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Life Perspectives From 30 Plus Years As A Wellness Seeker

I don’t often write about my musings on life. Usually I am teaching the  latest exciting news about health and nutrition such as the miracle of the microbiome or the science of epigenetics or the teachings of Functional Medicine. Today is different.

I just found out that a fabulously fit, amazingly healthy young man had a brain bleed while hiking and it stopped me in my tracks. How could that happen? His life is forever changed in an instant. Yes, I am sure he will make a huge recovery from his brain injury but the truth is that could happen to any of us at any time, so I wanted to muse on the notion of living in the moment.

Being a wellness seeker is about being able to live fully in the moment. Feeling clear headed and energetic and vibrant so that each moment counts. I have never said this out loud, but I think we need to bring the concept of mindfulness front and center in our health and wellness teaching.

Being a wellness seeker is NOT about deprivation now for a brighter tomorrow. Some people live this way but I recommend we change that perspective. Living for tomorrow is a missed opportunity!

Here is what I know for sure . The meaning of anything is about being fully present while you do it.

This is a big leap for me as being a competitive athlete growing up, I was always delaying gratification for the hope of a better future! Perhaps it is living longer and realizing how precious life is that has shifted my perspective.

What do you think?

The Power of Nutrigenomics

Nutrigenomics is the study of how genes and nutrients interact. We have finally been able to put the science to the idea that we’re all different. We respond in a different way to the environment, to diet, to trying to lose weight, to exercise training. But we never really understood the science behind it. Genetics gives us that information

Nutrigenomics is the study of gene behavior that is driven by diet, lifestyle, environment, drugs, pharmaceuticals, stress. Nutrigenomic education, accreditation, certification is becoming more accepted.

Precision wellness would happen if wellness professionals started looking at somebody’s genomics in a comprehensive way. This would reveal predispositions and where they’re likely to have problems and what issues are likely to arise for them. We can possibly customize  dietary recommendations, customize exercise recommendations and customize other behavioral and lifestyle interventions that would be likely to help based on genomics. Wellness professionals could work at the front end and speed up the process of doing the diet, behavioral, and lifestyle interventions when consultations have begun with this information.

Nutrigenomic information never exists in isolation. It needs to be understood in the context of all the lifestyle habits.

The shift in mindset from genetics to genomics is similar to the shift from an allopathic mindset into more of a functional systems-based medicine mindset. Genetics looks at a single layer of information. Genomic impact is where we look at many factors, complex interventions ending with complex results.

People are starting to want to understand themselves. How is it relevant to me? How does it change me? How do I respond?

 

CHALLENGES

  1. Ancestry genetics is interesting but the power is in the nutrition and the diet and environment and stress management and movement, changing gene expression, altering epigenetics
  2. Explosion of genetic tests available in the marketplace. Everyone is kind of on the genetics bandwagon. The concern is about direct-to-consumer, supplement-based testing
  3. A good genetics test looks at key issues in understanding the kind of functional nature of an individual . This includes, detoxification inflammation methylation
  4. Consideration has to be given to how people interact with disease information and whether that should be direct-to-consumer.
  5. it’s so easy to buy a 23AndMe test and it’s so affordable, people line up with kind of a false expectation of what they’re going to do with their data.
  6. Psychosocial anxiety around the information patients are given. We’re not evaluating patients for their medical and clinical history.
  7. treating SNPs with particular protocols is over
  8. It can be used as a way of ignoring or diminishing the importance of changes to diet, lifestyle, and behavior.
  9. Can be a source of disempowerment and overwhelm that actually paralyzes people and keeps them from taking meaningful actions

Autism and the Gut

BacteriaAutism and the gut are four words you usually do not see together. Although many questions remain about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the role of the intestinal microbiome is becoming increasing researched. The latest science is laying the foundation for a new frontier in medicine.

Legitimate studies from top institutions are uncovering the gut-bug connection to autism. Children exhibit certain patterns in the composition of their gut bacteria that are absent in children without autism. Also, individuals with autism universally suffer from digestive issues.

This two-way relationship may be an unlikely key to solving one of medicine’s most pressing—and perplexing—mysteries: autism. Nearly 60 years after the disorder was first identified, the number of cases has surged. Yet there is no known cause or cure.

Research has shown that the particular species of gut bacteria often seen in individuals with autism create compounds that are adversarial tot he immune system and the brain – they activate the immune system and increase inflammation. Just as there is no single type of autism, there is no single cause.

Today autism is treated primarily through behavioral therapy. But studies suggest that treatment may one day come in the form of a probiotic—live, “friendly” bacteria. Among autistic children’s most common health complaints? Gastrointestinal problems. According to the CDC, they’re more than 3.5 times more likely to experience chronic diarrhea and constipation than their normally developing peers.

Biological siblings with autism don’t necessarily carry the same autism risk genes. Something else is going on from an environmental standpoint. The idea that the environment probably plays a large role in the development of autism links to the science of epigenetics. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT EPIGENETICS

An  unhealthy gut has been linked to diseases ranging from autism and depression to autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s, inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes.

RESOURCES

Brain Maker – The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain by David Perlmutter. MD

The Gut Microbiome – A New Frontier in Autism Research Curr. Psychiatry rep. 15 Feb 2013