Is it all in the Genes? Gut Health and Chronic Disease Conditions

What’s Really Going On?

In order to truly understand and unwind the various imbalances impacting your health, it is important to identify the problem or dysfunction occurring.

However, it is even more important to understand why.

Like most of us, I know that good health and healing is a natural function of the body. If I step on a rock and cut my foot, I expect it to heal.

So why are people not experiencing optimal health and function? Why aren’t their bodies healing as well?

The answer is quite simple. However, to understand healing and health, you must first study health and how healing happens.

The current healthcare system studies disease and disease processes. They study the physiology of disease. Wouldn’t it make more sense to study the physiology of HEALTH? Of optimal function? And to then study how that happens within the body and how ALL of the body systems function and work together?

Is it all in the Genes?

One prevailing story is that chronic disease, autoimmune disorders, neurodevelopmental conditions, and mental health issues are predominantly an issue of genetics. It says that our genetics are the cause of these problems and that there is little that can be done.

While the genes are indeed important in the development of certain disorders, the genetic theory as their sole cause completely ignores scientific data showing otherwise.

You see, you cannot have a genetic epidemic. It is impossible. Genes don’t change that rapidly.

Dr. Douglas F. Levinson, M.D. and Dr. Walter E. Nichols, M.D. from the Harvard School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences put it quite well in an article they have written when they say,

“No one simply “inherits” depression from their mother or father.  Each person inherits a unique combination of genes from their mother and father, and certain combinations can predispose to a particular illness. We don’t yet know how many genes are involved in depression, but it is very doubtful that any one gene causes depression in any large number of people.

There are probably genetic changes that can increase the predisposition to both major depression and to certain anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and social phobia.  However, many people who develop major depression did not have this type of personality before their depression started.”

The old model of diseases and disorders being a purely genetic issue is quickly falling away to the rational and scientifically supported position that these disorders are largely due to environmentally induced or stimulated autoimmune responses in genetically predisposed individuals.

Paul Hardy, M.D., puts it best stating,

“After twenty years of searching for the gene, or genes, and the expenditure of untold millions of dollars, no single gene, or set of genes, has been found. Possible gene loci have been identified, but what is very clear is that autism is a polygenetic condition with the environment probably playing a significant role in the expression of genetic factors. It is no longer genes versus environment – it is genes and environment!”

While Dr. Hardy is speaking specifically about autism in this quote, countless other providers and researchers are also discovering that many physical and mental health disorders involve the central nervous system (brain and autonomic nervous system), gastrointestinal system, immune system, and detoxification systems.

The result is whole body dysfunction with symptoms specific to each of those systems being in a state of dysfunction.  

Dr. Hardy describes the process quite well in the graphic below has been adapted for mental health disorders.

As you can see, the problem is a cyclic one as each system influences the other. Major gut dysfunction is a hallmark in a large percentage of individuals depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, OCD, autism, ADHD, and other mental/emotional health problems.

In a nutshell, problems with the gut result in a leaky gut which allows pathogens, proteins, and other materials to enter the bloodstream and produce a chronic and consistent autoimmune inflammatory response. This causes brain inflammation and the resultant changes in brain structure and function.

Combine this with a compromised or injured nervous system and suboptimal detoxification systems and you have a recipe for a chronic neurodegenerative condition.

While this process of chronic cyclic dysfunction, inflammation and autoimmune responses is quite daunting, it is a process that can be halted and reversed. Many children have seen tremendous leaps in health and function even when their parents have been told that nothing could be done, or their condition was incurable.

If you study the graphic above, it should become very clear what the interventions should be.

They should be those approaches, therapies and procedures aimed at supporting and strengthening the function of reparative processes of the nervous, gastrointestinal, immune and detoxification systems.

The truth is that no matter what an individual’s genetic situation and state of health, strategies and techniques can be employed that can improve their quality of life. Depending on the stage of the disease process, when it started and a person’s individual genetics, their recovery and healing process will vary accordingly. Nonetheless, there is always room for improvement in quality of life.

For a more in-depth look at this topic, I encourage you to read Gut and Psychology Syndrome which can be found on Amazon here.

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