The body has 2 kinds of metabolism when it comes to oxygen: aerobic (with oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen). While it is true that certain infections, cancers and other adversities thrive in an anaerobic environment, it is not true that anaerobic is “bad” and that aerobic is “good” or that everyone should do whatever possible to increase oxygen and aerobic metabolism in the body.
In actuality, real good health is a dynamic state of homeostatic balance, metabolic efficiency and full adaptive capacity. Efficient regulation of all of our life-sustaining processes of metabolism is dependent on our ability to adapt to the innumerable stressors of daily life. Most of our homeostatic, adaptive mechanisms are dualistic and diphasic. This means that for every aspect or function, two opposite imbalances or abnormalities can exist and that regulation of a given aspect is handled through two opposite sets of forces or processes.
For example, muscles can be “normal” or too constricted or too relaxed. Intestinal peristalsis can be “normal” or too strong or too weak. The heart rate can be “normal” or too fast or too slow. Temperature can be “normal” or too high or too low. pH of a given level can be “normal” or too acid or too alkaline. Blood sugar can be “normal” or too high or too low, etc.
In every case, whenever one side of a dualistic, diphasic, homeostatic, regulatory process goes beyond the optimal balance range, the other side kicks in to restore the normal function. When the heart rate goes too high, mechanisms to slow the heart rate are called upon. When the blood sugar elevates beyond a certain point, mechanisms to lower the blood sugar turn on, etc.
Degenerative or pathological processes develop when the body's homeostatic, regulatory mechanisms fail to restore balance. In effect, one side or the other gets “stuck” in its imbalanced state due to the failure of the opposite mechanisms to restore homeostasis. Thus, if the body fails to lower the heart rate, the condition known as tachycardia may result; when the body fails to raise the heart rate, the condition known as bradycardia develops. When the body can't restore normal blood sugar levels when elevated, the condition known as diabetes develops; when the body can't restore normal blood sugar levels when depressed, the condition known as hypoglycemia develops.
Wondrously, even though there are many thousands of biochemical reactions that take place in the body on a daily basis, they all are regulated by just a handful of “fundamental homeostatic control mechanisms.” One of these mechanisms is referred to as the Anabolic/Catabolic balance. Anabolic processes involve “building up” and Catabolic processes involve “breaking down.” Anabolic processes are characterized by anaerobic metabolism, tissue acidity, and decreased membrane permeability. Catabolic processes involve aerobic metabolism, tissue alkalinity, and increased membrane permeability.
In a normal, healthy body, there exists a natural circadian shift between anabolic cycles and catabolic cycles over a 24 hour period. Furthermore, the body needs to be able to readily “on demand” shift to aerobic OR anaerobic metabolism as the situation demands. Different conditions or activities require different types of metabolism. For example, running a marathon requires aerobic metabolism and sprinting demands anaerobic metabolism.
To be stuck in either a Catabolic or an Anabolic imbalance is undesirable and can lead to pathological, degenerative processes.
For example, an Anabolic imbalance produces uncontrolled anaerobic metabolism, acidosis, and decreased membrane permeability. A prolonged anaerobic metabolism is undesirable since many pathogens including bacteria, viruses, cancer, yeast, fungus and molds can thrive in that biochemical environment. An acidosis can disallow normal function of many critical enzymes. And overly closed membranes can discourage cellular detoxification (toxins can't get out of cells) as well as nutrient delivery (vital nutrients, oxygen and immune factors) can't get into cells.
A Catabolic imbalance produces uncontrolled aerobic metabolism, alkalosis, and increased membrane permeability. A prolonged, out-of-control aerobic metabolism is undesirable since the result is unregulated free radical production, tissue destruction and accelerated tissue aging. An alkalosis can disallow normal function of many critical enzymes. And overly open membranes can't selectively ward off toxins or hold on to vital nutrients.
Certain foods and nutrients are anti-Anabolic and directly support Catabolic, aerobic metabolism while others foods and nutrients are anti-catabolic and support Anabolic, anaerobic metabolism. Someone suffering the degenerative effects of a Catabolic imbalance can derive tremendous benefit from the judicious use of anti-oxidants. But if you happened to be suffering from an Anabolic imbalance such as a type of cancer that was thriving in an anaerobic environment, the last thing you would want to do would be to load up on anti-oxidants whose effects are anti-Catabolic, anti-aerobic.
The same need for caution applies to those whose health problems stem from a Catabolic, aerobic-metabolism-out-of-control imbalance. For example, oxygen therapies are extremely beneficial, but only for someone who has an Anabolic, anaerobic imbalance. Since oxygen is classified through Metabolic Typing® as a Catabolic, aerobic nutrient, oxygen therapies only add fuel to the fire in someone with a catabolic imbalance and can thus worsen rather than improve such conditions.
Complicating matters further, many pathogens can switch their metabolisms as a defense mechanism to a hostile biochemical environment. Bacteria, viruses and even cancers can change from aerobic to anaerobic or vice versa.
Nutrition is a dual-edged sword. The right nutrition can do wonders, but the wrong nutrition applied in a given situation can produce results opposite from what was intended. Before anyone makes use of nutrition in therapeutic doses, it would be wise to first determine your Metabolic Type®. Then and only then can you be assured that nutrition will be your “medicine” and not your “poison.”