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Paradigm Shift: The End of “Normal Science” In Medicine Understanding Function in Nutrition, Health, And Disease

Mark Hyman, MD

On July 4th, on a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon my wife and I experienced a different kind of fireworks. Shortly after falling asleep under the stars at the bottom of the Canyon, my wife woke abruptly with sudden severe abdominal pain. After a very rough night, a helicopter evacuated us to the Flagstaff Medical Center where she underwent surgery for a ruptured appendix.

In the recovery room, I asked the surgeon about his plan to provide adequate nutrition during her recovery from severe peritonitis and sepsis. I was aware of the studies reporting more rapid recovery from surgery and critical illness with the use of intravenous amino acids, fatty acids and other nutritional support, and that macronutrient and micronutrient needs increase dramatically in acute illness.1 His comment reflected the pervasive view in medicine regarding nutrition: nutrients are only important in malnutrition or deficiency states. He assured me that the studies only showed benefit in moderately malnourished individuals and he would wait until day five after surgery to implement support other than dextrose with normal saline.

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