Researching Nutrition 1 – All Great Truths begin as Blasphemies
For some, the mere suggestion that diet could be used to treat anything somehow seems to cross the line of reason…conjuring up images of unicorns and fairy dust. It’s a preposterous notion that they categorically reject. To them, if it doesn’t come in the form of a prescription pill bottle, an injection, or a scalpel, it’s on par with talking about Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.
One girl I spoke with recently about the potential of nutritional intervention cut me off and then flatly stated that she simply didn’t believe in ‘home remedies.’ Now, this was a very smart girl. She was extremely knowledgeable and well-versed in the medical details and technical language of her many health problems and treatment scenarios. But for her, like some people, if the information didn’t come wrapped in a white lab coat, it was a ‘home remedy.’
Despite longstanding experience and new reports that emerge regularly supporting the curative power of nutrition, some people just refuse to buy in.
I suppose that treating diseases like Beriberi, or B1 (thiamine) deficiency, which causes weight loss, body pain and weakness, brain damage, heart failure and death; Pellagra, or B3 (Niacin) deficiency, which causes diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia and death; Biotin (B7) deficiency, especially in pregnant women, which can cause rashes, baldness, anemia, dermatitis and fungal infections; Scurvy, or vitamin C deficiency; Rickets from lack of calcium, vitamin D, or sunlight; Arboflavinosis; Hypcobalaminenia….just to name some at the top of the list, by supplementing with one particular vitamin or food would fall under the category of ‘home remedy’ then.
Interestingly, while you could throw prescription drugs and creams at the symptoms of these diseases all day long, drugs would do nothing to treat and heal the underlying cause.
Still, despite this almost militant subgroup of absolutists, the debate still rages amid the majority of us; discussion and speculation swirl endlessly about diet as a possible treatment for many things… including Alopecia Areata, Totalis and Universalis.
Have we resorted to this ‘outside-the-box’ searching merely because we feel that science and medicine have abandoned us on a dark and desolate stretch with no place to turn?
If that is the case, in part, it’s understandable. The TRUTH is that our ‘experts’ can’t really tell us much. They can’t tell us WHY a person is at risk for AA. They don’t know WHAT triggers it. They can’t PREDICT the duration or severity of the disease. And perhaps worst of all, they don’t have any effective means to TREAT us. See my previous article summarizing what we REALLY know about AA: http://globalalopeciamission.org/why-more-research-for-alopecia-areata/
So is desperation why we are looking elsewhere for answers? Are we gazing across the rainbow trying to imagine that a little magical ‘pot-o-gold’ waits somewhere on the other side?
Or is there something more to this diet talk? Is there some good reason to believe that diet might in fact play a role in delivering our bodies from its autoimmune prison?…even over and above the miraculous AA ‘cure’ stories that emerge from time to time that are chalked up to diet and nutrition.
Better yet, is there some sound logical, scientific basis for making a case that diet and nutrition might be used to reverse Alopecia Areata?
Well, I firmly believe there are very real and specific reasons why nutritional therapy can be central to treating AA….not only based on my proof positive experience in reversing longstanding Alopecia Universalis and my ability to control its expression…but also because unrelated scientific research has been leaving us clues for some time. This is an area of research that simply cannot be left off the table in any real results-driven AA research strategy. It requires serious scientific scrutiny alongside the other topics!
Now there are two primary problems that exist when attempting to introduce new evidence or a new stream of thinking in science and medicine, particularly if this new thinking represents an ‘unconventional’ direction or when, in general, the disease research does not have an adequate source of independent funding.
The first is that most research is profit driven…period. Patents and drugs are the real goal. So money is invested in those avenues which are most promising for drug development and money-making. That investment is made by those that stand to make money. If return on investment is not the likely outcome, then even the best evidence will get minimal attention and research dollars….exponentially so, if it’s not a life-threatening disease.
Second, is that research labs are generally discipline-specific. For instance, a genetics lab researches genetic topics; their labs are full of geneticists and special genetic equipment which has been funded by genetic grant money; so no matter where the evidence points, their focus will remain on genetics. They can’t just decide to chase a promising finding if it falls outside their field of expertise. Even worse is when overall resources available for research are small and have been concentrated in one narrow area. This is a particularly acute problem in AA because genetic research and drug development have been the greatest focus by AA’s largest advocate for some time….with the intention of producing drugs.
Since examining the role of nutritional in AA – no matter how promising – is unlikely to yield a new patented drug, you can be sure there will be no concerted push to bring it into any lab, unless that lab is independently funded. This lack of impartial funding effectively thwarts pursuing promising lines of research.
And therein lays the biggest argument for a NEW and INDEPENDENT research initiative in the battle against AA: too many of our eggs are trapped in one basket and we need to get them out. The need for a collaborative research program that looks at the complete AA picture and is not limited to a single scientific discipline is urgently necessary. One that incorporates the best of what we currently know, but that is willing to look in whatever direction offers the most promise to the men, women and children with AA, disregarding patents and profits, and instead seeking the quickest route to an effective treatment and cure.
This can happen quickly with sincere support from the vast AA community. This is the GAM vision. And that is why I ask you to thoughtfully consider our position and then join us in making it happen.