Let me please share with you my personal story about what made me wholeheartedly devote myself to MorNatural.
I am a medical doctor from Russia. In Russia I practiced as a physician for 15 years, taught Dermatology and was the Director of a Dermatology Center at Kursk Medical University. I was fortunate to get my education through the years of a so called ’old school’ system where professors were distinguished for their broad horizon of knowledge, unquestionable integrity, passion to share experience gathered through decades of practice, research and teaching under no pressure of any kind from self-interest industries or standards of care.
In Russia, what we call Alternative Medicine in the U.S. has not been separated from Conventional Allopathic Medicine. Therefore, my mind has always been open to other medical modalities such as resonant frequencies, magnetic frequencies, acupuncture, spinal alignment and what we refer to in the U.S. as an orthomolecular approach. There’s nothing mystical about it. Orthomolecular approach, for example, has been commonly and successfully employed among the word-wide medical community and includes vitamin therapy, use of minerals and fatty/amino acids. As a matter of fact, many dermatological problems would not be treated without such ‘pharmacologic nutrients’.
One hundred years ago, the Russian born Bacteriologist and 1908 Nobel Laureate, Dr. Ilya Mechnikov, stated, “Up to 90% of all known human illness and disease can be traced back to an unhealthy colon!” He was the founder of the term ‘probiotic’ to describe friendly bacteria that are essential ‘for life’. Mechnikov’s term, probiotic, was introduced to me when I was a medical student at the same time as antibiotics introduction in a Pharmacology course. Many years have passed since he introduced this term and his radical theory about aging based on intestinal toxicity caused by dysbiosis. In many respects, his theory has been proven to be true. Since then, recognizing the importance of intestinal flora for general health, I never prescribed antibiotics without recommending a following course of probiotics.
I did not realize it then, that in many aspects I was practicing what we now call Integrative Medicine — a combination of both Conventional Medicine interventions and Alternative Medicine depending on what is best in a particular case. The Integrative Medicine health provider is often led by their knowledge, experience, intuition and a patient’s preferences to decide which combination of therapeutic modalities brings a superior outcome for the patient. The integration of these (Conventional Medicine and Alternative Medicine) is seen not as a conflict between the two, but as complementing each other. Conventional Medicine aims to disrupt symptoms or the pathological process; for example, antibiotics in the case of bronchitis. Alternative Medicine supports the function of the body system optimizing the natural ability of the body to heal and in the case of bronchitis, probiotics, modified diet and vitamin C would be added as immune system strengthening agents and herbal expectorants would support natural bronchi function to clear mucous. Do you see any contradiction in this? Doctors in Europe routinely prescribe herbs, supplements and other natural remedies as a first line of treatment.
As you can clearly see, I came from a medical world that was not influenced by a large pharmaceutical industry and not restricted by ‘Standards of Care’ and HMO guidelines. There was also no time spent by a physician to address Medicare or insurance company protocols.
What really mattered was the physician’s acquired experience, knowledge, professional talent and sincere desire to help. It also mattered how many patients wanted to see us, how many patients ‘graduated’ from our treatment (were cured), how many doctors of other specialties recommended us to their patients and how many colleagues would like to get our ‘second opinion’. This is the medical world I came from.
I have no intention to judge or compare the two different systems; in any system there are pluses and minuses.
The laws of standard care, on one hand, are promoted as a way of keeping incompetent doctors in check, but unfortunately are also extremely effective at keeping excellent doctors from practicing exceptional medicine.
What I am trying to convey to you is my mind-set and professional ‘comfort zone’.
Nevertheless, after I moved to the U.S. I missed my profession. When I began working in the hospital in the Nuclear Medicine field I also launched my preparation for taking the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination). I have to admit it was an enlightening year. Suddenly, I found myself in love with Biochemistry and Molecular Biology — the subjects which many medical students struggle with and hope never to encounter again. Many of us are sure we will not need it for medical practice except to remember the general concepts. If I had any influence over the U.S. Department of Education, I would require doctors to have continuing education requirements for such basic sciences on a regular basis.
Applying the past 15 years of my clinical experience to refreshed and detailed knowledge of biochemical pathways, I suddenly started seeing the big and clear picture of Medicine. I would compare it to viewing Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, ‘The Mona Lisa’, from only a foot away. But, then in time deciding to take steps back and to each side, being stunned to find a compendium of all symbols enveloped in this famous painting. Suddenly you find the beauty of her enigmatic and mysterious smile, her eyes following you no matter what direction you are moving, her androgynous features and discrepancies in the landscape. First, you appreciate the depth of the image and care in its execution. You then start making promises, all based on a solid and real ‘picture’. You probably want to investigate if these same promises have already been made by other people and if they have even been scientifically supported.
Major investment in basic science by practicing doctors would illustrate an opportunity for significant progress in clinical medicine through natural health solutions.
It is worth mentioning that my clients’ health education is based on solid scientific evidence with most of the premises coming from basic Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Learning what you have to learn to pass the exam and learning it with zero years of clinical experience may seem very technical and even overwhelming, but to relearn it when you have years of practice is an eye-opening experience. It is like adding a new third dimension to what you were practicing and recognizing the limitations of a two-dimensional world which before felt comfortable and safe to live in. It is seeing things hidden from you before, behind the long, complicated pathways in the figures and text. It provides a critical piece of information of what true assistance should be in enhancing health, wellness and quality of life. It is the perfect opportunity to leave the medical dimension as you have known it, and enter a new one.
Through my medical experience in the U.S., with my inner wonder and concern for patients chronically on a long list of medications, subjected to often invasive and radioactive tests, my desire to apply my knowledge and experience in the medical field to helping others grew immensely.
Then something happened at that point in my life that made me seriously reconsider my professional destination, shifting my health paradigm and my comfort zone within the field of medicine.
I had a family disaster when someone very close to me developed severe and devastating symptoms. The symptoms did not fit my past professional field of dermatology (now I clearly understand how fragmented our medicine is). Of course, like you, regardless of my medical background and 20 years experience in the medical field, I was seeking the help of medical specialists. I trusted all my heart to them hoping for no less than finding the cause of the symptoms and eliminating them, what we would call a ‘cure’. I cannot find the right words for how sad and disappointing my experience to help a dear person in my life turned out to be. Instead of a practical, professionally investigative and whole-hearted approach; instead of finding the cause of these life-disturbing symptoms at any cost, without much consideration or concern; after that 40 minute office visit I was given the scary label of the disease for the individual whom my heart went to pieces for. You may already know by your experience that to get the ‘privilege’ to hear ‘the verdict’ took months of waiting for the narrowly specialized doctor appointment. The announcement of ‘label’ was followed by cold statistical facts relating to how many people in the U.S. suffer from this unknown cause of disease; that this close person of mine has to be on lifelong medication with an unpredictable outcome, and as for me? I should get counseling to help me move on with my life.
Here, I got my first lesson how stress from ‘labeling’ of the disease and receiving ‘a fearless judgment of incurability’ can considerably outweigh the stress from actual symptoms that further counter-intuitively aggravate health.
Do we really need such a heavy handed approach? Or is it just making the diagnosis match the criteria for medical insurance reimbursement? And do we really want to hear about cold statistical numbers in real life situations? What kind of relief can it bring to us? Do we really care that 7 million or 15 million people of the U.S. population have this diagnosis and that diagnosis? Do we deal with numbers, or with people? The next hard reality then came to me; we created fancy names/acronyms for a bunch of different kinds of symptoms: ADD, ADHD, IBS, depression, FM, CFS, GERD, autoimmunity, etc.
Does this process of giving a fancy name to the symptoms explain anything about the actual cause or is it just a way to justify a quick, one-size-fits-all approach for everyone?
Returning to my story; in the following year I experienced more sorrow and anguish than I had in my entire life and it would only be un-provocative to the hardest of hearts. Two years of a life journey full of appointments and disputes with doctors who were able to talk only about medications brought nothing new to me and my dear close person, only the same promoted rhetoric:
“Unknown cause, no known cure, accept the cold facts – you have to live with it”
Many people may mistakenly believe I am against all pharmaceuticals. This cannot be further from the truth. I was prescribing medicine, but I do not favor overuse of drugs and am against chronic and unnecessary drug use. And yes, my mind does not comprehend medications like those used in this particular case that can provoke and even exacerbate the symptoms which they are supposed to at the very least suppress. Additionally, these drugs have multiple other toxic side effects. How does it sound for you, a perfectly intelligent human being? Does this kind of ‘treatment’ sound right? Are we missing something here?
With the amount of medications we are consuming in the U.S. we might assume we are the healthiest nation in the world. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2009 annual report, the United States ranks 35th among member nations in life expectancy, and we have more chronic diseases than ever. There is evidence that our life span has reached its highest point ever, but quality of life has not. Have you experienced a loved one in a ‘retirement home’ for the last two years of their life? How many of us are aging healthy and naturally? How many children and adolescents are on serious medications? Sadly, this less than optimal life expectancy with compromised quality is primarily caused by a rise in the number of preventable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease and diabetes. Logically, this does not emphasize a lack of medication, but a real need for proper health education and natural preventive measures.
When it comes to disease, we habitually try the easiest path first: many doctor appointments, highly radioactive tests such as CT and Nuclear Medicine scans, drugs and again drugs and even what may be called ‘chop-chop’ procedures (surgeries without deep consideration of such a radical step). What do you see common in all this? Well, being one in your shoes, like that surgeon from the movie ‘The Doctor’ who found what medicine is really like when he himself was diagnosed with cancer, I realized one important thing — it is almost always where we are nonparticipants! Yes, our participation is not required and sometimes even not desirable. You have to do nothing, just take the drug and continue with your toxic style of life. What? You get worse? What do you want; the disease is progressing. Increase the dose of medication and add this new one — the latest and very promising; there are even samples! Have side effects? There is a prescription for your side effects. Do you have questions? You found an article on the internet? Stop reading on the internet! Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The cold fact is:
Using drugs to suppress the outward manifestation of underlying dysfunctions does not truly facilitate healing.
Another cold fact:
Many neglect to focus on healthy lifestyle and nutritional education, which requires more time and yields lower compensation. Neglecting nutrition and environment creates the ever blooming ‘idiopathic diseases’ described as conditions that have the legendary ‘no known cause’.
After more than two years passed, a person whom I was eager to help started losing their faith; first in me and second, in the chain of doctors and clinics I was switching in my desperation. As you can imagine with each failure the family was not just wasting money, but also valuable time. I know all too well the feeling of being held hostage by the system at the expense of the health consumer. This brought to realization another well-known but not often fathomed fact;
The cost of being ill is much more than keeping yourself healthy.
I want to draw your attention here, please, I was not an exception. Even being in the medical field; I was relying on someone to unravel my problem (or a problem of someone precious to me). After all, I was intimately drawn into the sober reality that the best line of defense even in the medical field is ‘caveat emptor’. I decided to follow the advice of some psychologists and took care of myself, but not in terms of moving on with my life as was their suggestion. Just moving on with my life would ultimately have let this person close to me downward spiral or in the best outcome, live a life of misery. The advice I followed was to cool myself down and regain my inner power again. This fueled my own independent search for a solution.
Good medicine should be inquiry driven.
Knowledge is power; illiteracy creates fear. Is fear primarily a tool in the sale of ‘treatments’?
One major skill that medical school teaches us is effective research, whether it is scientific research or researching the symptoms. I was digging for an answer for 6-12 hours per day, whenever I wasn’t working or sleeping, for several months. I was going through hundreds of articles in PubMed (official website that catalogs millions of scientific articles from prestigious medical journals), carefully filtering out industry sponsored studies. This made me a self-educated student and independent researcher in Nutrition, Genomix, Environment and Orthomolecular Medicine. These are solid, scientific concepts, although not all are well known or commonly accepted by the medical community. But a growing army of U.S. medical doctors, most of which practice privately, support them and successfully implement them in their approach. To name a few: Dr Sherry Rogers, Dr Charles Gant, Dr Garry Gordon, Dr Mark Hyman, Dr Max Gerson (unfortunately passed away) and Dr James Howenstine. I have growing respect each day for these doctors and countless others.
The next important fact I grew into:
If we are led by self-interest funded studies while trying to help people, we are slaves of a Big Industry and cease to serve the people.
At about that time, through my compelling research of other fields of medicine and human nutrition, I developed an increased awareness that:
The core of virtually each disease lies within nutritional deficiencies and toxicity causing metabolic disbalances.
You may be wondering about genetics. Dr. H. Frederik Nijhout, Department of Biology, Duke University: “When a gene product is needed, a signal from its environment, not an emergent property of the gene itself, activates expression of that gene.” In other words, our environment can switch our bad genes on and good genes off. My important massage to you is:
Our genes are not ‘necessarily’ our destiny.
Recent science (Nutrigenomix), as well as the work of scientists such as Candace Pert, Ph.D, Bruise Lipton Ph.D and others bring new evidence related to this each day.
As a side effect of my passionate study of some, new for me, areas of medicine which are not normally taught in medical school, I managed to rid myself personally of several chronic issues I had for years and was able to help some relatives and acquaintances with their chronic health issues as well.
As for my close person with devastating, persisting symptoms of unknown cause of disease and whose situation made me a Health Sherlock Holmes, I finally and clearly understood where the cause(s) may be hidden and what assessment should be done to give me pieces of a puzzle to work with.
«Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.» — Sherlock Holmes (by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1859-1930).
The problem was that I should find a physician willing to run multiple labs; not common mainstream labs. Again, some of you may think that I attempt to criticize physicians I met along my journey. No, I do not; because first of all, I am highly obliged to them for my drastic change in health paradigm with its pure logic and deep understanding of the process, as well as for my personal growth. Second, even if I was feeling trapped in a vacuum and lost in a labyrinth before, I am free of biases now. I can tell you, with my experience in the medical system, it is unrealistic to expect doctors with today’s huge medical school debt, HMO regulations and massive malpractice insurance to extensively research each person’s particular case. Even with their best intensions, not practicing by rote, they simply do not have time for much research. They will take your insurance, but rarely be available for more than 30 minutes. They simply have no other option.
By this time I was not naïve anymore. I knew the rules well and knew if I came to the doctor and asked for an environmental toxicity test, for example, for someone I care so much about, they would look at me like I am from the Moon. To make a long story short, I eventually was extremely lucky to find a physician in Washington DC who was not only willing and able to listen to me, but immediately, to my total awe, suggested ordering the tests I thought I had to talk him into. He was highly knowledgeable about environmental toxins, nutritional deficiencies and possible mild genetic glitches (SNPs) along many biochemical pathways that can cause the symptoms.
We consist of hundreds of trillions of cells and if we do not interrupt their function, these cells represent a ‘Healthy Us’.
Our first talk on the phone about possible causes of poor health was as music to my ears. By that time, I was not just familiar with each biochemical pathway, enzymes and cofactors he considered over our almost 2 hour phone conversation, but I easily reproduced them in front of my mental eyes. He was the first physician who, without knowing it, reflected on what I had come to discover on my own during these four years of diligent research on supplementation and Nutrition; digging MORe and MORe into the fields of Biochemistry, Environmental medicine and Nutrigenomics.
After all these years of each day’s almost fanatic search for the best health approach based on detailed knowledge of biochemistry, molecular biology and nutrition, my eyes were opened to the application of biochemistry and nutrition in practical health plans. I have to confess, even with my open mind and my daily use of vitamins, minerals and proper diet (well, as I thought) in clinical dermatology, I still did not fathom and failed to take it seriously enough until that point, how the Krebs cycle, cellular membrane integrity, intracellular communication, hormone receptors, detoxification pathways, oxidative stress pathways, each neurotransmitter’s pathway and our gene expression are tightly interconnected with the external environment, toxins, nutrition and diet. Imbalances such as these are the precursors to the symptoms by which we label the disease.
“Should I change my diet or take any vitamins, minerals or other supplements?” The answer to this simple question will tell you immediately if a physician is keeping up with hundreds of study findings from all over the world that have shown that dietary changes and supplements have a direct effect on many types of diseases including cancer.
As a result of this story, I made my choice.
Educate instead of Medicate” — does not the word ‘Doctor’ in Latin mean ‘Teacher’?
MorNatural grew out of my attempts to understand what had happened to the person I care so much about. I finally discovered that my case is not unique or even rare. Each of us develops a comfort zone; among physicians, it is often built during the years of medical school. A chance for a change or growth usually occurs during personal life or years of practice under particular circumstances which leads to digging deeply into disciplines which finally can feed our hunger for improvements of our ‘old strategies’. It may happen and may not; especially if taking into consideration, the roles of the system. Some doctors even develop considerable biases on the way to new strategies, because the same circle of chronically ill people becomes normal to them. They want to bring no harm, even if comprehensive natural interventions are safer, but may be merely afraid to appear too unconventional to their colleagues. Even if the noble goal of many health educators to teach simple basic health lessons and help with health options based on a partner relationship with their clients will be successfully achieved, for each of us a consumer will be found. Why? It sounds simple:
Learn the basics of health, remove the interferences and toxins, improve nutrition and commit to the plan even after the balance is achieved.
And there is already a sign of highly beneficial health outcomes on the horizon, but is it not an irony of life? There will always be people who, if faced with a permanent lifestyle change or disease, even fatal disease, will choose the latter. If it is not simple ignorance, but it is their informed choice based on full understanding of what is going on within their body, I absolutely respect their choice. Based on any less understanding than this, I’m sorry, I cannot agree.
Before I may hear an outcry of disappointment let me quote someone: Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said that in his early years a coach once made a great impression by sharing these words of wisdom:
“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”
This is so true when applied to your health habits. Yes, I am sure you have heard it before, but do you really live it? Did you at the very least make a choice to try?
To have more vitality does not have to be our impossible dream at any age; it is, in fact, our birthright!
Before buying a cell phone (or vacuum, or car) we search for the best one, the quality of which justifies the price and meets our expectations. And in the end, it makes our life more enjoyable. We would probably check several stores, hunting for the best expert; not just a sales person. What is the difference when searching for the most valuable merchandise in our life — our health? Shouldn’t we research what to buy and from whom? If it is so, should we not shop for our doc? Shouldn’t we interview several and decide which one best fits our desires and goals? We are the client aren’t we? We are responsible for payment aren’t we? But how can we do that without knowing true health basics?
Please, remember I do not treat or diagnose; I cannot promise you a cure or a miracle; and the disappearance of your symptoms is not MY success. It is the success of the person who wishes it and actualizes the cure.
Yours in heath,