It’s amusing to me how health insurance covers a preventative healthcare appointment each year. The doctor looks you over and runs a CBC and Chem screen (common blood tests). The lab report tells your doctor and you if you are in “normal” ranges. (How “normal” is defined in a topic for another blog. Suffice it to say, “normal” isn’t what your hoping for.) If you are in the range, you don’t need to see you doc again for another year. If you’re out of range, say your cholesterol is high, you may get a prescription for a statin or told to lose weight. None of the above is preventative healthcare.
It is managed health care. By managed, I mean the doctor is managing whatever your health is doing with a prescription drug. If your blood pressure is high, you get an ACE inhibitor, beta blocker, calcium channel blocker, or other such meds. If your cholesterol is high, you get a statin. If you have high blood glucose, you may get Metformin. All of these drugs are designed to control, i.e. manage, the symptoms of what is happening in your body.
While it is nice to take a magic pill to fix whatever the problem, the pills don’t always work and they often come with side effects. But, that is not the worst part. They don’t actually prevent disease. They manage the disease process. If you take one or more of these pills, you know what I mean. You have to have continuing doctors’ appointments to keep getting the drug to control the numbers on the lab sheet.
We need a new solution.
And, I think we have one. It’s called nutrigenomics.
Nutrigenomics studies the effects of nutrition on your unique gene expression. You can get your genetic profile using 23andme.com and learn about your genetic weaknesses. Just because you have a genetic weakness doesn’t mean you have a disease, but it does mean you may develop one IF you don’t strengthen that weakness. Think about it like this.
If you have a weak knee, you brace that knee when working out to PREVENT an injury. You can do the same thing with your genes. I have a weak MTHFR. That puts me at risk for all kinds of yucky stuff, but it usually manifests as Alzheimer’s Disease in my family. I like my memories and want to keep them. So, I make sure to eat lots of raw leafy greens every day to have folate in my diet. I also avoid folic acid in commercial breads, crackers, and supplements. That’s how I am practicing preventative healthcare in my life.
I have a client whose genetic weakness is in her eNOS enzyme in the biopterin cycle. That can cause extra oxidative stress in the body. She also has a weakness in her enzyme that takes care of that specific oxidative stress. I have other clients who genetically can’t degrade and clear histamines or ammonia. One client has a multitude of chronic health conditions leading to a life of pain. Once we got her genetic picture, we were able to limit histamine and ammonia causing foods and dramatically reduce her pain. Another client was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, but when we took steps to reduce ammonia and support its clearance, her health improved slowly.
The point is, our genes are more unique than our finger prints. We can test them and see weaknesses. With that information, we can prevent disease. If you already have a disease process in place, we can use the information to greatly improve your health.
Not all nutrition professionals have this training. In fact, most do not. Most doctors don’t have it either. It is an emerging field. And, I think it is the most exciting development in health care. We are on the verge of a paradigm shift. I believe the hospitals of the future will be organized differently than they are today. There will be acute care wings and chronic care wings. Acute care will utilize all the awesome technology and powerful, life saving drugs western medicine is known for. The chronic care wing will be divided not by diagnoses, but by genetic weaknesses. There will be a floor where no one eats fermented foods because eating those foods causes problems such as IBS, IC, or other nasties for them. There will be a floor where animal protein is limited because a high protein diet wreaks their health causing odd auto immune disorders, fibromyalgia symptoms, or chronic fatigue. And, so on. Patients will be taught how herbs, spices, vegetables, fruit, and the right protein optimize their genetic potential.
But, you don’t have to wait for that day. You can get that service now at Living Well Nutrition. What are you waiting for? Isn’t your future and your kids’ future worth preventative healthcare?