Optimal - The Blog

February 16, 2023

PROOF: Modification of Health Behaviors Reduces Chronic Disease Risk

A comprehensive study demonstrates that intensive, individualized health coaching and medical guidance could significantly improve disease-based biomarkers and dramatically improve health.


Diet, lifestyle, and specific health behaviors interact in various ways and can create health or disease. Note the following fast facts about the state of disease and disease care:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases account for 90% of healthcare costs, morbidity, and mortality. 
  • On average, residents of the United States with five or more chronic conditions spend 14 times more on health services than people with no chronic conditions. 
  • As of 2014, 60% of U.S. adults had at least one chronic condition, and 42% had more than one chronic condition.
  • Pandemics, exemplified by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), show that people in good health suffer mortality rates at 10% the rate compared to those with pre-existing chronic conditions. 
  • Healthcare costs and morbidity rates often parallel mortality rates. 
  • A major impediment to health improvement is low health literacy.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that in 2010, non-communicable chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers, and chronic respiratory diseases, accounted for 2/3 of deaths worldwide
    • Major causes of chronic diseases with modifiable risk factors include unhealthy diet; physical inactivity; and tobacco use. 
    • the WHO stated “These causes are expressed through the intermediate risk factors of raised blood pressure, raised glucose levels, abnormal blood lipids, overweight, and obesity. 
    • The major modifiable risk factors, in conjunction with the non-modifiable risk factors of age and heredity, explain the majority of new events of heart disease, stroke, chronic respiratory diseases, and some important cancers.
    • The relationship between the major modifiable risk factors and the main chronic diseases is similar in all regions of the world.” 
    • Dietary factors, alone, are associated with nearly half of all cardiometabolic deaths. 

One comprehensive study demonstrated that intensive, individualized health coaching and medical guidance could significantly improve disease-based biomarkers and dramatically improve health.

In the study, personalized health plans were developed for 70 individuals as part of a nine-month disease reversal and prevention program. The study looked at individual health parameters as well as serum biomarkers known to reflect the presence and progression of chronic disease.

The following biomarkers were tracked:

  • Hemoglobin A1C
  • Glucose
  • Neutrophil lymphocyte ratio
  • hs-CRP
  • Insulin
  • HDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Vitamin D
  • Uric acid
  • WBC
  • RDW
  • Neutrophils
  • ESR
  • Fibrinogen
  • Homocysteine
  • Atherogenic Index of Plasma

Many of the biomarker improvements observed were highly statistically significant in the nine-month study period:

Biomarker / Risk Score Mean Before Mean After Mean Difference  Standard Deviation T Test Value P-Value
*CDT 102.1 100.8 1.28 0.79 7.89 <0.0001
HbA1C 5.87 5.17 0.72 0.45 9.25 <0.0001
Glucose 104.1 95.1 9.01 16.08 1.69 0.0480
NLR 2.2 1.9 0.29 0.92 2.45 0.0083
hs-CRP 2.21 1.77 0.44 1.98 1.86 0.0338
Insulin 10.6 7.1 3.52 5.82 3.65 0.0003
HDL 57.5 61.7 4.23 13.25 2.67 0.0047
Triglycerides 124 101 23 71 1.59 0.0578
Vitamin D 38 60 22 17 10.8 <0.0001
Uric Acid 5.18 5.19 -0.1 0.99 -.0130 ------
WBC 6430 5900 530 1525 2.33 0.0113
RDW 13.8 13.0 0.82 1.00 6.84 <0.0001
Ab Neutrophils 3930 3380 552 1270 2.99 0.0020
ESR 10.5 7.1 4.43 7.58 1.58 0.0598
Fibrinogen 301 285 16.4 61.05 0.77 0.2221
Homocysteine 8.91 9.32 -0.40 2.39 -1.42 ------
AIP 0.26 0.20 0.07 0.31 1.84 0.0349
CDA Risk Score 115 (D+) 84 (C+) 31.2 26.30 8.21

Chronic Disease Assessment risk score and grade, Chronic Disease Temperature score, and individual biomarker values before and after the health revival program (HRP)

*CDT is the Chronic Disease Temperature biomarker score as a relative value with 98.6 considered optimal and elevated values indicating chronic risk
HbA1C is expressed as a %; Glucose is expressed as mg/dL; NLR is the neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio; hs-CRP is high sensitivity C-reactive protein or C-reactive protein, cardiac expressed as mg/L; insulin is expressed as uIU/mL; HDL is expressed as mg/dL; triglycerides are expressed as mg/dL; vitamin D is expressed as ng/mL; uric acid is expressed as mg/dL; WBC is the white blood cell count expressed as cells/uL; RDW is the red blood cell distribution width expresses as a %; Ab neutrophils are neutrophils (absolute) expressed as cells/uL; ESR is the sedimentation rate-Westergren expressed in mm/hr; fibrinogen is fibrinogen activity expressed as mg/dL; homocysteine is expressed as umol/L; and AIP is the Atherogenic Index of Plasma expressed as the log(Triglycerides/HDL)

Case Study #1

Changes in severe psorioasis

  • Normally, in the case of autoimmune diseases like psoriasis, food sensitivities or allergies must be addressed. This participant was unwilling to eliminate some of the common allergens like gluten and dairy.
  • She was placed on a modest supplement regiment based on nutritional deficiencies determined from food journaling, including:
  • cod liver oil (5 g/day); vitamin D3 (5,000 IU/day) and a multivitamin/mineral supplement (taken per label instruction), and the other general supplements included in the “Methods” section.
  • Positive changes in lab values included: 25-hydroxy vitamin D status (24 to 55 ng/ml); white blood cell counts (6,200 to 5,500); RDW (14.6% to 13.0%); and fibrinogen (339 to 282 mg/dL).

Case #2

Changes in severe Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • This participant presented with major complaints including history of cancer; poor oral hygiene; high carbohydrate intake, high fructose diet, and a low-fat diet; previous history of tick bites; low vitamin D status; rheumatoid arthritis (RA), severe chronic back and joint pain, and type 2 diabetes. He refused pharmaceutical drugs per his choice.
  • In addition, he almost never participated in traditional healthcare visits. He decided to participate in the HRP but was considering Adalimumab because of constant pain, pending the outcome of the HRP. The health revival process included supplements to match identified deficiencies and semi-monthly 45-minute coaching sessions.
  • Over the first five months, the participant lost 25 pounds through a reduction in carbohydrate consumption, but with no significant change in daily calorie intake.
  • The participant embarked on a substitution diet where, over five months, gluten-containing foods were removed from his diet and replaced with vegetables and marine- and animal-based fats. He was also put on a modest supplementation program including cod liver oil (10 g/day); vitamin D3 (5000 IU/day); magnesium glycinate (400 mg/day); vitamin K2 (50 mcg/day) and a multivitamin/mineral (per label instruction).
  • His type 2 diabetes was reversed as illustrated by his A1C dropping from 8.8% to 5.4% and his fasting glucose dropping from 180 to < 90 mg/dL. His pain was substantially eliminated, based on a subjective pain score of 8/10 initially, to 0/10. His RA improved to enable him to be able to bend his fingers into a full fist for the first time in over five years (Figure 8).

The bottom line here is…

Optimal health and wellness are achievable with the right motivation, guidance, and perseverance... and health coaching and personalized lifestyle intervention can play a major role in one's journey to optimal!


Lewis, Thomas J et al. “Reduction in Chronic Disease Risk and Burden in a 70-Individual Cohort Through Modification of Health Behaviors.” Cureus vol. 12,8 e10039. 26 Aug. 2020, doi:10.7759/cureus.10039  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmid/32983729/

CLICK HERE to download the article in PDF format

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


ODX Functional Health Biomarker History

Reflects overall changes observed in the 70-person cohort evaluated in Lewis et al.


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