Updates on the Impact of Nature and Nurture on Health, Belly Bugs and Cancer, and the Clinical Use of Essential Oils
I just submitted another two-part series to Natural Path to be posted in the next few months. The subject was on the power of diet. Specifically, I discussed food as medicine, (fake) food as a poison, food addiction, and how to naturally deal with unhealthy cravings.
This week, I want to catch you up on some writing I’ve been doing for Natural Path and for my friend and colleague, Dr. Kara Fitzgerald.
First, here’s my two-part series inspired by the Natural Cancer Prevention Summit.
Nature Vs. Nurture Part I
In this first article, I discussed some statistics on cancer and how diet and lifestyle play a role in prevention. I reported on the misunderstood and very small role of genetics in cancer risk and how diet and exercise had a major impact. Here’s some excerpts:
How Lifestyle and Diet Effect Health and Cancer Risk
Have you heard of the science of epigenetics? It demonstrates that our lifestyle choices have a direct impact on gene expression. The science of nutrigenomics studies how diet influences our genes. There is a lot of emerging evidence that lifestyle can impact disease and death outcomes. A 2008 review in Pharmaceutical Research states:
The evidence indicates that of all cancer-related deaths, almost 25–30% are due to tobacco, as many as 30–35% are linked to diet, about 15–20% are due to infections, and the remaining percentage are due to other factors like radiation, stress, physical activity, environmental pollutants etc. Therefore, cancer prevention requires smoking cessation, increased ingestion of fruits and vegetables, moderate use of alcohol, caloric restriction, exercise, avoidance of direct exposure to sunlight, minimal meat consumption, use of whole grains, use of vaccinations, and regular check-ups.9
Diet and Cancer Risk
Many studies have linked dietary patterns with cancer risk,11-15 estimating it to account for about 30% of risk as stated above.9,11Though methodological factors and biases tend to make “evidence” in any dietary subject inconclusive, most research does support plant-based diets and lowered meat consumption for reducing cancer risk.9, 11-15
Read the rest here.
Nature Vs. Nurture Part II
Lifestyle and Cancer Risk
In the previous article, I discussed some statistics on cancer and how diet and lifestyle play a role in prevention. In this article, I continue with a focus on lifestyle and plant medicine.
One article wonderfully exemplified how lifestyle impacts health outcomes. It was a large Australian cohort study of middle-aged and older adults that was published in the PLOs One Journal in December 2015. The researchers used questionnaires to establish an index of health risk which included these seven factors: smoking, high alcohol intake, poor diet, physical inactivity, prolonged sitting, and unhealthy (short/long) sleep.
The 231,048 participants were followed for six years. The researchers found a strong relationship between the lifestyle risk index score and all-cause mortality. Specifically, combinations of either physical inactivity, prolonged sitting, and/or long sleep duration or combinations involving smoking and high alcohol intake had the strongest associations with all-cause mortality. This provided evidence that alcohol intake, smoking, sleep and movement could be predictors of health outcomes.1
Our Belly Bugs and Cancer
More and more, it is becoming clear that how we modulate the environment in our gut (through diet, lifestyle, avoidance of toxins and unnecessary medications, exercise, supplements, probiotics, and stress modulation) can decrease or increase our risk for cancer and chronic diseases. (I review some of this evidence in an upcoming blog post.) In other words, these critters in our insides effect our biochemical processes to modulate gene expression in a profoundly powerful way.
Essential Oil Use in Functional Medicine
Dr. Fitzgerald recently asked me to write a case study with essential oils. In my article, I review the therapeutic actions of essential oils. I also discuss a case study using the functional medicine model that incorporates their use with Lyme disease.
Speaking of essential oils, read my latest blog on essential oils and blood sugar here.