The 4Ms is a Conceptual Model developed to help us Understand Health, Disease, and How to Best Build Health thereby Supporting OUR Own Bodies to Heal Ourselves.
This model was developed by Dr. MacCloud over a period of 50 years. It is still a work in progress and is proving to be very useful and effective at helping people overcome their health challenges and achieve their health & performance goals.
Below is a one-page explanation of the 4Ms model with a more detailed explanation following it. There are also videos explaining it.
All of the HEALTH, Chronic Health Challenges, and Healing can be boiled down to the 4Ms:
Microcirculation delivers oxygen & ALL Nutrients to the cells & the Mitochondria. The Mitochondria make almost ALL the Energy needed to run our Metabolism. The Metabolism CONTROLS ALL Life Processes.
The Muscles are our primary Metabolic Reserve; Muscles are also the main drivers that build & preserve the Microcirculation & mitochondria!
Introduction & Overview of the 4Ms: a new way to look at and understand the underlying cause of ALL chronic health challenges & how to support your body in healing.
Health Challenges (diseases) are a mystery to most people. We’ve been misinformed into thinking that ‘diseases are real, palpable things,’ they are not. A disease is simply a name given to a set of signs and symptoms that are part of a classification scheme to categorize conditions where health has been compromised. This is one of the core flaws of so-called ‘modern medicine,’ it is based on the disease entity theory that is simply wrong and incomplete.
To correct a problem or imbalance, we must first understand it, at least on some basic level. The fallacy that a ‘disease entity’ has invaded or taken over a person’s body creates the false impression that we must ‘fight the disease.’ Nothing could be further from the truth; we must build and support health. We must support our body’s ability to heal itself and maintain itself. That is what the 4Ms approach is ALL about.
The 4Ms are 1. The Microcirculation; 2. Mitochondria; 3. Metabolism; 4. Muscle. Each of the Ms interacts with each of the other Ms; all of them are interdependent and ultimately work synergistically to either build health or damage it. They are, in my opinion, the 4 fundamental keys to optimum health, vitality, longevity, and healing from any injury or chronic condition.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of things that impact our health in either a negative or positive way. No one can stay up on, or micromanage all of them, it just isn’t possible. The purpose of the 4M model is to simplify the KEY factors to be aware of, and then to support them to attain & maintain as high a level of health and functioning as possible, for as long as desired. Many studies, articles, and books have been written about each of these areas; my goal is to provide an efficient overview to allow us to keep each of them in perspective so we can support and manage them effectively. Let’s take a bit closer look at each one.
1. Microcirculation is composed of tiny blood vessels (capillaries, arterioles, and venules). Arteries bring blood to the microcirculation and veins take it away and back to the heart. Arteries & veins are basically like garden hoses or plumbing pipes; the microcirculation is more like irrigation hoses, they leak and are supposed to leak and be semipermeable; that is how nutrients, including oxygen, leak into the tissues and cells; it is also how cellular waste ‘leaks or moves’ into the microcirculation for removal. Microcirculation accounts for up to 99% of the entire circulatory system; it is the ONLY place where the nutrient exchange takes place. The research is clear that EVERYONE’S microcirculation becomes damaged and restricted as we age.
2. The Mitochondria are subcellular organelles (they are tiny structures that inhabit almost all cells); they are known as the ‘powerhouses’ of the cells although they do much more than that. The mitochondria, which can number up to 2500 per cell, produce over 95% of the energy the body needs to function; the energy is in the form of ATP, the energy currency of our bodies; it is estimated that our mitochondria produce approximately our body weight in ATP each and every day. The research is very clear that damage to mitochondria is extremely common AND that it is the underlying cause of ALL chronic diseases.
3. Metabolism is the SUM of all of the chemical reactions that take place in our bodies 24/7/365; there are literally billions of these reactions happening every second! We are a long way from understanding all the intricacies of our body’s thousands of different metabolic reactions; truth be told, we may never truly figure it all out AND we don’t have to. As long as we give our body all of the nutrients it needs, ensure that those nutrients get to where they are needed (via a restored microcirculation), ensure that our bodies have sufficient energy to carry out all of the necessary functions (via restored mitochondria), and have a solid metabolic reserve (muscle) then the metabolism will take care of itself (with a little occasional extra support when needed).
4. Muscle is our ‘Metabolic Reserve.’ Muscle is the dominant type of tissue in the body (or at least it should be); it is our primary reserve of the vital substances that our bodies are mainly built from (proteins & amino acids). We NEED proper amounts of protein to maintain our cells and to heal from injuries; most people simply don’t get enough quality protein every day or during times of health challenges; our bodies tap into our metabolic reserves (muscles) to make up the difference.
The key to understanding the 4Ms is to realize that if any one of them is missing or damaged, EVERYTHING will start to degenerate. That is why the 4Ms are so important. When was the last time that your doctor or someone from the CDC, FDA, or WHO mentioned ANYTHING about the 4Ms? I’ll answer that for you, they never have and likely never will. These components and concepts do not fit ‘their Gestalt or world view;’ their model is based on a few fundamental falsehoods or flawed ‘theories’:
1. The disease entity theory or concept; is the belief that ‘diseases’ exist as things vs. simply being a categorization system. It is as if heart disease or cancer were more than deranged metabolic processes.
2. The germ theory; this is the belief that all diseases have a microbial origin such as from bacteria, viruses, etc.; while microbes do appear to play a role in some disease processes, we see many situations where this is not the case.
3. The drug / Big Pharma economic model; this is the idea that there can and should be a drug to treat each and every disease process or symptom; most realize how absurd this is since the use of this model has only made the population sicker and sicker; over 100,000 deaths a year in the US alone are attributed to pharmaceutical drugs that have been properly prescribed; additionally, the incidence of chronic disease has continued to climb as more and more ‘miracle’ drugs are developed and distributed.
4. The ‘Heroic’ interventional approach that tries to ‘save’ someone by prolonging their life after their health has already been destroyed ignoring the 4Ms; something like 80+% of all health care dollars spent in the US are spent during the last couple of months of a person’s life, how does that make any sense? To add insult to injury, approximately 80% of ‘health’ care (actually ‘disease’ care) dollars are spent on expensive diagnostic procedures; couple that with the studies showing that even the best clinicians in the world (supposedly the Mayo Clinic) are wrong on their diagnosis about 50% of the time by their own internal studies and admission. Don’t you think it is time to start focusing on building health vs. fighting disease entities that don’t exist? Doesn’t it make sense to put more effort into supporting the factors that REALLY matter like the 4Ms?
Here’s a recap and deeper dive into the 4Ms:
1. Microcirculation refers to the tiny blood vessels, mostly the capillaries, but also the arterioles and venules; together they make up the microcirculation which accounts for approximately 99% of the entire circulatory system.
a. The role of the circulatory system is to bring nutrients (including oxygen) to the tissues & cells of the body and help to remove the waste products of metabolism from the tissues & cells for removal from the body.
b. The ONLY place that nutrient exchange takes place is in the interface between the microcirculation and the tissues.
c. Everyone’s microcirculation becomes impaired (narrowed) with age due to a combination of wear and tear, most likely due to the accumulation of toxins and nutritional imbalances. The data & evidence that this happens is quite clear.
d. The reduced diameter of the vessels, along with changes in blood composition & viscosity, leads to a dramatic reduction in nutrient delivery and waste product removal from the tissues & cells.
e. These reductions lead to a steady decline in cellular & mitochondrial function and efficiency.
f. Reduced cellular & mitochondrial efficiency IS the underlying mechanism of ALL chronic disease processes. It also greatly impairs healing and recovery from injuries or simple exercise.
g. There are several specific things that can be done to open the microcirculation but only one is documented to ‘reset’ it to youthful levels.
2. Mitochondria are the subcellular organelles often described as the powerhouses of our cells and body. In addition to producing ATP, the energy currency of our bodies, they perform several vital regulatory functions for the cells that they inhabit.
a. Mitochondria provide an estimated 95% of the energy the body uses to function in the form of ATP. It is estimated that our mitochondrial produce approximately our BODY WEIGHT in ATP every day! Technically, they don’t ‘make’ the energy since energy cannot be made or destroyed, however, they convert and repackage the energy from calories into ATP which is the energy currency of the body. Just as federal reserve notes are not ‘really’ money but simply a currency exchange substitute that people use like money, ATP is not energy per se but is used as the energy exchange currency of the body.
b. The mitochondria are where we ‘use or burn’ oxygen to make ATP which is MUCH more efficient than fermenting sugar which is the only way cells can make ATP without oxygen and the mitochondria. Red blood cells do not have mitochondria but they carry oxygen; if they were able to use or burn that oxygen, it would diminish the amount of oxygen that they would be able to deliver to the tissues and other cells. This ability of the mitochondria to utilize oxygen to convert larger amounts of energy into ATP IS the primary thing that has allowed for the development of ALL higher life forms that we know of.
c. Anything that interferes with and reduces the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to our cells, and therefore our mitochondria, ultimately reduces our body’s ability to produce ATP and therefore its ability to carry out all of the various metabolic processes required for health & healing.
d. Damaged mitochondrial respiration is at the very heart of ALL chronic diseases. This was first demonstrated in the case of cancer back in the 1920s and 30s when Dr. Otto Warburg received TWO Nobel Prizes for his work demonstrating that there is only one primary cause of cancer, damage to mitochondrial respiration. Since then, scientists have shown that this same mechanism is at the heart of ALL chronic disease processes.
e. There are MANY things that can damage the mitochondria including damage to the microcirculation which may be the primary mechanism.
f. There are also several general and specific things that can be done to restore & enhance mitochondrial health & function.
3. Metabolism is the sum total of ALL the chemical reactions that run our bodies every day. It is extremely complex, and we are a long way from having a comprehensive understanding of it.
a. The ‘role’ of our metabolism is simple, it allows us to survive, function, and thrive if it is working efficiently. When it is damaged and inefficient, it leads to a wide variety of health challenges and disease processes.
b. All metabolic reactions are carried out by various enzymes that dramatically speed up and otherwise allow various chemical reactions to happen that could not possibly happen fast enough, if at all, without those enzymes. Enzymes are made from proteins that our bodies ingest, digest, assimilate, and reconfigure as needed. This helps illustrate the vital importance of sufficient, quality protein intake every day.
c. All metabolic enzymes are activated by co-factors which are mostly vitamins & minerals. If those nutrients are not available, the enzyme simply will not work. This helps to illustrate the vital importance of ingesting sufficient vitamins and minerals every day.
d. The production of ATP, whether in the cell cytoplasm or the mitochondria, is what provides the energy that drives most of the chemical and enzymatic reactions that run our bodies. This helps to illustrate just one of the vital functions of our mitochondria.
e. It is therefore self-evident that if there is insufficient ATP, the metabolic reactions that should be taking place will be reduced commensurate to the reduction in ATP. It is easy to see how this can and will lead to a degenerative spiral that we or I should say ‘the medical deities,’ call disease.
f. There are MANY things that damage one’s metabolism in addition to compromised microcirculation and damaged mitochondria. Any number of toxins, stressors, and/or nutritional imbalances can lead to metabolic imbalances and challenges.
g. There are also many general and specific things that can be done to improve & restore various aspects of metabolism when needed. However, the most important things to improve and restore balanced metabolism are to make sure to consume optimum amounts of all nutrients, open & reset the microcirculation, and support proper mitochondrial function.
4. Muscles make up our largest organ system, yet they are seriously misunderstood; most people think of them as what allows us to move about (along with the skeletal system); it does a great deal more than allow for movement and protection.
a. Let’s face it, most people do not take proper care of themselves, and their muscles are no exception. Sure, most athletes do take pretty good care of their muscles, but their motivation is about performance more than overall health. We are just beginning to realize how vital muscles are to our overall health and well-being.
b. Our muscular systems do a great deal more than allow us to move about and defend ourselves. Our very nature as human beings, revolves around our muscles and how we use them. Speech is just one example of something our muscles allow for that is not so obvious. Breathing is another; then there’s chewing, peristalsis, sitting, standing, walking, etc., etc.!
c. Humans evolved or were otherwise modified (��) with a great deal of physical activity that was a necessary prerequisite for our survival and adaptation. Over the past 100 or so years the amount of physical activity, and the quality and nature of it, began to change and radically decline.
d. One of the major functions of muscles that most people don’t realize is that they are our PRIMARY metabolic reserve. They are mostly protein and can therefore provide needed amino acids for a wide variety of essential metabolic activities when needed. Of course, it is best if we take in sufficient protein daily, but what if we don’t? What if we have a specific health challenge, a trauma, an infection, etc., that requires more amino acids than we have floating around from recent ingestion? What is our body going to do? If the liver can’t make what is needed fast enough, our body is going to take those amino acids from the muscles, therefore, breaking them down. This is not a problem as long as they are properly replaced…however, that is the problem, they are typically NOT properly & adequately replaced.
e. There are MANY things that lead to increased muscle breakdown and therefore reduction in our metabolic reserves.
f. There are numerous general and specific things that can be done to restore and enhance our muscular health and metabolic reserves. Trying to build health without paying attention to maintaining and building muscle is a fool’s game.