Epigenetics

Have you ever wondered why some family members develop chronic diseases or cancers while others do not?  Or why identical twins are not exactly identical? The answers to these questions are not completely answered by modern medicine. New research is showing that expression of our genes comes down to the food we eat, the thoughts we think, and the environment we live in. This is a form of biology known as epigenetics.

A history of epigenetics.

Epigenetics was first theorized by Dr. Bruce Lipton, a research scientist and former professor at the University of Wisconsin. He shares his revolutionary findings in a growing field of epigenetics in his book, The Biology of Belief. Using a simple petri dish filled with stem cells, Dr. Lipton showed that the health of these cells were influenced by the medium (a.k.a. environment) they were exposed to (Ly, 2017, n.p.).

According to Rachale Rettner, senior writer for Live Science (2013), “Epigenetics means “above” or “on top of” genetics. It refers to external modifications to DNA that turn genes “on” or “off.” These modifications do not change the DNA sequence, but instead, they affect how cells “read” genes” (n.p.).  Every living organism on earth has its own specific genome. This is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including genes, found in every single cell of that organism. Each individual DNA sequence is a conglomeration of their parents, yet unique to that individual. According to Dr. Lipton’s research we may not have control of our genetics, but we can control how they’re expressed.

Controlling your genetics.

So what are these environmental factors that can affect the expression of our genes? Simply put, they are the choices we make in life: what we think, how we feel, foods we eat, relationships we make, how stressed we are, etc. All of these things influence our perceptions of the world and thus how our genes are expressed (Ly, 2017, n.p.).

What’s more, your genes aren’t just expressed through what you eat, what you drink, or how much you exercise. According to epigenetic principles, as seen in an article in The Telegraph by Chris Bell (2013) your genetic expression might also be associated with your parents’ behavior. What your mother ate, how much your father drank, and even what your grandmother smoked may affect your genetic expression. Thus, the expression of your kids’ own genes may be shaped by the choices you make and environment you live in (n.p.).

An example Bell gives of this was observed in the Netherlands (2013):

Towards the end of the Second World War, something unprecedented happened in modern Europe: a famine. The Allies’ attempt to push across the Rhine in September 1944, had failed. The Nazis had blocked towns across the western Netherlands for over six months, leading to food shortages. This became known as the Dutch Hongerwinter. Each person only had 580 calories of food per day. Over 22,000 people died from malnutrition, and thousands of babies were born underweight.

When researchers analyzed the Dutch medical records decades later, they noticed that the infants who survived were more prone to health problems. But they also found a curious anomaly. These children’s own children – born years later, and well fed – were also underweight. The famine had, it seemed, “scarred” the victims’ DNA. (n.p.)

This emerging research on epigenetics highlights why it is so important to make choices with wellness in mind. Life is not completely predetermined by our genes. Genes are no longer a crutch or an excuse. Just because your father had heart disease or your mother had diabetes, doesn’t mean that you have to. The environment you place yourself in and the corresponding affect on your genes is what determines our life outcomes. And not just our life outcomes, but the life outcomes of your children and grandchildren. This graphic shows a great representation of the epigenetic life from before conception into maturity and how not only our environment can have an affect, but how our parents environment can affect our life.

Epigentics-web1

What to do about it.

In the following weeks, we will discuss how to change our environment for better outcomes based on actual human genetic needs. It’s time to start taking control of your environment and nutrition now if you want to lead a long, healthy life, and give that sort of life to your children as well.

 

Sources:

Bell, C. (2013, October 16). Epigenetics: How to alter your genes. Retrieved August 26, 2018, from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/10369861/Epigenetics-How-to-alter-your-genes.html

Ennis, C. (2014, April 25). Epigenetics 101: A beginner’s guide to explaining everything | Cath Ennis. Retrieved August 26, 2018, from https://www.theguardian.com/science/occams-corner/2014/apr/25/epigenetics-beginners-guide-to-everything

Ly, J. (2017, December 07). Can We Change Our Genes? Retrieved August 26, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jess-ly/can-we-change-our-genes_b_6306046.html

Q&A with Dr. Alfredo Galvez. (2013, November 25). Retrieved August 26, 2018, from https://blog.reliv.com/2013/11/25/qa-with-dr-alfredo-galvez/

Rettner, R. (2013, June 24). Epigenetics: Definition & Examples. Retrieved August 26, 2018, from https://www.livescience.com/37703-epigenetics.html.

 

 

Testimonial -Ruth Eckert

I first started seeing Dr. Melinda in early 2015.  Before that, I saw a chiropractor in St. Joseph & an acupuncturist in Overland Park.  I had heard wonderful things about Dr. Melinda – and it turns out they are all true!  At my first visit, Dr. Melinda took a great amount of time to go over my medical history, which at that time included numerous prescriptions for allergies and a history of lower back, neck and daily facial pain.  Dr. Melinda gave me my Wellness Plan at my second visit and suggested trying the Paleo food plan – she thought I may have food allergies in addition to seasonal allergies.

After several chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture sessions, plus converting to the Paleo lifestyle, I was able to stop using numerous nasal sprays & other prescription medicines. I now know what my “trigger” foods are, and I feel great!  My  allergist & ear/nose/throat doctors are amazed that I am no longer visiting them several times a year for infections.  Both have told me they are encouraging their other patients to try chiropractic and acupuncture.  My previous chiropractor had told me I have arthritis in my lower back – but after Dr. Melinda’s adjustments I rarely have any lower back pain.

If anyone is skeptical about trying acupuncture – give it a try!  It is painless – and I consider it a 20 minute nap.

Ruth Eckert

Testimonial – Lofy Family

While I (Emily) was pregnant with Ella, I had looked into some chiropractic care for myself as I neared the end of my pregnancy. I had gotten several recommendations from people about Dr. Melinda, so I had planned to schedule an appointment with her towards the end of the pregnancy to make sure everything was lined up correctly before labor. However, Miss Ella had other plans, and decided to show up before I could do any of that! After Ella was born, we started noticing some signs of acid reflux, including severe projectile vomiting, which was so scary to watch. We had heard of people bringing their newborn babies to a chiropractor for adjustments, which makes sense when you think about how crunched up they are in the womb and the stress they undergo during labor and birth, so after a very friendly and informative discussion with Dr. Melinda outside of her practice one day, we decided to set up an appointment and give it a try.

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The day of Ella’s first appointment, we were very ready to have Dr. Melinda do some adjustments on her. She was projectile vomiting a couple times a day and was quite fussy. Dr. Melinda was so gentle with her! She held her for part of the adjustment, made sure that Ella could see me throughout the whole appointment, and explained everything as she worked. We brought our son with us to each adjustment as well, and Trusted Care’s awesome office manager, Erin, was wonderful at keeping him entertained and occupied during Ella’s appointments! It’s such a great feeling to know that you’re respected and appreciated as a patient there.  In fact, Dr. Melinda even gave me a follow up call the day after Ella’s first adjustment to make sure she was doing well!

Ella had about five adjustments with Dr. Melinda, and we have seen such great improvement! After the first adjustment, Ella no longer experienced projectile vomiting. Her breathing was also improved, along with an exceptional ability to move gas out of her body quickly (the girl burps like it’s her job!). Our son experienced terrible acid reflux during his whole first year of life and the only treatment we sought for him was medication. Ella showed similar symptoms to his right away, but she is a completely different baby, and so much of that I think is due to the treatment she received from Dr. Melinda.

Testimonial – Myra Harwood

Growing up on the farm I always wanted to be out working with my older brother and my dad. I was also very competitive in sports. Both of those things meant various injuries to my joints and my back. When I was about 22, I suffered a significant injury to my right leg, hip and lower back while serving in the Navy. Additionally, I have been a nurse for over 25 years and we all know the work of a nurse takes it’s toll on the back, knees, hips and shoulders. After years of punishing my body I came to a point that I could no longer do the work I loved in the ER. It was simply too painful to continue. I had been to various chiropractors for 30 years. I had done physical therapy and had my back and hip injected but nothing worked long term. I also suffered from headaches and seasonal allergies that have gotten worse each year. Much to my dismay, in 2010 I had to take a nursing job that did not involve all the physical work as well as a job that could accommodate my absence due to severe headaches that occurred at least monthly.

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In August of 2014 a friend told me about Dr. Melinda at Trusted Care Chiropractic. I made the appointment that changed my life. First I was welcomed in like a dear friend by Erin. Then Dr. Melinda took an extensive health history. Then she performed a physical evaluation unlike any I had ever had before. Dr. Melinda developed a holistic plan of healing, recovery and maintenance for me and we set to work. I had chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture treatments and exercises to do at home. I was also encouraged to eat better, stay well hydrated and walk every day. The positivity in the office really makes me want to do better and be better! Plus they work very diligently to get everyone worked into appointments.

By December of 2014 I was able to return to the ER full time! I can meet and exceed all the physical demands of the job. I rarely have a headache! On those rare occasions the headaches are not nearly as intense, they are no longer accompanied by debilitating nausea and they may last an hour or so, not up to an entire day. My hip pain has been completely resolved and my back is better than it was in my 30s! I continue to get adjusted and receive acupuncture about every six weeks. The treatment I receive at Trusted Care Chiropractic has given me back the job I love and tremendously improved the quality of my life! I will always be grateful to Dr. Melinda.

– Myra Harwood

 

Chiropractic and Reduced Labor Pains

Rather than being wholly excited about the upcoming birth of their little one, many pregnant women develop anxiety over the act of giving birth. What if there were a way to help decrease not only the pains of labor, but the duration of labor? Regular chiropractic adjustments throughout the pregnancy have been found to not only decrease labor pains and labor time, but also helped mothers in their third trimester carry their baby more comfortably.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, along with reduced labor times and pain, chiropractic care throughout the pregnancy helps to maintain a healthier pregnancy, control symptoms of nausea, relieve back, neck and joint pain and also prevent a potential cesarean delivery. There are no known contraindications of chiropractic during pregnancy.

While all chiropractors are trained in the treatment and care of pregnant women, some take a particular interest in prenatal and postnatal care, including Dr. Melinda. She has gained close to 200 extra hours outside of the standard chiropractic education curriculum to specialize in prenatal, postnatal and pediatric care. If you are interested in how chiropractic can benefit you throughout your pregnancy, stop by the office at 310 Commercial Street, Atchison KS or call 913.367.5103 for more information! Below the photo are a few links to give more information on chiropractic during pregnancy.

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/chiropracticcare.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2647084/

http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=85

http://www.amplifeied.com/Post/chiropractic-during-pregnancy-has-been-shown-reduce-labor-times/da710f1b-3f81-427d-85e7-fa8bc378354a (photo)

 

Chiropractic and ADHD

Not many people realize that chiropractic can be very beneficial for kids. Whoa! Did she just put kids and chiropractic in the same sentence?! I absolutely did. Kids need chiropractic for many reasons, but the focus of this post is kids with ADHD and other learning and behavioral impairments.

Doctors of chiropractic are trained to identify neurological problems and find individual non-invasive treatment options. They can also assess your nutritional status and help you find the diet that will help you manage your condition. Below is a summary of a case study looking at chiropractic and ADHD:

A 2 year old is prescribed methylphenidate (Ritalin), Adderall, and Haldol for three years. This combination of drugs was unsuccessful in helping the child.

At the age of 5 he is taken to a chiropractor where it was noted that there were complications during his birth process. The results of this trauma and complications resulted in a 4-day stay in the neonatal intensive care unit. The child’s mother reported no other incidence of trauma since. Having completed a full physical and evaluation, the child began chiropractic care.

According to his mother, positive changes in her son’s general behavior become noticeable around the twelfth visit. By the 27th visit the patient had experienced considerable improvement.

The child went for a follow up visit to his original prescribing MD and his mother questioned the usage of the Ritalin. The medical doctor reviewed and examined the child and decided he could be taken off the medications that he had been taking for 3 years with no success.

I will not say that chiropractic can cure ADHD – it cannot. Rather, it is a very low risk alternative and/or complement to other forms of ADHD treatment. Many parents are turning to non-drug alternative treatments to help their children and chiropractic care along with some simple changes in diet may be just what your kid needs. The risks and side effects are negligible compared to prescription drugs, so I ask you, why not?  Why not try something different, yet completely safe, that could potentially be life changing for you and your child.

For more information about the case study above and about how chiropractic can help you or someone you love check out these websites:

ADHD – Alternative treatment utilizing a Chiropractor

The Effects of Chiropractic Treatment on Students with Learning and Behavioral Impairments due to Neurological Dysfunction

Acupuncture & Weight Loss

I have had a number of people come to me and ask if acupuncture can help with weight loss. I ask them if they remember the saying for smartphone applications, “There’s an app for that” – just like with apps, there’s an acupuncture point for that. So yes, weight loss is one of a wide range of conditions that may be assisted with acupuncture treatments.

The acupuncture points used in weight loss are mostly found in the ear (aka auricular acupuncture). Auricular acupuncture is used to reduce the stress and anxiety that can trigger overeating, reduce cravings and help balance the digestive system. These specific points in the ear also help your metabolism to function optimally, food to be digested properly and nutrients to be absorbed correctly.

Although acupuncture can play a helpful part in losing weight, it is most important that the person be holistically dedicated to the cause. A well-rounded approach including a healthy nutrition plan and increased physical activity is also vital to the overall weight loss plan!

If you are interested in trying acupuncture, come visit us at 310 Commercial St, Atchison KS, right across from the YMCA or call 913.367.5103 to schedule an appointment. Hope to see you soon and be well!

Check out these websites for more information on auricular acupuncture and how it can help with weight loss:

From Livestrong – Auricular Acupuncture for Weight Loss

From the Dr. Oz Show – Acupuncture and Weight Loss