Eating and Living Holistically:
The purpose of a clean, green and lean lifestyle is to remove inflammation, toxicity, and unnecessary burdens so you can love your life and your health! Negative contributing factors like a high stress job, unhealthy foods, negative emotional patterns, lack or exercise or sleep, and environmental pollution greatly reduce health and can lead to many conditions including Obesity, Infertility, Autoimmune Conditions, Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, Pain Conditions and Diabetes.
As a Naturopathic Physician, our mission is to help you overcome these hurdles by discovering the underlying mechanisms of disease, helping you create healthier lifestyle habits, supporting nutritional deficiencies, and working with you to restore balance to your entire spirit-mind-emotion-physical being. The first part of better living and eating is taking a good look at the environment around you and what you are putting into your body.
What Can Pesticides Do For Your Health?
Most pesticides are fat soluble toxins that enter organs with higher fat content and disrupt hormone regulation by mimicking estrogens, leading to changes in metabolism, reproductive function, neurological function, and can even cause chromosomal aberrations. Pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been linked to higher total cholesterol, triglycerides, and increased cardiovascular disease (1).
Obesity has also been connected to ingestion of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), showing increased abdominal girth and fat mass (2). OCPs are endocrine disruptors mimic sex hormones and have been linked with increased risk of breast and prostate cancers (3).
Pesticides have also been connected to children with low birth weight and increased body fat in school age children (4). Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) like PCBs and OCPs have even been linked to Type 2 Diabetes as well. Pesticide exposures can affect multiple organ systems, leading to neurotoxicity, birth defects, delayed fertility, spontaneous abortions, altered growth, skin conditions, and increased chromosomal damage (6).
Green Living Solutions
Ingesting clean organically grown produce (5+ above ground vegetables and 2 fruits) greatly helps lessen toxic burden of pesticide ingestion, but also provides other health benefits. For example, intake of legumes, whole grains, fruits, and cruciferous vegetables (ie foods high in fiber) significantly reduced the risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in a large US NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study containing > 490,000 participants (7).
Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and Atherosclerosis
Obesity has been linked with having inappropriate bacteria, like theMethanobacteriales, which are petroleum degrading bacteria that digest pesticides and prescription drugs (2). There is good evidence that artificial sweeteners can alter the gut microbiome, leading to glucose intolerance and weight gain in humans (10). Obesity in children has been observed in those with higher levels of Staphylococcus aureus and lower levels of Bifidobacteriaduring infancy (11).
Type 2 Diabetes has also been linked to inflammatory bacterial constituents like lipopolysaccharides (LPS) from gram negative bacteria because LPS can impair glucose metabolism (11). Insulin resistance has even been reduced when butyrate producing bacteria were transplanted from lean healthy donors into obese patients (11). Current studies are even looking at Type 1 Diabetes and links to altered gut microbiota that may be responsible for the autoimmune attack on pancreatic beta islet cells.
There are so many different studies linking microbial pathogens to high cholesterol and atherosclerosis as well. For instance, Chryseomonas, Veillonella, and Streptococcus found in the gut and oral cavity were also found in atherosclerotic plaques (11). While there are many different microbe species, it’s important to note that health status was improved in humans carrying bacteria that produced butyrates, beta-carotene, and did not break choline or carnitine into toxic metabolites (11).
Good Microbes Do Good Things
Lactobacillus spp. can protect cells from E. coli verocytotoxins, inhibit growth ofS. aureus bacteria and reduce their ability to produce enterotoxins (8). Many good bacteria, like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria spp. and others, create SCFAs to feed our intestinal cells, reduce inflammation and cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, reduce antibiotic induced diseases, and can reduce numerous metabolic, gut, and liver-related illnesses (12). Gut bacteria also create GABA, vitamin K, vitamin B12, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), breakdown good polyphenols for intestinal absorption, metabolize toxins like p-cresol, offer antimicrobial protection, and trigger intestinal expression of secretory IgA (13).
Functional Medicine focuses on identifying the underlying factors found in disease, or disharmony, by holistically integrating conventional and alternative approaches to health. The practice of Functional Medicine (FM) is very comprehensive, looking in depth at how your biochemical individuality reacts with the environment, diet and lifestyle to shape your level of health. For instance, many people have similar complaints such as arthritic joint pains or IBS, but the treatment approaches may be very different based upon how your system functions at the epigenetic, genetic, biochemical, and physiological levels. Some people simply require more vitamin D than others because their receptors do not bind the vitamin D well, just like one person may be fine on 6 hours of sleep but another may need 8 hours of sleep to function optimally.
The goals of FM are to naturally restore proper physiology and biochemistry to optimize health. Functional Medicine examines the complex web of relationships between symptoms, organ systems (including your mind, body, and emotions), biochemical individuality and the environment to better understand how you function as a whole. You are unique and each part of a treatment plan should be geared to how best to help you achieve wellbeing. Functional Medicine also realizes your body has an inherent healing capacity if it is given what it needs to function appropriately. Health is more than just the absence of disease; it is a state of high vitality and adaptability. Symptoms occur when that adaptability is limited.
Many symptoms and disease processes can occur from lack of certain nutrients. Hence, determining the best diet, supplementation, and other treatment modalities based upon Functional Medicine will give you the best picture of how to regain your health. Fatigue in one person may be from iron deficiency while another may suffer the same symptoms from vitamin B12 deficiency. Furthermore, the iron deficiency could actually be coming from vitamin C or copper deficiency. FM can easily examine these and other nutrients to determine why you may be so tired all of the time. The best part of FM is that it can easily be used to help anyone who suffers from any number of complaints (from skin to internal organs and even emotional health issues) because it is focused on how your body is reacting to the environment, instead of lumping you into a group and hoping the treatment fits you.
You don’t have to be “sick” to benefit from Functional Medicine. Many patients come to get into a better state of health. The FM process looks at amino acid, organic acid, neurotransmitter, and nutritional testing to determine if you require additional nutritional support to better balance your body functions. Whether you are thinking about paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, ketogenic, detox, alkaline, genotype diets or any others, you first want to consider looking at it from a FM perspective to determine which nutrients you can properly absorb and utilize. One person may function fine with high protein and vegetables while others may require some carbohydrates to be truly healthy. FM helps you to better understand your body, what works right for you, and helps you be more proactive to achieve better health and vitality.