Naturopathic physicians treat the whole patient, not just the symptoms of disease: an interview with Dr. Joseph Pizzorno

Tuesday, February 08, 2005
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)

eTrust Pro Certified

Pin It

Mike: Does this philosophy of naturopathy stand at odds with much of what's going on in the pharmaceutical industry today, which is "sell more drugs no matter what"?

Dr. Pizzorno: Very much so. You mentioned the gold standard in the pharmaceutical industry, and this is from their own literature; to find drugs people will be on for the rest of their lives. A lot of the research going on right now is to find these designer drugs. Sometimes that's appropriate, but most of the time, that's not what's best for the patient. If I have someone with migraines, is it better to give them an expensive drug, like Sumtriptan, which has significant side effects, or is it better to say, "Your diet is deficient in magnesium -- consume foods richer in magnesium." Now, only 1 out of 6 patients with migraines need magnesium. But for that 1 out of 6, increased magnesium in the diet is almost miraculous in what it does for them, because not only does it relieve the migraines, but everything else impacted by inadequate magnesium will improve as well.

Mike: What about a case like high LDL cholesterol? Of course, the statin drugs are the conventional approach -- what would your approach entail?

Dr. Pizzorno: Well, there are a lot of possibilities. One is, if you have a patient, for example, who just wants to use drugs, doesn't want to change their diet -- well, fine, use the statin drugs, because they are pretty effective. But also realize that the statin drugs have some significant side effects, and a lot of those side effects are due to the fact that statin drugs poison the enzymes of the mitochondria that produce coenzyme Q10. So if a person takes statin drugs, I would give that person an additional amount of coenzyme Q10 to help relieve the side effects of the prescription drugs. So that's an idea of, you might say, integrated or co-managed care, where we say, okay, you're going to be on the drug, but let's use some natural medicine to relieve the side effects of the drug.

Now, alternatively, most people who have elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, it is due to dietary inappropriateness. And so we go to the person's diet and look at, now what are they doing inappropriately? What food are they eating that they shouldn't be eating, what foods should they be eating that they're not eating, what nutritional supplements can we give the person to help their system start producing more appropriate levels and appropriate types of cholesterol? In addition, if we have to, there are some natural herbal therapies that can be used to help decrease their cholesterol levels. I always try first to do it with diet and nutrition, and then use the herbs.

Mike: That's interesting. Do you find that patients are able to integrate the diet and nutritional advice?

Dr. Pizzorno: Well, not everybody's willing to do that, but I admit, I see a skewed population. And that is, if people come to see me, and come to see naturopathic doctors, in general they know what to expect -- they know they're not just going to get a pill. They know they're going to have to change their lives, so people who come to see us seem to be more willing to make the changes. And they're often pretty frustrated with what their experience has been with conventional medicine, so they're willing to make changes.

Mike: Moving on to some of the contrasts between conventional medicine and naturopathic medicine, in conventional medicine a set of symptoms is frequently labeled a disease -- high cholesterol is a disease or pain is a disease, or a brain chemistry imbalance is called a disease. It seems to me, from your explanations here, that naturopaths will always go at least one step further and say, what is the cause of this symptom? Does that mean that they have different names for diseases, or a different philosophy in naming them?

Dr. Pizzorno: Well, that actually is asking a fantastic question, and it gets into an issue that I address in an editorial I wrote for Integrated Medicine, a clinician's journal. This is a journal that I'm the editor of, and about a year ago I wrote an editorial which was a bit controversial, and I said on the editorial, is disease real? And I was trying to be provocative for a reason -- if you look at conventional medicine, conventional medicine has now come up with about 7,000 disease labels, and while this has worked well for medicine -- I think one of the reasons conventional medicine has advanced as well as it has is because they came up with these standardized diagnoses, came up with standardized diseases, and then standardized therapies for those diseases.

The problem is, it assumes that everybody's the same, and they're not. We're all biochemically unique. So, I look at disease, and let's take juvenile diabetes as an example, or NIDD1. Now, juvenile onset diabetes actually describes what's going on in the patient physiologically. Basically NIDD1 means that their pancreatic cells are gone; they don't produce insulin. So there you have a good correlation between what's going on with the patient physiologically and the disease name they have. But if you look at NIDD2, or adult onset diabetes, there you have a situation where you have elevated blood sugar, and we call it diabetes. However, people get the elevated blood sugar due to a wide range of problems -- it could be that they're not producing enough insulin, or it could be that the insulin they're producing is malformed, or it could be that the insulin receptor sites on the cell walls that attach to insulin aren't working properly, or it could be the cells signaling within the cell when the cell's supposed to absorb sugar isn't absorbing sugar properly. And there are some other reasons too, but each one of those reasons is physiologically different.

Now, if you take a conventional approach, you say, oh, elevated blood sugar -- let's give that person insulin. Well, yes, the blood sugar will go down, but the underlying pathology, the underlying physiological dysfunction which results in elevated blood sugar has not been addressed. So from my perspective, the term "diabetes" actually obfuscates what's going on with the patient physiologically.

So, while I won't put a disease label on someone with insulin insensitivity on a cellular level, what I do is I try to reverse that insulin insensitivity so that the cells respond to insulin the way they're supposed to. Now it turns out that this is a very common cause of adult onset diabetes, and one of the primary reasons is because the standard American diet is very low in a trace mineral called chromium. Without chromium, the insulin receptor sites won't work properly. So what I do with these people is, not only do I put them on a diet that has lower amounts of refined sugar but I also get more chromium in the diet, either supplementary or through food, and by re-establishing normal function, the blood sugar goes down, and it goes down not because I gave them a drug; it goes down because I got the body working better.

Mike: Kudos to you, also for avoiding a quick label for individual patients, because isn't it true that many patients, once they are given a label, they adopt that as part of who they are? They say "I am diabetic,” and then even that can change their response down the road, can't it?

Dr. Pizzorno: Oh, absolutely, and I think it's very tragic when somebody adopts the disease label as kind of a point of identification. I think that's very unfortunate, because not only does it have identification, but it also starts saying, “Well, I'm limited because of this.” And you see this in patients -- they start restricting their life based on this diagnosis. Why be limited to something like that? It doesn't make sense, but that does happen to people.

Mike: There's also a widespread belief that once you've been given a label of a disease, it seems like there's less you can do to reverse it at that point.

Dr. Pizzorno: Yes. And I think it's true that once a pathology is well-advanced, there's been so much damage, there's a limit to how far you can reverse things. But for the vast majority of people in our society, and particularly those early in the degenerative disease process, that's reversible, and one of my greatest critiques of conventional medicine is basically saying to people, “Well, either you're ’normal‘ or you've got disease that is bad enough that it now warrants a drug.” Well, between normal and a disease bad enough it warrants a drug, there's a lot of physiological dysfunction going on that's easily reversible at that point. But the longer you use the drug, the longer the disease progresses, the more difficult it is for the body to re-establish normal health.

You've been reading part two of a five-part interview with Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, the founding president of Bastyr University. Dr. Pizzorno was appointed by President Clinton in December 2000 to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. President Bush’s administration appointed him to the Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee in February 2003. He is also the co-author of the “Textbook of Natural Medicine” and the “Handbook of Natural Medicine.”

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.

Articles Related to This Article:

Disease Economy: How the United States economy runs on "treating" chronic disease

Disease names like diabetes and osteoporosis are misleading and misinform patients about disease prevention

Heal yourself in 15 days: Stop making disease by embracing the recipe for health (part eight)

Psychiatry and disease mongering: Road Rage Disorder is latest spontaneously "discovered" disease

The Cure Con: how you're being deceived by charities that claim to be racing for the cure for cancer and other chronic diseases

Medical myths explained: Why health researchers mistakenly think one disease causes another

Related video from NaturalNews.TV

Your NaturalNews.TV video could be here.
Upload your own videos at NaturalNews.TV (FREE)

About the author: Mike Adams is a consumer health advocate and award-winning journalist with a mission to teach personal and planetary health to the public He has authored and published thousands of articles, interviews, consumers guides, and books on topics like health and the environment, and he is well known as the creator of popular downloadable preparedness programs on financial collapse, emergency food storage, wilderness survival and home defense skills. Adams is a trusted, independent journalist who receives no money or promotional fees whatsoever to write about other companies' products. In 2010, Adams co-founded NaturalNews.com, a natural health video sharing site that has now grown in popularity. He also launched an online retailer of environmentally-friendly products (BetterLifeGoods.com) and uses a portion of its profits to help fund non-profit endeavors. He's also the CEO of a highly successful email newsletter software company that develops software used to send permission email campaigns to subscribers. Adams volunteers his time to serve as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and regularly pursues cycling, nature photography, Capoeira and Pilates. He's also author of numerous health books published by Truth Publishing and is the creator of several consumer-oriented grassroots campaigns, including the Spam. Don't Buy It! campaign, and the free downloadable Honest Food Guide. He also created the free reference sites HerbReference.com and HealingFoodReference.com. Adams believes in free speech, free access to nutritional supplements and the ending of corporate control over medicines, genes and seeds. Known on the 'net as 'the Health Ranger,' Adams shares his ethics, mission statements and personal health statistics at www.HealthRanger.org

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

 people have commented on this article.

Related Articles:

Disease Economy: How the United States economy runs on "treating" chronic disease

Disease names like diabetes and osteoporosis are misleading and misinform patients about disease prevention

Heal yourself in 15 days: Stop making disease by embracing the recipe for health (part eight)

Psychiatry and disease mongering: Road Rage Disorder is latest spontaneously "discovered" disease

The Cure Con: how you're being deceived by charities that claim to be racing for the cure for cancer and other chronic diseases

Medical myths explained: Why health researchers mistakenly think one disease causes another

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...

Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Dear Donald Trump: Blockade the lying mainstream media and recognize the independent media as America's real free press
Kellogg's found to have financial ties to the money man for cop-killing left-wing HATE groups: George Soros

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...


Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...


Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com

Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play