“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame (spine), in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
-- Thomas A. Edison
An Ounce of Prevention... Enzyme Nutrition Therapy Can Stop Problems before They Start
A conversation with Dr. Hiro Izumi of Harrison, NY
(This article appeared in the September 2012 issue of Westchester Putnam NY Natural Awakenings.)
We hear the words “preventive care” a lot nowadays, usually in reference to a checkup or health screening. But for Drs. Hiro and Michiko Izumi, DC, prevention goes much further than that. The husband and wife team helps patients avoid disease before any symptoms show up, and get to the root of symptoms they already have. Dr. Hiro sat down with us to explain how prevention really works—and the unique method the Izumis use to achieve it.
How important is prevention to lifetime wellness?
Health and disease are not black and white concepts; there are many shades of gray in between. Just because your blood tests, MRI or CT scan are “normal”—showing no positive results—that doesn’t mean your body is functioning at its optimum level. Unfortunately, modern medicine needs positive test results to make a diagnosis. So even if you’re experiencing nagging symptoms like pain, stiffness, fatigue or the inability to concentrate, if your tests are negative or inconclusive there is no basis for treatments. This often triggers a series of trial-and-error prescriptions that don’t address the real problem.
Disease doesn’t develop overnight—first your body gives you all kinds of warning signs. Prevention means being aware of those signs and symptoms, not masking or ignoring them.
Many screening procedures, like blood tests and mammograms, are commonly regarded as “preventive” tools, but they actually just detect an early stage of disease. So while regular physicals are very important, there is not much preventive about them. When you start seeing positive test results, that’s not the beginning of the disease—it’s the tip of the iceberg.
If you really want to prevent disease, you need to assess how healthy you are, not how sick you are. When we know how efficiently your body is working and the reason for your symptoms, the treatment plan becomes obvious.
Nobody enjoys pain and discomfort, but those symptoms are there for a good reason, and we should listen to them. Symptoms are your body telling you to change your behavior in some way.
How do our bodies maintain balance in order to stay healthy?
The body always tries to maintain homeostasis—the chemical balance necessary to sustain vital bodily functions. When homeostasis comes easily, the body is very unlikely to develop disease. But when it becomes a struggle due to extreme or prolonged stress (physical, nutritional or emotional), the problems begin. Your body starts compromising cell and organ function to maintain homeostasis, and you start experiencing various symptoms. If you leave them untreated or just mask them, eventually it leads to disease and illness.
Imagine two athletes running at the same pace. One is running with ease, while the other is sweating profusely, breathing hard and struggling not to fall behind. If you notice only that they’re running at the same pace, it’s hard to predict who will win. But if you take a closer look, the outcome is obvious. What shows up on a blood test or CT scan is just the runner’s pace, so to speak.
How can we know how well we are maintaining homeostasis?
We use a method of enzyme nutrition therapy called the Loomis system, which lets us identify your body’s physical, chemical and emotional stresses and their effect on your health. Specific tests determine each individual’s need—definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach. You can read the details on our website (IzumiWellness.net), but basically the tests include urinalysis, a nutritional test and a complete health history.
The bottom line is that we need to provide necessary nutrients and eliminate cellular waste for the body to function optimally, but many things can interfere with that process. Our job is to identify what those things are.
Take osteoporosis: most people know calcium helps give you strong bones, but we also know that just adding a calcium supplement is not nearly enough to resolve osteoporosis. Often calcium isn’t being absorbed properly due to an incompetent digestive system or inadequate stomach acid. Or you could have weak bones because you aren’t doing enough weight-bearing exercise. The point is, you need to find the cause and do something about it. In other words, a headache is not an Advil deficiency!
How is enzyme nutrition therapy different from other nutritional approaches?
Enzyme nutrition therapy is a cutting-edge science that uses nutrition to restore, maintain and promote health. It helps the body work at optimal efficiency to absorb and use essential nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and enzymes) and eliminate waste.
Enzyme nutrition therapy addresses all phases of nutrition, from ingestion to elimination, while conventional nutrition focuses mainly on ingestion—nutrients and calories. The assumption with conventional nutrition is that if you don’t have overt signs of digestive problems, your digestive organs are working fine. But that’s not true: you can have a compromised digestive system even if you’re asymptomatic.
Nutritional deficiency is not necessarily due to inadequate intake. You might be eating the right things but not properly digesting and absorbing them. But we do know that nutritional deficiency or problems with digestion and elimination almost always precedes development of disease. The Loomis system allows us to accurately assess whether there is a deficiency, its cause and effects, what to do about it, and how well the body is eliminating toxins. It’s an extremely effective way to prevent disease.