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Using Epigenetics to Prevent Chronic Disease

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  1. #1
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    Using Epigenetics to Prevent Chronic Disease

    Using Epigenetics
    to Prevent Chronic Disease:
    Part One
    by Bonnie Minsky MA, MPH, LDN, CNS
    & Steve Minsky


    Introduction
    We have always had a unique perspective on chronic disease: in particular, dementia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and autoimmune disorders: rather than focusing on specific diseases, we feel that in most instances, there is a common thread that ties them together. As nutritionists, we believe that common thread is the fuel we put into our bodies.

    Whereas in the traditional diagnostic model, the patient that presents signs and symptoms of inflammation of the joints, depression, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood sugar, hypertension, cognitive impairment, and skin problems might be seen by a diabetologist, rheumatologist, neurologist, gastroenterologist and dermatologist for each complaint. In our model, we evaluate the interaction of the environment of the patient with their gene potential discover if there is a unifying theme as the triggering factor. This model now has a scientific term: Epigenetics. It is considered the new frontier in the fight against chronic disease.

    In a sense, by preventing physiological imbalance by use of web-like rather than linear cause-effect analysis, we have found that it is possible to address many of the presenting complaints simultaneously with diet and nutrients. While not as fancy as Epigenetics, we call it the "whole health approach."

    For example, exploring how nutritional environment influences the insulin signaling process takes on a whole new meaning. Recently, it has been brought to the medical community's attention that insulin is more than a hormone that regulates insulin through its influence on genetic expression, but also insulin signaling itself is regulated through a complex network of kinase enzymes that translate information from outside the cell to its interior including the genome and mitochondria. The fact that kinases are intimately affected by dietary influences as well as exercise and stress hormones opens up a brand new science-based approach towards prevention.

    The process, simply put, works like this:
    1) Food Molecule encounters Kinase Hubs
    2A) If food molecule is cytotoxic, multiple stressor signals are sent to our book of genes
    2B) If food molecule is friendly, multiple calming signals are sent to our book of genes
    3A) With constant exposure to stressor signals, polymorphisms (defects) that exist in our genes will be expressed negatively.
    3B) With constant exposure to calming signals, polymorphisms (defects) that exist in our genes will be latent.

    Science Is At a Crossroads. How Do We Want to Approach Kinase Therapy?
    Big Pharma's approach will not be how to make kinases function more harmoniously, but how to block their function. As we found with long-term COX-2 inhibitor use, the side effects using this approach are not desirable. Some experts believe that kinases, like bacteria that have come resistant to antibiotics, will over time become resistant to blockage, or will simply re-route their signals through other kinases that are not blocked. With kinase modification drugs expected to reach $58 billion by 2010, up from $12.7 billion in 2005, Big Pharma had better be right.

    The nutritionist approach is different. We want to work with kinases, not against them. Kinases, like our genes, have evolved over time. They know how to utilize powerful substances in our environment to submit calming signals. We are aware that many macro and micronutrients, especially phytochemicals in plants, achieve this effect. We know this because for plants to have survived droughts, floods, and other catastrophic events, they had to develop chemicals for their own survival. Does it not make sense that humans have evolved with plants? That our kinases have been able to synthesize plants' defense mechanisms for our own gain?

    While science is now just beginning to understand which molecules are the most effective, three substances have emerged as being kinase-friendly. You may have heard of them

    Phytochemicals
    These potent substances are prevalent in every part of a plant, but most notably make up the colors in fruits and vegetables. Two nutraceuticals by Metagenics, Insinase and Kaprex, are concentrates of botanicals found to be extremely effective on PI3 Kinase, a kinase with the most wide ranging affect in tissues to date. Four other labs worldwide have done research on the same botanicals and have come up with similar conclusions for insulin regulation and inflammation support.

    Healthy Oils
    EPA/DHA Omega-3's such as fish oil/cod liver oil.
    Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, nuts and seeds.

    Vitamin D
    Sunlight
    Cod Liver Oil
    Vitamin D3 supplementation

    Could it be that because of decades of nutritional depravity and lack of nutrients that chronic disease has arisen? By not consuming these substances, are we robbing ourselves of kinase calmers and creating chronic disease by negative expression of our genes? Conventional science is finally saying yes.

    Think about the hottest issue of the day: American's dearth of fruit and vegetable consumption, vitamin D deficiency epidemic, and imbalance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio. Is there any wonder why chronic disease is rampant? As nutritionists, our goal - heal the molecule, make it harmonious, and make it shine once again - is something we've been doing already for those who have listened.

    Conclusion
    Many conventional scientists believe that Epigenetics has now complicated the definition of the ideal diet because numerous and diverse dietary components may influence biological processes in many ways. We believe it is the opposite. Complexity is stability. The more complex your diet, the more stable your health will be.

    Why healthy, balanced meals?
    Complexity is stability.

    Why take supplemental magnesium that is crucial for over 300 bodily functions?
    Complexity is stability.

    Why are empty calories (processed food, sugar) bad and complex calories (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein) good?
    Complexity is stability.

    Why do we so fervently recommend the Cytotoxic food blood test? Food intolerants send constant stressor signals to our genes. The blood test can reveal up to 209 foods that we can avoid to calm stressor signals.
    Complexity is stability.

    We know that chronic illness may be postponed by changes in lifestyle. It has been shown that the physiologic and psychologic markers of aging may be modified and the average age at first infirmity can be raised, thus extending quality of life, and ultimately pushing morbidity further away.

    Until recently, practitioners like us feel like we've been going at it alone. However, with the incredible preventative research that is upon us, the hope is that conventional medicine will finally follow suit in demanding radical lifestyle change. Or, they may continue to follow Big Pharma's path. This statement came from a real advertisement: "Good choices and good medicine. That's what Pfizer believes is the best prescription for keeping America healthy."

    In the end, it is up to us as individuals as how we will respond to the challenges of making necessary lifestyle changes. Only time will tell if we are successful.

    Mid-April's Special Report will reveal Part II of this story: What is Public Health Priority Number One and the Tools for preventing it.

    Disclaimer: This column is for information only and no part of its contents should be construed as medical advice or diagnosis. It is always a good idea to consult your doctor before making any dietary and nutrient changes.

    © 2007 Nutritional Concepts, Inc.
    If sense were common, everyone would have it.

    4/2007-Current 75th Ranked most popular image 1 spot behind Prince's bulge...

    Check out my world famous Bob Loblaw's Law Blog at http://www.synergyhw.blogspot.com/...Just kidding, it's a health and wellness blog.

  2. #2
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    Epigenetics Part II:
    First Priority in Preventing Chronic Disease
    by Bonnie Minsky MA, MPH, LDN, CNS
    & Steve Minsky


    Click the following if you have not read
    Part I: Using Epigenetics to Prevent Chronic Disease


    Introduction
    "Chronic illness may be postponed by changes in lifestyle, and it has been shown that the physiologic and psychologic markers of aging may be modified. Thus, the average age at first infirmity can be raised, thereby making the morbidity curve more rectangular." New England Journal of Medicine, 1980.

    How prophetic. Unfortunately, chronic illness has become more prevalent since 1980 as our lifestyle choices have worsened. Now that the medical community is making a concerted effort to advocate lifestyle management as the first line therapy for chronic illness, insulin/blood sugar prevention should be priority number one.

    Tackling Insulin Dysfunction
    Medicine has been intensely focused on healthy insulin levels because it has many more ramifications on our health than just diabetes. Insulin and inflammation share the same kinase hubs that send signals to our genes.

    The area of insulin signaling that has recently been discovered is adipose tissue, a specific type of fat cell. Fat cells are little endocrine organs. They control insulin, hormonal, inflammatory, and many other cellular functions. When fat cells receive stressor signals from kinases, they create a host of negative effects. This is called lipotoxicity. There is a reason why as the numbers of obese have risen, so have the number of diabetics.

    Our goal is to make adipocytes happy fats, not sad fats. When insulin function becomes dysfunctional, it creates a sequence of events that leads not just to weight gain and blood sugar disorders, but to cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, neurological dysfunction, and digestive disorders as well.

    What are 5 preventative steps we can take to ensure that our fat cells and genes receive happy signals?

    Step One: Choose the Right Dietary Signals
    A reduced refined carbohydrate (i.e., sugar and refined grain), increased lean protein, fruit/vegetable-rich diet may be the most appropriate overall approach to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

    A Meditteranean Diet, such as The Circle of Health, is considered the healthiest for our current phenotype. What is most notable with this diet? It has color (phytonutrients) and very low refined grains.

    Among individuals aged 70 to 90 years, adherence to a Mediterranean diet and healthful lifestyle is associated with a more than 50% lower rate of all-causes and cause-specific mortality.

    -Choose the right type of protein (lean variety; red meat once in a while).

    -Choose the right family of fatty acids (EPA/DHA, monounsaturated).

    -Choose the right type of carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grains).

    -Discover essentials nutrients beyond your normal diet (phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals).

    -Choose the right fibers (flaxseed, prebiotics such as inulin).

    -Choose the right portion sizes (a reduced-portion, nutrient-dense diet, may extend lifespan by one-third).

    Step Two: Periodically Track Your Diagnostic Signals
    While we are waiting for sound, broad-based genetic testing, discuss with your health professional these essential insulin dysfunction diagnostic indicators:

    C-reactive protein
    ApoA1 - along with CRP, now believed to be the most definitive risk factors for CVD
    ApoB
    Serum triglycerides
    Serum HDL
    Serum Triglyceride to HDL ratio
    Adiponectin (hormone secreted by the fat cell)
    Heart rate variability
    Hemoglobin A1C
    Serum liver enzymes (AST/ALT)
    Body Fat
    Waist to Hip ratio
    Waist Circumference
    Systolic and/or Diastolic Blood Pressure

    Step Three: Bombard Your Genes With Stress Reduction/Fitness Signals
    Reducing stress and exercise go hand-in-hand. Find the optimal stress reduction techniques and exercise regimen that meets your lifestyle needs.

    Step Four: Reduce Your Toxic Load
    As we noted in March's newsletter, a buildup of toxins can accelerate lipotoxicity. Take the necessary lifestyle steps to prevent this.

    Step Five: Improve Your Quality of Life
    As we emphasized at the beginning of the year, strive to improve your quality of life. A rich quality of life breeds a vitality that enhances overall health.

    Conclusion
    What is the common denominator? All five steps are within your control!

    Disclaimer: This column is for information only and no part of its contents should be construed as medical advice or diagnosis. It is always a good idea to consult your doctor before making any dietary and nutrient changes.

    © 2007 Nutritional Concepts, Inc.
    If sense were common, everyone would have it.

    4/2007-Current 75th Ranked most popular image 1 spot behind Prince's bulge...

    Check out my world famous Bob Loblaw's Law Blog at http://www.synergyhw.blogspot.com/...Just kidding, it's a health and wellness blog.

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