Real Cause, Real Cure: The 9 Root Causes of the Most Common Health Problems and How to Solve Them

Real Cause, Real Cure: The 9 Root Causes of the Most Common Health Problems and How to Solve Them

by Jacob Teitelbaum M.D., Bill Gottlieb


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An eye-opening guide that boils down common health problems to nine simple causes and offers the relief readers have been searching for.

An expert in combining both traditional and alternative medicine, Dr. Teitelbaum explains that tackling nine wholly preventable causes is the key to long-term, real relief from nagging health concerns.

Real Cause, Real Cure unearths the underlying causes of more than 50 health problems, steering readers toward cost-effective, safe, and easy remedies to combat woes ranging from acne and food allergies to diabetes and cancer. Readers will discover how getting a full night's rest can combat heart disease, diabetes, depression, heartburn, weight gain, and chronic pain; how adding exercise to one's daily routine not only prevents an expanding waistline, but also wards off Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, insomnia, and stroke; and how drugs taken to improve our health are a major culprit in why we keep getting sick.

This user-friendly guide takes the confusion out of personal health care so readers can enjoy a life free of needless prescriptions, doctors' offices, and irritating health issues.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781605292021
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 08/07/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 183,338
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, is a board certified internal medicine physician and researcher, widely recognized as an innovative leader in complementary health care, and medical director at the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers. He divides his time between Virginia and Hawaii.

Bill Gottlieb is author of The Natural Fat-Loss Pharmacy and the bestselling Alternative Cures, with more than 1.6 million copies sold. He lives in California.

Read an Excerpt

Real Cause #1



With one-third of adults being obese and two-thirds overweight, Americans don't look like we have nutritional deficiencies--we look like we eat too much food. But extra calories don't necessarily translate into extra nutrients.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that less than 5 percent of the study subjects got the government's Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for key minerals essential to health. In other words, fewer than one in 20 people were taking in the amount needed to avoid deficiencies, let alone the amount needed for optimal health and well- being. What's even more surprising, many of the study subjects worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland--one of the world's top nutritional research centers!

Why are so many Americans deficient in vitamins and minerals? There are several reasons.

RDH (Requirement for Daily Healing)

If you feel overwhelmed by the avalanche of acronyms the government uses to describe the adequate intake of nutrients, you're not alone. You've got your RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance), the government standard that's based on meeting the nutritional needs of 98 percent of the population. Then there's the AI (Adequate Intake), which applies to nutrients such as pantothenic acid that don't have enough scientific backup yet to set an RDA. And, oh yeah, there's the UL (Tolerable Upper Limit), which experts deem as the highest amount you can take without harm. And don't forget the DRI and the DV....

Actually, do forget about them. By definition, these intakes, allowances, requirements, and values are the lowest day-to-day intakes that will prevent deficiencies and a failure of the metabolic functions the nutrients support (such as the amount of iron needed to prevent anemia). These intakes are not aimed at achieving optimal health and well-being. They're so low that the RDA is sometimes called "Ridiculous Dietary Allowance."

So I recommend a different set of guidelines, which I call the RDH: Requirement for Daily Healing--the amount of each vitamin and mineral necessary to prevent and reverse disease and achieve glowing health. You'll find these optimal amounts accompanying each nutrient later in this chapter.

Too much sugar and white flour. Added sugar, which is devoid of vitamins and minerals, accounts for 18 percent of the calories in the average American diet. Another 18 percent come from white flour, which has been stripped of bran, the grain's nutrient-rich outer covering. This all means that more than one-third of the total calories found in the typical American diet provide minuscule amounts of nutrients.

Too much processed food. Processing usually strips food of its nutrients while often adding health-harming levels of energy-robbing sugar, artery- clogging trans fats, and cell-poisoning artificial chemicals.

Not enough nutrient-rich whole foods. In addition to eating too much of the wrong kinds of foods, we don't get enough of the right kinds. A report by the government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that only 33 percent of American adults eat nutrient-rich fruit two or more times a day, and only 27 percent eat nutrient-dense vegetables three or more times a day.

Too much modern life. Unrelenting stress, air pollution, nutrient-depleted soil, chronic use of antacids, and diets overloaded with refined carbohydrates and saturated fat all drain the body of micronutrients or block their absorption.

What's the end result of widespread vitamin and mineral deficiencies? In a word: disease.


This state of disease due to nutritional deficiency is the basis of the pro£ded "triage theory" of world-class scientist Bruce Ames, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and inventor of the Ames Test, the standard method used to determine whether a chemical can cause cancer. The triage theory says that the body copes with micronutrient deficiencies by using available vitamins and minerals to ensure day-to-day survival. The result: The body's long-term needs are shortchanged, causing chronic diseases--specifically, the current plague of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's.

"Scientists have been evaluating the wrong factors in setting the RDAs," said Dr. Ames in a recent interview. "They have been looking at adequate intake based on the acute but not the chronic effects of inadequate intake. So someone with an 'adequate' intake might seem perfectly healthy today-- but he's setting himself up for chronic disease because of an ongoing deficiency of micronutrients. We need to be 'tuned up' with vitamins and minerals throughout life. Anytime we're not, we pay the price in long-term damage.

"Nutritionists say, 'If you eat a good diet, you'll get all the vitamins and minerals you need," Dr. Ames continued. "Well, I eat a good diet--but I also take a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement for insurance. I don't think any diet can be optimum in every micronutrient."

The daily micronutrient deficiencies that are likely causing long-term problems? Dr. Ames compiled the following list, and it reads a lot like the label of a typical multivitamin/mineral supplement!

• Acetyl-L-carnitine
• Alpha-lipoic acid
• Biotin
• Calcium
• Choline
• Cobalamin (vitamin B12)
• Copper
• Folate
• Iron
• Magnesium
• Niacin
• Omega-3 fatty acids
• Pantothenate
• Potassium
• Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
• Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
• Selenium
• Thiamin (vitamin B1)
• Vitamin D
• Zinc

"All You Get from Taking Supplements Is Expensive Urine"

One reason I emphasize nutrition as an essential part of your self-care and self-healing is because there are so many "official" voices telling you that nutritional supplementation is a waste of your time and money. In fact, while I was writing this book, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee issued its findings after 2 years of work--and made almost no changes to its 2005 guidelines (a sure sign of an ossified bureaucracy). The executive summary of the report states, "A daily multivitamin/mineral supplement does not offer health benefits to healthy Americans."

I would fire those executives summarily! I find it hard to believe that they carefully examined the nutritional research that you'll find reported throughout this book. We urge you not to come to the same conclusion they did. And we don't think you will after perusing the rest of this chapter.

Some so-called experts like to confuse people by making the "urine" statement above. (The statement is so often made that if you Google the phrase "expensive urine," you'll produce more than 65,000 hits!) Well, the oft-heard statement ignores the fact that the same thing happens to vitamins and other nutrients in food, so I guess you don't need to eat, either! My response to those "experts" who repeat this nonsense? Stop wasting your time and money drinking water, which ends up in your urine! Very soon, you, the expert, will no longer be advising anyone about what's best for optimal health.

In the following sections, you'll find a nutrient-by-nutrient guide to the level of vitamin and mineral supplementation that can prevent these deficiencies and--most important--optimize your health. For each nutrient, we also present the diseases that can be prevented, and sometimes cured, by treating a deficiency.

This is one of the longest chapters in the book. Why? Because I think that nutritional deficiency is the leading cause of so many modern illnesses and that simple nutritional support is one of the most powerful weapons in your self-care arsenal. (Later in the book, you'll find disease-by-disease reports on dozens of the most recent scientific studies that show again and again that suboptimal levels of nutrients can cause disease, and that supplementing the diet with one or more nutrients can help you recover from health problems, often dramatically.) By delving deeply into the link between nutrition and wellness, I hope to help you understand why nutritional supplementation is a must for your daily health regimen.

Let's start with a group of nutrients that are particularly crucial for good health: the antioxidants.


Oxygen is a double-edged sword: It's necessary for life and it's also incredibly toxic. That's because biochemical exposure to oxygen produces "free radicals" (also known as reactive oxygen species, or ROS)--rampaging molecules that set in motion an ongoing chain reaction of cellular damage. This oxidative stress is now understood to be a leading cause of chronic illness and premature aging. In fact, oxidative stress is one of the "evil twins" of chronic disease and aging, says James Joseph, PhD, an antioxidant researcher at Tufts University. (The other evil twin is chronic inflammation, which I discuss as a real cause in Chronic Inflammation on page 155.)

Excess oxidation causes disease. In fact, rust is a form of oxidation. But your body uses antioxidants to neutralize free radicals and limit oxidation. These nutrient superheroes can end the chain reaction, stop the cellular damage, and protect and improve your health.

Need an example of their power? Antioxidants help prevent age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), an eye disease caused by oxidation of the cells in the macula, the structure in the center of the retina that relays detailed images--such as those needed for reading--to the brain. ARMD strikes 20 percent of Americans ages 65 to 74, and 35 percent over age 75, and is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. Studies show that an antioxidant supplement could prevent more than one-third of all cases of ARMD. That's powerful medicine. Here's a list of the antioxidants you need in order to stay healthy.

The Problem with Antioxidant Research

A 2007 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that taking antioxidant supplements such as beta-carotene and vitamin E increased the risk of death by about 5 percent.

The study was a meta-analysis that analyzed the results of 68 other studies on antioxidants, involving more than 230,000 people. Critics quickly pointed out that many of the analyzed studies involved using antioxidants to treat heart disease and cancer--meaning the study participants were already pretty sick. Other critics said the studies in the analysis--involving many different age groups and levels of intake--were too dissimilar to combine.

Most important, from my perspective, the studies failed to acknowledge that these two much-studied antioxidants--vitamin E and beta-carotene--are part of larger families of nutrients (tocopherols and carotenoids, respectively). Giving superhigh levels of any one type of vitamin E or carotenoid causes a relative deficiency of other types of vitamin E and carotenoids--likely causing health problems. To be effective and safe, nutrients need to be taken in balanced forms and amounts.

"This study does not advance our understanding," concluded Meir Stampfer, MD, DrPh, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Stampfer also told the Associated Press that he planned to keep taking his vitamin supplement.

And Dr. Stampfer isn't alone. A recent survey showed that 72 percent of doctors and 89 percent of nurses take nutritional supplements--and 75 percent recommend them to their patients. If your health care professional recommends a supplement, you're getting really good advice!

Vitamin C (RDH: 500 to 1,000 milligrams daily)

The C in vitamin C could stand for "classic." This nutrient has been and continues to be the most popular nutritional supplement in the United States, with most of us taking it to strengthen our immune systems and prevent colds. Vitamin C is also crucial in the creation of collagen, the protein responsible for firm, youthful skin and for maintaining the structure of other types of connective tissue, such as cartilage and tendons.

A classic study reported in the book Vitamin C: Who Needs It? by Emanuel Cheraskin, MD, DMD, found low vitamin C levels in 20 percent of healthy older people, 68 percent of older people with a disease, and 76 percent of people with cancer.

Good food sources include citrus fruits, broccoli, peppers, potatoes, leafy greens, and brussels sprouts. (These foods will also help you absorb iron. In a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that taking vitamin C with a meal boosted the absorption of iron by 2 1/2 times.)

Recent research shows vitamin C may help prevent and/or treat:

• Atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythms that can cause heart attacks)
• Cataracts
• Cold sores
• Colds
• Colorectal cancer
• Diabetes
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Infertility (male)
• Memory loss
• Muscle soreness after exercise
• Postherpetic neuralgia (pain after a shingles infection)
• Schizophrenia
• Ulcers
• Urinary tract infections

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

Part I The Real Causes

Real Cause #1 Nutritional Deficiencies

Optimize Nutrients, Optimize Health 3

Real Cause #2 Poor Sleep

Good Night and Great Health 39

Real Cause #3 Inactivity

Tell Sickness to Take a Hike 49

Real Cause #4 Happiness Deficiency

Joy Is Your Birthright! 69

Real Cause #5 Prescription Medications

Don't Let Pills Make You III 89

Real Cause #6 Hormonal Imbalances

Rev Up Your Glands 108

Real Cause #7 Digestive Difficulties

It Takes Guts to Feel Good 127

Real Cause #8 Cellular Toxicity

Stay Clean in a Dirty World 142

Real Cause #9 Chronic Inflammation

You Can Cool Down Disease 155

Part II The Real Cures

Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, and Other Skin Problems 177

Adrenal Exhaustion 184

Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia 190

Anxiety 200

Arthritis 206

Asthma 213

Back Pain 218

Cancer 225

Candida Overgrowth 233

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 237

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia .240

Colds and Flu 248

Depression 252

Diabetes 257

Erectile Dysfunction 263

Fatigue 266

Food Allergies 270

Glaucoma 275

Hay Fever and Other Airborne Allergies 278

Headaches 281

Heart Disease 287

Heartburn and Indigestion 301

Hypothyroidism 306

Inflammatory Bowel Disease 311

insomnia and Other Sleep Disorders 315

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Spastic Colon) 326

Kidney Stones 331

Macular Degeneration 334

Male Menopause (Testosterone Deficiency) 338

Menopausal Problems 342

Nerve Pain (Neuropathy) 347

Nighttime Leg Cramps 354

Osteoporosis 356

Premenstrual Syndrome 361

Prostate Problems 363

Shingles 365

Sinusitis 368

Urinary Incontinence 373

Vaginitis 376

Part III The 28-Day Life-Change Cure

Don't Follow My Advice! 383

Week 1 Nutrition

Customize Your Curative Cuisine 384

Week 2 Physical Activity

Easy Really Does It 392

Week 3 Sleep

Ahhh-Deep, Peaceful, Restorative 399

Week 4 Positive Thinking and Purpose

Love Yourself-And Love Your Life 406

Resources 412

Index 418

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Real Cause, Real Cure: The 9 root causes of the most common health problems and how to solve them 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
goodnightirene8 More than 1 year ago
Two great doctors and authors got together to write a great alternative healing self-help book. I got discouraged with medical advice books that didn't make any sense to me anymore. This is one reference book that I treasure with practical and life saving advice! Our body needs supplements and vitamins, and this book explains in detail the amounts and what is necessary to get your life back on track. You won't be disappointed if you buy this book. It would also be a great gift to close family and friends, now that I think about it. You can feel good again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book provides many answers to common ailments and reasonable natural cures. I highly recommend it.
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Sounds like the author wrote a review