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Getting to the Root Cause of Disease

The Importance of Treating the Root Causes of Disease, Rather Than the Effects
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As I have interviewed Lyme-literate health care practitioners over the years, I’ve observed that there are two camps of practitioners: 1) those who aim to correct every problem and deficiency in the body, and 2) those who aim to treat only what they perceive to be the “root” causes of disease and those which are the body’s current greatest threats.

I used to believe that correcting every nutritional deficiency and problem in the body was key to healing; after all, if the body didn’t have everything that it needed to get well—enough of every vitamin, mineral, hormone and so forth—or if every toxin and microbe wasn’t eliminated, then how could it heal?

However, in recent years, I’ve noticed that some brilliant doctors (and other practitioners) are choosing to treat only one or two key issues in the body at a time. For instance, if a person is battling both mold toxicity and Lyme infections, they might first treat the mold before treating the Lyme infections because their belief is that trying to fix everything in the body at once can overwhelm patients, and there is a hierarchy, or order, in which the body needs to address different issues.

Taking the example of mold—some Lyme-literate doctors believe that it’s not possible to eliminate Lyme infections until any potential mold toxicity is addressed, but that the body often cannot handle treatment for both issues at the same time.

Some of these doctors also believe it is counterproductive to try to fix every problem or dysfunction that is created in the body by infections, toxins and other “root” causes of disease. For instance, if mold toxicity compromises the body’s glutathione production, the belief may be that it is counterproductive, and even harmful, to supplement with glutathione.

Thus, taking lots of supplements or treatments in an attempt to correct every problem or dysfunction in the body may not necessarily be wise, and in a worse case scenario, can even be a huge waste of energy, time and money—not to mention being a massive stress for the body rather than helpful.

Therefore, taking a few remedies to treat only one or two “root” causes of disease while reducing the number of tools that are used to treat the “downstream” effects of disease—such as methylation problems, nutrient deficiencies, hormonal dysfunction and so on—may be a welcome approach to treatment for those who are fed up with spending a small fortune every month on supplements and other tools to fix every problem in the body, and for people who are weary of having their days monopolized by having to juggle thirty, forty or fifty remedies daily.

Indeed, the “treatment treadmill” can become just as great a burden to bear for some people as the disease, and let’s face it—there is rest and peace for the body and soul when you only have to manage and spend money on just a few tools or treatments, rather than a few dozen!

On the other hand, some of the “downstream” effects that are created by disease, such as methylation problems and nutrient deficiencies, may need to be corrected in order for the body to have the ammunition that it needs to fight the “root” causes of disease. For instance, adrenal fatigue, a common condition caused by things such as Lyme, mold, cavitation infections and trauma, may need to be addressed for the body to have the stamina and immune power that it needs to overcome the infections and/or trauma.

This means that doctors who treat according to the philosophy of “more is not better” and who aim to target only one or two, maybe three issues in the body at a time must be very discerning about which issues are primary; that is, which are the “causes” of disease and which are the “effects,” and which of the “effects” must be addressed concurrently with the main causes.

This is not an easy thing, as, for example, some practitioners may discern methylation or another issue to be a cause of disease, rather than an effect, while others may believe it to be both. Hormonal imbalances are another murky area, as infections, toxins and trauma (root causes of illness) can cause hormonal imbalances, but in some cases, hormonal imbalances may also be a root cause of symptoms.

So determining which issues in the body should be treated at present and which should be put on the “back burner” is an art as much as a science but perhaps necessary. Sometimes, the downstream effects of disease will automatically resolve themselves once the main problems are dealt with, and treating them upfront may be more than the body can handle anyway.

In my own treatment of Lyme disease, I used to try to fix every issue and problem in my body. Now, whenever my body needs help, I tend to take a more middle-of-the-road approach. I will admit however that determining the remedies my body needs at any given time can still be a challenge.

So what do you do to determine what your body needs?  First, find an experienced Lyme-literate doctor who believes in finding the root causes of disease and who also understands the value of supporting key systems and uses a variety of testing tools to do this.  Bioenergetic testing using muscle testing or devices such as a ZYTO or ASYRA can, for instance, be helpful for diagnosing what’s going on in the body, but one of their drawbacks is that they may tell you every single problem your body has, and an inexperienced practitioner may attempt to fix all of the “issues” that show up on the scan or muscle test rather than the core problem(s).

Secondly, listen to your body. If you intuitively feel that your body can’t process fifty supplements or that it can’t handle treating both Lyme and mold (or other issues) at the same time, then don’t overload it with tons of stuff. If you are Herxing and feel worse as a result of taking boatloads of remedies, you may be headed in the wrong direction and need to re-evaluate what your body truly needs.

Finally, knowledge about the best treatments for Lyme and the co-conditions that often accompany it is still in its infancy, and doctors are still learning about the best way to approach this insidious disease. For that reason, trusting your intuition and what it’s telling you is  as important as listening to your doctor or health care practitioner. At the same time, it’s important to find a doctor you trust and who can help you to navigate your healing journey.

This article was first published on ProHealth.com on October 7, 2016 and was updated on June 7, 2021.


Connie Strasheim is the author, co-author or ghostwriter of 10 wellness books, including four on Lyme disease, and New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Real Healing Strategies that Work.  She is also a medical copywriter and Editor of the Alternative Cancer Research Institute. Connie’s passion is to help people with complex chronic illnesses find freedom from disease and soul-spirit sickness using whole body medicine and prayer, and she collaborates with some of the world’s best integrative doctors to do this. In addition to Lyme disease, Connie’s books focus on cancer, nutrition, detoxification and spiritual healing. You can learn more about her work at: www.ConnieStrasheim.org.

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