(Click here to listen to the full episode.)
The “Omic Revolution”
There is a simultaneous transformation occurring in healthcare along with the essential oil revolution.
In this episode of The Essential Oil Revolution you’ll get an excellent overview of what entails this “omics revolution.” You’ll learn how it can impact your wellness and how it is influencing the future of medicine.
I could think of no one better to introduce you to this concept than Dr. David Brady. He is one of the most brilliant integrative physicians that I know. He is also one of my mentors and another of my favorite past professors from when I was student in naturopathic medicine school.
Dr. Brady has an astute ability to take complicated topics, synthesize all the details, and explain them in a concise and eloquent manner.
This talent will become very evident to you during the show. This is because when discussing metabolomics, genomics, and other “omics,” things can get complicated. Dr. Brady filters all this detailed information into digestible, bite-sized chunks for us.
In the first part of the show, Dr. Brady explains how we can use the knowledge we glean from different metabolic, genetic, microbiome, and other lab markers to provide a glimpse into someone’s unique physiology. This helps a practitioner to personalize their patient’s or client’s care.
Toward the middle of the episode, Dr. Brady and I explore the physiological changes that occur in the brain of someone experiencing a chronic condition, trauma, or mental health issue. Specifically, their nervous system will often enter a state of hypervigilance.
Can you guess what can help to tune down this exaggerated nervous system response?
You got it, specific essential oils!
In this post, I’ll review some of the topics covered in this amazing episode and provide additional resources for those who want to go deeper into the topic.
I’ll also provide you with the link to the full episode so you can educate yourself about this important shift that is occurring in healthcare and where essential oils fit into it.
What are “Omics” and Why Should You Care
According to the dictionary:
“Omics are a group of biological sciences, including genomics and proteomics, each seeking to quantify and describe the entire collection of biological molecules of a particular type, such as the genome or proteome of an organism, and how it determines the structure, function, and interactions of the organism or system of which it is a part.”
UCLF goes further to state:
‘Omics medicine is a term we use for the next generation of laboratory tools, which open new windows into the molecular makeup of an individual. They are powerful contributors to our knowledge network and our ability to prevent and treat disease across the lifespan:
…There are many ‘omics that science is looking into:
- The epigenome is the expression of your genome via transcriptomics.
- Proteomics studies the products of RNA.
- Metabolomics is the study of metabolites.
- DNA-based tools can also detect bacteria, parasites and viruses that coexist in our bodies through metagenomics.
- Inflamomics, lipidomics, glycomics, and other large molecular data sets can be used to diagnose and predict disease.
Metabolomics is perhaps the most clinically useful “omic” application for functional and naturopathic doctors. It assesses one’s physiology at the levels of cellular health, detoxification, the microbiome, energy, neurotransmitters, and various biological functions.
Diagnostic solutions states (bold emphasis mine):
Metabolomics, also called comprehensive metabolic profiling, evaluates patterns of metabolites related to core biological systems, offering insight into biochemical dysfunctions that may be of concern.
Organic acids and other small molecules are intermediate compounds that can define the efficient flow of pathways and substrates such as amino acids to reveal the level of inputs, which together establish the functional status of key areas of health.
Metabolites are impacted by many factors and can change in response to diet, nutrient status, toxin exposures, exercise, physiologic demands, genetics, gut microbiome alterations, or disease stage.
Metabolic analysis can help clinicians evaluate the function of key pathways to better target support.
These analytes can be assessed, along with the clinical picture of a person, to help a practitioner find underlying patterns of dysfunctions and fine-tune nutritional recommendations. This specificity can create a uniquely personalized program that can optimize various aspects of vitality including one’s cellular function, enzymatic activity, brain and gut health, hormonal balance, and energy metabolism.
Genomics and Metabolomics
During the interview, Dr. Brady shares how ‘omic testing can be used along the spectrum of health. For example, it can help to fine tune some of the most competitive athletes to improve their energy metabolism for achieving their personal best. It can also help to uncover the imbalances within someone experiencing a chronic disease pattern not evident from traditional lab markers.
We also discuss the difference between genomics and metabolomics. Genomics is predictive and determines one’s risk for a disease or dysfunction. Metabolomics provides a picture of what is happening in the moment related to one’s metabolism, biochemistry, and their current cellular and physiological functioning.
For example, genomics would pick up a gene variation, a SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism), such as MTHFR. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) is an enzyme involved in the methylation process. It helps to convert folate or folic acid into the active form (5-MTHF) which balances homocysteine, a (metabolomic) marker of disease, and many other important processes. Yet, one could have a variation in MTHFR, yet have no symptoms of disease and low levels of homocysteine based on their lifestyle, a high folate diet, and supplementation. Metabolomics could help to differentiate the need for more supplemental folate.
Hypervigilance and How to Fine Tune Supplementation
Dr. Brady and I then touch on the very important topic of hypervigilance. This is a nervous system response in which the body is always on guard and locked into a perpetual state of fight and flight. This can result from one being threatened, a trauma, mental health disorders, or chronic pain.
We highlight how metabolomic testing can help to decipher what would be the best interventions for someone in hypervigilance. This is through correlating their presentation with test results of the stress hormone cortisol, catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine), and dopamine.
For example, one can determine if fatigue is related to a low output of cortisol and normal levels of stress hormones or if someone is “wired and tired,” with high levels of catecholamines, dopamine, and adrenal dysregulation. These later individuals would not do well with stimulating “adrenal supplements.” Rather, they would do better with tonifying, neutral, or calming adaptogens (herbs that enhance resiliency to stress) and essential oils.
Essential Oils, Metabolomics, and Functional Medicine
Later in the episode, I discuss a comprehensive metabolomics trial of 31 females, which assessed the metabolic changes in urine after exposure to aroma inhalation for 10 continuous days. In this experiment, significant changes in the metabolic profiles in the subjects responsive to essential oil were found. Notably, “the metabolites from tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and gut microbial metabolism were significantly altered.”
Unfortunately, there were significant limitations to the study. Still, it did provide evidence that aromatic compounds uniquely influence metabolic and microbial metabolites which correspond to improvement in symptoms.
This is why it is such a passion of mine to incorporate essential oils more into functional medicine. The volatile, aromatic compounds found in essential oils offer beneficial biochemical, physiological, and neurological effects. This ability to support emotional and bodily health simultaneously is not something found in many interventions.
In our discussion, Dr. Brady states how scents not only provide us with a richer life experience, but how science has demonstrated that they have a profound impact on our memory, mood, and biology. We both agree that aromatherapy is underutilized and understudied in functional medicine and hope that this will change.
You’re not going to want to miss the full episode.
Here’s the Overview of What You Will Learn:
- How Dr. Brady’s passion for finding the answers to his mom’s cancer diagnosis led him down the path to explore non-conventional approaches. This, combined with the drive to personalize healthcare through his success with biomedical applications in engineering, resulted in him becoming an expert in various aspects of healthcare and natural medicine. Today, Dr. Brady is internationally recognized for his successful treatment of some of hardest to treat chronic diseases, including fibromyalgia and Myalgia encephalomyelitis/Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).
- The power of the therapeutic relationship and the importance of a physician to be open- minded and seek solutions for their patients. We discuss embracing the success of the placebo effect, especially when coupled with good interventions and honoring the healing that can occur with compassionate doctor-patient interactions.
- What “omics” medicine is and how it personalizes and tailors medicine.
- The difference between analyzing a gene variation, a SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism), such as MTHFR, in genomics and using metabolomics.
- What is hypervigilance and how metabolomics helps decipher how best to treat it.
- How essential oils can impact metabolomic markers and hypervigilance.
- How essential oils are underutilized and understudied in functional and integrative medicine and why we should incorporate them more into treatment.
- The importance of testing and why one may want to consider it over just treating symptoms.
- How to look for a reputable lab and why split sampling isn’t the best way to assess the accuracy of a lab.
- The Fibro-Fix book.
- Dr. Brady’s favorite oils (citrus) and how they uplift mood and can help with focus.
- Closing Questions: What Dr. Brady does daily for self-care and what he thinks we should ditch and replace with instead.
Click here to listen in on the latest episode.
Bio of Dr. David M. Brady, ND, DC, CCN, DACBN, IFMCP, FACN
Dr. David M. Brady has over 30-years of experience as an integrative medicine practitioner and 25 years in health sciences academia. He is a licensed naturopathic medical physician in Connecticut and Vermont, is board certified in functional medicine and clinical nutrition, and a fellow of the American College of Nutrition. Dr. Brady is the Chief Medical Officer for Diagnostic Solutions Labs, LLC and Designs for Health, Inc. He is currently in private practice in the integrative medicine group Whole Body Medicine, in Fairfield, CT (USA).
Dr. Brady is the former long-term vice president of the Division of Health Sciences and director of the Human Nutrition Institute at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, where he continues to serve as director and professor emeritus of nutrition. He has appeared on the plenary speaking panel of some of the largest and most prestigious conferences in the field including IFM, ACAM, A4M, ACN, IHS, AANP, AIHM and many more. Dr. Brady has published a multitude of peer-reviewed scientific papers and textbooks related to functional and naturopathic medicine, clinical nutrition, chronic pain, autoimmunity, and functional gastroenterology.
Dr. Brady is also one of the foremost authorities on properly diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia, he has been featured in top popular media including Dr. Oz, ELLE and NPR. His latest Amazon best-selling book, The Fibro-Fix, was published by Rodale and released in July of 2016.
Links to learn more about Dr. Brady, his companies, and offerings:
- Dr. David M. Brady
- Chief Medical Officer, Designs for Health, Inc. & Diagnostic Solutions Lab, LLC
- Director Emeritus, Nutrition Institute & Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences, University of Bridgeport
- Private Clinical Practice, Whole Body Medicine (Fairfield, CT-USA)
- Author of The Fibro-Fix
- Dr. Brady on Facebook
- Designs for Health Video
- Dr. Brady’s Presentation: Anxiety, Depression, and Stress: A Multi-Omics Approach
- Dr. Brady’s Articles and Publications
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Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.