Genetics, Environment & Leaky Gut

The free content pages are designed to give you information and encouragement to take a stand for your child’s health.  I hope that by reading this information you will see that you have an immense power to help dramatically improve their health.

Any parent who wants it should have access to the information, support and tools they need to help improve their child’s health.

The free content pages are designed to give you information and encouragement to take a stand for your child’s health.  I hope that by reading this information you will see that you have an immense power to help dramatically improve their health.

The integrative approach to chronic and autoimmune conditions is very different from the conventional approach and there is so much information out there it can truly boggle the mind. Just trying doing a search on natural approaches to eczema for example and you will get a million different opinions!  I have spent…oh who am I kidding…. I still do spend more hours than I care to count with Uncle Google!

For me it’s not so bad because I am a bit of a geek about this stuff…it is my work and passion.

But I don’t want it to be that much work for you.  

When you are a busy parent getting the time to sit down and spend quality time with Uncle Google, reading through his endless articles, is pretty impossible!

The Information you find here is based not only in recent scientific research, but proven effective through my personal experience with my son, and by the experience of many thousands of people who have turned to functional medicine and alternative therapies. I’ve curated the jargon and boring stuff for you to make these resources easy to read and get your head around. It will save you time and tones of frustration. You don’t need to spend hours on this stuff to help your child.  You just need to get a basic understanding of what is going on inside your child’s body.

And more importantly see the windows of opportunity for making change! 

You can research and read until the proverbial cows come home but until you are able to start taking action you are not improving your child’s health. Read the free info that is here for you and then make plan. Decide where you will start, even if it is one small step. It is time to start taking action. Even small action is a step in the right direction!

Do you prefer to listen rather than read?

You can access downloadable Mp3 audio recordings of all this information so you can listen and learn on the go. When you join the Kids Health Revolution Free Community you get access to the audio files and much more. Click here for details.

It is more than just genes.

I am not a medical doctor but my experience and personal research in order to help my son has taught me a lot about autoimmune, chronic illness and neurological conditions in general.  I would like to share some of this background information with you to help you understand that changing your child’s health is within your power. Though much of the information refers only to autoimmune conditions it does indeed relate to other chronic health conditions such as eczema and asthma.

The information and science about chronic illness and autoimmune disease is vast and intimidating.  However, you don’t need to go back to school for your biochemistry or medical degree in order to help your child.  You just need to have a general understanding of a few key points and you are on your way.

The information I have presented is not from conventional medicine who would have you believe there is very little you as a parent can do for your child.  The science I present here (in a condensed form) is based on the amazing work of functional medicine practitioners such as Dr. Mark Hyman, medical and research pioneers such as Dr. Fasano and the amazing work of Dr. Natasha Cambell-McBride, Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas, Sarah Ballantyne, PhD and Elaine Gottschall.

This information is just that.  It is not intended to diagnose, treat or replace medical advice.  

The holistic practices including functional medicine view the body and its parts as being inter related.  They take what is referred to as a systems approach to any illness.  In other words, just because my son’s issue is with his skin does not mean we should ONLY focus on the skin but rather we should look at his entire system and how it is functioning.

According to Functional Medicine there is a trinity of events that relate to autoimmune disease and chronic illness.  You will notice that only one of these is genetics.  The fact is genetics alone is not enough, there must also be a trigger…or sometimes several triggers.

1.    Genetic predisposition
2.    Environmental trigger
3.    Leaky Gut

So let’s jump in and take a look at each one of these.

Genetics

The study of genetics is vast and complicated.  Add into it the new and emerging field of epigenetics and it gets pretty crazy!  I’m not going to go into a majorly detailed description of genetics I think it is more detail than we really need to know for our purposes.

However, it is important to know that a genetic predisposition does not mean that we are necessarily going to develop a certain disease nor does it mean we are completely powerless to affect change and improve health.  

Autoimmune conditions and most chronic illness are thought to have a genetic component.  If your child has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease its likely you were told that it is genetic and then asked about other family members who may suffer from the same condition.  This can be most confusing. It was for us, as we have no family history of vitiligo at all.

So we were left questioning how a genetic disease found its way into our son when no one else seemed to have it!

A lot of research and fumbling around in the dark later and here is what I understand about the genetic part of this puzzle.

  • There is still a lot of research needed and not a lot is known still about single gene mutations that lead to autoimmune or chronic illness.
  • It is not as simple and straightforward as one genetic mutation for one specific disease or illness.  It seems to be more a combination of genetic factors as well as environmental triggers.  This is in fact good news for us as this is where we have control to make changes and hopefully affect how genes are being expressed (epigenetics).
  • Back to that confusing bit about family history.  It turns out that my grandmother had crippling Rheumatoid Arthritis, my mom has Raynaud’s’ syndrome and my aunt has Lupus. No one has vitiligo but it doesn’t matter.  What we do have is a family history of autoimmunity!  So it is a genetic predisposition that is important.  In fact some doctors like Dr. Mark Hyman believe that all autoimmune disease are basically the same thing no matter what the label.
  • The genetic factor then is more about an increased vulnerability to autoimmune or chronic illness.  
  • How these inherited genetic factors are expressed depends to a great extent on environment and gut health.  Pioneering researcher Dr. Fasano has shown us that it is not enough to just have a gene or genetic mutation but that these genes must be turned on by some environmental trigger and a leaky gut.  This is WHY it is possible for you to affect change.  You can make changes to environment and leaky gut triggers and thus influence the expression of a gene!  Pretty darn cool and downright empowering! 
  • If you would like more information on some of the specific genes that have been identified for autoimmune conditions I recommend “The Paleo Approach” by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD.  It is a fabulous book that gives a great detailed description all the contributing factors.

Let’s take a look at some of the environmental factors that influence the expression of chronic illness, autoimmune and neurological conditions in our children.

Environmental Triggers

These are just some of the environmental (external) factors that can be triggers.  These are the things that for the most part are under your control to change and therefore create more favorable conditions for the body to be healthy.

They include things like:

  • Exposure to toxins like heavy metals, smoking
  • Chemical exposure like plastics, household cleaners, body care products (even chemicals in processed food)
  • Drugs, both prescription and recreational
  • Birth control hormones
  • Processed food and nutrient poor diets
  • Chronic stress (yes, even kids can be stressed)
  • Poor sleep (studies show that our kids are not getting enough sleep!)
  • Lack of sunshine
  • Infections (this is more of an internal factor but it is an important one that we can change)
  • Over use of antibiotics (in ourselves as well as our meat)

Reducing or eliminating environmental triggers can have a profound effect in improving the symptom picture of your child.  Start with something simple.  Replace your plastic food storage containers with glass or stainless steel.  Make a small change every few weeks and before you know it you have all but eliminated many of these potential triggers for poor health.

Leaky Gut

According to the research conducted by Dr. Alessio Fasano, the leaky gut phenomenon is a key component in autoimmunity and we now understand it to be a major factor for things like allergies, eczema, asthma, autism, ADHD, juvenile arthritis and even PANDAS.  In other words you might have the combination of genes and the environmental factors, but unless you also have a leaky gut you are unlikely to develop a chronic health condition.

This is actually very exciting news for us in improving our children’s symptoms and health!   According to Dr. Fasano you can eventually treat and even stop autoimmune disease by addressing the leaky gut and environmental factors that are affecting the genes!  His research is based on autoimmune disease but it applies to a multitude of other chronic illnesses that plague our kids these days. Dr. Fasano is not alone in this assertion. Many functional medicine doctors and GAPS diet founder Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride are treating patients of chronic illness using dietary approaches to heal the gut.

What is leaky gut?

INSERT VIDEO

For a little more detailed information on leaky gut you can listen to a couple of the Kids Health Revolution Podcasts where we have covered the topic.

The Microbiome and Fecal Transplant
The GAPS Diet Explained.

There are also some links to trusted resources on the digging deeper page if you want to get even more in depth

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