How Did We Ever Get Here?

By Dr. Jim Forleo, D.C.

Much praise goes out to the crisis healthcare workers and first responders as they continue to serve the multitudes of people in need while working in the face of this never-ending COVID-19 pandemic. Our emergency healthcare system has been truly outstanding. No surprise that it has been ranked #1 by the World Health Organization.1

This pandemic has revealed many gaping holes in our health system, as evidenced by the devastation it has caused throughout the United States. Even though our emergency health care system is rated #1 in the world, our overall healthcare system is in terrible shape. This is the portion of healthcare that is responsible for educating, guiding and caring for the health and well-being of our citizens. Of its 191 member nations, the World Health Organization has ranked the US health care system a dismal 72nd in the world.2  The overall condition of the US healthcare system is, in a word, appalling. Unfortunately, this is nothing new as these numbers have not changed much over the past 50 years. Unlike our emergency care system, our healthcare system has failed us, and we need to start asking the right questions. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the extremely poor health of our citizens.

The US is the most susceptible nation in the world to this virus.3 Why? Because we are the sickest nation in the industrialized world.4  The WHO ranks the health of the population of the US as 37th in the world!5 It is a matter of fact that the US does not have the best healthcare in the world as we have all been led to believe. In reality, we have one of the worst. Our strategy of treating symptoms and fighting disease consistently fails us. The principles of allopathic medicine continue to fail us. The pharmaceutical industry has certainly taken advantage of us. Our understanding of how to create health and well-being for the people of our country has, for the most part, completely eluded us.

One of the main reasons for these failures is that we have accepted the treatment of our symptoms with prescribed drugs instead of correcting the underlying causes of our problems. In emergency cases, medicines are absolutely necessary, but in most cases drugs only mask or treat our symptoms. In essence, the short-sighted goal of the US healthcare system has been to treat people’s symptoms for the limited purpose of “feeling better” with little regard to correcting what is actually going on behind the scenes. Understanding and addressing what is the root cause our symptoms is what is missing in healthcare today. We need to discover the value of our symptoms and discover what our body is trying to tell us: that some things need to change in our life and lifestyle. When we get this message, we will start to experience better health.

Over more than 40 years as a healthcare provider, I have learned that the human body is the most amazing living organism on planet earth. It contains a depth of wisdom that we still have not yet begun to fathom; wisdom we can truly count on to keep us healthy and alive. And when the body is working at its highest level, it has the ability to heal almost any condition of ill health.

Medicine, for the most part, views the body as a machine that is broken and can only be repaired by taking multiple medications, a remnant of the linear Newtonian model of physics, which ended over 75 years ago.6 As a result, we have focused our energies solely on disease and the treatment of it with medications and surgery and have minimized the healing influence that the mind and the heart can have on our health and well-being. We are immersed in the business of fighting disease instead of building our health. Unfortunately, when this limited perspective is our focus, we can easily lose our way, as the practice of medicine is a big money making business. Medicine’s message is less about making changes in our lifestyle and more about taking drugs to treat our symptoms. Unfortunately, this strategy will never succeed. The point to take here is that the absence of symptoms is not in any way the same as the extraordinary presence of vibrant health. We have been looking in the wrong direction for health.

Believe it or not, symptoms are actually a valuable component of health. Symptoms are a direct communication with the internal wisdom of our body, telling us what is going on inside of us, and asking for change. And, as we begin to understand the innate language of the body, we can, with the right support, make the essential changes in our lifestyle that will quite rapidly reduce and soon eliminate our symptoms. This is the process of building our health naturally. Health is, after all, a process, not an event. Treat your symptoms with drugs and mask your problems, and your body will create more intense symptoms in order to get your attention. This stuff is really health 101.

As most people have discovered, fighting disease can be tough business. And when you fight against a disease process the body has created, you are essentially fighting against Nature. We would be much more successful to work at building our health one step at a time, rather than fighting against anything. The title of my first book reflects this: Health is Simple, Disease is Complicated. In a nutshell, this is the plain truth as to where to focus our attention and effort in relation to health.

When you start to pay attention to what your body has been trying to tell you, you discover that you know exactly what your body likes or dislikes about your lifestyle. Through this innate interaction you can learn how best to eat, exercise, sleep, drink, live and love. When this understanding occurs, everything begins to change towards better health. A powerful law of the universe is that as you change what you do, you change what you have. Change your lifestyle and you change the outcome. Don’t like the outcome? Change your lifestyle. Our symptoms are not something to get rid of. They are only present to help us understand. When you learn how to make simple changes yourself, your body will turn off the symptoms. No drugs necessary, thank you.

Drug therapy does work for pharmaceutical companies who make billions of dollars each year from the poor health of Americans. This is why we are ranked #1 by the WHO in the amount of money we spend each year on healthcare and are at the bottom of the list of developed nations in regard to our health.7 We spend almost twice as much as any other nation in the world on healthcare, yet we do not have the beneficial results that spending that kind of money should produce. Although drug therapy is extremely helpful in emergency care situations and in treating some advanced diseases, prescriptions drug therapy does not, and will not, produce better health for Americans.

As of 2022 we have lost over 800,000 lives and counting during this coronavirus pandemic, which is horrendous.8 But, in contrast, we lose over 100,000 people yearly, each and every year, for more than half a century, to doctor prescribed drug reactions. This year that number has grown to 128,000.9 Dead from the medications they have been prescribed by doctors and promoted by drug companies.

For over 50 years now, we have lost an additional 100,000 people each year as a result of medical/hospital errors. This past year, that number has skyrocketed to 250,000!10 Nearly 375,000 people dead from drug reactions and hospital errors, without any questions asked or outrage as to why. This is why the third leading cause of death in the US is iatrogenic disease: deaths caused by doctors and their medical treatments.11 Shocking, yet correctable! These figures do not include deaths from Covid19!

Drugs seriously compromise the body, yet Americans consume 75% of the world’s prescription medications.12 In 2013, Americans spent over 259 billion dollars on 4.2 billion prescription drugs. These numbers continue to rise. In 2020 Americans spent 348 billion on 4.7 billion prescriptions drugs.13 The average American is on 12.2 medications, while the average senior is on a whopping 27-29 medications. And the average child 0-18 years is on 4.2 medications.14 It’s no wonder seniors are dying so rapidly in this pandemic. To say that these numbers are alarming is an understatement. Adverse reactions to prescriptions drugs for someone taking 3 or more medications is extremely common. The more drugs we take, the more the likelihood that we will have too many side effects for any doctor to juggle. If you have to be on a medication for a short time, fine, but you should try your best to get off them as soon as possible, of course with the help of your physician. A great rule of thumb is to use nutrition and other natural healthcare measures first, medications second, and surgery absolutely last. It is well past time to transform our disease care system into a true healthcare system that can save millions of lives and get the results we all deserve at a reasonable cost to all.

Drug advertising was only $770,000 in 2016. In 2020 it was $3.2 billion. In 2021 it doubled to 6.5 billion!15 There are roughly an average of 16 drug commercials every hour on TV touting the benefits of drugs to relieve symptoms. It’s good to remember that ALL drugs have significant to serious side effects. It’s hard to believe that drug advertising is even effective at all, when the commercial states that you could have a heart attack or liver failure or become debilitated or even die from taking this drug. Yet, people buy into it just to get a little relief. All this when we have the most powerful healing tool in the world literally at our very fingertips: the Innate power of the human body. If only we knew how to use it. It is like we have a Ferrari in the garage, but can’t find the keys!

Chemical toxicity is another major contributor to the ill health of Americans. There are currently more than 80,000 toxic chemicals to which we are exposed on a regular basis, most of which haven’t been adequately tested for their effects on human health.16 These chemicals are hidden in furniture, cosmetics, household cleaners, toys, as pesticides in our food and chemicals in our water. Unfortunately the EPA allows the chemical industry to exploit loopholes in its outdated chemical safety laws that allow manufacturers to continue to introduce toxic chemicals at an astounding rate. These chemicals, especially the newer ones, seriously impact the health of Americans. The EPA needs to take action on the latest research and enforce it’s own Toxic Substance Control Act instead of allowing industry to have its way. The EPA has truly failed us.

Another glaring omission in regard to this pandemic, in addition to our overall poor state of health, is the Innate power of our body to fight disease. The immune system is so sophisticated that pretty much everything we have learned about the science of health, drugs and their interactions, the world of microbes and our own internal biology, we have learned by studying the workings of the human body and its truly amazing immune system. Our immune system keeps us alive and healthy in a sea of microbes on a daily basis. It is our immune system that is the best defense against the agents of disease, bacteria, viruses, fungus etc.; constantly fighting off foreign invaders and helping us to stay healthy.

People ask me what I make of this virus. To start with, there is a controversy about viruses among scientists revolving around the fact that because viruses can’t reproduce by themselves, they are not even alive. To me, this is a startling fact especially because we are currently waging an all out war against them. The truth is that science knows very little about viruses and how they function. At this point we have only explored less than 1% of all known viruses.17 According to scientists themselves, our knowledge about viruses has barely begun to scratch the surface, which makes me wonder if we know enough about them to be manipulating them the way we do.

When I was studying microbiology, I learned that viruses are produced in the natural environment and enter the body to communicate, regulate and update bacteria as to what is going on in the outside world.18 As a matter of scientific fact, viruses are an integral part of nature and have a vital function in the microbial world and especially in the world of human beings. We just haven’t heard much about how helpful they are. Basically, they provide us with a software update. Not only do viruses update and regulate bacteria but they also challenge the human body so we can keep up with the rapid changes in our external environment. And, these days those environmental changes are getting pretty radical. Contrary to popular beliefs, viruses update and upgrade our own DNA as well as updating our immune systems.19 Science is just beginning to learn about what is now called the human virome, which is the enormous viral presence of 380 trillion viruses that symbiotically exist throughout the entire body.20 The scientific truth is that without them, human beings could never survive more than a day on planet earth.21 How’s that for new information?

Obviously there are dangerous viruses, but the beneficial ones far outweigh the dangerous ones.The mission of all viruses is the same: upgrade the human instrument with information on what is occurring out in the environment so that we can better survive.22 Fact: the purpose of a virus is to help human beings survive! So if you view viruses as the Darth Vaders of microbiology, think again. What science does know about viruses is that they help us to adapt, change and survive in a hostile microbial world. For the most part, they sound more like Jedi Knights to me!

Viruses are basically genetic material packed in a protein shell. They are everywhere in the natural world; in the oceans, the soil, in the air and in our bodies. Viruses have been credited as the main driver of the evolutionary process for the planet because they regulate bacteria throughout the ecosystem.23 They play an integral part in maintaining health in humans by protecting our microbiome, the largest part of our immune system that lives in our gut.24 There are over 1000 different varieties of virus alone living in our belly in what is now called the gut virome!25 Some viruses actually help keep us from getting diseases like AIDS and the bubonic plague.26 They help destroy cancer cells, they save lives much better than antibiotics can, and are even key players in memory formation.27 It is estimated that there are 10 million times the number of viruses than the number of stars!28

Viruses even carry out genetic engineering and move ecologically important genes from host to host, and genetic material between ecosystems.29 They also are an integral partner in the life cycle of plants and fungi, as they aid in photosynthesis and help guide the chemical reactions that sustain all of life.30 In summary, viruses are an essential part of the natural ecosystem of life at every level on planet earth. A very interesting quote and food for thought comes from viral researcher Curtis Suttle “When populations become very abundant, viruses tend to replicate very rapidly and knock that population down, creating space for everything else to live”! 31

Even if you get a vaccine, it is your body’s immune system that actually does the work to allow immunity from COVID-19 to occur. The immune system is always the body’s first line of defense. If you get a vaccine it is the immune system that produces antibodies that will combat the virus, not the vaccine. Therefore, priority one should be to keep this vital system in tip-top condition so it can work for us at the highest level possible.

What of the variants of COVID 19? Are we now going to be dependent on getting a vaccine every 6 months or less to treat each new one? With so many breakthrough cases, some scientists say that the variants are becoming resistant to the vaccines. What effect will that have on our health and the effectiveness of our immune systems going forward? Other experts predict that the more vaccines we get, the more compromised our immune system will become.32 This already occurs in children. They are scheduled to receive 70 doses of 16 vaccines before they are 6!33 What’s even more shocking is that infants under one year receive 26 vaccine doses!34 This is astonishing especially in the fact that chronic disease among children is now over 50%!35 This is way too much input for these undeveloped immune system to handle. More questions with absolutely no answers.

We can certainly learn from other countries like Israel who may be bearing out some of these predictions. Israel has mandated vaccines with four booster shots and working on a fifth. They are still deep in the throes of COVID 19 cases, however, which shows how ineffective vaccines can be for the long term. Israel notes significant waning of immunity at about 6 months.36 The CDC, which has not been very clear or transparent during this extended COVID 19 crisis, also acknowledges waning immunity at 6 months or less and is calling for boosters for everyone and vaccines for 5 year olds.37 Only time will tell how all this will work out. More reasons to put our efforts behind a sure bet: building the health of our immune system to fight this virus.

There are thousands of scientific research studies that show how amazing our immune system really is and how we can support it to work even better, yet natural solutions remain unspoken and untrusted by the powers that be during this endless pandemic. Another manifestation of the ineffectiveness of our health care system. What a way to waste our most powerful natural resource.

The health of our gut is of primary concern as it affects numerous body systems, especially our brains. Anyone with digestive or elimination problems likely does not have a healthy gut. Manufactured, genetically modified and fast foods are the worst things we can consume to support gut health, yet most Americans consume these ultra refined carbohydrates extensively throughout the day. These foods contain toxic hydrogenated fats, rancid oils, super refined white flour, loads of sugar, lots of poor quality salt, low quality meats full of antibiotics, chemicals, pesticides, and taste enhancing chemicals designed to make things taste much better than they should. Refined carbohydrates compose the bulk of supermarket foods. They are devastating to gut health and are one of the main contributors to the poor health of Americans.

Gut health requires a diet of 80-100% organic whole foods with as much as half of that being raw. These foods contain adequate fiber, abundant naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Organic foods and pure water support a healthy environment for the over three pounds of beneficial bacteria that live inside our intestines. These synergistic bacteria work tirelessly to help us digest our foods, they support the health of our hearts, our brains and our immune systems. They assist with blood sugar balance, weight control and in the elimination of the toxins we don’t want. We also need to increase the number and variety of helpful bacteria in our gut by taking probiotics on a regular basis and eating foods that feed them, like fiber and fermented foods. It’s also important to eliminate the foods that kill beneficial bacteria, like refined foods, especially sugar, chemically doctored soft drinks and fluoridated city water. Our large intestines contain trillions of beneficial bacteria and viruses that we need to keep healthy and happy throughout our lifetime.38 Healthy teeth and abundant digestive enzymes normally produced by a healthy body with a healthy gut allow us to digest, assimilate and eliminate the good foods we do eat. Remember, healthy gut, healthy brain!

Chlorine, fluoride and other toxic chemicals like pesticides and drugs, especially antibiotics, destroy our gut bacteria and the healthy environment they need to thrive. Prescription drug therapy does not in any way support a healthy gut. Also be wary of fluoride treatments, especially for children, as several new research studies over the past few years clearly demonstrate that children’s IQ is lowered by fluoride exposure. This is especially true for pregnant women.39 This fact is even true at lower levels of exposure such as fluoridated water, which is also directly linked to ADHD.40 Be careful of the amount of fluoridated toothpaste children use. They tend to swallow way too much of it. Read the shocking toothpaste label. It advises rushing children to the hospital if more than a pea sized portion is swallowed. Children take in way too much fluoride for their developing brains, and the elderly, after decades of drinking fluoridated water, often end up with brittle bones that can lead to fractures.41

It is essential to note that an immune system does not function well in the presence of fear, which consumes many people these days. Fear weakens our immune systems, while love and joy strengthen it. Anger and hatred also weaken it, while concern for others and the spirit of giving strengthen our immunity. It is striking to me that we not only need to receive the love and care of others to help us be healthy and whole, but we also need to give of ourselves in order to heal ourselves. The laws of Nature are so balanced. Keeping your immune system healthy and happy is your number one job during this pandemic. In due course, all the rest will follow.

It is vitally important for Americans to understand why we are in the mess we find ourselves in right now. How did we ever get here? How can we can get ourselves out? It is in part because we have completely missed the boat on healthcare and instead have settled for simply treating side effects. This strategy has not gotten the job done. Health-wise we have backed ourselves into a corner. When we use prescription drug therapy as our primary healthcare tool, we unwittingly engage in an endless battle against Nature, a battle that we will untimely lose, for it is Nature that holds the keys to understanding how to create vibrant health and wellbeing for a lifetime.

You can learn the ways of Nature from others who have gone before us and from the greatest teacher of all, the natural Innate wisdom of your own human body. If you pay attention to what your body is telling you by way of your symptoms and use your intuition, you will learn how to care for your body, your mind, your heart and spirit. Each one is a part of the wholeness of a human being. And health itself is the magnificent side effect of being that whole person.



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