Last week, I discussed the interplay between our genes and environment. Specifically, I focused on how we have the power to modulate how our genes express themselves through wellness or disease manifestations. It’s empowering to know that we have a choice in how to manipulate our cellular environment through lifestyle and diet. Even more exciting is that parents-to-be can now access scientific information that supports how healthy choices can modulate their children’s epigenetics to determine if genetic predispositions to diseases will be expressed or suppressed (1-3).
Currently, the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment (CHARGE), an ongoing epidemiological study, is focusing on how various chemical and biologic exposures, susceptibility factors, and their interactions affect phenotypic variation (different observable characteristics from gene inheritance) among children with autism (2-3). Several studies have been released as a result of this trial including linking autism to maternal chemical exposures, health status, and nutritional levels.
In other words, moms and dads can use this information to choose to decrease their exposure to chemicals, optimize their nutrition, and address their diseases in order to reduce the risk of their children being affected by autism (1-3). Other studies are also showing how moms can optimize their prenatal nutrition to reduce their child’s asthma risk. (4) This provides enormous hope to those with family histories of scary diseases.
However, some moms may find this information depressing, as they grew up in the “Better Living through Chemistry” era and were led to believe their processed, low fat diets and chemicals to clean their homes weren’t harmful. Unfortunately, as noted above, it’s now becoming more evident that these chemicals are now prominent everywhere in our environment and remain in our body to wreak havoc on our immune system and hormones (5-7). Still, there’s hope for them and their children as well. There are many things one can do to modulate our exposure and optimize genetic expression toward health.
My past blogs discuss several simple steps on how one can take to reduce their own and their loved ones toxic exposure risk. Diet is one of the most important factors. When food is being used as medicine, it’s important to prevent eating things loaded with hormonal or immune trumping chemicals and pesticides.
This is why I always recommend is to eat organic as much as possible, especially whenever any of my clients are struggling with their health. In fact, recently a new study that analyzed 343 peer reviewed studies found that organic foods not only have less pesticides but more protective antioxidants to help deal with our exposures (8):
According to Washington State University:
The largest study of its kind has found that organic foods and crops have a suite of advantages over their conventional counterparts, including more antioxidants and fewer, less frequent pesticide residues.The study looked at an unprecedented 343 peer-reviewed publications comparing the nutritional quality and safety of organic and conventional plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables and grains. The study team applied sophisticated meta-analysis techniques to quantify differences between organic and non-organic foods.
Besides diet, exercise, water filtration, and healthy relationships, stress modulation and what we think is important. If we can learn to calm our brain, our body will better be able to deal with not just emotional but physical stress.
Check out this amazing infographic that was posted this month on Huffington Post for stats and data on key studies reporting how meditation can decrease blood pressure, lower anxiety, calm stress, boost performance, aid in addiction relief, and more.
Another overlooked physical stressor is electromagnetic radiation (EMFs) from cell phones. More research is emerging on this daily. In fact, a recent meta- analysis analyzed ten studies which included 1492 samples. The authors reported:
We conclude that pooled results from in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that mobile phone exposure negatively affects sperm quality. Further study is required to determine the full clinical implications for both sub-fertile men and the general population (9).
Using speaker phone or special headsets, avoiding Wi-Fi and “plugging in”, getting an “old school” phone, and not allowing children who are more sensitive to EMFs to use cell phones, are some important tips to prevent EMF responses.
Below is an interview with Dr. Davis, a lead researcher in EMF with Dr. Mercola summarizing EMF effects. I had the good fortune of having her train us in my functional medicine training with Mr. Mitochondria.
The Mold Connection
Recently, I have been consulting with a lot of clients who have been diagnosed with autoimmune disorders or suspected chronic Lyme disease. My viewpoint from the functional and naturopathic medicine perspective is not to simply suppress the immune response or “kill the bug.” Rather, I aim to address the cause of the long-term immune deregulation. As noted above, there is truth in what is being said that, “genetics load the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger.”
In other words, genetic predisposition is not enough to cause most diagnoses. It must be combined with a trigger from the environment and be perpetuated by one or more stressor(s). If these triggers and stressors are addressed, the immune system should calm down and regain balance. For example, if one with Celiac disease stops eating gluten, the trigger is removed and a person’s symptoms will lesson. In Lyme disease, if the bug is removed, aggravations should cease. However, full recovery and symptom relief may not be achieved with removing the main trigger alone. This is because unless the terrain (a person’s internal environment) is modified, the immune system will not be rebuilt and strengthened.
Many of my clients know I’m obsessed with diffusing and mold! Why? I’ve had the personal experience of being bit with the Lyme tick and being in mold and have seen and experienced how mold effects my own and my clients’ hormonal, emotional, and immune health. The problem is that many tend to ignore the impact of one’s surroundings. Most of the focus is on the internal results of a toxic soup and not what may be contributing to the perpetual cycle and continued aggravations of the disease.
So, how does one address regaining a healthy immune system?
Read more about how mold affects mood, immunity, and health and how to deal with it here. It also contains the essential oil highlight of the week, explaining how essential oils prevent the growth of toxic mold.
To learn more about thieves or to order, please visit my website or order on YoungLiving with my member number (516126) so you will be able to work with me directly as your guide and resource in using therapeutic, healing oils.
1. Mercola, J. Pesticides Put Global Food Production at Grave Risk, International Task Force Warns. mercola.com. July 8, 2014.
2. Environmental Health Perspectives: Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides: The CHARGE Study. Environmental Sciences Europe 2014, 26:14. http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1307044
3. CHARGE. News and Updates. UCDavis Med. http://beincharge.ucdavis.edu/newsupdates.php. Accessed July 23, 2014.
4. Maternal Intake Of Dietary Methyl Donors In Pregnancy And Childhood Asthma At 7 Years. http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1164/ajrccmconference.2014.189.1_MeetingAbstracts.A5118
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services. Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. 2010. http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/. Accessed March 2010.
6. Environmental Working Group. Research. http://www.ewg.org/research
7. Environmental Working Group. Dirty Dozen List of Endocrine Disruptors:12 Hormone-Altering Chemicals and How to Avoid Them. ewg.org. October 28, 2013.
8. Eric Sorenson. Major study documents benefits of organic farming. WSU.com. July 11, 2014. https://news.wsu.edu/2014/07/11/major-study-documents-benefits-of-organic-farming/#.U83XhrH5fSh
9. Adams, J, Galloway, T, Mondal, D, Esteves, S, Mathews, F. Effect of mobile telephones on sperm quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Environment International. Volume 70, September 2014, Pages 106–112. DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.04.015
10. Nucci, M, Marr, M. Emerging Fungal Diseases. Clin Infect Dis. (2005) 41 (4): 521-526. doi: 10.1086/432060
11. From Eczema to Narcolepsy: Mold Exposure and Its Various Clinical Presentations. http://jordanhoffmanacupuncture.com/articles/mold.htm
12. Crago BR, Gray MR, Nelson LA, Davis M, Arnold L, Thrasher JD. Pscyhological, neuropsychological, and electrocortical effects of mixed mold exposure. Arch Environ Health. 2003;58:452–463. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15259424
13. Gordon WA, Cantor JB, Johanning E, et al. Cognitive impairment associated with toxigenic fungal exposure: a replication and extension of previous findings. Appl Neuropsychol. 2004;11:65–74. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15477176
14. Kilburn KH. Indoor mold exposure associated with neurobehavioral and pulmonary impairment: a preliminary report. Arch Environ Health. 2003;58: 390–398. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15143851
15. Mary Ackerley. The Brain on Fire: The role of toxic mold in triggering psychiatric symptoms. http://www.survivingmold.com/community/mary-ackerley-the-brain-on-fire-the-role-of-toxic-mold-in-triggering-psychiatric-symptoms
16. Mercola, J. Effective Strategies to Identify and Correct the Inflammation Caused by Mold Exposure. Mercola.com. July 22, 2012
18. Dave Aspery. http://www.survivingmold.com/legal-resources/dr-shoemaker-on-latest-bulletproof-radio-podcast
19. Infection or Overgrowth? Holistic Primary Care: UpShots. February 27, 2012.
20. New Cinnamon-Based Active Paper Packaging against Rhizopusstolonifer Food Spoilage. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf800699q
21. Cinnamon bark oil, a potent fungitoxicant against fungi causing respiratory tract mycoses. Allergy. 1995 Dec;50(12):995-9.
22. Screening for Antifungal Activity of Some Essential Oils Against Common Spoilage Fungi of Bakery Products. Food Science and Technology International .February 2005 vol. 11 no. 1 25-32. doi: 10.1177/1082013205050901
23. Close, J. GET RID OF MOLD NATURALLY using THIEVES ESSENTIAL OIL. http://www.naturesmoldrx.com/
Building Biologist information and checklist for mold: http://www.buildingbiology.com.au/index.php/Biology/Get-Your-House-Tested-/-Do-It-Yourself.htm
My interview with Jordan Hoffman on mold (80 min): http://jordanhoffmanacupuncture.com/articles/CR_021512.mp3
Link to gluten, inflammation, and brain cytokines: http://www.allthingshealing.com/Naturopathy/Whats-the-Deal-with-Gluten-Free/5352#.U9AjzrFCzKQ
Biological dentistry, what your doctor doesn’t know may hurt you: http://dr-lobisco.com/what-your-dentist-wont-tell-you-about-root-canals/