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From the Townsend Letter
June 2009

Book Review
Oxygen Homeostasis
review by Katherine Duff

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The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine, Volume 3: Dysoxygenosis and Oxystatic Therapies
by Majid Ali, MD
Canary Press, 140 West End Avenue, Suite 1H, New York, New York 10023 USA,
Softcover; ©2004; $60; 319 pp.

In Volume 3 of his series The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine, Majid Ali addresses the role of oxygen in health and disease. This enlightening and at times provocative text expands our understanding of oxidative stress in disease.

The author takes us back to the beginning of his personal quest when as a pathologist he was able to identify and have confirmed several disease states in the colon of one man. It was here that he parted with the accepted medical model of "one cause/one-disease/one drug" for a model more suited to addressing the body as a whole ecosystem. This approach allowed him to view organs as ecosystems connected to other organ ecosystems through energetic-molecular events.

Critical to our understanding of the energetic-molecular events in the body is recognizing the dichotomous role of oxygen. Ali refers to oxygen as the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of human experience: on the one hand it gives life; on the other, it is so toxic to the human body it can take life away.

For an even greater understanding, he takes us into the history of atmospheric oxygen on this planet. Of the three accepted eras, the first was a period of oxygen-free primordial conditions that produced anaerobic microbes. The second is an era when plants generated oxygen concentrations to about 30% to 35%, causing the anaerobes to hide or face extinction from oxygen toxicity. The species living at that time would have to be considered huge by today’s standards. The third era saw a drop in atmospheric oxygen to about 21% or lower at present. And finally, the author adds a fourth era in which the central issue is not the atmospheric oxygen but rather how the oxygen is metabolized in the cells of humans and animals. He calls this the era of functional oxygen deficits.

The term dysoxygenosis is introduced to describe the state of partial or complete failure of oxygen utilization in cells. The oxygenization deficits are caused by oxidative injury to enzyme pathways involved in oxygen transport utilization, redox regulation, and acid-base equilibrium. Ali's work led him to the conclusion that a state of accelerated oxidative molecular injury is the core mechanism involved in cell injury and disease. The stressors for oxidative stress are those that threaten cellular oxygen metabolism and create the oxidative-dysoxygenative states, such as antibiotic use, toxic metals, environmental pollutants, anger, functional nutrient deficits, and more. A most interesting addition to these factors though, is the discussion of primordial life forms (PLF), or yeastlike organisms. These life forms can proliferate in the body as a result of stressors and in turn become stressors themselves.

In what may be the most provocative part of this book, Ali introduces another hypothesis for consideration. Called ORPCE for "oxidative regression to primordial cellular ecology," this is a descriptor for a state when progressive anoxia, acidosis, excess reactive species, and cellular accumulation of certain organic acids create cellular ecologic conditions that closely simulate the primordial state. Once in this state, the body endures rapid multiplication of PLFs.

After identifying the stressors affecting oxygen homeostasis and making the case that the dysfunctions can become magnified and self-perpetuating, the author addresses the methods available to arrest these processes and return the body to health. Those therapies that improve tissue perfusion include EDTA chelation, ozone infusions, and hydrogen peroxide infusions. These are discussed in detail, including the dual nature of hydrogen peroxide and ozone that is known to trigger oxidative stress but can also evoke the upregulation of antioxidant enzyme systems. In fact, many therapies are introduced along with clinical results of the author's treatment regimens. The doctor's patients include those suffering from today's mystery illnesses: chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivity, Gulf War Syndrome, fibromyalgia, severe autoimmune disorders and malignant diseases.

This thumbnail sketch of this text surely fails to capture the massive ground that is covered by the author. For one, he recounts his personal journey of exploration into oxygen homeostasis and dysfunction and supports his conclusions using the chemistry, research, and history where, surprisingly, similar discoveries were made but abandoned. He constructs a convincing case for others to make the leap into a new model of medicine that will more accurately address the challenges facing the health and viability of our population.

The mystery illnesses noted in this book, when taken together, are beginning to represent a considerable segment of our population. The current medical models have been inadequate to recognize, much less treat and prevent these illnesses, as evidenced by the public performance of committees set up to study Gulf War Syndrome. Their befuddlement and subsequent dismissal of the thousands who are ill was an apt illustration of the abject failure of the current medical model. As the author makes clear in this book, the stressors on oxygen homeostasis are going to increase. For the journey into the new model that can address the illnesses more of us will face in the future, Dr. Majid Ali has provided the path.


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