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The Seven Stages of Declining Health
By DicQie Fuller-Looney, Ph.D., D.Sc., N.D.

Dr. DicQie Fuller-Looney I have regularly witnessed fear, surprise, and even utter confusion by people who receive a negative diagnosis. "Disease is never supposed to happen to me," they say. It seems like their condition happened to them overnight, where there was absolutely nothing that we could have done to spare ourselves. Many of us feel like victims, completely without choice. I have been in this position more than once in my lifetime and I understand the fear and the feelings of helplessness.

However, I have learned that there are choices involved and that most conditions do not happen overnight. Every one of us is born with an inherited ability to make metabolic enzymes. However, enzymes can either be repressed or destroyed when the body's condition or environment is not in balance. The choices a person makes to avoid exercise, to stop for lunch every day and eat fast foods, or to lead a stressful, negative lifestyle can lead to the depletion of and an imbalance of enzymes.

It is these poor choices that, in fact, result in the imbalances to the whole body that can allow disease to happen. No, disease does not happen overnight. It takes years of this constant neglect and over-indulgence to alter our enzyme balance and create a disease condition. In my clinical research, I have identified Seven Stages of declining health, an approach that demonstrates how poor lifestyle choices can lead to disease conditions in the long term.

The first stage of declining health can be caused by over-eating, drinking, overwork, worry, and over-indulgence in cooked and/or processed food. In fact, Stage One is characterized by approximately 95 percent lifestyle and/or environmental factors. Stress and alcohol also deplete valuable enzymes. Sugar, salt, caffeine, tobacco, drugs, serum injections, impure water, polluted air, tension, depression, and lack of rest only add to the extra burden for the body to produce the necessary enzymes required for good health. The result is a weakened immune system and reduced vital energy or strength. So many of us choose to over-indulge on a regular basis and never stop to think about the outcome.

The Lipase enzyme molecule. In Stage One, therefore, our metabolic enzymes (bio-chemically produced in the body) have become compromised. Even the simplest efforts of the body to receive the proper enzyme support from our raw food (like mastication) are now void. However, if we could aid the body by adding digestive enzyme supplements such as proteolytic enzymes (proteases to help break down proteins), polysacchralytic enzymes (various enzymes to break down carbohydrates/starch), and lipolytic enzymes (lipases to break down fats), we will have at least begun to help the body retain its balance.

When not corrected appropriately, the choices in Stage One will progressively overwhelm the system. Stage Two is created when the body's abilities have become so compromised that it cannot even digest food. During digestion, a lot of blood must flow to the digestive organs. Energies of the organism are always divided between assimilation and elimination. An unequal use of those energies is caused by the practice of overeating and the other abusive choices we have already mentioned. Science tells us that we already use 80 to 90 percent of our body's energies just with digesting food. Other stimulating choices such as stress, caffeine, sodas, sugars, and alcohol will divert this vital energy.

As a result of poor digestion, there is an increase in food toxins, which is the sign that we have entered Stage Two. When non-usable substances and their toxins are not or cannot be eliminated, they are stored in the tissues, joints, and organs. This leaves the body intoxicated, sluggish, and weakened. One of the recognizable signs may be constipation, but there are other signs of toxicity that begin here. Now, the body is not only overburdened with toxins, but the struggle of the body's ability to keep up the proper digestive enzymes, hormones, rebuild muscle, tissue, and bone is now impaired. This kind of a sluggish, continually tired body is susceptible to crises.

Poor nutrition from Stage One had failed to provide the necessary elements to supply the body's building blocks for metabolic enzymes, antibodies, and even hormones. The lack of enzymes created by Stage One had slowed down the elimination of toxins by the liver and kidneys and has placed a burden on the body's defense system. Now, free radicals will take their toll. These destructive factors can be accentuated with age, as the body bio-accumulates various toxins, which provides a continuous weakening.

Over the counter antacids... What can we do? Simple over the counter digestive aids such as laxatives or high fiber drinks do not work here. In fact, chemically based substances will only add toxicity to the body. No, it takes a natural supplement source to replenish proper digestion to the body. The enzymes that we so sorely missed back in Stage One desperately need to be increased. The poor digestion in Stage One that led to an increase of toxins in Stage Two will result in an acid/alkaline imbalance in Stage Three and a depressed immune system in Stage Four.

When the continual poor eating and drinking habits that led to an overly toxic body in Stage One are consistently repeated, then an overly acidic body fluid condition develops in Stage Two called acidosis. Progression to Stage Three involves further pH imbalances and a definite deterioration of the biological terrain. Cellular activity is compromised and we begin aging at an unnatural rate. Alkaline buffers in the blood are the body's defense against acid-forming foods, toxic waste, stress, etc. Alkaline mineral elements, when not available in the bloodstream, are leached from teeth, bones, and the liver to neutralize deadly acids and preserve life.

Acidosis means the body's alkaline reserves are now being depleted. When there are not enough buffers for balance, these acids enter the cell and eventually cause the cell itself to become saturated by acid. Once our cells are saturated, we will experience a loss of electrons from the cell itself. Potassium, chlorides, magnesium, and other minerals will then be carried out of the body via the kidneys. Our life's energy will be depleted along with these minerals.

This acid/alkaline imbalance further impairs our digestive ability because the body cannot produce hydrochloric acid in the stomach for digestion. The absence of free hydrochloric acid in the stomach leads to chronic gastritis. Although the burping, belching, and gas that often results from these chronic problems can be alleviated by the use of supplemental digestive enzymes, over-the-counter antacids only increase this problem. Think of it this way. The body's top priority is to keep the system in balance. If we add alkaline by taking an antacid, the body will only respond by creating more acid to sustain its balance. The cycle becomes repeated over and over.

In Stage Four, the continuance of constant toxicity creates a depressed environment in the body and symptoms increase. Because of xenobiotic (outside of the body) stress, the lungs, kidneys, and liver are all being compromised. This stage also coincides with further deterioration of the metabolic environment due to the presence of high levels of toxins. Various parasitic and pathogenic factors will find conditions favorable for invading the body. In fact, there is now an accumulation of metabolic wastes, which includes dead cells. The waste removal system is unable to adjust to the load imposed on it. The unwanted micro-flora metabolizes and produces toxins. This accumulation of toxic materials within the organs, joints, and/or other vital parts of the body becomes apparent and the resultant toxicity becomes evident. For example, of the 25 trillion red blood cells alone, 7 million die per second and their by-products contain toxins such as carbon dioxide. Anabolism is greatly affected as the body's cellular activity emphasis is directed to defense. Additionally, the buffering capacity of the body's fluids is impaired.

Gall Stones... Science has shown that many allergic reactions begin in the gut. Inorganic, toxic substances from poorly digested food, drink, and drugs cannot be expelled by the weakened body. Many of these undigested macromolecules may pass directly from the gut into the blood stream. As a result, they become trapped in the joints, kidneys, and gall bladder. A series of symptoms manifested by stone-like formations in these organs may be noted in some people. We refer to this stage as "inflammation," characterized by heat, redness, swelling, and pain. So-called "allergies" are nothing more than the irritation of nasal passages that are already chronically inflamed from a pronounced toxemic condition. Toxemia is the basic cause of all inflammation, including the lining of the membranes of the hollow organs of the body.

With the body's immune state thus compromised, protease enzymes now become a vital supplement necessary for the body to survive these attacks. Protease is not only critical to the digestion of important proteins, but it also binds to alpha 2-macroglobulin (large blood plasma protein molecule) when delivered to the sites of immune function. Years of clinical experience has also shown that toxins are removed from the body through protease supplementation, perhaps due to an over-all improvement in blood flow.

In the earlier stages of declining health, the continuance of constant toxicity created a depressed environment in the body. We saw how symptoms increased as major organs became compromised. Conditions are now favorable for various parasitic and pathogenic factors to invade the body. These conditions will result in the organ deterioration and functional impairment of Stage Five and the degenerative diseases and major system dysfunction of Stage Six.

The onset of the actual disease due to organ deterioration and functional impairment is a factor of Stage Five. At this point, the outwardly obvious signs of health problems are now evident. This fifth stage of degeneration is characterized by further weakening of the body and frequent recurrence of ailments. This is when a gradual thickening (hardening) of the mucous and sub-mucous tissue takes place. This is due to the causes of inflammation, which remain unchanged. This increased level of hardening chokes arterial circulation (hardening of the arteries), cutting off oxygen and the food supply. The tissues clump and break down, giving rise to skin disorders. These skin problems can be skin eruptions, such as moles, liver spots, callused feet, and other dead cell accumulations. The lymphatic system becomes stagnant. It is unable to utilize antioxidants, which puts the body in danger of oxidative stress and premature tissue aging.

At this point, the amount of any metabolic digestive enzymes that the body might supply for digestion is completely limited by the condition of the body. Many people in Stage Five suffer from indigestion, bloating, gas, and burning sensations in the gastrointestinal area. The recommended dosages of supplemental digestive enzymes with each meal have increased again from the previous stages. They have become even more crucial. In addition, protease needs to be taken between meals so it can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. At this point, supplemental protease should be taken a minimum of three times a day.

Intestinal flora--there's good and bad. Before long, the body will be experiencing the conditions of Stage Six. Most organs are severely compromised and unsafe levels of bacteria are present. By this point, the ability of the body has now given way to degenerative diseases and major system dysfunction occurs. For instance, the capacity for normal toxin elimination is subverted. Instead, you may experience the excretion of toxic-laden mucous as it erupts from open wounds, boils, fistulas, internal ulcers, chancre (as in AIDS), and herpes simplex. These excretions can occur from the eyes, ears, nose, vagina, or other body cavities.

Other symptoms in this stage could be high or low blood sugar and/or anorexia, which are nothing more than SHS (sugar handling stress) due to adrenal exhaustion from a highly toxic condition. Irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerated states are now seen in this stage. The good and bad bacteria in the colon are now out of balance and the bad bacteria are striving to take over the enzyme sites of the villi in our intestines. The bad bacteria have experienced overgrowth. These now fight for control of the same sites so they can eat off of the poorly digested food sources. The ability of the body to break down wheat or other grains at this stage is further handicapped by the overgrowth of bad bacteria.

The conditions will only worsen. Indigestion and malabsorption will favor the overgrowth of undesirable and opportunistic micro-flora in the GI tract, which will convert the poorly digested foods into toxic compounds. Many of these compounds have been shown to induce cancer. For instance, studies have shown that excess cholesterol may be converted by some undesirable bacteria of the GI micro-flora into estrogen-like compounds that are cancer-promoting. Thus, in addition to any normal estrogen produced by the body as normal physiological process, more estrogen may be produced by poor digestion, creating an excess imbalance in the body.

Probiotic supplementation has now become about more than just prevention. Supplementation of these "friendly" bacteria is now a necessity for the health of the whole. A preferred probiotic is the L. plantarum. This form of bacteria it noted for its ability to eliminate or reduce most other bad bacteria and fungi. In addition, L. plantarum has an beneficial effect on the immune system, as it changes the immune cells and influences the production of cytokines. One consequence of this is the normalization of the colon pH.

The organ deterioration and functional impairment of Stage Five has reached critical levels and resulted in the degenerative diseases and major system dysfunction of Stage Six. Now we will see how the body becomes overwhelmed by disease in Stage Seven and fosters more cancer cells. This will bring us to a reiteration of the vital importance of protease supplementation for the purpose of regulating the cytokines that play a role in some forms of cancer.

By Stage Seven, the body is now being overwhelmed by disease. In this final stage, there is a cellular disorder that causes tissue growth of a morbid nature. Poor circulation and general degeneration of the body (resulting from continued abuse) hasten this growth. It is in this stage that the cells can no longer renew themselves adequately. Tumors and other types of growths are allowed to develop. Cancer is formed as a result of physical, chemical, or genetic mechanisms that interfere with the production of the body's cells. These cells become damaged or abnormal. Abnormal cells rob the other cells of nutrients.

Healthy individuals could have anywhere from 100 to 10,000 cancer-like cells. This does not mean that you have cancer. Rather, your body routinely sends out signals for help and a group of suitable enzymes, immune cells, and cytokines react and disintegrate the cancer-like cells. The toxic debris is broken down by various enzymes, resulting in their removal by the body. That way, although new cancer-like cells are produced constantly, they will be recognized and destroyed if we have a healthy and balanced immune system. However, poor eating habits, drug use, smoking, and stress can upset the balance and that weaken the immune system. When this happens, then the body's defense system breaks down as described above. The previous conditions of stages One through Six have seriously compromised the body's ability to synthesize the needed metabolites, including metabolic enzymes and healthy cells.

Cancer cells - courtesy of Robert C. Mellors, MD Cancer cells are typically characterized as follows:

uncontrolled division of the cell and with no differentiation pattern
interference with physiological and biochemical activities of normal neighboring cells
deviation in the energy producing metabolic system
oxygen consumption is lower than in normal cells
abnormally high use of glucose than normal cells
production of high lactic acid in the cell

Cancer cells are also typically characterized by drainage of liver function as the high lactic acid (lactate) is converted by liver to glucose. This process makes cancer cells that are termed as "metabolic parasites." The liver has to use more of its ATP (necessary to make the conversion) than the cancer cell generates, resulting in the weakening of the liver. Additionally, cancer cells may be covered with a protein coat that helps them be disguised and appear as normal cells, thus helping them to evade the immune system.

Damaged or abnormal cells are now left alone to coat themselves in glue-like fibers about 15 times the thickness of normal cells. They hide under this protective glue-like coating so that they cannot be recognized. These sticky cells wander around looking for a place to adhere so that they can build more fibrin and multiply, forming a tumor. The fiber around the cancer cell is made up of protein. Cancer cells are clever and have a "trade mark" (cell markers). Even when the cell is destroyed, the trademark can get left behind. They are so smart that they can even leave a false trail so that they can be undisturbed and form new markers elsewhere. As more and more cancer cells with specific antigens invade the body, they overwhelm the immune system.

The more cancer cells you have, the more enzymes are needed by the body. Digestive enzyme supplements may be able to help in meeting the body's nutrient needs, especially in cases of cancer where metabolic needs are increased. Additionally, various studies have shown that orally-ingested proteases help regulate the cytokines that play a role in some forms of cancer.

Remember that all the symptoms just mentioned are nothing more than the body's effort to return to balance. This is an example of the power and energy within. Disease is not "bound to happen." It can be overcome if there is a willingness to eliminate all of the aforementioned abuses and maintain a disciplined adherence to a diet of life-giving foods. Such a regime of digestive enzyme formulations, proper foods, and permanent life changing habits will bring a variety of positive effects. Granted, the effect on your particular conditions largely depends upon the current extent of degeneration of affected vital organs. However, if sufficient life energy remains, the chance for rejuvenation is great enough to warrant a change.

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