease, which focuses on killing the foreign invader that causes the disease with an antibiotic. This is the modern, pharmaceutical approach to medicine.
However, with molecular disease, you can’t kill a protein produced in the body, even if it has a different structure than other proteins.
Why is all of this important?
Chronic disease is the result of an alteration in the shape of the proteins that make up the structure. Not all of these alterations are a result of genetic characteristics. They’re often caused by events in an individual’s lifestyle, diet and environment.
In other words, you’re not born with genetically abnormal protein. You’re altering those proteins, which alter our molecular structure. This affects how the body functions and causes chronic illness.
For example, life events cause distortion in the structural alignment between bones and muscles, causing a sore neck or back. When structural alignment is altered, function is altered. Pain is one of those alterations.
Here are signs of altered structure that impair function as outlined by Dr. Jeffrey Bland in his book The Disease Delusion:
- You feel yourself getting shorter.
- You have back problems.
- You get a sore neck.
- You have elevated hemoglobin A1C, which measures type II diabetes.
- You have memory problems.
- You’re overweight.
- You frequently eat and drink from plastic containers.
- You feel cold all of the time.
- You’ve been told that you have reduced bone mass.
- You’re menopausal.
- You avoid dairy products.
- You eat more animal protein than vegetables.
When we have an altered structure, we typically go to a doctor who gives us pain medicine, anti-inflammatory medicine or muscle relaxers.
However, the evidence is overwhelming that a more natural, holistic approach that includes treatments such as chiropractic care, therapeutic massage, acupuncture and exercise is extremely effective. That’s because you’re directly addressing the structure of the body through manual, hands-on therapy. By correcting the structure, you improve function, relieve pain and reduce the risk of chronic illness.
I understand that this may seem like a lot of scientific language, but there are scientific reasons why the body functions a certain way. This science, which dates back more than 60 years to the research of Dr. Pauling, guides the Natural Healthcare Center approach for treating an altered structure. Focusing on the structure and not the symptoms is the key to feeling better, functioning better and living as many healthy, disease-free years as possible.