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Natural Scoliosis Prevention & Treatment

by Dr. Kevin Lau


It was the renowned father of medicine himself, Hippocrates who said “Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.” He understood even back then the vital role good nutrition played in health and was convinced that food had certain healing properties.

Like a majority of chronic modern diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, the cause of scoliosis has remained a mystery. Patients suffering from this condition had little choices when it came to treatment. Painful braces and risky surgeries were the only solutions available but only treated the symptom of the deformity but largely ignored the cause.

However, based on the research by Dr. Price, where he discovered that primitive societies who stayed true to their traditional diet developed perfect teeth structure, I was able to take this evidence one step further and apply it to my study and treatment of scoliosis on my own patients as a chiropractor and nutritionist.

Since the emergence of chronic diseases such as scoliosis is a fairly new phenomenon, it made sense that perhaps this disease was also related to the difference our modern society has made on our diet.

Of course, this isn’t a new idea. There has been research that proves that several conditions related to the diet of civilized societies are relatively absent from aboriginal societies, helping them prevent many present-day degenerative diseases. For example, In 1913, Nobel prize winning physician and missionary Albert Schweitzer visited Gabon Africa, He observed the natives of Gabon and noticed that they had no cancers.1 In his own words, he concluded that primitive people did not have more immunity to cancer than we have. Once introduced to civilized foods they succumb to the disease as readily as we do.

Diabetes was rare among Australian indigenous people, but now this modern disease appears 10 times more often among the indigenous than the European arrivals. Professor Kerin O Dea of Monash University in Australia attributed this increase in diabetes to dietary changes. The flaws in modern diets invariably result in advanced diseases and decrease in quality of life.2

In the words of Dr. Price: “We neither saw nor heard of a case (of arthritis) in the isolated (primitive) groups. However, at the point of contact with the foods from modern civilization many cases were found, including ten bedridden cripples in a series of about twenty Indian homes. Some other afflictions made their appearance there, particularly tuberculosis, which is taking a very severe toll on the children who have been born at the centre.”

Other degenerative diseases include coronary heart diseases, high blood pressure, degenerated disc, osteoarthritis, obesity and strokes have all increased exponentially over the centuries even with the advancement of modern medicine and billions of dollars spent on drug and medical research.

So then, is it any surprise then that the leading cause of death in our modern day society is not heart disease or cancer, but perhaps poor food habits?

Let’s face it: for nearly three decades, we have been hearing about the new dietary guidelines, miracle cures, and wonder drugs. But the common problem with all these quick-fix options is that they were mass-oriented. They were not customized to the needs of a particular patient.

How can one diet be good for every person? We are all unique and our biochemical structure requires different nutrients to balance our bodies and help us maintain a healthy lifestyle.

When comparing the diets that were consumed by people in centuries past, it becomes obvious that the foods we consume now are very different from the foods that our ancestors ate. Our diet has changed to the extent that our bodies can barely recognize the foods that we eat, which is the major reason why we are susceptible to so many degenerative diseases these days.

Consider diabetes, the epidemic of our lifetime. Ancient diets contained very little sugar and refined starches, while our modern diet is replete with them. Our bodies respond to these alien chemicals and respond abnormally, by causing inflammation, obesity, and diabetes (which is really a by-product of obesity for most people).

Consider the following:

· The foods our ancestors ate were natural, unprocessed, and organic (and contained no sugar except for the occasional bit of honey or maple syrup).

· They ate foods that grew in their native environment. In other words, they ate locally grown, seasonal foods.

· Many of the cultures ate un-pasteurized dairy products, and all of them ate fermented foods such as natto, kimchi or kefir.

· All of the cultures ate animal products, including animal fat and, often, full-fat butter and organ meats.

· The native diets also had more omega-3 fat than modern diets and FAR less omega-6 fats. A diet that is lacking in omega-3 fats and heavy on omega-6 fats from vegetable oils (which are consumed so heavily today) is a recipe for disaster.

Many of today's chronic diseases can be related to our consumption of foods foreign to our genes. Therefore, it makes sense that we should attempt to alter our diet until it more clearly resembles the diet that we are genetically pre-programmed to consume and can utilize wholly.

The bottom line is that dietary nutrients must be tailored to individual needs, because what works best for one person may be poison for another. My hope is that this is really the beginning of personalized medicine for the masses. It's crazy the way our health-care system has treated us all like we're one and the same person. We're all completely unique. We respond differently to diet, and we respond differently to medications and some small part of that, some people say as much as 20 percent—can be linked to our genetic differences.

Unfortunately, much of what our culture promotes as a medical system is based on treating symptoms and not addressing the underlying cause of those symptoms. Therefore, conventional medicine really has a limited ability to resolve most of the chronic illnesses that we suffer from today including scoliosis, although they may be effective for some acute health challenges. If we begin to resolve personal biochemical imbalances that are the underlying causes of disease though the model that I recommend in my book, Health in Your Hands: Your Plan for Natural Scoliosis Prevention and Treatment, we will have the unique ability to balance our total body chemistry and ensure proper growth of the body and spine.

It was this evidence that led me to believe that scoliosis can be prevented and treated, with just a few adjustments to your daily diet and exercise regime, without subjecting your body to uncomfortable bracing or risky surgeries.

My theory is that eating a biochemically incorrect diet leading to deficiencies or imbalances of nutrients, a biochemical imbalance in the brain, and/or an in the hormonal system leading to a melatonin or estrogen deficiency can lead to the development of scoliosis.

However, by balancing our body chemistry through the foods that we eat and the careful selection of an exercise program, we can prevent and correct the symptoms of imbalance by educating the body on its correct orientation in space.

So far, animal studies on scoliosis, drugs, herbicides and pesticides have led to the conclusion that:

· Kepone, a pesticide, is found to cause scoliosis in fish

· Pesticide exposure can caused spinal curvature in tadpoles

· Diquat, an aquatic herbicide, can cause scoliosis and other defects in duck embryos; and

· Large doses of ibutilide fumarate, an antiarrhythmic drug, can cause scoliosis in rat populations.

Nutritional deficits and imbalances induced in a variety of animals have also caused scoliosis. Many of these nutritional imbalances linked to scoliosis in animals, such as deficits of manganese, vitamins B6, and copper, have also been found to have some potential to cause osteoporosis in human beings as well.

Past research shows that there are strong links between scoliosis and osteoporosis. This led me to the question: Could nutritional deficiencies and diet also play a role in causing scoliosis in humans?

It seems quite likely.

Here are some of the studies on nutritional imbalances and anomalies known to cause scoliosis:

· In chickens susceptible to scoliosis, the severity and incidence of scoliosis was decreased by giving the birds increased dietary copper. Later, in a clinical study on humans, teenage girls with scoliosis were found to have high levels of copper deposited in their hair. This led the authors of this study to conclude that copper may play a role in idiopathic scoliosis3

· Likewise, in another study on scoliosis in susceptible chickens, vitamin B-6, manganese or copper deficiencies caused an increase in the expression of scoliosis in the majority of the birds4

· Rainbow trout fed a diet deficient in ascorbic acid developed scoliosis

· Channel catfish fed diets deficient in vitamin C developed skeletal malformations5

· Trout fed a diet deficient in tryptophan developed severe scoliosis6

· Rats fed a diet deficient in vitamin E developed kyphoscoliosis7

· Salmon fed a diet deficient in vitamin C developed scoliosis8

· Trout fed diets containing excess leucine (an amino acid) developed scoliosis

· In a study of humans with scoliosis, calcium was higher in idiopathic scoliosis muscles than in other forms of scoliosis or in normal control muscles. The authors suggested that a calcium-related neuromuscular defect could be an important factor in the genesis of idiopathic scoliosis9

· Researchers in Hong Kong found that, "Inadequate calcium intake and weight-bearing physical activity were significantly associated with low bone mass in AIS (adolescent idiopathic scoliosis) girls during the peripubertal period. The importance of preventing generalized osteopenia in the control of AIS progression during the peripubertal period warrants further study.10

· Researchers in Hong Kong found that, “Inadequate calcium intake and weight-bearing physical activity were significantly associated with low bone mass in AIS (adolescent idiopathic scoliosis) girls during the peripubertal period. he importance of preventing generalized osteopenia in the control of AIS progression during the peripubertal period warrants further study.11

· Dr Paul Harrington world renounced Orthopedic surgeon, suggests that a nutritional deficit and it’s associated hormonal influences during young girl’s vulnerable growing years may initiate the scoliotic process. Harrington states that, “during growth a balanced intake of proteins and vitamin C is essential to the support of normal collagen.”

· Marginal deficiencies in manganese, zinc, copper, and pyridoxine have been shown to affect the expression as well as severity of idiopathic scoliosis. The highest incidence of idiopathic scoliosis occurs in the period of rapid growth that correlates with increased needs for manganese, zinc, copper, and pyridoxine. Manganese is essential to normal proteoglycan metabolism. Zinc tissue deficiencies result in defective collagen formation.

After this evidence, it was small wonder that a recent study from researchers in Washington, D. C. found that nutrition should logically be considered as a possible factor in human scoliosis, based in part on a review of all of these studies in which nutrition appears to be playing a significant role in the disorder. At the end of the study, the authors concluded that, "There is evidence that poor nutrition may play a role in the etiology of idiopathic scoliosis. This possibility should be examined further in humans."12

Research has proven beyond a doubt that scoliosis can result from various nutritional imbalances. But why is it that researchers have not come up with a "magic bullet" to cure scoliosis? The best they can do is manufacture various supplements in a feeble attempt to make up for the deficiencies present in many people's diets.

The primitive people that Dr. Price studied had no need of supplements because their diet supplied all that their bodies needed to prevent scoliosis from developing, and also to ward off many other diseases that plague our modern society. Their diets contained an ample supply of nutrients beneficial to their growth and development, and their consumption of foods that were cultured promoted the growth of natural and beneficial bacteria in their digestive tract, thus preventing many of the problems that modern people suffer from.

A growing person also needs the proper nutrients from food, sufficient sunlight, and other factors so that their spine will grow strong and healthy. What most forget is that even if the tree has all the right nutrients and factors for it to be healthy, if the roots are damaged then its ability to grow normally will be hampered. Therefore, if your ability to digest and assimilate food is compromised, your spine bends and health is compromised. It isn’t just what you eat but also what you digest that determines your health.

I often explain to my patients that there are two stages of healing: eating correctly and digesting correctly. What I’ve observed with my scoliosis patients is that they generally tend to be extremely thin, yet have the ability to eat and eat without putting on weight. These people have to be built up from the inside out as their bodies are not efficient in digesting and absorbing what they eat. Probiotics which were abundant in traditional food preserving methods such as kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi were important dietary habits of every primitive cultures that Dr Price studied and is an important recommendation for scoliosis sufferers.

The progress that I observe with them is remarkable, to say the least, even after a few months of dietary adjustment that corrects any digestive problems. In my own studies of treating patients with scoliosis, by applying these principles discussed here, I have been able to make significant improvements in the lives of my patients. I have been able to not only stop the progression of scoliosis with my treatments but correct the spinal curvature by as much as 17 degrees in just a few months of treatment. More information about the application of my research and case studies can be found in my book, Health in Your Hands: Your Plan for Natural Scoliosis Prevention and Treatment (for more info. www.scoliosis.com.sg).

In conclusion, as a practicing chiropractor and nutritionist, I am more certain than ever that scoliosis can be improved with nutritional and dietary methods described in the book. It may at one time have been one of the hardest and the most mysterious of all diseases, but today, with the application of the nutritional principles taught in my book, Health in Your Hands - Your Plan for Natural Scoliosis Prevention and Treatment, it can be completely arrested and the progress of the condition reversed with specialized medical devices. I’ve understood completely from my study of nutritional science that food alone has the miraculous healing properties to cure not only scoliosis but a multitude of other degenerative diseases that is too commonly seen in modern society.

Claire’s Personal Story

Like most young girls, Claire C. didn’t know about scoliosis until she was diagnosed with it during her secondary school scoliosis screen. At that time, it was only 15 degrees and was told to come back in 6 months for another review. When 6 months had passed, the doctor requested an X-ray, which revealed her scoliosis had progressed. Claire was suffering from a primary low back curvature of almost 40 degrees and a smaller compensatory thoracic (mid to upper back) curvature of about 34 degrees.

She wasn’t suffering from any pain yet, but she did have a noticeable hump on her back and uneven shoulders which concerned her parents. With the advice of her orthopaedic doctor she was immediately fitted with a hard brace and was told if her curve progressed any further she would need scoliosis surgery.

She was told to wear the brace for 23 hours daily in the hope to prevent her spine from getting any worse. But in the hot, humid climate of Singapore, the brace was extremely uncomfortable, and after about a month, Claire couldn’t take the pain and irritation from the brace any longer and stopped wearing it.

Claire and her family began to look for alternative treatments, fearing that a high-risk surgery was all that current prescribed medicine could offer her. That’s when they found Dr. Kevin, and in six months of treatment, her scoliosis had been reduced by 28 degrees! Her shoulder imbalance and the hump on her back had noticeably improved.

She returned to the orthopaedic specialist for a follow up, and he was amazed at her improvement. He immediately attributed the success to the brace; the one she had stopped wearing!

Because of her refusal to accept one answer for treating her scoliosis, Claire was able to avoid bracing and a risky surgery.

“Bracing was not effective at all. I was not able to use it as recommended as it was extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient; as such, I gave up wearing it after some time. Surgery on the other hand wasn’t any better. I was afraid of the complications and the pain and the scar it left. With Dr Kevin’s program I was able to avoid them both!”

— Claire C. (16 years old)

About Dr. Kevin Lau

Dr. Lau is the author of Health in Your Hands: Your Plan for Natural Scoliosis Prevention and Treatment. He practices in Singapore, helping patients with Scoliosis overcome it with nutrition, exercise therapy and medical devices. His approach encompasses holistic treatment of body, mind and spirit. After counseling thousands of patients diagnosed with scoliosis, Dr Lau discovered ground-breaking research that established, beyond a doubt, the clear merits of non-surgical treatment of scoliosis. He made it my life's work to explore and share the truths about nutrition, diseases, health and healing. Educating patients from all walks of life some were as young as 7 while others as old as 91. In 2006 I was awarded the "Best Health-care Provider Awards" by the Straits Time October 18 2006. For more information on where you can find the book go to: www.scoliosis.com.sg.


References

1. Albert Schweitzer, in Preface to A. Berglas, Cancer: Cause and Cure as quoted in james South MA “Laetrile – the answer to cancer” IAS Bulletin, http://www.second –opinions.co.uk/cancer-3html. (20 November 2008)

2. K. O’Dea, “Marked Improvement in Carbohydrate and Lipid Metabolism in Diabetic Australian Aborigines After temporary Reversion to Traditional Lifestyle.” Lipids 33 (1984): 596-603.

3. Stampfer M. J., Hu F. B., Manson J. E., Rimm E. B., Willett W. C., (Jul 6, 2000) Primary Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease in Women through Diet and Lifestyle, N Engl J Med 2000; 343:16-22,

4. Opsahl, W., Abbott, U., Kenney, C., and Rucker, R. (July 27, 1984). Scoliosis in chickens: responsiveness of severity and incidence to dietary copper. Science, 225: 40-442.

5. 5. Greve, C., Trachtenberg, E., Opsahl, W., Abbott U. and Rocker, R. (18 Aug, 1986). Diet as an External Factor in the Expression of Scoliosis in a Line of Susceptible Chickens. he Journal of Nutrition, 117: 189-193.

6. Johnston, W.L., MacDonald, E. and Hilton, J.W., (Nov, 1989). Relationships between dietary ascorbic acid status and deiciency, weight gain and brain neurotransmitter levels in juvenile rainbow trout. Fish Physiology and Biochemistry, 6(6): 353-365.

7. Lim, C. and Lovell, R.T. (1977), Pathology of the Vitamin C Deiciency Syndrome in Channel Catish (Ictalurus punctatus). he Journal of Nutrition, 108: 1137-1146.

8. Machlin, L.J., Filipski, R., J. Nelson, Horn, L.R. and Brin, M. (1977), Efects of a Prolonged Vitamin E Deiciency in the Rat. he Journal of Nutrition, 107: 1200-1208.

9. Halver, J.E., Ashley, L.M., and Smith, R.R. (1969), Ascorbic Acid Requirements of Coho Salmon and Rainbow Trout. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 98:762—771.

10. Choo, P.S., Smith, T.K., Cho, C. Y. and Ferguson H.W. (1991), Dietary Excesses of Leucine Inluence Growth and Body Composition of Rainbow Trout, The Journal of Nutrition, 121: 1932-1939.

11. Lee W.T., Cheung C.S., Tse Y.K., Guo X., Qin L., Ho S.C., Lau J. and Cheng J.C. (2005). Generalized low bone mass of girls with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is related to inadequate calcium intake and weight bearing physical activity in peripubertal period. Osteoporos Int. 16(9):1024-35.

12. Worthington V. and Shambaugh P. (1993). Nutrition as an environmental factor in the etiology of idiopathic scoliosis. J. Manipulative Physiol Ther., 16(3):169-73.


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