We live fast, eat fast foods, expose ourselves to electromagnetic radiation each and every day, our vaccine schedules have tripled and then some, much of our soils are depleted of important minerals; we are stressed, tired, and sick. For the first time the Western population has become an aging population, but aging doesn’t necessarily come with an improvement in the quality of life.
I personally don’t believe our increased exposure to potential toxins and the increased rate of chronic and debilitating disease is a coincidence. Do you?
Increased toxins from our day to day lives increases inflammatory mediators; increased stress from our hectic modern lives suppresses our immune function; over use of antibiotics has increased the prevalence of super bugs. Then you combine this with a poor diet full of processed foods and genetically modified organisms and we wonder why chronic disease is on the rise?
So what does this all have to do with our genes?
Chronic disease is a multifactorial event
We often think of disease as being caused by one thing. Research is focused on finding the one thing that causes a specific disease. However in complementary and integrative medicine we have a different view, we believe it is not just one thing, but a combination of many things. There is interplay with our environment and our individualistic genetic make up; it is this interplay of environment and genes that makes some of us more susceptible to chronic disease.
Lets, for example, lets look at Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. We know that low levels of vitamin D, exposure the Epstein Barr Virus, heavy metal toxicity, head trauma, stress and many bacterial infections make someone more prone to being diagnosed with MS. One person diagnosed with MS might have all the potential contributing factors and another just one or two. So what is the difference between these individuals? Their individual genetic make up.
Without a particular combination of genetic mutations that interplay with our environment chronic disease might be more likely to manifest in one person versus another. This also means that our treatments of chronic diseases needs to address an individuals genetic make up, as well as addressing the environmental drivers; treatment must address ALL the underlying, causative factors.
Chronic disease requires practitioners to treat the individual. In fact it is rule number one the alternative therapy code of conduct; “Treat the person not the disease”, “Treat the cause not the effects of a disease”. So does it not make sense that individual treatment requires the acknowledgement of an individual’s genetic predisposition? Does it not take integrative medicine and alternative therapy guiding principles to the next level – Of ultimate individualised patient care?
The beauty of accounting for an individuals genetic variances into a treatment plan not only makes for a more specific and more treatment targeted protocol but it also optimises the health potential of the individual to prevent disease and promote longevity and vitality.
As we move beyond the prevailing belief that each condition has a single cause and treatment, we come to recognise that our approach needs to be as unique and individual as we are. When our illnesses were simpler, we could address a singular causative factor and regain health. But now that disease has become more complex, we need to address multiple factors, and this means looking at an individual’s genetic makeup and tailoring our treatments to match.
I suspect that in the next 5 to 10 years nutrigenomics will become an integral part of preventative health care. For me it plays a central role in how I work with all my clients. The information that I get from a genetic report allows me to be even more specific in my treatment plan often saving clients hundreds of dollars in supplements and medications.
I will leave you with a great quote from Mehmet Oz
“Your genes load the gun; your lifestyle pulls the trigger”
So don’t under estimate the power of your dietary and lifestyle choices.
To Your Good Health