In Part 1 of this article, we looked at the process of scientific revolution, and I described how the world came to accept what has now become the central pillar of Western medicine – “germ theory”. We looked at:
How difficult it can be for scientists, explorers, or leaders, to challenge the accepted understanding and recognise the implications of new data.
How germ theory – the idea that disease is caused by harmful, microscopic organisms – transformed the practice of medicine.
An alternative model to germ theory, known as “terrain” or the “cellular” theory of disease, which emerged at around the same time. This suggests that the internal environment within each person’s body mainly determines their susceptibility to disease.
I find it fascinating that Pasteur, one of the leading advocates of germ theory, who succeeded in changing scientific thinking once, was ignored when, on his deathbed, he declared that, “the microbe is nothing, the terrain is everything”. Should we have listened to him for a little longer?
Resistance to new thinking is often very strong, which is why revolutions – where new ideas are ridiculed and censored – have been so commonplace as scientific understanding has evolved. This is a critically important point, not only for scientists but also for all leaders, because over-reliance on “conventional wisdom” and best practice is becoming a greater and greater risk as the pace of change in the world increases.
Let’s think about some questions which might suggest that the body’s environment, not germs, holds the key to health:
It is estimated that we have 60 trillion bacteria in our bodies all of the time. On top of that, there are an estimated 380 trillion viruses. Many of these microbes have the potential to cause disease. So why is it that most of us, most of the time, seem unaffected?
Why, for example, does the same flu virus, in the same flu season, affect only a small percentage of the population?
Why is stress so strongly linked to the development of disease?
If disease is caused by germs, which result in the body breaking down, what difference could placebos possibly make (yet they have been proven to have a huge impact!)?
Why is it that small exposures to germs often make our bodies more resistant to disease?
Why have well over 99% of all of the people who have sadly died of Covid-19 been either old or suffering from at least one (usually around three) other illness? Why has this virus affected so few people below the age of 65?
Germ theory offers little explanation in response to any of these questions. Not so, terrain theory. Its core principle is that a diseased, toxic, or otherwise unhealthy body, when subjected to disease-causing germs, may struggle to defend itself, whereas a healthy body would be much more able to repel them or limit their impact. If this theory is valid, all of the observations highlighted by the questions above become easy to understand…
As science has evolved, many examples have been discovered to provide evidence in support of terrain theory. One is the power of vitamin D to transform our health, as covered in a previous article, where the study I referenced concluding that avoiding the sun increases risk of death as much as smoking. The reason for this powerful effect is that vitamin D regulates many functions in the body (the terrain), including hormone balance, metabolism, blood pressure, bone density, fighting cancer, and immune function, so low levels of it can be hugely detrimental. Another example is the link between gut health and the effectiveness of the immune system. As this has been recognised, it has enabled us to realise the great importance of maintaining our microbiome, if we want to be healthy.
Moving from an emphasis on germs, to thinking about terrain, shifts the focus for maintaining health away from reactively dealing with illness through the treatment of symptoms, to proactive management of the conditions in our body and the strength of our immune system. It places importance on creating a healthy body through detoxification, nutrition, and lifestyle, optimising our microbiome and internal environment to prevent disease and improve recovery.
Despite the lack of widespread acceptance of terrain theory, scientific research in the area is highly advanced. At the leading edge of this field study is a specialism called epigenetics, which looks at how environment can change genetic expression. I’ll delve into this area in another newsletter, soon.
For those interested in learning more about terrain theory, and how we might benefit from it, I’m offering two articles this time. The first presents a counterargument to germ theory, building the case for why Bechamp’s terrain theory should have won the day.
Read the Article: Louis Pasteur vs. Antoine Bechamp: Know the True Causes of Disease
This second article provides further evidence of the extensive benefits of ensuring that we maintain adequate vitamin D levels. Contrary to its name, vitamin D is actually not a vitamin, but a hormone, and it contributes to health in many ways. This article looks specifically at how vitamin D might aid the prevention and treatment of viral infections, including Covid-19. For example, this chart, taken from one of the studies referenced in the article, shows that almost everyone with vitamin D levels above 30 mg/ml gets only mild symptoms if they contract the disease.