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The body is an Holistic homeodynamic system where imbalances can lead to a variety of conditions. Certain imbalances have proven to have far reaching effects upon health. But they should not be looked upon as causal factors, but as an indication of where fundamental imbalances may lie.
One way of looking at an imbalance is not to specifically look at what causes the condition, but what is particular about the individual who is susceptible; their lifestyle, underlying medical condition, nutritional status etc.
The idea that one treatment fits all approach is not always suitable given the clinical presentation and how certain imbalances appear to be driving the condition and exhibiting in symptoms observed.
There are certain fundamental imbalances that have been identified as significant:
- Detoxification: It is an important process for keeping the body healthy. Toxic overload can result in a number of symptoms, including; headaches, fatigue, and muscle pain.
- Dysbiosis; microbial imbalances can play a role in a systemic immune inflammatory response. Some factors related to dysbiosis are; diet nutritional status and stress.
- Digestion, absorption, and elimination imbalances. Poor digestion may be as a result of low digestive enzymes, low bile salts to aid in the breakdown of fats, or low fibre status resulting in constipation.
- Immune imbalance and Inflammation. For example in situations where the immune system attacks its own body's cells as in an autoimmune reaction. Or when the inflammatory response does not lead to a resolution as can be observed in conditions of chronic inflammation.
- Oxidative stress: An imbalance due to a lack of antioxidants to cope with the natural occurring metabolisms within the body which produce free radicals.
- Hormonal Imbalances which may be deficient or over-productive.
- Neurological imbalances: The nervous system works alongside the endocrine system to maintain homeostasis. It has high energy requirements, and needs a constant supply of oxygen and glucose, and relevant nutrients for synthesising neurotransmitters.
- Structural imbalances: these also include internal organs. Dysfunction is usually felt as pain.
However it is also important to see the body in an Holistic way and consider how each system interacts and influences another. For example, the Thyroid Hormone, if in excess or deficient, will influence the functioning of the whole body.
Another example of this is in diet. Nutrients do not work in isolation but synergistically, for example Glucose is dependent upon Sodium for its absorption. The fat soluble vitamins; A, D, E, and K require fat within the diet for them to be assimilated. A nutrient may affect some individuals disproportionally, for example Gluten found in wheat, barley and rye, or Lactose found in dairy products, will be detrimental towards a susceptible individual's overall health. Other foods may create an immune response which can be mild or life threatening as in an anaphylactic shock.
It is important to be constantly mindful of the interplay of these systems when thinking of ones diet and particularly when considering supplements. A deficiency of a nutrient may not just reflect its lack within the diet, but possibly an inability of the body to absorb it, or there is a greater demand for that nutrient, for example; in periods of rapid growth, periods of stress, or to counteract a toxic load within the environment and subsequently within the body.
Therefore addressing the presenting symptoms requires an appreciation of what imbalances are driving the condition.