The Greatest Challenge
What if we had the answers and no one listened? What if we had the means to prevent the majority of heart attacks, strokes and cancers? What if there was a fundamentally different approach to chronic illness that was superior to the current model?
I believe there is a better way.
For two years, I have been working on a book on integrative medicine. I was hoping to improve my clinical practice and have instead found important new concepts beyond what I could have imagined.
The best medicine in the 21st century will include an individualized approach based on a person’s genetic variation. My research started with MTHFR, which is a major player, but I am now getting into other SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) including cystathione beta synthase (CBS), catechol-o-methyl transferase (COMT), nitric oxide synthase (NOS), and many others.
Many of these enzymes are found within the methylation cycles and are implicated in the majority of chronic health conditions including autism, cardiovascular disease, neurological conditions and mental health problems. A mom I see in the office recommended the website www.heartfixer.com. A cardiologist James Roberts, MD, is the primary source for information at the site, but he gives ultimate credit to the genius savant Amy Yasko, PhD.
With Dr. Roberts, as with many who seek alternative approaches, it required personal health issues for him to break out of his allopathic box. He maintains that if he were born now, rather than in the 1950s, with his constellation of genetic abnormalities, he would likely have developed autism. What is the difference between 1955 and now? Not his genetics, but the toxic environment in which we all live.
Clarifying an individual’s genetic anomalies should be a paradigm shift for medicine. It should revolutionize cardiovascular prevention. It should fundamentally alter our approach to the field of psychiatry. We should be able to explain at a deep level why some people are ill and others are not.
Over the next century, will healthcare providers be trained as experts in genetics, methylation cycles, and biochemistry so they can individualize their recommendations for diet, lifestyle, environmental controls and detoxification? Will this help us find the optimal vitamins and supplements? I fear not.
What do genetic SNP analysis, dysbiosis (the term for a microbial imbalance), yeast overgrowth, immune dysfunction, chronic Lyme disease, thyroid dysfunction, iodine deficiency, adrenal fatigue, pH balance, food sensitivities, heavy metal toxicity, and others all have in common?
They are not part of standard medical training? Yes. They need more research before most medical professionals will accept them as important? Yes.
They require testing not performed in mainstream laboratories? Typically, yes. There is also no accepted mainstream standard of care.
Perhaps the most important distinction, however, among this list of “alternative” health issues is that there is no pharmaceutical solution. Dietary changes, stress management, environmental control, detoxification, herbs, vitamins and supplements are the primary treatment options for most of them.
For the methylation cycle abnormalities, the most effective intervention is an optimal combination of methylated B vitamins (although there is much more to it than simply using methyl folate and methyl-B12).
With less opportunity for profit and no access to the resources of the pharmaceutical industry, I think it is probable that these important areas will remain on the fringe. The Borg will protect itself and its interests from any outsiders that question its authority.
But is resistance truly futile? No.
For me, at this point in my practice, I think the most important first step for many with chronic medical issues is an analysis of their genetic variation (but you would need to find a practitioner who can help manage any anomalies that turn up). The website 23andme can run a list of important SNPs for $99 and then the raw data can be processed through websites like genetic genie, livewello or Yasko’s knowyourgenetics.com. The website heartfixer.com and Yasko’s Pathways to Recovery on her website are good resources after that but beware the complexity.
When Amy Yasko wins the Nobel prize in Medicine, we can say that these issues have penetrated the mainstream. Until then, we just have to find like-minded people and do our best.