Before we jump into understanding bioenergetics and how it made a rapid difference for me, it’s worth asking a question: why didn’t more conventional approaches work?
Whether we’re talking about pharmaceuticals or dietary and supplement solutions in relation to the body, we’re talking about biochemistry. This model seems to have a lot going for it, and in some ways it does. It’s relatively easy to study because we can watch chemical actions take place under microscopes. This lets us see how drugs and nutrients interact with the body. We know pretty well what problems occur with specific nutritional deficiencies, and we can see how drugs block actions from taking place in the body to stop symptoms.
So to a point, a lot can be accomplished with this approach. Yet today, life expectancy in the United States is going down rather than up. For all the decades of promises, we’ve barely made a dent in the problem of cancer. We have more people with food allergies today than ever before, autism rates have skyrocketed, and much of the population has become obese. Something is wrong with this picture.
Big Pharma Conflicts of Interest
What’s more, there’s a lot to question about modern medicine. I have to admit, emergency medicine – from life-saving surgery to things like blood-clotting drugs that can keep someone from bleeding out after an accident – is pretty impressive. But when it comes to lifestyle medications, we have to ask some important questions.
First of all, there are massive conflicts of interest. For instance, like the fox guarding the henhouse, the pharmaceutical companies themselves pay for much of the work of the FDA in approving their drugs (not to mention payments to FDA advisers following drug approvals). Big Pharma also pays for the studies needed for these approvals.
In one way, this sounds great – it keeps the taxpayers from covering the cost. But we also know what happens when someone commissions a study, don’t we? They get the results they’re after, often by throwing out data that doesn’t fit their needs or cherry picking results. (This is exactly what happened with Big Tobacco, when doctors were telling people that smoking was good for them and the truth was hidden from the public for decades.) As one article points out, “Some estimates suggest the results of half of clinical trials are never published. These missing data have, over several decades, systematically distorted perceptions of the efficacy of drugs, devices and even surgical procedures.”
Another article explains: “In 2010, three researchers from Harvard and Toronto found all the trials looking at five major classes of drug – antidepressants, ulcer drugs and so on – then measured two key features: were they positive, and were they funded by industry? They found over five hundred trials in total: 85 per cent of the industry-funded studies were positive, but only 50 per cent of the government funded trials were. That’s a very significant difference.”
In short, as Marion Nestle, PhD, a professor of nutrition and public health at New York University, once said, “Companies that sponsor research make sure that they get what they pay for. Industry-funded research is marketing research, not scientific research.”
The conflicts of interest in the industry are exposed in great detail in books like The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It, by Dr. Marcia Angell (former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine and therefore a believer in the value of correctly using pharmaceutical drugs). The book’s overview tells us that Dr. Angell “watched drug companies stray from their original mission of discovering and manufacturing useful drugs and instead become vast marketing machines with unprecedented control over their own fortunes. She saw them gain nearly limitless influence over medical research, education, and how doctors do their jobs. … Drug companies funnel the bulk of their resources into the marketing of products of dubious benefit.”
That last part is important. Dr. Angell specifically points to the questionable value of many of the drugs that are being pushed on the American public. A quick search online for “medical drugs no better than placebo” will bring up plenty of examples of medicine that could be replaced with dummy pills and get the same results. Yet the actual drugs carry side effects that a placebo presumably would not cause.
Big Pharma’s Marketing Machine
Even if a drug does demonstrate a benefit, the marketing machines push it through doctors and advertisements far beyond its appropriate use. (Data from 2013 shows 9 of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies spending more on marketing and sales than on research and development, with many of them spending twice as much on selling than on developing. And much of this money is spent directly on doctors in the form of speaking fees, consulting fees, etc. In other words, they’re purchasing medical bias.)
As one example, over the last several years, studies have shown that antidepressant drugs don’t relieve depression any better than placebos. In 2018, though, a new study suggested that they do provide more benefits than placebos, but only when used in serious cases of depression. Unfortunately, doctors have pushed these medications on more and more people, and for more and more “off label” uses (what the drugs weren’t originally intended for). Because of this, earlier studies literally couldn’t see the benefits. Any positive results were getting lost in the sea of people who never should have been taking them.
Wonder why our healthcare costs are so high? This is one reason. And it not only leads to higher costs, but to the many side effects that those people should never have faced. Plus, for those who did suffer side effects – from a drug they never should have taken – in many cases, their doctors no doubt prescribed still other medications to deal with the side effects from the first medications. So the drug lifestyle feeds itself.
It’s worth pointing out another angle on the side effects of antidepressants. They aren’t just about physical problems (although weight gain is among the side effects, and we know what a problem this has been in Western society); they include emotional changes like irritability, anxiety, and a decreased interest in sex. So now we’re talking about something that affects relationships as well as physical health. And when we talk about the holistic approach of bioenergetics to one’s energy and health, we consider someone’s emotional and social well-being a critical part of their health.
Killer Pain Relief
Of course on the topic of drug marketing and over-prescribing, we have the whole opioid crisis. (Payments to doctors by opioid manufacturers have been linked to increased prescriptions. But no surprise there.) The US government website explains:
In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.”
In 2016, nearly 20,000 people died from prescription opioid pain relievers. Worse yet, we’re now seeing a surge in deaths from illegal opioids, with more people dying from those than from prescription opioids. This may be because doctors are finally reducing their opioid prescriptions; unfortunately, those who are addicted to the drugs are now seeking illegal or black market options like heroin or fentanyl.
Still, opioids aren’t the only pain drugs at fault here. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) under any name (famously including aspirin, Advil, Motrin, Celebrex, and more) are regularly estimated to kill more than 16,000 Americans a year and send more than 100,000 to the hospital, often with serious digestive and other problems. Another NSAID, Vioxx, was released in 2000 despite warnings regarding heart health. After about four years and 60,000 deaths from heart problems (and possibly more than twice that number who suffered heart attacks), it was finally pulled from the marketplace. It took that long, in spite of the known risks before it was released.
So much for the medical commitment to “first do no harm.”
It’s understandable that so many people are willing to face these risks (if they’re even aware of them) because millions suffer from pain. They do need solutions. Products like NSAIDs and opioids are what the pharmaceutical industry has to offer and, due to Big Pharma influence (in legislation, in marketing, and in limiting the voices of safe alternatives), drugs are the only option many people know about. But as you’ll see in the coming chapters, my venture into bioenergetics took me in whole new directions for energy and wellness, and I found ways to eliminate my own pain without drugs … just like countless others have. This is what can happen when you start looking beyond the biochemical actions of the body. But more on that soon.
Follow the Money
Suffice it to say, there’s reason to question our reliance on pharmaceutical drugs. Follow the money and it’s not hard to see that there’s a lot on the line that has nothing to do with human well-being and happiness. Big Pharma is one of the biggest special interests in Washington, DC, and that influence allows it to continually expand the number of drugs in people’s lives. Plus, medically speaking, health problems like “high blood pressure” and “high cholesterol” are redefined to get more people onto related medications, while children are exposed to scores of vaccinations for which the drug companies literally have zero liability. So from a bottom-line perspective, the more vaccinations they can bring to market, the more their profits soar.
Now I’ll leave the vaccination debate to others – I’m pointing out the conflicts of interest here and offering reasons for asking questions. But on this topic, I’ll mention that one group has begun raising money to study the contents of vaccines in the marketplace, and their first result was nothing short of astonishing. Reviewing a 6-in-1 vaccine, they not only found 65 toxins – of which they could only identify 35% – but they also found none of the expected antigens that should have been the foundation of the vaccine. (The antigens are what are supposed to trigger immunity to a disease.) In other words, even for those who believe in the value of vaccinations, this one literally could not provide any protection and meanwhile involves injecting nothing but toxins into your body.
If we have faith in Western medicine, these results should shock us to the point of hoping, at least, that this was an isolated case. But based on these findings, the same group studied two more vaccines and found similar results. Again, we can leave the discussion of safety and effectiveness of vaccines to other settings, but these findings alone should demand much greater scrutiny into “medicine” that’s being increasingly forced on the global population.
Problems in Medical “Science”
As I mentioned before, this isn’t to say that Western medicine provides no value, but that there is an incredible amount of bias, misinformation, and even outright fraud in how it’s presented. Poor results are hidden. Statistics are manipulated. And the word “science” is used as a mantra to convince us that conventional medicine is the only valid reality. This, in spite of the fact that there are massive problems with its so-called science, which you can learn more about by watching (or reading) the Corbett Report on “The Crisis of Science.” It does a great job of explaining the situation and can really open your eyes to what’s happening in research today.
For instance, a key to modern science and medicine is supposed to be that research done by any lab at any time should be repeatable, assuming the science is good. And published research should meet this standard. But as the “The Crisis of Science” points out: “In 2011, Nature published a paper showing that researchers were only able to reproduce between 20 and 25% of 67 published, pre-clinical drug studies. They published another paper the next year with an even worse result. Researchers could only reproduce 6 of a total of 53 landmark cancer studies. That's a reproducibility rate of 11%. ... The cherry on top came in 2016 when Nature published the results of a survey of over 1500 scientists, finding fully 70% of them had tried and failed to reproduce published experimental results at some point.”
What’s more, in the 2016 report from Nature, 60% of respondents said the two biggest problems in repeatability were the pressure to publish and selective reporting (i.e., not telling the full story; misleading people about the true results). Worse yet, 40% suggested that outright fraud was part of the problem. Sadly, while Western medicine often attempts to present itself as the only legitimate approach to wellness, this is the kind of science they’re leaning their reputation on.
Medical Drugs Don’t Heal
Even if medical science were perfect – which it’s clearly not – it’s obvious that pharmaceutical drugs fail to actually get people healthy, even if they do help to manage some symptoms. This is why I never found a medical solution to my problem, just as millions of others have been let down by medicine. Why is this?
Simply put, pharmaceutical drugs aren’t designed to heal anything in the body. They’re only designed to provide some symptomatic benefit, and they do this by stopping functions of the body. These functions are only symptoms of a deeper problem, and the design of medicine isn’t to address the deeper problem; it’s only to stop the symptom.
This is why medicine doesn’t cure. It only manages symptoms. The body has a miraculous ability to heal itself from just about anything, but only when we support it in doing so. Unfortunately, medicine’s entire approach is to fight the body’s attempts to heal, which we see as symptoms. Yes, sometimes fighting the body’s attempt is necessary – like when the immune system is purposely suppressed to keep the body from rejecting an organ transplant. This is life-saving medicine. But lifestyle medications will never help someone truly get well.
Holistic approaches to wellness, on the other hand, don’t treat symptoms. They look for the deeper cause and seek to support its correction. When the deeper cause is corrected, then the body’s own incredible healing system can begin to fix the body. Medicine may be valuable when facing emergency situations and symptoms must be addressed. But for long-term wellness, it’s critical to find out what’s really going on beneath those symptoms.
Errors in Nutrition
I mentioned early in this chapter that nutrition (both diet and supplements), like medicine, works with the chemistry of the body. Because of this, nutrition is also only dealing with part of the story – it’s not looking at a deeper level of how the body works, as we will in this book.
But nutrition takes the opposite approach of medication. A nutritional approach assumes that a problem arises from a nutritional deficiency. Sometimes this is the case, which is why nutrition can solve a problem rather than simply blocking symptoms like drugs do. For this reason, we’re fans of good nutrition and consider it important on the path to wellness.
Often, though, nutritional deficiencies aren’t the deepest cause of someone’s health problem, even if they’re part of the problem; this is one reason why nutritional solutions don’t always work.
There’s another reason why some nutritional solutions fail: the assumption that if a little is good, a lot is better. Which is patently false. As we’ll discuss in a later chapter, the body needs electrons to power activity in the body, but that doesn’t mean you want to get struck by lightning. You need to drink enough water for good health, but you don’t want to drown yourself. Nothing, in excess, is a good idea.
Take, for instance, the whole idea of antioxidant supplements. The body has its own antioxidant system that is designed to protect us from “free radicals” in the body. Antioxidants effectively neutralize these free radicals and keep them from damaging molecules throughout the body, so we want this system to work well. We get additional antioxidant support from some of the food we eat as well. In some cases, nutrients in the food act as antioxidants themselves; in other cases, they provide the building blocks for the body’s own antioxidant system; other times, they simply trigger our own antioxidant system. So far, so good.
But supplement companies saw dollar bills in this. By explaining the danger of free radicals, they convinced people that they needed to take supplements to flood the body with nutritional antioxidants. Besides a lot of research showing that a flood of antioxidants doesn’t help and may cause harm, this approach has an unintended consequence: the body no longer sees the need to produce its own antioxidants and starts to lose the ability to do so. The body becomes reliant on those supplements.
For instance, a 2008 study at the University of Valencia showed that vitamin C supplementation hampered exercise endurance. While vitamin C reduces levels of reactive oxygen species (the free radicals we’re primarily concerned with in the body) in the short term, it impairs the body’s adaptive response. It doing so, it prevents “the exercise-induced expression … of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase.” In other words, too much C and body stops producing its own antioxidants.
Food as Antioxidant Stimulants
Meanwhile, simply eating certain foods stimulates an antioxidant response from the body that keeps the body adaptive. These are foods that people commonly think of as antioxidants themselves, but in reality they are toxins in very small doses – small enough for the body to overcome with its own antioxidant system, so we see a rise in antioxidant levels in the body when we eat these foods. These include a number of herbs as well as nutrients like resveratrol from red grapes, curcumin from turmeric, spirulina, and cacao. This adaptive process in the body is called hormesis, which we’ll discuss later, but in short, small stressors help to keep the body strong, while too much stress causes problems.
Research has even shown that some exposure to reactive oxygen species helps the mitochondria (which produce ATP for energy in the body) to become more adaptive. This promotes health and longevity, and means that a low level of free radicals in the body can actually provide a benefit. Excess antioxidants from supplements, though, can suppress free radicals too much to provide this benefit, so they may ultimately harm our health and shorten our lives. The mitochondria themselves need small stressors, just as our antioxidant system does, and just as we do overall.
Good nutrition from the food we eat is important to provide us with the building blocks of health. In this way, biochemistry is an important partner to the rest of what we’ll look at in this book. But just like medicine, a nutritional approach can take us down the wrong path when it simply slings nutrients at the body in quantities that nature never intended, or with the idea that the body is entirely based in chemistry. It’s not. It is, plain and simple, based in physics. Specifically in the energy that our bodies and our entire world are built from.
And that's what bioenergetics is all about: the study, detection, and correction of energy in living systems. The half of the story that medicine and nutrition are largely missing. And the half of the story that made me well. So let's explore that.
 Due to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) passed by Congress in 1986.
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