A healthy look

Dr. Abdul Alim Muhammad is Minister of Health and Human Services of the Nation of Islam. He is a minister and surgeon who has held several teaching positions at various medical centers and universities. In 1986, he founded the Abundant Life Clinic in Washington, D.C., which enabled him to pursue community-based alternative medicine. He is known around the world for his clinical research in HIV/AIDS. He discussed several health issues affecting the Black community with White House Correspondent Askia Muhammad in a brief one-on-one interview.

Final Call (FC): Please talk about World Aids Day.

Dr. Abdul Alim Muhammad

Dr. Alim Muhammad (AM): We are coming up now, more than 25 years since the first reported case of HIV/AIDS and what we have now that we didn’t have 25 years ago is more knowledge about the nature of HIV and AIDS. What we have now that we didn’t have in 1981 is a very good treatment for HIV and AIDS. The problem remains that most of what we know and most of what we can do to eliminate the suffering, morbidity and mortality from HIV and AIDS is unavailable to the people who need it most. That is the present tragedy.

When it’s all said and done, HIV and AIDS are no more than just a disease, just an infection. It has some unusual origins but, in fact, it is just another infection, another disease that has a treatment and a cure. The great tragedy is that the world as a whole has not seen fit to devote the meager resources that would be necessary, in order to see to it that every man, woman and child on this planet who needs treatment can receive that treatment.

Right now, if you are a citizen in one of the richer countries, then there’s a good chance that you can receive excellent HIV/AIDS care, unless of course, you belong to one of the minorities that is disenfranchised, and you’re disenfranchised where HIV/AIDS services are concerned, too.

But, of course, if you are like the vast majority of the victims of HIV/AIDS and you live in Sub-Saharan Africa, the health infrastructure is virtually nonexistent and the resources to pay for treatment are also nonexistent. So the prospects for people in those parts of the world are just as bleak today as they were in former years.

That’s the good and the bad. The good is that we have the knowledge and the solutions to the clinical problems presented by AIDS. The bad is that we don’t make it available–we don’t make it available to the people who need it the most.

FC: Can you talk about other health issues of particular concern to Black communities, such as cancer? Heart disease?

AM: It turns out that these chronic illnesses generally are a result of the poor health that is borne of poor nutrition. Poor nutrition, I’m finding out every day, is more and more endemic to all of America. It’s hard to actually find good food anywhere in America that is capable of nourishing the body. And so, when you have this pervasive malnutrition, in association with toxicity–chemical as well as toxic metal toxicity–then you have the setting in which cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses can emerge.

Usually, the trigger will become some infection that takes place in this setting. So, when you examine the heart patient, what you find is what actually caused the plaque to form in the artery, which resulted in the heart attack, was an infection there first, due to poor immunity, which is associated with poor nutrition. In the cancer patient, what you will find in the cancer cells are the genes of various viruses, which shows that, in many cases, the cancer is actually the result of viral infection in association with poor nutrition and toxicity. The same with diabetes. The diabetic pancreas is almost always infected with a virus. Toxic metals are present. Toxic chemicals are present. And then, in association with poor nutrition, especially an over-indulgence in sugar, then this person after many years becomes known as a diabetic and suffers the complications of diabetes.

FC: Can you discuss obesity and the value of nutrition?

AM: Obesity is, in some respects, the number one “symptom” in America. I use the word “symptom” advisedly. Obesity is the symptom of poor health. Many people have it the other way around. They think that obesity leads to poor health. It may be that obesity will lead to poorer health. But no one is obese except that they were first unhealthy and in an unbalanced state. A healthy body cannot be made obese. Even if a healthy person were to overeat, they would not become obese.

Nutrition obviously plays a major role in it. One of the reasons that an unhealthy person becomes obese is because they are malnourished. They are not receiving good food, in the proper amount, the proper balance. This is what leads to the disease state, which produces the symptom of obesity.

The best prescription for someone struggling with obesity is: Get yourself healthy. If you get yourself healthy, then the weight will take care of itself.

FC: Thank you.