It has been more than 35 years since I first had the idea that unresolved diet-induced inflammation might be the underlying cause of all chronic disease. At that time the scientific knowledge of inflammation in general, and diet-induced inflammation, in particular, was in its infancy at best. Nonetheless, I started my scientific journey to understand how diet could induce inflammation and developed an appropriate dietary system to reverse the process. This led to my concept of the Zone where your diet (in particular the Zone Diet) could be used as a drug to reverse diet-induced inflammation. In the intervening years, the scientific knowledge of the molecular biology of inflammation has expanded greatly, so has my concept of the Zone. This is why I feel my newest book, The Resolution Zone: The Science of the Resolution Response™, pulls together all the biochemical clues I have been following for years into a new vision for the future of medicine.
Why reading The Resolution Zone will be so critical for your future health
I feel the revolutionary insight contained in The Resolution Zone is not why we get sick, but why we don’t heal. Injuries (both internal and external) occur at random. The body’s initial response to such injuries is the generation of inflammation to immediately address the injury to keep us alive. But at the same time, we have an internal Resolution Response that reduces and resolves that injury-induced inflammation, and then repairs the tissue damage caused by that initial inflammatory response. All of these ancient responses to injury are deeply embedded in our genes, although our knowledge of how they work is extremely recent.
In The Resolution Zone, I describe how releasing those hormonal and genetic forces that lead to healing can be a radical new vision of how medicine should be practiced in the future. There is no drug that can optimize your internal Resolution Response, but your diet can. This means that your primary care physician in the future becomes yourself.
Health-care versus disease-care
What we call “health-care” today is essentially “disease-care”, and it has become financially unsustainable. True “health-care” comes from the dietary optimization of the Resolution Response which becomes the foundation of truly sustainable medicine. Furthermore, optimization of the Resolution Response is critical for success in every stage of life starting with the first 1,000 days to maintaining healthy aging until we die. Between those two extremes in your lifespan, optimizing the Resolution Response can also help you reach your physical and mental performance goals, reduce the accumulation of excess body fat, and allow you to maintain a life without developing a chronic disease for as long as possible.
Optimizing the Resolution Response requires the 3 Rs working together as a healing team. The first R starts with the Zone Diet to reduce the levels of inflammation generated by injury or the diet. The Zone Diet is a highly personalized dietary program designed to reduce the levels of the hormones that intensify inflammation. The Zone Diet also provides the necessary fermentable fiber and polyphenols necessary to maintain gut health. At the same time, the Zone Diet controls the intake of both excess calories and glucose that can inhibit the final stage of the Resolution Response that is necessary for healing.
The second R is for resolution of inflammation. Injuries turn on inflammation, but adequate levels of omega-3 fatty acids are required for turning it off. The more you reduce the intensity of inflammation by the Zone Diet, the less omega-3 fatty acids you need to take.
The third R stands for the repair of the damaged tissue caused by the initial injury. For this, you will need adequate levels of polyphenols to activate AMP kinase (AMPK), the master gene transcription switch necessary for rebuilding damaged tissue. Once AMPK is activated, you are supporting the final stage of the Resolution Response necessary for a longer health span. But it’s not enough to simply activate AMPK because you also have to prevent its inhibition by reducing excess calories and excess glucose in the diet.
That’s why the Zone Diet is the only diet that can both activate AMPK and simultaneously prevent its inhibition. This is because its unique balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat provides the fewest number of calories to activate AMPK while preventing hunger, yet at the same time supplying the appropriate amount of glucose to prevent mental fatigue in the brain without inhibiting AMPK.
You can maintain the 3 R’s by following the Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition program described in The Resolution Zone. Your success can be quantified easy by obtaining blood tests that become markers of wellness.
The Future of Medicine
I firmly believe that dietary control of the Resolution Response will have a greater impact on the future of medicine than genetic engineering or any other envisioned biotechnology. Why? It is a return to the wisdom of Hippocrates. He stated 2,500 years ago that the goal of medicine is to prevent disease. If you couldn’t prevent disease, then try to cure it. If you can’t cure the disease, then try to reduce the pain. Optimization of the Resolution Response is a return to that wisdom of Hippocrates. You can prevent chronic disease with the resolution of inflammation caused by random injuries before long-term organ damage develops. If you have a chronic disease, you can reduce the pain by optimizing the Resolution Response to repair as much of the damaged tissue as possible thus extending your health span.
The Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition™ system I outline in The Resolution Zone is used to optimize the Resolution Response and harkens back to Hippocrates when he stated, “Let food be your medicine, and let medicine be your food.” It also reinforces another statement made by Hippocrates when he said, “do the patient no harm.” The Zone Pro-Resolution Nutrition™ system accomplishes both goals.
Optimizing the Resolution Response has a tremendous upside to the current practice of medicine. Furthermore, it begins in your own kitchen. All you have to do is read The Resolution Zone, and then incorporate its concepts into your daily life.