Sugar Can Cause Asthma, But That’s Not The Point


“Doc, I have had this asthma issue for twenty years.  Do you think you can fix it?”  People just want to be fixed.  Of course they do!  Don’t you?  Something hurts or decreases your ability to live the way you want… and you just want it to go away. NOW.

There are many ways to get a quick fix.  Take my patient Cathy, for example.  I just had a consultation with her after her first six months of chiropractic corrective and wellness care.  She tells me about how great she feels.  She says that we’ve helped her get her life back.  And then she tells me a story that, even though I’ve heard similar many times before, stops me in my tracks.

A few months ago Cathy had decided to do a nutritional cleanse with us.  I guided her through the process and she played full out.  An outcome, other than weight loss and increased energy, was that she learned that she felt much better not eating sugar.  She decided that she would remain off sugar once the cleanse was over.  And for the most part, she succeeded and continued to feel better overall.  She actually suspected that the reason her energy was up, sleep was more sound, eczema was improved and asthma was GONE, was because she was avoiding sugar.

Then birthday season began.  Many people at her office had birthdays last month, and thus birthday cakes were plentiful.  She also had a major change in her life, which caused her to feel stressed.  Little by little, she started eating sugar again.  Almost immediately, the eczema came back, her energy went down and sleeping became an issue.  She saw herself going down this path, yet felt unable to stop.  Then the infamous “Sugar Cookie Day” happened.

She had not eaten breakfast.  Stress was at an all time high. Lunch time came and went.  She was with a friend and suddenly found herself famished.  Her friend offered her a shortbread cookie with frosting on it.  MMM, that sugar tasted good.  Within a few minutes, Cathy had a big, scary asthma attack.

Cathy has decided that no matter how good sugar tastes, it’s not worth it.  She’s back to her healthy eating habits and feeling better than ever.

Here’s why I felt knocked over the head.  I know that area of Cathy’s spine where her nervous system supplies life to her lungs had been comprised, possibly for years.  Our goals with her chiropractic care are to heal and stabilize where her spine is not healthy, allowing her nerve system to work better.  This alone is likely a factor in her body’s struggle with asthma symptoms.  Discovering that eating sugar has also affected her body’s function has helped Cathy know what her body needs and doesn’t need.

Cathy is a puzzle.  Just like all people are puzzles.  Being optimally healthy is multifactoral.  That’s why we don’t just educate about chiropractic, but the chiropractic lifestyle.  Encouraging our patients to eat whole foods, move their body through exercise and stretching, get maximum REM sleep, and think in a way that serves them is how we help our community create health.  Spinal health is the fifth component, and is foundational for function and healing. Chiropractic adjustments help keep an optimal functioning spine and nerve system.

Here’s the reality: a patient comes in with a headache, for example, and wants it GONE.  The model of symptom management is to get rid of the pain or symptom as fast as possible.  Obviously, this is done all the time through drugs (over the counter, prescribed, alcohol, and illegal.)  The numbing effect physically and spiritually of this model perpetuates an inability to know your body.

The hard work Cathy has done to understand her body’s needs is leading her to not only get rid of her symptoms, but to create a healthier functioning body.  This paradigm is the only true way to health.  All else just masks potential.

Often, a new patient’s symptoms are actually CAUSED by medication. For example, Frank just realized that since he’s been off his cholesterol medication that his headaches, body aches, and constipation have gone away.  These are all well known side effects of statin drugs.  Now if he was looking for me to “cure” him of these symptoms with spinal adjustments, but keep taking medication that was causing it, he would likely be disappointed in chiropractic care.

Feeling empowered that your body has the ability to function at 100% given a healthy environment, is the first step in working towards health.  Secondly, making consistent healthy choices is important.  Third, when your body produces a symptom, ask WHY.  Work toward removing the interference or cause before resorting to an outside-in form of treatment.  Mostly, symptoms (like fever) are actually signs that your body is healing.

As for Cathy and Frank, healing has been a journey that brings with it immeasurable rewards.

Be Well Everybody!

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