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Nutrigenomics Should Matter to You

by Mila McManus, MD

Nutrigenomics is a relatively new field that is dedicated to understanding how food impacts the expression of your genetic make-up. 

Nutrigenomics is a relatively new field that is dedicated to understanding how food impacts the expression of your genetic make-up.   The good news is that you don’t have to accept some predetermined fate as a result of your genetic makeup.   While it is true that your genes influence your health and longevity, they don’t determine it fully. 

Think of your genes like a dimmer switch. The activity (i.e., expression) of your genes can be turned up or down.  You control that dimmer switch. You have the ability to turn your genetic health up and  your genetic disease propensities down, and it all has to do with your lifestyle choices.

What is the one, most powerful tool you can use every day to favorably impact your genes and your biology?  YOUR FORK!

“There’s no other activity you do on a daily basis that has more power to change your biology than what you eat.”*[1] 

When you choose nutrient-rich foods, you can turn on genes that promote health and longevity, while turning down genes that contribute to disease.[2] The food you put in your mouth has coded messages for your genes. This is nutrigenomics. Nutrient-rich foods will signal your body to express its wellness genes, while processed fake foods will signal your body to express sickness genes.

Processed foods change your gene expression to turn on disease causing genes through inflammation, oxidative stress, and damage to the microbiome.

Eating fruits and vegetables is key to achieving your optimal genetic potential.  The rainbow colors of fruits and vegetables are proof of the priceless polyphenols found in them. Polyphenols are phytonutrients that fight inflammation and activate longevity pathways to slow down the aging process.[3]

Another way to achieve your genetic potential is through a healthy gut microbiome.[4] Eating polyphenols, as well as fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and resistant starch, all feed and nourish your microbiome.  These important bacteria produce compounds such as short-chain fatty acids and other metabolites that strengthen the gut lining, improve digestion, and support the immune response.

Eating a wholesome diet nourishes your body and also sends positive signals to your genes!  Consuming ultra-processed foods, stripped of gene-enhancing nutrients, disrupts these signals and contributes to disease.

Eat Real Food to Turn Up Your Healthy Switch!

[1] Hyman, Mark. What I Eat for Health and Longevity. Journal-post dated Monday, May 20, 2024.

[2] Pignatti C, D’Adamo S, Stefanelli C, Flamigni F, Cetrullo S. Nutrients and Pathways that Regulate Health Span and Life Span. Geriatrics (Basel). 2020 Nov. 19; 5(4):95. Doi:10.3390/geriatrics5040095. PMID: 33228041; PMCID: PMC7709628.

[3] Pereira QC, Dos Santos TW, Fortunato IM, Ribeiro ML. The Molecular Mechanism of Polyphenols in the Regulation of Ageing Hallmarks.  International Journal of Molecular Science. 2023 March 14;24(6):5508. Doi: 10.3390/ijms24065508. PMID:36982583; PMCID:PMC10049696.

[4] Kassem NM, Abdelmegid YA, El-Sayed MK, Sayed RS, Abdel-Aalla MH, Kassem HA.  Nutrigenomics and microbiome shaping the future of personalized medicine: a review article. Journal of Genetic Engineering Biotechnology. 2023 Nov 22;21(1):134. Doi: 10.1186/s43141-023-00599-2. PMID:37993702; PMCID: PMC10665279.

By |2024-06-13T06:30:25-05:00June 13th, 2024|Articles, General|

E-Store: Better, Faster Supplement Orders!

by Mila McManus, MD

Announcing our new e-store to make ordering easier and faster than ever.  Just bookmark the link below, click on it and start your order. 

Announcing our new e-store to make supplement ordering easier and faster than ever.  Just click on the link below and start your order.  You can also bookmark it to your browser for easy finding for future shopping! You will be given payment options including credit card, PayPal, shop Pay, G Pay, and Venmo. If you need to submit advance payments or Care Credit payments virtually, use this link, and then use the QR Code provided on the page.

https://twihwshop.com/

Do you know why it is essential to buy only professional-grade supplements? Read this!

Have you forgotten why you need your supplements? Read this :

Be Well!

By |2024-06-05T16:09:48-05:00June 6th, 2024|General|

Beware If You Have Food Allergies!

by Mila McManus MD

The FDA may allow food companies to ignore allergen contamination when designing food safety programs to address allergen risks.

If you, or someone you love, has food allergies, you need to know that the FDA is not protecting you from exposure to allergens in processed and packaged foods!

Recently, the FDA stated it may simply allow food companies to ignore small amounts of allergen contamination when designing food safety programs to address allergen risks.  The FDA leaves it up to the food companies to decide what these thresholds might be and how to ensure that consumers are not put at too much risk by the contamination.  As a result, you need to use your own judgment regarding who you trust and to understand the risk involved when you or your children are consuming packaged and processed foods.  Labeling may not be helpful or honest. There really isn’t a comprehensive system to define what allergen labels like “may contain” really mean. 

Companies, looking for solid profit margins, are reluctant to prevent cross contamination because of the costs involved to ensure it, such as having another set of equipment.  Worse yet, some food companies are leveraging a loophole and adding some allergens to the recipes to all their foods to avoid having to prevent cross contamination.

One in ten people in the US have food allergies.  Forty percent of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food. Allergic reactions to foods usually occur within minutes or at most, a couple of hours, after eating a food allergen.  Common symptoms include flushed skin, rash, hives, tingling or itchy sensations in the mouth, face, tongue, or lip swelling. Also, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or abdominal cramps, coughing, wheezing, dizziness, lightheadedness, swelling of the throat and vocal cords, difficulty breathing, and loss of consciousness are possible.  Food allergies are different than food sensitivities.  With food sensitivities, there’s no potential for anaphylaxis, and reactions usually manifest 3 to 7 days following ingestion. Furthermore, food sensitivities can result in a wide variety of symptoms. 

The official nine ingredients which account for at least 90% of allergic reactions in the US are eggs, soy, milk, wheat, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and sesame. 

 If you are interested in taking action, you can look at the FDA’s recent draft guidance, titled “Chapter 11: Food Allergy Program of the Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food: Draft Guidance for Industry“.

Here is just one more good reason to eat real whole food, shop the perimeter of the grocery store, grow your own food, go to farmers markets, and buy certified organic, non-GMO foods. For allergy or food sensitivity testing, discuss with a medical provider here at TWIHW.

Steer clear, stay well.

Reference: Crezo, Adrienne. CSPI News: “Have a food allergy? What to know about FDA’s new guidance”. March 20, 2024.

By |2024-05-30T08:12:17-05:00May 30th, 2024|General|

Plastic Cutting Boards: Are Yours Safe?

by Mila McManus, MD

Research demonstrates plastics is a public health concern and may be one of many factors contributing to chronic inflammation and disease. 

Mounting research is demonstrating that our chronic exposure to plastics is a public health concern and may be one of many factors contributing to chronic inflammation and disease.  From bottled water to kitchen cutting boards, everyone can take steps to reduce and minimize exposure and ingestion of microplastics.

According to one study, scientists cut carrots on two types of plastic cutting boards, one  made with polypropylene and the other with polyethylene.  Each time the boards were used to cut carrots, the scientist measured up to as many as 1,114 microplastic particles from the board on the carrots.  Microplastic particles are pieces of plastic less than five millimeters long.  They estimated that over the course of one year, 50 grams of  microplastics, roughly equivalent to ten plastic credit cards is released onto the food being prepped.

Microplastics are being found in human lungs, blood, and even in the placenta.  These plastics have chemical additives in them which disrupt the endocrine/hormonal and reproductive system.  All plastic objects can become a source of microplastic ingestion once they begin to degrade. Most plastics don’t break down in the environment, but they do break apart into these microparticles which then can absorb chemical pollutants and microorganisms.  In other words, microplastic particles are a vehicle on which other chemicals can hitch a ride, enter the body, and wreak havoc.  Both the plastic and its passengers pose a health threat.

                Here are a few good places to begin reducing exposure to microplastics:

  • Replace plastic cutting boards with glass, marble, bamboo, or solid wood boards.  
  • Replace all of your plastic utensils and kitchenware with glass, stainless steel, and silicone.
  • Avoid drinking from disposable plastic water bottles. These bottles, if exposed to warm, humid, sunny environments (think outside of the grocery pick up area of your favorite grocer, or on non-airconditioned delivery trucks, or in your car on a hot day), degrade very easily in response to temperature change or mechanical stress.  This causes harmful chemicals to end up in the water you’re drinking from plastic bottles.
  • Filter your city tap water. Go to ewg.org for information about water contamination, problems, solutions, and recommendations.

Avoid Plastics. Be Wise. Be Well.

References:

Culpepper, J.R. Making meals without microplastics: Tips to safer cutting boards. Environmental Working Group, October 20, 2023.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/Soo45653522007603#sec3.1

 

 

 

               

By |2024-05-22T15:24:33-05:00May 23rd, 2024|General|

What Do Multiple Sclerosis and Epstein-Barr Virus Have to Do With Each Other?

by Mila McManus MD

Michael Levy, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a recent interview that new groundbreaking findings confirm that Epstein-Barr Virus is “likely the primary cause of Multiple Sclerosis [MS].

Epstein-Barr Virus [EBV] exists in 90-95% of adults.  It is a germ that, when contracted, results in flu-like symptoms, and is the cause of infectious mononucleosis, also known as”Mono” and “the kissing disease”.  Once a person has had EBV infection, the virus settles into the human body for life.  For most people, it remains dormant and harmless. However, EBV is implicated as a cause of several types of cancer (lymphoma and nasopharyngeal tumors) and MS.

Epstein-Barr Virus was first linked to MS back in 1981.  In 2022, the landmark study was published in Science. Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School analyzed blood serum from 10 million active-duty members of the US military.  They identified 801 recruits with MS and matched them with more than 1500 controls.  They found that 800 of the 801 recruits had been infected with EBV; infection seemed to boost the risk for MS 32-fold.

In MS, the immune system attacks the protective myelin sheath and the axons it insulates. There are two main theories about why EBV causes MS.  The first is called the “molecular mimicry” theory. The thought is that EBV triggers MS when the immune system mistakes a viral protein for a myelin protein and then attacks myelin.  The second theory proposes that EBV is a driver of MS, where an ongoing, lifelong immunological response to EBV continuously causes damage in the central nervous system. There is some evidence for each one of these theories.

In theory, then, if EBV can be eradicated from the body, eradication could be a treatment and a cure for MS. It remains unclear why most people infected with EBV do not develop MS. While most of the world gets exposed to EBV, only 1 in 1000 people get MS.  

If you have MS, or have reactivated EBV or a family history of EBV or infectious mononucleosis, talk with your medical provider about possible treatments for MS, or to reduce your risk of MS.

Be well. Live Well.

Ref:   science.org

               

By |2024-05-09T06:38:09-05:00May 9th, 2024|General|

Essential Oils: Good for You, Dangerous for Pets?

By Mila McManus MD

Essential oils derive many potential health benefits for humans but are dangerous for your pets! They are used in many products.

Essential oils offer many potential health benefits for humans but are dangerous for your pets! Popular today, essential oils are used in many body and household products. They are in lotions, candles, and household cleaners. They can be diffused or applied directly to the human body. People all over the world are trading in their chemical-heavy household products for essential oil based products without an awareness of the potential harm to pets.

Why are they dangerous for pets, you ask?  Essential oils are very powerful, and their molecules are highly reactive compounds within our own bodies.  That is the characteristic that makes them powerful and generally favorable for humans but poisonous for pets, messing with the body chemistry of animals which is obviously different than that of humans.

In small quantities, and not applied directly to your pet or surfaces your pet inhabits, there may be no problem.  Generally however, it is recommended that you not use any essential oil on your pets or as remedies for pet maladies.  If you infuse them throughout your home, and have pets, you may want to consider if it is having a negative impact on your pet.

Common symptoms that could result from overexposure to essential oils in your pets include drooling, fatigue, pawing at the mouth or face, redness or burns on lips, tongue, skin, or gums, difficulty breathing, weakness, difficulty walking or stumbling, muscle tremors, and vomiting.  If your pet has these symptoms, contact your veterinarian or call the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680.

Several brands of household cleaners are made to be pet friendly. Take a look at Puracy, Mrs. Myers, Seventh Generation, and Biokleen brands. Also consider making your own cleaners with vinegar and baking soda, both inexpensive and safe for pets.  One cup of white vinegar to one cup of water is an excellent all-purpose surface and window cleaner.

We vote for healthy people AND healthy pets!  Be well.

References:

newsletter@badlandsranch.com, 2/23/24.

https://furchildpets.com/blog/8-diy-homemade-cleaners-that-are-safe-for-pets

www.foundanimals.org

By |2024-05-01T15:43:16-05:00May 2nd, 2024|General|

Sleep Apnea: STOP-BANG

by Mila McManus MD

Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, is a serious sleep disorder where a person’s breathing actually stops and starts while they are sleeping.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, is a serious sleep disorder where a person’s breathing actually stops and resumes while sleeping. STOP-BANG is a mnemonic for determining risk factors for sleep apnea.

If you answer YES to three or more of these questions, you are at high risk for moderate to severe OSA!

S – do you SNORE loudly

T – do you feel TIRED, fatigued, or sleepy during the daytime?

O – has anyone OBSERVED you stop breathing during your sleep?

P – do you have, or are you being treated for, high blood PRESSURE?

 

B – is your Body Mass Index [BMI]  above normal?

AAge over 50?

N Neck circumference greater than 15.7 inches?

G – is your Gender male?

Poor sleep quality can undermine all of your hard work with eating better and getting exercise. Furthermore, it puts you at significant risk for other diseases. Poor quality sleep or inadequate sleep, often caused by OSA,  is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke, obesity, depression, reduced immune function, and lower sex drive. 

Quality sleep is a foundational need for good health and longevity, along with a healthy diet and exercise. If you answered YES to three or more of the STOP-BANG questions, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting a sleep study and a targeted strategy for improving sleep. Ask one of our medical providers to order a sleep study for you and begin creating a successful sleep strategy.  Your life and health depend on quality sleep!  Making the assumption that you don’t have sleep apnea because you think you sleep well could have tragic consequences.

Be Wise. Be Well. Sleep well.

References:

Chung, F., Yegneswaran, B., Liao, P., Vairavanathan, S., Islam, S., Khajehdehi, A., & Shapiro, C.M. (2008). STOP questionnaire – a tool to screen patients for obstructive sleep apnea. Anesthesiology, 108(5), 812-821.

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/happens-body-dont-get-enough-sleep

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20377631

 

 

By |2024-04-16T13:34:38-05:00April 17th, 2024|General|

Medications that Increase Blood Glucose Levels

by Mila McManus MD

There are several medications that can cause blood glucose destabilization and weight gain, insulin resistance, or type 2 diabetes.

One of the more common complaints my patients present with is weight gain, and sometimes medications are the culprit.  Our goal is to identify root causes for diseases of any kind, and through lifestyle choices and natural approaches, work to correct problems rather than prescribing medications, which often cause more negative side effects.

There are several medications that can cause blood glucose destabilization and, as a result, weight gain, insulin resistance, or type 2 diabetes.  If you are currently on any of theses medications, talk to one of our medical providers to discuss alternative ways to address your issues and possibly not need to take a prescription drug. Never stop a prescription medication without guidance from a medical practitioner.

The medications most commonly known to cause weight gain and metabolic disturbances are:

  • Glucocorticoids/corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone, dexamethasone, methylprednisolone)
  • Antipsychotics (e.g., clozapine, olanzapine)
  • Antidepressants (e.g., Abilify, Seroquel, lithium)
  • Thiazide diuretics (e.g., hydrochlorothiazide, chlorthalidone)
  • Statins (e.g., simvastatin, rosuvastatin, atorvastatin)
  • Beta-blockers (e.g., atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol)

Everyone benefits from diet and lifestyle habits that support healthy blood glucose levels. Dietary and lifestyle changes often eliminate the need for many of these drugs. Moreover, there are other natural approaches worth trying to avoid using prescription drugs, where possible.

Be Well.

Resources:

Jain, A.B., MD., Top 5 Medications That Can Increase Blood Glucose Levels. www.medscape.com, January 30, 2024.

By |2024-04-03T14:04:36-05:00April 4th, 2024|General|

Purity: A Better Coffee Lovers Coffee!

by Mila McManus, MD

We now carry an organic, antioxidant rich, mold free, coffee option in our office that only uses organic beans, Purity Coffee.

Last year, we posted this ARTICLE https://woodlandswellnessmd.com/coffee-talk.html about the many health concerns with coffee and how to avoid them.  Because coffee lovers abound, and so many people enjoy starting their day with a cup or two, we now carry an organic, antioxidant rich, mold free coffee option in our office.

Purity Coffee uses only organic beans sourced from regenerative bio-dynamic farms. In other words, this coffee is not destroying the rainforest, or the animals and birds that live there.  It also means you get pure, non-genetically modified, pesticide-free, clean pure coffee.  Additionally, Purity Coffee is packaged in a way to prevent mold growth on the bean, another toxic aspect of most common grocery store and coffee shop coffees.

Purity coffee comes in four formulas:

Ease Purity Coffee is crafted for easy digestion and is an organic arabica coffee, also an excellent cold brew option. This formula has a reduced acid profile and increased antioxidant compounds which protect against free radicals. The taste profile for Ease is dark chocolate, roasted walnut and brown spice.

Flow Purity Coffee is a medium roasted organic formula for overall health. The taste profile boasts roasted nuts, dark chocolate and juicy apple-like high notes and is rich in antioxidants, yet gentle on the stomach.

Balance Purity Coffee is a medium roast coffee with one third the caffeine of most coffee, but with a high antioxidant content. The taste profile is vanilla, berry, and roasted almond flavors.

Protect Purity Coffee is a light-medium roast with sweet citrus characteristics, specifically sourced and roasted for liver care and metabolic vitality and offering the highest achievable levels of antioxidants.  The taste profile is toasted hazelnut, hint of brown spice and sweet, juicy notes.

This coffee comes in whole bean, sachet [used like a teabag], and pods. We carry whole beans 12 oz bags  and sachets,  and pods or 5 lb bags can be special ordered. Call or come by to get your perfect cup of joe!

Reference: 2023 Product Guide published by Purity Coffee

 

By |2024-03-27T14:16:08-05:00March 28th, 2024|General|

Omega-3: Research Indicates Many Benefits

by Mila McManus, MD

There has been significant research demonstrating the value of omega-3 fatty acids but several new studies reveal many other benefits!

There has been significant research demonstrating the value of omega-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular benefits, and several new studies reveal many other benefits as well! It should be no surprise since omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory.

Brain Function: Learning, Memory, Behavior, Anti-Aging[1]

Nutrition Neuroscience presented a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (aka BDNF). BDNF is a protein in the brain and nerves that preserves nerve cells as well as encourages the growth of new nerves.  The growth of new nerve cells in the brain is called “neuroplasticity”, or “brain plasticity”.  This refers to the brain’s ability to heal and direct activity over new pathways. BDNF supports brain function as we age, as well as plays an important role in learning, memory, and behavior at all ages.

Migraine Headaches[2]

Advances in Nutrition posted a review of a meta-analysis of 6,616 participants treated over 18 weeks showed high dose omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA outperformed existing pharmaceutical drugs in reducing the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.

Reduced Risk for Autoimmune Disease[3]

The randomized VITAL trial reported that among 21,592 participants who agreed to be followed for an additional 2 years after discontinuation of the trial, found that the benefits of daily marine omega-3 fatty acids remained statistically significant even two years after taking it to protect against autoimmune disease. Both Vitamin D and Omega-3’s were found to be protective while being taken, but the Omega-3 benefit continued to be prevalent even two years after supplementation was discontinued.

Ideal dietary sources for Omega 3 fatty acids, which can be difficult to get in the standard American diet (aka SAD), include fatty fish such as mackerel, anchovies, herring, sardines, rainbow trout, and salmon. Flaxseed, chia seed, and walnuts are also rich sources. Supplemental krill or cod liver oil are also excellent sources.  A note–farmed salmon is extremely toxic, so be mindful about eating wild Pacific Salmon only!

Talk to your medical provider to determine if Omega-3 supplementation is right for you and to ensure the appropriate dose and type of supplementation for you.

Reduce inflammation. Be Well.

[1] Ziaei, S., et. al., A systematic review and meta-analysis of the omega-3 fatty acids effects on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Nutrition Neuroscience, August 17, 2023. Doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2023.2245996.

[2] Tseng, P.-T., et.al., High dosage omega-3 fatty acids outperform existing pharmacological options for migraine prophylaxis: A network meta-analysis. Advances in Nutrition, August 8, 2023. Doi.org/10.1016/j.advnut.2023.100163.

 [3] Osterweil, Neil. Preventing autoimmune disease: New findings on vitamin D,o Omega-3 supplements. Medscape Medical News. February 7, 2024.

By |2024-03-20T10:01:53-05:00March 21st, 2024|General|