Coronavirus: Are You Trading Away your Health Reserves? - Dr. Joseph Lamb

Coronavirus: Are You Trading Away your Health Reserves? – Dr. Joseph Lamb

Earlier this week, whether it was a gift from the universe or a seemingly random yet synchronous choice by electrons in a Pandora program, the first song I heard the other morning was “For What It’s Worth” written by Stephen Stills and performed originally by Buffalo Springfield.

“It’s time we stop.
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.”

It started me thinking. Who are the voices that I hear? Am I going to listen to voices of doom and gloom projecting a rather dark future or those of individuals who are being good stewards of their oaths and making commitments to public well-being? Do I stop, breathe, reflect and choose to join those active in making a difference by providing education, care and, indeed, even entertainment and laughter as antidotes to COVID-19.

As a physician in private practice, my care and concern can be of crucial value to individual patients, but is rather muted in the outside world. This is why so much of my time has been committed to research and education over the last 14 years. Drs. Deanna Minich, Michael Stone, and Erik Lundquist are my co-investigators on the LIFEHOUSE project. One of our focuses in this clinical trial is defining health as function. We are interested in health defined as our functional capacities. We are exploring functional capacity by examining its physiological, physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral components. In our work, a clear finding is that many people through their daily health care choices are trading away their reserves!

In his classic New England Journal of Medicine study, “Aging, Natural Death and the Compression of Morbidity”, James Fries postulated that healthy living choices by sustaining function could compress illness into the later years of our lives. Our work has unfortunately shown that poor choices contribute to a loss of reserves.

As we struggle with the new reality of a global epidemic, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions seem to be at the highest risk of poor outcomes with COVID-19. But as has been noted, not all poor outcomes are associated with these groups. Younger people and seemingly healthy people are dying with COVID-19. These deaths are not clearly associated with any known medical cause. Could it be that these represent individuals who have traded away their health reserves?

Perhaps these choices are as clear as violating Shelter-In orders or perhaps they are more subtle – years of eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), choosing other activities over physical exercise? Or maybe it is just the consequences of growing up in a world of electromagnetic overload with cellphone transmissions and devices at our fingers 24/7? Perhaps it is a consequence of increasing environmental toxic burdens interacting poorly with our genetic uniqueness?

While there have been excellent discussions focusing on solutions for bolstering immune health, perhaps another question we should be asking is how to replenish our reserves. Maybe a worthwhile consequence of our “stay-cations” is the opportunity to focus on healthy behavioral choices. I have been reading an excellent book, In the Shelter by Padraig O’Tuama. He quotes James Allison, a former Catholic priest; “Sin is an addiction to being less than ourselves.” While I am not qualified to discuss sin, I might suggest that many of our poor healthy choices are an addiction to being less than ourselves.



Come experience a journey through your health landscape; touring through your genetics, family histories, physiology, psychology, and day-to-day lifestyle choices. Join Functional Medicine thought leaders and clinicians Joseph Lamb, MD and Michael Stone, MD, for a 5-day healing journey through personalized medicine, July 5 – 10, 2021. 




Dr. Joseph Lamb - A Healing Journey through Personalized MedicineJoseph Lamb, MD is the owner of the Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Clinic by Metagenics in Gig Harbor, Washington.  He works in partnership with his patients to create optimal health and well-being by using Functional Medicine approaches including lifestyle modification, herbal and nutritional therapies, and cognitive therapy approaches.  Past clinical experiences include nearly 17 years of private practice in Alexandria, Virginia at the Integrative Medicine Works and 4 years in Nashville, Tennessee at the Hypertension Institute.

Dr. Lamb is the Principal Investigator of LIFEHOUSE, a Lifestyle Intervention and Functional Evaluation – a Health Outcomes Survey.   Dr. Lamb is doubly board-certified in Internal Medicine and Holistic Medicine/Integrative Medicine and is a Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner.  He has lectured internationally, authored book chapters and recently co-authored a text book on vascular biology and published numerous academic papers outlining his work as the principal investigator in over 75 clinical trials.   He is a director of the Commonwealth Consultants Foundation, a regionally recognized Middle Atlantic charity chartered, to provide unique educational and social experiences and opportunities for economically deserving children and young adults.

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