A Q&A with Dr. Nasha Winters on How To Develop Your Own Personalized, Precision Healing from our interview at https://understandingautoimmune.com/blog-show/develop-personalized-precision-healing/
We welcome integrative medicine expert and author of ‘The Metabolic Approach to Cancer,’ Dr. Nasha Winters, ND, FABNO, L.Ac, Dipl.OM. She is a walking encyclopedia of integrative medicine and the visionary and CEO of Optimal TerrainTM. We share this intriguing Q&A snippet of our The Autoimmune Hour interview with her:
SHARON: What is the metabolic approach?
NASHA: Well, beautifully, this concept … we’re trying to also launch a new language into the masses. The metabolic discussion around oncology is … well, actually it’s not new. It’s been around since the 1920s, since Otto Warburg’s time. He was a famous biochemist at that time who understood kind of an underlying metabolic kind of biochemical process that was happening in the cells that was more of the precursor to a ‘cancering’ process versus the somatic theory that took root in our culture in our understanding of cancer, which is the idea that … the prevalent idea today still is that DNA damage is what causes cancer, that it’s just a Russian roulette game, that it’s simply bad luck, that there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s just the way it is.
Whereas folks from the Otto Warburg time and thanks to people like Dr. Thomas Seyfried, who wrote a very heavy book called Cancer as a Metabolic Disease … it came out in 2010 or 2011. He sort of resurrected these ideas from the 1920s and helped us understand that, let’s take it back one step from DNA damage being the cause of cancer and to take it to the place where it’s more of the mitochondria and how they’re behaving and how they’re functioning and how many there are and how efficient they are. That is really the precursor to either healthy or diseased cells. For instance, DNA damage would not occur if we have healthy mitochondria. Mitochondria becomes the root discussion, cause, etiology of all of our chronic illness issues today.
We talk about metabolism or metabolic aspects. Mitochondria are the powerhouses. They’re the energy creators, generators, of the cells in our body. They’re little organelles that live in each and every cell of our body and in some tissues of the body, such as the heart. We have a lot more mitochondria than we do in, say, the finger, the tissue of our skin. When that mitochondria gets kind of damaged or weak, which there’s a million different reasons why that can happen, then it becomes susceptible to the DNA damage that then leads to chronic illness. One path, it might lead to cancer, another to autoimmunity, another to diabetes, another to autism, another to Alzheimer’s.
When we can change the fuel source and the fuel response, the energy factory of our cells, we can have an outcome. That metabolism is simply a term for energy. When we can change that energy source and efficiency, we can change a lot of things in our body.
SHARON: In your book The Metabolic Approach to Cancer, I was just enthralled with that idea that even a chronic diagnosis is changeable. I remember when I got my diagnosis, it was like a tattoo across my forehead, chronic, lifelong, forever, get used to it, live with it, won’t change.
NASHA: Yeah. Exactly.
SHARON: I guess for me it worked because I’m a polarity responder and I kind of went, “I’ll show you.”
NASHA: See? That’s what I was. That’s another thing in common. Tell me I can’t do it, and I’ll show you otherwise.
SHARON: I worry because I think there are some who would just feel very defeated at that idea that it cannot change, but I do know it’s a process because I know it probably took me a number of years to get to that point of the diagnosis, so I can’t expect to pop a pill and tomorrow … you know, two aspirin, and in the morning wake up fine. It’s going to take a process to get out of it, and that’s what I liked about your book. There is a lot of information in there, and you’re not going to get well overnight. What I loved about it, it was a process that I could understand. We talked a little bit about mitochondria and DNA.
Let’s go a little bit deeper, though, into what do we inherit and what can we control, besides the mitochondria? Are there things that maybe we’re not there yet or maybe we already have the autoimmune, but at this point, what can we control because sometimes it feels like our body is out of control?
NASHA: That’s a really good question because in fact, the very night that we launched our book, we were sitting in the bookstore, in our local bookstore, and a woman who doesn’t even live in my town was visiting our town and saw the book title. She just sort of scoffed. I mean she was actually pretty angry and said, “I did everything right, and yet I still got cancer.” Right? Now, I’m here to tell you as someone who has evaluated the labs, the medical histories, the toxicant exposures, the epigenetics, meaning what we’ve inherited from our family of origin, I’m here to tell you that someone who ends up with a diagnosis of cancer or an autoimmune condition was not healthy once that diagnosis came to be.
They may not have known it very blatantly, but once we start to explore that, they suddenly start to realize, “Gosh, you’re right. I did start to notice aches or pains in this part of my body,” or “I did start to notice that my hormones were off,” or “I did start to notice that my food cravings didn’t match what I actually needed,” or just a lot of different things. Or they might have said, “Gosh, I worked on a golf course,” or cooked in Teflon forever and ever and ever. Now we’re starting to understand a lot of the cause and effect. When folks really explore, which is what we hope that the book offers, are some ways to explore … so we have these questionnaires for each of these terrain possible obstacles, if you will, that could go wrong and cause some damage.
When we really explore, we start to realize there’s a lot around us, maybe unbeknownst to us, that’s causing some discourse. Then the nice thing about it is we don’t tell you the bad news without also telling you the good news, that there’s also something you can do about it, right? One of the things we try to drive home is even if you choose, say, one section or one chapter to focus on and you make some significant changes … for instance, say maybe you focus on getting a water filtration system in your home. Maybe that’s where you start. It’s going to have a positive impact. It’s going to have a spiraling positive impact, and it’s going to touch all these other parameters.
Each and every change you make, each and every moment you have an awareness of what some of those exposures might have been that caused you some disharmony, you’re going to make a positive shift. Like you said, it doesn’t happen overnight. Some clients are like, “I want to hit it all today, and I’m going to change everything right now.” Right?
SHARON: Of course. That’s exactly …
NASHA: Then we’re going to have a few that are like, “Even two things is stressful and overwhelming.” The beauty is it doesn’t matter. Whatever is right for you is the perfect starting point. Just start somewhere, and you can start to sort of etch away at changing your terrain, changing what is wrapped, what is involved. Some of us get associated with our diagnoses, okay, whatever that is. It starts to remind you when you start to look into the whole terrain that you are much more than a diagnosis. We’re trying to help people remember that.
Hopefully, just knowing anywhere you start is going to be beneficial and then to have some aha moments of, “Wow, that new couch I got that’s just drenched in flame retardant, maybe that’s where my system really took a shock and started to change.” Things like that, examples that would have been otherwise things we didn’t have to think about 20, 30, 40 years ago.
SHARON: Thank you, Dr. Nasha Winters, for sharing your expertise and wisdom with us today. Find the complete audio and video of this interview at https://understandingautoimmune.com/blog-show/develop-personalized-precision-healing/