Is It Really Just Genetic?
More often than not, my clients think that they have no control over their health, just because an illness runs in their family’s genes. This is simply not true. Even if you have a genetic disease, there are many things you can still do to limit the way the body expresses those symptoms. Curious how? You wouldn't be the first – read on.
You Still Have Control Over Your Health Even if Genetics Are a Challenge
Modern medicine teaches us to separate everything in our bodies. In the past 20-30 years, so many diseases have become more prevalent (such as migraines, arthritis, auto-immunity, etc). Our medical community looks at what areas are causing the discomfort and then focuses in on how that area of the body can be manipulated to stop the pain. What is happening is we are beginning to treat each area of the body as though it is separate from the rest.
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Genetic and Epigenetics
Until we admit that our bodies are interconnected, we cannot get to the real, root cause of our disease. As a naturopath, my first question is always around what is causing the symptom that you are experiencing. Let’s take the example of inflammation - a huge contributor to gene expression. If you are experiencing inflammation in the form of a headache or joint pain, then I want to know why your body is causing inflammation where it is. The amount of inflammation that exists in the body can, in fact, directly impact the extent to which a gene is expressed.
So the real question is, do you have to express that gene at the rate at which you are? For example, I often hear: “Anxiety runs in my family. I have it because it's genetic.” I agree, but only to an extent. It may be genetic but you do not have to experience it at the peak at which the rest of your family has. A body that is given proper nutrients, gets proper sleep, is properly hydrated, has a healthy emotional body (your body), will be in balance and genes will not be expressed as strongly as they might be if an imbalance exists. And perhaps they also don’t have to be expressed for generations to come.
What I am really saying is that we all have genetic disposition, and perhaps we have certain symptoms that occur when we are out of proper balance, because of that disposition. However, the reason the genes are expressed in each individual can be one in the same. Such as poor diet, bad sleep, malabsorption or inflammation in the gut.
Whether you come in with anxiety, auto-immunity, attention issues, etc, I am still going to look at the same things and try to restore balance to your body and decrease the symptoms that your body is more apt to express when you are not in balance.
Are you taking care of yourself? How are your emotional reactions to life circumstances? What does your diet look like? Do you experience constipation, gas, bloating? Perhaps the problem is starting in your GI tract.
And again, we can’t ignore the connection between the mind and the body. In my personal opinion, a lot of our emotional responses are simply reactions. What we don't realize is that our reactions are just mirrors of ourselves. We aren't really upset about something unless it triggers an emotion within us. So, ask yourself “why is this making me so upset?” Use methods to slow down your reaction time and balance out your emotional body such as meditation, deep breathing and relaxation. And then, eat right, get some rest, drink water and talk to your Naturopath about whether your GI tract could be playing a role in your overall health.