Integrative Health Blog

Genes and Environmental Risks Are the Real Cause of Disease

Posted by on Wed, Oct 16, 2019

A quote from the Gene Environment Interaction Fact Sheet [1] from the Centers for Disease Control states that virtually all human…

“…diseases result from the interaction of genetic susceptibility factors and modifiable environmental factors, broadly defined to include infectious, chemical, physical, nutritional, and behavioral factors. This is perhaps the most important fact in understanding the role of genetics and environment in the development of disease. Many people tend to classify the cause of disease as either genetic or environmental. Indeed, some rare diseases, such as Huntington or Tay Sachs disease, may be the result of a deficiency of a single gene product, but these diseases represent a very small proportion of all human disease. Common diseases, such as diabetes or cancer, are a result of the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors.”

As a functional medicine  physician, for years I have incorporated genetic testing to help me diagnose the root causes of health problems. I would often find that the CDC  was spot on about the environmental and genetic factors in the development of disease. Once identified, physicians can work to correctly reverse environmental factors such as chronic infections, gastrointestinal disorders and toxicities as well as altering genetic expression which underlie many diseases, disorders and rapid aging.

It is important to remember that genetics may be turned “on” or “off” depending on the environmental factors- genes are modifiable.

The Dominoes of Healthcare

 

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Tags: functional medicine, genetics, Dr. Gant

The Reign of Pain is Mainly in the Brain

Posted by on Tue, Oct 01, 2019

In 2018 the CDC released a report estimating that 50 million Americans have chronic pain, and that 40% of those have “high-impact chronic pain,” defined as pain that is severe enough to frequently limit life or work activities.  Add to that the emotional version of pain – mood and sleep disorders – which often complicates the physical version of pain, and now we are talking about 50% of Americans. 

Why are so many people in mind and body pain, living lives that can't seem to find long-term, sustainable solutions?

Inflammation is certainly one of the factors, caused by Lyme Disease and chronic infections, gastrointestinal or microbiome disorders and food allergies. At the very least, integrative & functional medicine provides some relief in regards to inflammation, and a whole host of nutrients, from essential fatty acids to various anti-inflammatory herbals can get results for a lot of people.

The Real Source of Pain

However, what I would like to address here is a source of pain which is usually not addressed, the brain, which aligns with the title;  the reign of pain is mainly in the brain (borrowing the quip from one of the songs in the play My Fair Lady). 

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Tags: pain, Dr. Gant

Genetic Tests: Find Out How YOUR Genes Respond to Drugs and Medication

Posted by on Tue, Jul 30, 2019

Are you taking medications and wondered if they are the right ones for you?

If you have been taking them for a long time, have you been concerned that they might be adversely reacting with each other or taking a toll on your long-term health?  Are the doses too high or too low?

Do you suffer from sleep problems, mood shifts or fatigue and ever wondered if these symptoms are side effects of your medications?

These are good questions that millions of responsible healthcare consumers ask, and now with  genetic testing there is technology that can help you get some answers.

Pharmacogenomics, Genetic Testing for Drug Sensitivities

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Tags: functional medicine, genetics, Dr. Gant

Functional Medicine and Genetic Testing for Health

Posted by on Tue, Jun 11, 2019

Functional Medicine is a medical approach which involves testing for the underlying causes of disease and designing a treatment plan to address the root cause of the disorder, not just the symptoms.  It views and treats the body as a whole, integrated system. Many factors can lead to illness, such as lifestyle choices, environmental exposures, and genetic makeup, and all factors should be considered for personalized treatment.

At this moment, your unique genetic makeup and that of the people you love can be predisposing you/them to all types of medical and psychiatric disorders, even before symptoms show up.  Why live in the dark, hoping and praying that health problems are not sneaking up on you?  Now, you can bring the light of inexpensive, often insurance covered, genetic testing into your life and take charge of chronic ailments now, possibly prevent them from happening or put them off for decades. 

As the saying goes, If we don't test, we've guessed.  Isn't health too important to make guesses about? 

Functional Medicine is the Rosetta Stone of Modern Genetics

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Tags: functional medicine, genetics, Dr. Gant

The Age of Genetics

Posted by on Tue, May 21, 2019

Ever since I was a bright-eyed and bushy tailed medical student, roaming the hallowed halls of the University of Virginia Medical School over 40 years ago, the mantra of modern medicine was drilled into my head, that all disease is caused by two factors – genetic predispositions and environmental stressors – and that someday, we will know enough about the genetic side of the equation to make far greater contributions to our patient’s well-being and health. 

That day has arrived, but like any other monumental shift in history, it takes a while for the sea change to happen.  Genetic testing will soon become a routine standard of care for all healthcare practitioners, and it promises to revolutionize personalized medicine in the years ahead.

Genetic Testing for Drug Sensitivities, Disease Risk, Cancer and More

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Tags: genetics, Dr. Gant

Mindfulness-Based Treatments for Cancer and Other Chronic Illness

Posted by on Wed, May 15, 2019

What is Mindfulness?

Jon Kabat-Zinn[1] defines mindfulness as… “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”  

Several decades ago I had noticed the benefits of mindfulness-based interventions that I taught to cancer patients and to others suffering from serious chronic disorders, and I was happy to see formal publications appear in journals attesting to my clinical observations and efforts.  A meta-analysis[2] of the effects of mindfulness-based studies appeared in the journal Psycho-Oncology: Journal of Psychological, Social and Behavioral Dimensions of Cancer[3] in 2008. 

When Ledesma and Kumano published a meta-analysis over a decade ago, concluding that “The results suggest that MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) may improve cancer patients' psychosocial adjustment to their disease,” I was hopeful that finally Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and other mindfulness-based strategies would be incorporated into mainstream oncology and into healthcare in general. 

The Therapeutic Potential of Mindfulness

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Tags: cancer, mindfulness, Dr. Gant

The "Perfect Diet" for Everyone

Posted by on Sat, Mar 30, 2019

Two kinds of “perfect diets” exist.  The far more common, propagandized, “perfect” diet is the one-shoe-fits-all diet that bases their recommendations on a small slice of scientific evidence of one kind or another, such as the Fodmap Diet™ or a Paleolithic Diet ™.  The latter uses anthropological evidence about what humans and pre-humans have been eating for the last few million years, which makes some sense.  Such diets become popular based mostly on how well they are marketed and not on their validity.  A far less common “perfect diet” is the one that is congruent with your personalized needs, based on your immunological, allergic, endocrine, toxicological, nutritional, metabolic and genetic uniqueness. Functional medicine focuses on identifying and treating the many unique factors which can contribute to disease or poor health.

In the last year, as we have taken on the challenge of supporting the recoveries of cancer patients, we have mined ever deeper into the science-based, personalized, “perfect diet” that could add years to our patient’s lives and life to their years.  We are up against a healthcare system which has only recently begun to acknowledge, despite amassed studies for decades, that diet and lifestyle does matter in cancer recovery.  Despite a thawing of the healthcare system’s assumptions about lifestyle and diet, mainstream medicine is still far from acknowledging that a unique, “perfect diet” that is congruent with each and every cancer patient’s personalized needs, is extremely important to the recovery of each and every cancer patient.

How to Personalize Your Diet

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Tags: cancer, functional medicine, Dr. Gant

Melatonin and Cancer

Posted by on Mon, Mar 04, 2019

 

Melatonin’s benefits for a wide array of medical conditions are well substantiated:  treatment of insomnia, support of circadian rhythm, hormone balancing, reproductive health, cognition, mood, blood sugar regulation, bone metabolism, antioxidant protection and lowering of blood pressure are some of its studied benefits. 

Of note is that melatonin does not easily cross the blood brain barrier, so its benefits for sleep may be more related to its effects on other organs, especially since many organs in the body have far more melatonin receptors than the brain has.  This article will focus on the use of melatonin as a possible preventative and as an adjunctive therapy for cancer.

Possible Role of Melatonin and Cancer

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Tags: cancer, Dr. Gant

Natural Remedies for Colds and Viruses

Posted by on Tue, Jan 08, 2019

Cold and virus season can come on fast! The average cold lasts 2 weeks and can leave you feeling grouchy, tired and can sometimes turn into pneumonia or bronchitis, especially if your health is compromised in any way. Consider having these natural items on hand in case symptoms strike or if you are traveling and need an extra boost to the immune system.

Homeopathic remedies are especially helpful if taken at the first sign of a cold and may even help speed recovery. The suggested supplement dosages here are for adults, but always check with your physician first.

1)  Vitamin A is needed for the proper functioning of the eyes, skin, immune system and many other functions in the body. Vitamin A supplementation with 25000 units/day for 3 days is the adult dosage.

2)  Zinc is a mineral that can be effective for shortening the duration of colds, especially when taken at the first sign of illness. It is helpful for the boosting the immune system, fighting infection and wound healing. Optizinc suggested dosage 20 mg. - 4 a day until symptoms improve.

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Tags: natural remedies, Dr. Gant

Genetic Testing- A New Way to Influence How Kids Turn Out?

Posted by on Wed, Nov 21, 2018

 

A famous best-seller, The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do, by psychologist Judith Rich Harris, has been circulating for 20 years.  Based on amassed studies, parental influences on children matter a lot less than peer group influences, and they both matter less than genetic factors.  Parents are advised to not blame themselves if their children don’t become Rhodes scholars, because controlling peer group influences is difficult and controlling genetic expression is impossible.  Until the last few years, parents were expected to do the best they can to control the friends that their children hang out with, and hope that their children’s genes will line up well enough to someday produce a productive, happy member of society.

Power to Change the Things We Can

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Tags: methylation, genetics, chlldren's health, Dr. Gant