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Tag Archives: epigeneticsLink
The weight loss industry is now and forever will be alive and strong as individuals struggle to keep the pounds off. The majority of motivation may be aesthetics, but the need to shed the excess body weight goes well beyond simply feeling good about your counterpart staring back at you in the mirror.
I become discouraged with loud and large celebrities who look to spearhead the movement of embracing obesity as being comfortable in their own skin. Being comfortable and happy with yourself is no doubt a justifiable desire, but pushing personal acceptance of obesity is reckless to say the least.
This is not about looks or appearance either, although the message of “accepting you for you” will incorrectly cite this. This is about an outright unhealthy state for the body to be in, and the cascade of consequences that follow. Body fat is not a static or silent tissue; rather quite the contrary. Adipose tissue or body fat is actually a highly active metabolic tissue that when in excess disrupts hormonal signaling (including those responsible for appetite, blood sugar and sleep regulation).
It is also a pro-inflammatory tissue, meaning the more you have the more inflamed you will be throughout the body. This lends it’s hand not only to elevated pain levels, but it increases the common denominator behind virtually every condition known (from plantar fasciitis to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s); inflammation.
The bottom-line here is that it’s not about the looks from a quantity and quality of life standpoint. We are talking about a truly taxing state to ask a body to operate in, especially over time, with a list of concomitant issues that far exceeds the few listed above.
This brings us to today’s topic, which is not meant as a standalone solution to the issue, but rather another piece of the intelligently assembled, holistic puzzle.
If you’ve read any articles on this site before, you know we rightfully place an abundance of emphasis on intestinal health or “the gut.” The major player in this system and thus our overall health is our intestinal flora, or the “probiotic” good bacteria that populate our digestive tract.
Researchers have discovered that there is a certain type of bacterial organism (firmicutes) that is more prevalent in obese individuals as opposed to the majority of bacteroidetes found in their lean counterparts. This makes sense as firmicutes are notorious as “fat loving” bacteria with a higher propensity to digest complex carbs, extracting the energy from food and ultimately storing it as fat.
These bacteria communicate directly and indirectly with our brains, and if we are dominated with a strain of flora that thrives off of carbohydrates, the message is sent to our brains to crave and potentially overconsume these fat generating foods. What’s more, we’ve just learned that higher levels of these firmicutes actually turn on genes (epigenetics) that not only increase the risk for obesity, but diabetes, dementia, and cardiovascular disease.
In an individual’s personal war on obesity this serves as a powerful foundational weapon. As previously stated, obviously a variety of lifestyle strategies must be implemented to successfully attain and maintain a healthy weight. However, this piece of information should be universally utilized in order to better control cravings from within, optimize metabolism for the goal at hand, and further substantiate a quality probiotic (and a healthy intestinal tract for it to flourish within) as one of the cornerstones to optimal health and longevity.
Are you one of the millions of Americans who are feeling negatively affected by the ever evolving heathcare reform? Elevated premiums, ridiculous deductibles, limited network provider selection has patients and providers sick to their stomachs (pun intended).
As promised, change did indeed come, and was definitely needed. And while an abrupt upheaval and reconfigurment of an intact system can be quite unsettling on numerous fronts, only time will tell how the future chapters of this book will be ascribed; for better or for worse.
The question we are left with is: now what? How is one to advantageously navigate this new system in order to reap optimal available benefits, while mitigating the economic blow as much as possible?
Like it or not, it is what it is for the time being. And alas, we are left choices. There is always the option to whine, complain, bitch, moan; even get angry and stressed, which will make healthcare all the more necessary for you.
Unless you plan on getting involved in politics and joining the ranks of policy proposers and lewd lobbyists, then the aforementioned option doesn’t do anyone any good.
Let’s talk about an intelligent strategy here to hopefully save some dollars, sanity and ultimately, your health.
First off you will either need to continue to carry a now inflated health insurance or pay a fine for rolling the dice without. This is still an option and the appropriate alternative varies dependent upon your specific situation. This part appears to be an unavoidable reality at the moment so unless you plan on joining the circus in D.C., you may as well come to terms with your decision and move on.
Let’s now talk about how you can really take control of the situation. Are you infuriated by your seemingly unattainable deductible? Are you disgruntled because you feel you have been forced to change physicians or pay them thousands to join their preferred, VIP patient club?
Well, a simple solution exists to eliminating both of these issues. Stop sitting back complaining while you consume the same diet that perpetuates the need for frequent doctor visits in the first place. Stop sitting altogether. Stop talking about exercise or becoming more active, and get up and do it.
The information, research and evidence implicating lifestyle (diet, exercise, stress, sleep, toxins, etc.) as the main driver of genetic expression (epigenetics) and thus chronic disease (diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, auto-immunity, Alzheimer’s, cancer, etc.) now exists, and is thankfully becoming more mainstream. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. The information, and thus the knowledge and power exists to play a more active role in your health, well being and life than ever once imagined.
You see if you don’t like the current sickcare, excuse me, healthcare system, then take a stand on a personal level and remove yourself from it as much as possible. Stop playing the loud, opinionated, helpless victim who does nothing to help themselves.
No matter where you sit on the spectrum of health, there are basic foundational changes that can be implemented and built upon from there. The stronger that intelligently constructed foundation, the less of a need for all those prescriptions and visits to the specialist.
Thus you have improved two aspects of your relationship with healthcare in that you can now pick a plan that makes emergencies more economical, rather than routine visits to attenuate this new symptom and modify dosage of that med. You have also now enabled yourself to take some space from the this new provider who you didn’t much care for to begin with.
Now I realize everyone’s situation is different, especially when it comes to health. Some people may need plans for frequent specialist visits and access to medications, and that’s all good. That’s what they’re there for.
However, the majority of the population can do themselves a service and make the effort to take the proactive step towards optimal health, and thus more independence from the system they declaratively loathe.
The seemingly healthy individual can arm themselves with knowledge and begin to cultivate a lifestyle relatively free of issues down the line; true responsible, wellness care. The boomers and elder set can break some of the lifelong habits and be sure to attentuate the inevitable degeneration as much as possible, leading to a higher quality of life in those golden years. Even the individual with seemingly hopeless, devestating disease diagnosis can explore all options, and do all they can to stack the remainig deck in their favor.
With the abundance of information out there, getting started can be a daunting, seemingly insurmountable task, but it doesn’t have to be. There exists forward thinking healthcare providers like myself, who are passionate about collaborating with individuals in order to unlock the potential to thrive.
Find one you can develop a relationship with, along with some level of trust. Find one who will take the time to not only listen, but explain the anatomy, physiology, and logic and reason behind each aspect of a plan; ultimately creating a more knowledgable, independent advocate of their own health.
This is what we pride ourselves in doing professionally and personally, and are here to guide all those looking to take their lives into their own hands.
October is here again and with it comes an increase in pink donned by everyone from your next door neighbor to the players on the field each weekend. This yearly tradition signifies breast cancer awareness month which emphasizes the importance of early detection and potentially life saving subsequent treatment.
But what if we took it a step further?
What if instead of simply looking to detect and treat, we placed the overwhelming emphasis on doing all we can to prevent it in the first place?
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), approximately half of all cancers are preventable if certain strategies are implemented (i.e. diet and exercise). If this is accurate, we are talking about millions of cases of cancer prevented, ultimately leading to a decrease in death, suffering and expensive cancer treatments.
Yet for some reason the act of prevention through education and lifestyle modifications continues not to be the main focus. Rather the detection of an already existing, potentially deadly disease. This train of thought which holds true for cancer, Alzheimer’s, and the current mainstream medical model can best be summed up in a 2,000 year old quote:
“Maintaining order rather than correcting disorder is the ultimate principle of wisdom. To cure a disease after it has manifest is like digging a well when one feels thirsty, or forging a weapon when the war has already begun.”
This is not to say that some of us may be more genetically predisposed to one condition or the other. Certain diseases do appear to be an ugly ornament upon the branches of many family trees. However, as the field of genetics continues to lose more and more steam in implicating inherited genes as the decisive factor in the expression and development of disease, the research and focus is slowly diverting to lifestyle and environmental influences as that decisive factor.
I am once again speaking of epigenetics. If you’ve read any past posts you know this is a reoccurring theme, and for good reason. Mounting research (including the afore cited WHO proclamation) points to environmental influences as being the determinant of whether or not certain genes are expressed, turned on, or altered, thereby leading to disease.
This type of information can prompt a wide range of emotions and reaction. If increasing research continues to point towards this being true, then the notion of being a helpless victim of your genetics goes out the window. Also out the window goes a care free, over indulgent and indiscretion filled lifestyle.
In comes the notion of personal responsibility and accountability;
the acknowledgement that our daily, routine actions do indeed generate far reaching and severe reactions;
the opportunity to utilize the latest information to your advantage and play an active role in scribing your genetic destiny.
Intelligent decisions bathed in self discipline and respect for life.
Realizing that food truly is thy medicine and beginning to eat to live rather than the other way around; all part of the empowering picture.
One more note pertaining to your role in how your genes are expressed, and ultimately the expression, progression or regression of disease. It has been noted that at any given time, our genes are expressing 20-40% of their potential. That leaves 60-80% dormant or silent. With this recognition and subsequent action based upon the fact that environmental and lifestyle factors determine what 20% is expressed, the power lies in your hands.
Will you implement the strategies that foster genetic expression leading to a life health, energy and a zest for life, or will you choose to stay ignorant to, or simply refuse to make changes that current studies implicate have a real and positive effect on the expression of your genes?
So let’s talk specifically about the contemporary topic. What can we do about breast cancer? What are some strategies we can implement in order to stack the deck in our favor and keep the genetic expression that leads to cancer quiet?
First off is a change in deodorant, namely ditching the antiperspirant. Using an antiperspirant that works by clogging the sweat glands leads to a toxic build up of chemicals and metabolic by-products that are intended to be released. A good place to start is by eliminating deodorants that contain ingredients like aluminum, phthalates, parabens or any color followed by a number as these ingredients have been shown to be potentially carcinogenic as well as powerful endocrine disruptors (which is more serious and far reaching that you may think).
Another area to address is the diet, particularly getting a hold of your blood sugar and insulin. Varying degrees of insulin resistance are all but commonplace in this country due to carb/sugar heavy meals and over indulging, coupled with a lack of physical activity. There have been insulin receptors found on tumors which have been shown to facilitate tumor growth. Thus if we have insulin spikes due to carb/sugar heavy meals or borderline resistance, we now have an abundance of insulin circulating, a portion of which can bind to a tumor and encourage growth.
To take this a step further, cancer cells have been shown to flourish off the broken down component of carbs/sugar: glucose. One way to get the insulin in check and attempt to starve the cancer out is by incorporating a fat adapted or ketogenic diet. This means our body switches over to using fat as the primary fuel rather than carbs, which emerging research is showing to not only benefit cancer patients, but actually lead to regeneration of brain cells, potentially preserving mental and cognitive health.
Let me wrap this up by saying that there is no full proof plan. You have your outliers on either side of the equation. You have the individual who lives life to a tee health wise yet still winds up suffering from a horrible disease. You also have your aunt who smoked a pack a day while drinking a pint of whiskey yet lived into her 90s.
These exceptions to the rule remain somewhat of a mystery, while simultaneously serving as an excuse for others to ignore the power of daily habits and lifestyle choices. Fueling their fire for no discipline and a hands up, life happens, victim approach.
However, the tide is turning.
The information is available.
The choice is ultimately yours and these choices made on a daily basis will lead to consequences, either good or bad in the future.
I ask again, wouldn’t you want to do all you possibly can to stack the deck in your favor?