Chronic Diseases of the 21st Century

The father of Functional Medicine Jeffery Bland asks you to cast your mind back to the late nineteenth century and recall the diseases that brought fear and loss to many.. diptheria, whooping cough, pneumonia, influenza, even plague routinely swept our county.

These diseases were the reality for many that decimated and destroyed our communities throughout our ages. At the time it was believed that noxious vapours from decaying matter were that cause, and to be avoided.

Scientists like Lister, Koch, Pasteur revolutionised the way illness was perceived over the ages, and this transformed medicine from targeting vapours to instead hunting for germs as the germ theory was born. And so too was the age of antibiotics and vaccinations as these methods succeeded in treating infectious diseases very well.

But!, that does not mean that we do not need to worry at all!! Correlating to the steady decline of the family of infectious diseases, emerges a new family of illnesses, which has also been growing in prevalence and severity over time.  These are Chronic Diseases.  

Chronic Diseases are defined by their nature, in that they never really ever go away.  On the contrary the individual becomes more susceptible to the complexities or such conditions over time as the severity of symptoms increases, so does its state of Chronic!, disabling and draining the life out of our very cells.

These diseases that are on the increase are;

Heart and blood-vessel diseases like type 2 diabetes, gout, high blood pressure, and dementia.

Autoimmune disorders such as depression, attention deficit disorders and autism

Digestive diseases: gastric reflux, duodenal ulcer and inflammatory bowel

Bone loss diseases like osteoporosis

Obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma

Muscle pain and weakness from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia

Kidney and liver ailments

Vision problems like macular degeneration and retinopathy

Cancer

Another fact about chronic diseases is that… they are not self-limiting.  The common cold is self-limiting.. it runs its course and then it is gone.

Chronic diseases also do not have a single cause.  And this is very important to understand, both within diagnosis and treatment.  Which is why General Practice medicine is so bad at dealing with chronic diseases… because it looks only for a diagnosis and treatment for a single organism.

This last fact gives rise to the next truth.. that chronic illnesses tend to have complex symptom profiles, with hard to specify causes of no single origin.

Which means that they don’t go away, rather gets worse over time as we attempt to palliate but not successfully obliterate the condition.

Fortunately the model that has become Functional Medicine looks at the patterns of dysfunction underlying chronic diseases, offering a model of care that can prevent or reverse these illnesses..

Functional Medicine looks at genotypes via epigenetics, and the various interactions between our biological systems (circulatory, digestive, nervous, respiratory etc) and stressors that are TOXIC and found within our environments..

Functional Medicine understands that our biological systems function successfully to the brink of chaos, but that our adaptogenic capacity can become eroded over time.  Some chronic diseases set in when we can nolonger adapt healthily to stressors, whilst others can be due to genetic errors known as SNPs

To be covered in subsequent posts.

 

DNA Health, The New Age of Health testing is here!!

EPIGENETICS AND NUTRIGENOMICS

The genes we carry significantly affect our health and susceptibility to various chronic diseases.. A new and very exciting area in Nutritional Therapy, known as Nutrigenomics, explores the relationship between your diet and your genes, with far-reaching potential in preventing diet-related diseases.

When I discovered that it was a DNA transcription error that inhibited a key Detoxification pathway in my liver to function and therefore to hold onto some of the most deadly toxins known to man, I did not know whether to laugh or cry.  Finding out the cause for one’s lifelong struggle with health could be akin to experiencing a divine effigy at the point of no return. If only I had known before the onset of Benign Fasciculation Syndrome 2 years ago, or Chronic Fatigue 20 years ago!!!  But still … better to learn these facts late than never!

And so with firm commitment to the belief that everything is reversible, including irreversible conditions such as BFS we can now work with the new information in hand to our advantage.

This blog is all about how our genetic heritage could be the underpinning factor within your complex or unexplained illnesses … Benign Fasciculation is virtually unheard of even within medical circles.

So with the disease paradigm of complex health issues; Chronic Fatigue, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Fibromyalgia, PTSD, Gulf War Syndrome all fast on the rise.. we need to go beyond looking for single nutrient deficiencies or resorting to any linear thinking.

These complex disease states present multiple symptoms that cannot be commonly explained by mainstream medicine, but instead due to their complexity require a complex adaptive approach in terms of understanding and treatment.

Thus far, these conditions have bewildered mainstream medicine for over two decades, acknowledge.  And as we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases of those affected, colleagues, loved one, family and friends, concern over finding  both reason and cure becomes all the impending.  Stress is well understood from a systems biology approach and linked to be one major causative factor between the spectrum of complex disease states.

However, it is these newly emerging sciences known as Nutrigenomics and Epigenetics that acknowledge our genetic predispositions and health heritage. Truly an exciting field of expertise that explains DNA transcription errors (deletions of various enzymes pertaining to optimal functioning systems) and their role to underpin areas of compromised health.

What this means is that the genes we carry significantly affect our health.  From how robust we are to our innate susceptibility to various chronic diseases.

Nutritional Genomics explores the relationship between your diet and your genes with far-reaching potential in preventing diet-related diseases.

So what can you do?  What did I do? Get tested!

My advice to clients who have one or more complex health condition is to get tested.  Since genes do play central role in a number of metabolic processes being key factors in the onset of chronic disease.  You only need to complete this test once and the information given will benefit you for life.  What’s more, you could also note emerging patterns between yourself and any children and get them tested too.

DNA Health

DNA Oestrogen

DNA Sport

Fatigue and Toxic Stress. 

What is Toxic Stress?

Toxic stress could be defined by the tipping-point between GOOD stress and BAD stress.

Stress can be experienced within the body as Thermal, Emotional, Electrical, Environmental and Physical.  Let’s face it, stress is commonality within 21st century day living, and perhaps a life without stress could almost appear dull!!

Some of us are stress addicts, though far from admitting it, we experience stress as a way of gaining traction.  As if the very meaning of having something to push up against creates the leverage required for profound advancements in daily and or work life.  The notion of being able to do plenty more when we have less time available, compared to dwindling hours away, unfocused when we somehow seemingly have time on our side.

Personally, I enjoy stress to some degree, or at least I did until my body (mainly my adrenal glands and mitochondria) realised that it had enough of it.

Partly because, as pointed out already, I have noticed that I get more done when a little stress is present in the back-drop of my mind and probably for the same reason I find it to focuses my mind more twenty-fold.

So when does healthy stress become toxic stress?  Or is all stress toxic?

From a nutritional and function medicine view-point, stress experienced in the body of an individual whose capacity to cope with stress has been compromised then ALL stress can be toxic.  This is true.

Within the body of the individual who has a healthy capacity to adapt to stress, then all stress may serve to strengthen.  In much the same way that a virus or bacteria in small doses strengthens the immune system, and even instigates growth in the development of a growing child.  Or the stress experienced by the beating of newly formed butterfly wings against the chrysalis

Research shows that Toxic stress is at the heart of our current dysfunctional energy regulation epidemic. And therefore the epidemic of complex health conditions and all auto-immune conditions prevalent today.

How many people do you know who are ‘tired all the time’? How many people do you know with an auto-immune condition?  Or a complex health condition with and unidentifiable cause.

Fatigue has become the common thread within complex, chronic and degenerative diseases

Why then do we not consider the biological mechanisms of energy production when considering complex chronic and degenerative diseases?  The fact is – modern medicine DOES NOT consider energy production pathways in this way.

Instead it concentrates on finding and naming the disease with a focus to creating a single drug as cure, rather than looking at the functional biology that cumulatively draws parallels within the disease condition and then supporting it.  Since naturally support of biological pathways would lead to greater health.

By contrast we are taught the simplistic theory that all of energy is derived from food and within that carbohydrate is the fundamental source.  I view this as likening human biology to little more than a car that consumes a single fuel.  The reality is that energy production is complex and involves more than one single biological system.

When considering energy production we could start by looking at synthesis of energy nutrients in the gut such as B-vitamins.  Equally the health of the gut is key in terms of capacity to receive, break down and transition nutrients through its fine intestinal walls for biological uptake. Nor lest do we consider the thyroid and it’s positioning as our metabolic gearbox, nor glycogenisis in the liver and the mobilisation of glycogen. Protein verses carbohydrate within the British food plate would have us convinced that carbohydrate is our sole source of energy. Energy = energy out.  As pointed out is likened to petrol in the car.

But we are not a car! Although the complexity of the human machine verses the model of the car (backed up by our British Food Plate theory) is a controversial topic.  The majority, who would prefer to consider low energy is due to a single issue, to be corrected via a single cure.

And then we have the adrenal glands, and the adaptive adrenal functions involving a squeeze of cortisol to mobilse sugar in to our blood during fight and flight.  But cortisol has multiple purposeful uses… the decreasing of inflammation in the gut due to post prandial stress or inflammation in the tissues, inflammation in the joints due to wear and tear from inappropriate exercise.  All this incrementally appropriates adaptive responses from the adrenal glands.  Cortisol, the potent anti-inflammatory hormone excreted from the adrenal glands is naturally in very high demand when high amounts of stress is experienced through inappropriate food intake, or otherwise.

‘A food intolerance’ it yet another villain to consider which again could enforce the illusion of a single culprit and single cure mentality.  And yes it is true again that the identification of food intolerances is key to biological health and can certainly make all the difference between no energy, foggy thinking and even a total loss of personality orientation OR clear thinking and vibrant health.  The dramatics of a food intolerance alone has left many a medic in both dis-belief and total denial around the very existence of this condition.

However like many other examples, a food intolerance is USUALLY only part of the complex whole.  And mainly due to the time delay between the damage food intolerances can cause and the identification of the food intolerance itself.

It is widely accepted that the longer one ignores an immunoglobin reaction in the gut the greater degree of inflammation and therefore damage to the gut lining.  What starts as a single food intolerance can easily perpetuate to chronic systemic inflammation, leaky gut and multiple food intolerances.  This intestinal bio-terrain is precursory to a range of complex heath conditions including auto-immune conditions.

These are some of the recommended test-kits when considering Energy production and Toxic stress

Chemical Immune Reactivity Screen

Lymphocyte Sensitivity Testing

Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen

Wheat/Gluten Proteome Reactivity & Autoimmunity

Gluten-Associated Cross-Reactive Foods and Foods Sensitivity

Adrenal Stress Profile

Metabolic Analysis Profile

Genie in the Genes..

When I discovered that it was a DNA transcription error that inhibited a key …

Detoxification pathway in liver to function and therefore to hold onto some of the most deadly toxins known to man, I did not know whether to laugh or cry.  Finding out the cause for one’s lifelong struggle with health could be akin to experiencing a divine effigy at the point of no return. If only I had known before the onset of Benign Fasciculation Syndrome 2 years ago, or Chronic Fatigue 20 years ago!!!  But still … better to learn these things late than never!And so with firm commitment to the belief that everything is reversible, including irreversible conditions such as BFS I will now work with the new information in hand to my advantage.

This blog is all about how our genetic heritage could be the underpinning factor within your complex or unexplained illnesses … Benign Fasciculation is virtually unheard of even within medical circles.

So with the disease paradigm of complex health issues; Chronic Fatigue, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Fibromyalgia, PTSD, Gulf War Syndrome all fast on the rise.. we need to go beyond looking for single nutrient deficiencies or resorting to any linear thinking.

These complex disease states present multiple symptoms that cannot be commonly explained by mainstream medicine, but instead due to their complexity require a complex adaptive approach in terms of understanding and treatment.

Thus far, these conditions have bewildered mainstream medicine for over two decades, acknowledge.  And as we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases of those affected, colleagues, loved one, family and friends, concern over finding  both reason and cure becomes all the impending.  Stress is well understood from a systems biology approach and linked to be one major causative factor between the spectrum of complex disease states.

However, it is a newly emerging science known as Epigenetics that acknowledges our genetic predispositions and heritage. And it is this exciting field of expertise that explains DNA transcription errors and role to underpin areas of compromised health.

What this means is that the genes we carry significantly affect our health.  As in how robust we are, or susceptibility to various chronic diseases.  Then we have Nutritional Genomics, which explores the relationship between your diet and your genes with far-reaching potential in preventing diet-related diseases.

So what can you do?  What did I do? Get tested!

My advice to clients who have one or more complex health condition is to get tested.  Since genes do play central role in a number of metabolic processes being key factors in the onset of chronic disease.  You only need to complete this test once and the information given will benefit you for life.  What’s more, you could also note emerging patterns between yourself and any children and get them tested too.

Available test-kits:

DNA oestrogenDNA sport