Water: Source & Sustainer of Life

Optimal health is not simply the absence of illness. It is the activation of all your inner and outer healing resources. It is a journey that has the potential to leave you better than you have ever felt. Healing involves the removal of obstacles to health and the introduction of nutrients, supplements, ideas, and beliefs that bring one into balance—a state in which one is more fully connected to Self, God, and Nature. Illness invariably involves several levels of disconnection and imbalances of all kinds.

After battling and winning my war against severe CFS/ME, and researching the world's major healthcare systems, a clear concept of health and illness came into sharper focus for me. Here's that model. I have explained part of this model in the past, but the overall concept has reached a new level of clarity . . . and complexity. There are 6 stages involved in illness.


Every chronic illness has between 7 and 20 Primary Causes. These Primary Causes combine to do 3 things:

A. They cause metabolic chaos, which is a massive disturbance in total body amino acid chemistry.

B. Some Primary Causes, like mercury toxicity, will directly cause glutathione depletion and oxidative stress.

C. Every Primary Cause, from emotional stress and trauma to protein deficiency, causes an unhealthy shift in the autonomic nervous system, so that the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) becomes hyperactivated. The SNS is the part of the nervous system that is involved with the fight-or-flight response. It is imperative to know, for future reference, that this survival response is really the “fight-flight or freeze” response.

Constant, sustained SNS arousal is damaging to our health. The SNS evolved to protect us from immediate, life-threatening danger. The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is restorative and our autonomic nervous system, during normal, daily life should be guided mainly by the PNS. However, fight-flight-freeze physiology does not distinguish between a charging cave bear and an angry boss. So, many of us live in the physiological state of preparation for life and death action. Activities like yoga, meditation, massage, and rest (inactivity) activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which facilitates healing at all levels.


All the Primary Causes combine to produce massive disturbances in second-to-second total body chemistry, or what I call “Metabolic Chaos.” Metabolic Chaos is synonymous with a severe disturbance in amino acid chemistry.


As a result of metabolic chaos, the compound glutathione is greatly diminished. Glutathione can also be directly depleted by a Primary Cause, like mercury or lead toxicity. Glutathione depletion is the “final common pathway” in almost all chronic illness. However, in cardiovascular disease the metabolic chaos depletes the critical compound, nitric oxide, which is the final common pathway for heart disease.


Glutathione is a critical co-factor for the Kreb's Cycle, the biochemical reaction taking place in our cell's mitochondria, our energy factories. When glutathione is depleted, the Kreb's Cycle becomes crippled. An indication of the importance of the Kreb's Cycle is the fact that 80% of the oxygen we breathe is burned or used up in the Kreb's Cycle, whose goal is to produce ATP.

ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the “molecule of energy.” It provides the energy for everything to get done in the body—for proteins, neurotransmitters, enzymes, hormones, and body tissues to be build up . . . as well as the energy to break down molecules, cells, and tissues that need to be removed. When ATP is depleted, you just don't have the energy to do anything. Physically, you feel exhausted, and mentally you feel sluggish and drained.


With the collapse of ATP, symptoms arise. Everything from eczema to indigestion to insomnia to frequent infections to depression arises out of ATP depletion. In this 6-tier model of chronic illness, steps 1-4 “gang up” to wipe out ATP.


If you have existed in a state of ATP and glutathione depletion for years (decades usually), you will finally have a “Disease.” The metabolic imbalances will no longer simply be causing symptoms. They will be causing tissue damage such as hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), cirrhosis (liver damage), heart attack, etc. As long as you exist at levels 1-5, your symptoms can probably be alleviated or cured. However, after living with these metabolic problems for decades, you may develop the structural, tissue-damage diseases, that we cannot fully recover from. Nutritional science can definitely help you avoid a second heart attack, but we can't fix dead heart tissue. Now, let's look at this 6-stage progression of illness in more detail.


I have developed a preliminary list of 35 Primary Causes:


1. Heavy Metal Toxicity (mercury, lead, aluminum, arsenic, nickel),

2. Pollution, Toxicity, Food Additives,

3. EMF, UV, MW (microwave), RF (radio frequencies),

4. Oxidative Stress


5. Allergy, 6. Food Allergy, 7. Auto-Immune


8. Parasites, 9. V iruses: EBV, CMV, HHV-6,

10. Yeast/Candida, 11. Mycoplasma, 12. Bacteria


13. Malabsorption, 14. Poor Digestion, 15. Dysbiosis, 16. Leaky Gut, 17. Food Intolerance


18. Protein Deficiency, 19. Low or High Caloric Intake, 20. Dehydration,

21. Shallow Breathing/Poor Oxygen Saturation, 22. Little or No Sunlight


23. Physical Trauma, 24. Poor Circulation, 25. Musculoskeletal (structural), Imbalance, 26. Genetics, 27. Lack of Exercise, 28. Hyper or Hypothermia


29. Stress, 30. Childhood Trauma: Abuse/Neglect, 31. Unresolved Conflict, 32. Social Isolation, 33. Lack of Meaning/Purpose in Life, 34. No Creative Outlets, 35. Spiritual Disconnection

It is my job to test for, diagnose, and treat all of those Primary Causes. As stated above, every chronic illness has a minimum of 7 Primary Causes. If you think you will find one single cause and one single cure for a chronic problem, you are going to waste tens of thousands of dollars and have your hopes dashed to the ground until you start to lose hope altogether. The Primary Causes combine to produce Metabolic Chaos.


The human body is 2/3 water. If you remove water, we are 70% amino acids. This fact will become important in a moment. Imagine, if you will, that each Primary Cause is a domino, and that behind each domino 10,000 other dominos are lined up. When a Primary Cause (Primary Domino) falls, (let's say you have mercury toxicity), the 10,000 dominos behind it all collapse. If you have 10 Primary Causes of your problem, challenge, or chronic illness, 100,000 dominos will collapse in total disarray. And metaphorically, what do those 100,000 dominos represent? Metabolic Chaos. Biochemistry run amok! Since the human body is 70% amino acids, Metabolic Chaos is essentially a massive disorder in total body amino acid chemistry.

Let's examine the critical role of amino acids. Amino acids make up all protein, brain neurotransmitters, hormones, enzymes, and body organs. They are called the building blocks of life . They are also the building blocks of healing . Vitamins and minerals are also essential, but they make up only a tiny percentage of the body. Yet, you have been hearing about them for decades, and have probably heard little about amino acids, even though you are made up mainly of water and amino acids.

While treating all of your Primary Causes is going to make you much healthier and stronger, it WILL NOT make the 100,000 dominos (amino acid chaos) stand back up. It does not work that way. So, it is necessary to diagnose and treat 1) all the Primary Causes, 2) the disorders of amino acid chemistry, 3) glutathione depletion, and 4) Kreb's Cycle (ATP/Energy Chemistry). Curing Primary Causes DOES NOT heal amino acid chemistry, nor does it restore glutathione, which has been decimated by the Metabolic Chaos . . . nor will curing the Primary Causes suddenly restore ATP. These first 4 stages of illness/health/biochemistry must ALL be addressed in order to obtain optimal energy and health.

When we treat stages 1-3 (Primary Causes, Metabolic Chaos, and Glutathione Depletion), total body chemistry begins to heal, on a second-to-second basis. ATP will be restored when the first 3 steps are dealt with correctly. However, it is also critical that we shift out of sympathetic nervous system dominance into parasympathetic nervous system dominance (a stage 2 process).

Now, let's be honest about how complex we are. We have quadrillions of cells in our body, each of which is undergoing countless reactions per second. Let's say we have quintillions of chemical reactions per second. We are'“metabolic soup” internally. Let's say that, in health, your metabolic soup is moving clockwise, but in disease your'“soup,” your second-to-second biochemistry, is going counter-clockwise.

Metaphorically, that soup begins to move clockwise. As soon as this healing process begins, you are on a one-way ride into health—a journey that can take you into realms of super health, optimal energy, high motivation, and well-being. You will feel quite SOLID inside. What I have described makes obvious sense, but it appears to be nearly infinitely complex, so you have not heard about this concept of illness and recovery—until now.

In order to identify all the Primary Causes, a battery of 8-12 nutritional/metabolic lab tests needs to be run. These tests provide the scientific data that tells us what is wrong and how to repair/heal/cure those causes. We test for amino acid chemistry, the “metabolic chaos,” the 100,000 randomly scattered “dominos.” We also test for glutathione and the Kreb's Cycle (which produces ATP). Armed with this information, we can treat the whole problem and the whole person. The lab data forms a unified whole, that practically always makes sense right away. So, it actually is not that hard to figure out what to do to get people started on the road to Optimal Health and Energy.

To complete our understanding of the 6 stages of chronic illness, just remember that after ATP collapses, Stage 5 comes into place. Stage 5 involves the Onset of Symptoms. After decades of living with stages 1-5, Stage 6 sets in, which is Disease, involving tissue damage.

A final word about one Primary Cause, namely Stress. I regard stress the same way I regard mercury toxicity or Epstein-Barr Virus. Each Primary Cause produces a certain percentage of your total health challenge. The “Stress Percentage” is between 10%-90%. In other words, mercury may be causing about 20% of your challenge, protein deficiency 25%, poor digestion and absorption 25%, oxidative stress 10% . . . and stress the final 20%. Ideally, we want to diagnose 100% of what is causing your symptoms. We need to provide you with the tools to master stress, just as we need to provide chelation therapy to remove mercury from your body. You need an optimal mind for total healing to become a real possibility.

To summarize, let's look at this “equation of illness” in reverse order.

6. DISEASE, is preceded by years of symptoms and metabolic abnormalities.

5. SYMPTOMS. Let's say you are fatigued. The fatigue is caused by:

4. DEPLETED ATP. ATP is produced by the Kreb's Cycle, which is crippled when you become deficient in:

3. GLUTATHIONE. Glutathione is depleted by Metabolic Chaos (Amino Acid Biochemistry run amok) and by a host of toxins.

2. METABOLIC CHAOS is caused by a wide variety of Primary Causes. The average person with chronic illness has 7 to 15 Primary Causes.

1. PRIMARY CAUSES. We must diagnose, treat, heal, and remove the Primary Causes as our very first step, whether those causes are mercury toxicity, protein deficiency, Epstein-Barr Virus, or emotional stress. You will not likely recover from illness or attain your optimal energy by simply removing the Primary Causes.

Remember also that Primary Causes produce excitation of the sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight). It is bad for health to “live” in fight-or-flight biology too much of the time. Healing involves activating the parasympathetic nervous system. In Native American spirituality there is a concept that helps explain the importance of shifting into a state of parasympathetic nervous system dominance. “Bear Time” refers to the need to return to nature, to rest, to hibernate, to re-connect with Mother Earth, to allow the natural processes of healing and restoration to begin. Most of us require Bear Time, time for the body's natural healing resources to automatically turn on. If you “do everything else right” toward attaining health and optimal energy, and include Bear Time, you will create the environment in which necessary treatments and nutrients can exert their most healing, restorative qualities.

David Gersten, M.D. practices nutritional medicine and transpersonal psychiatry out of his Encinitas office and can be reached at 760-633-3063. Please feel free to access 1,000 on-line pages about holistic health, amino acids, and nutritional therapy at www.aminoacidpower.com.


Dear Louise

Dear Louise,

My life has been very complicated. I just feel that I'm nowhere right now. I feel that I don't belong anywhere in this world. Trying so hard to establish myself but being so far away from my family, I miss them every second of my life. I can't stop crying as I'm writing this. How can I succeed in what I'm undertaking? How can I achieve peace of mind? I feel blindfolded. Can you please advise me?

M.R.. India

Dear M.R.,

You're not alone; everyone feels this way from time to time. Remember, you belong to you, and life loves you. You're never alone. Be kind and gentle toward yourself. The whole world is your family if you allow it to be. Tears are the river of life and are given to you to use when you feel the need for them.

I think you've forgotten how to breathe deeply. Now is the time for you to forget about the world and come back to nourishing yourself. Begin and end each day by sitting quietly and breathing deeply. Deep at the center of your being is an infinite well of peace. Allow yourself to go there. Connect with your inner wisdom. Groove in the vastness of it all! Know that Life will float good things toward you.

Affirm: I am loved by life. My success is unfolding in perfect divine right order. All is well, and I am safe.

Dear Louise,

Do you have any affirmations for lower back pain? I recently lost my job, and it's painful for me to be looking for a new one while my lower back is bothering me. Any help would be appreciated!

G.A., Canada

Dear G.A.,

Lower back pain comes when we feel we're not being supported financially by life. Worry about money will do it every time. It's an expression of your lack of trust in life. Do not listen to people who tell you that it's “hard” to get a job. Don't listen to economic news. This has nothing to do with you. You're under the law of your own consciousness, and only you make the rules for you. So stop your negative chatter.

Affirm : I release my last job, and everyone connected with it, with love. I know that the perfect job is looking for me. We are now being brought together on the checkerboard of life. I am totally open and receptive to a wonderful new position—one that uses all my talents and abilities, and allows me to express creatively in ways that are fulfilling to me. I work with and for people whom I love, and who love and respect me, in a wonderful location and earning good money.

Dear Louise,

I've been reading your books and listening to your “Morning and Evening Meditations” CD frequently and I love it. I'm starting to feel happier and also not beat myself up so much mentally, but to instead affirm that “I approve of myself.”

There's one area in my life, however, that I can't seem to get happy with: I have two small children—one who is 4, and one who's 16 months old. Almost daily, I find myself in the middle of a tantrum of my own while trying to deal with them, and the guilt afterward is awful. I'm not hitting them, but I just become so frustrated and impatient and loud; I just feel completely out of control. I'm shocked at the rage that I feel toward my kids. Can you suggest anything I could try to help me stay calm in the moment with them rather than flying off the handle?

K.C., Ohio

Dear K.C.,

First of all, you need to stop beating yourself up for having your feelings. They are what they are, and anger is an important emotion. When we're growing up, we're taught not to express our anger. I suggest using my tape on anger releasing. As anger accumulates over the years, it can become overwhelming when we begin to release it. But release it we must; otherwise, it accumulates in the body and often attacks vulnerable organs like the kidneys. The kidneys in turn impact our body's ability to detoxify. This can lead to debilitating health problems.

Of course you're a fabulous, caring mother and the kids know how to “push your buttons.” It's part of the lovely world of parenting. One of things you can do when they start to frustrate you is to have everyone pick a pillow (you, too!) and start hitting it. Make a game out of it and you'll be amazed how refreshing this will be for you. You'll be releasing that pent-up anger, and they'll just be having fun.

Affirm every night before you go to bed: I have high regard and respect for myself. I support and love myself unconditionally, and as a result, it is safe to express all that I am!

All truly is well.

Louise L. Hay is a metaphysical teacher and the bestselling author of numerous books, including You Can Heal Your Life , Empowering Women, and I Can Do It! . Subscribe to the Louise Hay Newsletter! Call for a Free Issue: (800) 654-5126. Questions for Louise? Write to: Dear Louise Column, c/o Hay House, Inc., P.O. Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100 (letters may be edited for length and clarity). Visit Louise and Hay House at: www.LouiseHay.com or www.hayhouse.com.