On Genetic Medicine

What is Genetic Medicine?

Dr. Emilie C. Wilson

 Genetic medicine emerges in the field of medicine as a response to the long-noted trend that, while pharmaceutical and other medications seem to work well for many, for many others they do not.  As scientists and doctors have tried to understand why this is the case, they have begun to understand that our very genes could have a bigger impact than the medication’s effects.

Genetic medicine is targeted medical treatment based on an individual’s genetic “map”.  It does require some fancy labwork, some of which must be ordered by a doctor, although these days some tests are available online without a doctor’s order.  Treatments vary but people often respond quite well to targeted vitamin therapies.

We all have two sets of genes, one of which we inherited from our mother, and one from our father.  It’s the unique combination of those sets of genes that make us Us, at least on a biochemical, physiological level.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the MTHFR enzyme (and the MTHFR gene that codes for it).  If not, maybe you’ve heard about methylated folate, the active form of the vitamin folate (AKA folic acid).  Many people will have also heard about the supplement SAMe, a rather expensive option on the ever-broadening supplement shelf.  These are all related, and they all participate in a particular physiological process called “methylation,” which has lots of downstream effects on the way our bodies function.  That’s because methylation is a critical process that affects DNA, or our genetic information, and affects how each and every one of our cells function.  It does this by directing cell regeneration.  If the methylation process doesn’t work properly, the cell regeneration in every cell of our body is compromised.

Methylation has three big functions in the human body that have a huge impact on our overall health:

1.  Cell repair of injured cells

2.  Cell production (especially making those cells that “turn over” quickly, e.g. immune cells and blood cells, the cells in our intestines)

3. Neurological function and mental health

The MTHFR gene codes for an MTHFR enzyme that is responsible for adding a methyl group, or “methylating,” the folic acid and therefore acitvating it in our bodies.  Remember that we have 2 sets of genes (1 from Mom and 1 from Dad), so we have two sets of genetic information to make the MTHFR enzyme.

In many people both sets of the genes work just fine, so they are able to make many functioning copies of the MTHFR enzyme.

However, in some people one of the sets of genetic information may be broken, making them less able to methylate folic acid than someone with two functioning sets.

And in some people, both sets are broken, which greatly decreases their ability to methylate folic acid.  They are still able to do so, but only at about 30% of what a person with two functioning genes would be able to do.  Remember that methylation is a critical process to so many aspects of human health.

Most people who have these defects don’t even know that they do, because you can survive with two broken copies.  However, we’re beginning to understand that having defects in these genes can manifest in many different ways, especially in mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, often with people who have not responded well to pharmaceutical medications.  Other problems that can manifest from these genetic defects include sleep problems, poor recovery from workouts, low energy, digestive problems, and many other issues.

In recent years a genetic test has become available that looks for defects in the genes that code for MTHFR.  These tests are available from your doctor.  If you’d like to learn more about methylation and the MTHFR genes and what this could mean for you, please contact your doctor.

from:    http://www.mindbodycenterforintegrativemedicine.com/#!What-is-Genetic-Medicine/f7zb9/56d892530cf25a66a536b966

Dr. Wilson is a Naturopathic Physician who practices in Seattle.  Her website is:  http://www.mindbodycenterforintegrativemedicine.com/

Considering Depression & Diabetes

Depression and Diabetes: Too Much in Common

June 6, 2016

Dr. Emilie C. Wilson

Some healers, myself included, like to look for metaphors in medicine.  A common metaphor used to understand diabetes is that the “diabetic patient lacks sweetness in her/his life”.  While this is by no means meant to represent any individual patient’s experience with diabetes, some people do find an element of truth to this statement.

And when you consider that depression often coexists with diabetes, this statement gets even closer to home.

The medical community recognizes the relationship between elevated blood sugar levels and conditions such as heart and kidney disease; we now also recognize that elevated blood sugar and depression are also closely linked.  Depressed patients are less likely to engage in effective self-care practices such as exercise and cooking nutritious meals from whole foods (foods that have one ingredient on their list/foods that come directly from planet earth: think fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, fish, meat), which only exacerbates their increasing blood sugar levels.

Our bodies do not like our blood sugar levels to be too high (or too low, for that matter).  As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas pumps out more insulin to siphon the sugar out of our bloodstream and into the cells of our bodies for use as energy, or to be stored for later as triglycerides, or fat-storage molecules.  The problem is that if we constantly have high levels of insulin in our bloodstream, the cells in our body become “resistant” to insulin.  Think of insulin as a stereo, playing a message to the cells that glucose is outside, can they please open their doors and let in glucose in?  The cells get that message and open up their doors.  If, however, there is lots of glucose and therefore lots of insulin, the message played by insulin gets louder and louder.  In an effort to “plug their ears” from insulin’s now-very loud message, the cells open fewer doors, so less glucose can get into the cells, and more insulin must then be produced.  This is a state of insulin resistance, which is a precursor to diabetes, and occurs in the early stages of type II diabetes.

Among several other effects, insulin resistance and blood sugar dysregulation have marked disruptive effects on sleep, and can contribute to the development of sleep apnea.  Sleep is one of the most fundamental activities required for optimum mental health, so sleep disturbance feeds the negative spiral into worsening health for patients suffering from depression and diabetes.

By addressing lifestyle factors including diet (primarily, removing refined carbohydrates from the diet and adding in protective antioxidants and polyphenols from fruits and vegetables, as well as appropriate amounts of protein), exercise levels (implementing realistic movement goals appropriate for each patient), and sleep (making sure you’re getting restful, rejuvenating sleep), we at the Mind-Body Center aim to help you feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically.  We’ve also noticed that weight loss, an alert mind, regular and sustainable energy levels, and clear skin happen to be pleasant side effects!

from:    http://www.mindbodycenterforintegrativemedicine.com/#!Depression-and-Diabetes-Too-Much-in-Common/f7zb9/5748c3d20cf25d206f8bce03

On Stress and Healing

Botanical Medicines Trump Parasites, Bacteria, etc.

Broad Spectrum Botanical Medicines – A Safe and Effective Treatment Strategy to Address Fungal, Bacterial, Viral and Parasitic Infection.

1st October 2012

By Dr. Rachel Fresco

Guest writer for Wake Up World

In 300 B.C. The Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor, considered to be the bible of Chinese medicine, describes how external pathogenic factors (what we know as bacteria and viruses) manifest and the subsequent progression of the disease process. For several thousand years, Chinese medicine has documented the effectiveness of botanical therapies and maintains the most highly developed herbal Materia Medica.

Thousands of plants have been categorized according to their medicinal properties, and a basic set of principles in formulation of remedies has been developed. In a typical formula, an “Emperor” herb is chosen as the main thrust of treatment, and several “Minister” are selected which support the activity of the main herb. Other herbs then are used as “Assistants” to carry the treatment to specific channels and organs, and also balance the effects of the stronger herbs. Supportive herbs are also chosen to bolster the weakened systems and to lessen the chance of side effects of the treatment.

With the availability of medicinal plants from around the world, formulas have now been developed using the same therapeutic model, without being restricted to the use of plants from only one country of origin.

Using the anti-pathogenic properties of more than one botanical in a combination or formula provides a broader spectrum of activity against infections. The resulting formulations are powerful alternatives to some of the potentially toxic agents that may be used in the treatment of infectious diseases. The addition of herbs used for immune support and to assist the drainage pathways of the liver and kidneys increases the overall effectiveness in promoting a healing response.

The following test of one such combination, containing Bilberry extract, Noni, Milk Thistle, Echinacea (purpurea & angustifolia), Goldenseal, Shiitake, White Willow, Garlic, Grape Seed extract, Black Walnut (hull and leaf), Raspberry, Fumitory, Gentian, Tea Tree oil, Galbanum oil, Lavender oil, Oregano oil shows a remarkable broad spectrum of activity.

A & L Analytical Laboratories, in Memphis, TN, performed USP Effectiveness Tests, in which this botanical combination was injected with large numbers of disease causing organisms, and then cultured for 28 days. The results below demonstrate the bacteria and yeast pathogens are completely eliminated in a matter of hours, and do not recur over a 28 day period of being cultured.

Organisms tested

Aspergillus niger

Candida albicans

Escherichia coli

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Staphylococcus aureus

Liquid Botanical Combination 15 ml used in each test

USP Effectiveness Test


Initial concentration     cfu/ml O day (2-3 hours)cfu/ml 7 dayscfu/ml 14 dayscfu/ml 28 dayscfu/ml
Aspergillus niger 19750 6900 0 0 0
Candida albicans 12750 100 0 0 0
Escherichia coli 402500 100 0 0 0
Pseudomonas aeruginosa 765000 100 0 0 0
Staphylococcus aureus 515000 50 0 0 0

When researching some of the individual ingredients in this particular combination, we find a wealth of data demonstrating the inhibitory effect on various pathogens. Goldenseal and Gentian, containing high levels of berberine, Black walnut containing plant tannins, Oregano Oil, Garlic, Tea Tree and Lavender, are all well known by practitioners of complementary and functional medicine and herbalists. Most recently many of these ingredients have been lauded for the ability to inhibit Biofilm encapsulated infections such as MRSA and C. Difficile.

Researchers have found links to infective agents in many conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Cancers, CFS, and autoimmune diseases. Using Organic Acid urine testing, metabolic byproducts of pathogenic yeast and bacteria have been found in many cases of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Delay.

Reports from parents of autistic children being treated with the botanical combinations have been very positive. Many children have shown improved cognitive function, verbal and motor skills, as well as normalization of bowel function. This improvement has been concurrent with the reduction or elimination of Candida, Clostridia, Klebsiella and other pathogens as noted in before and after lab testing.

Nearly everyone in today’s world has some degree of inbalance in intestinal flora due to poor food and water quality, antibiotics, and other causes that suppresses the beneficial organisms needed to keep unfriedly species at bay. Consequently, many people now suffer from yeast and bacterial overgrowth called intestinal dysbiosis, and the resulting inflammation to the intestinal tract in dysbiosis leads to “leaky gut” syndrome. When particles of food or bacteria and yeast that should stay in the digestive tract escape to the blood stream, a immune cascade is triggered that can lead to auto-immune diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis, food allergies, and systemic inflammation.

Bacteria may also play a major role in cardiovascular disease. In Circulation (1998:628-633), investigators note that C. pneumonia has been found in diseased coronary tissues. Numerous studies have revealed the presence of bacterial biofilms within fatty deposits of damaged arteries (but rarely in healthy arteries), and have established a significant association between infection and coronary heart disease. Epidemiologists from Johns Hopkins and other universities tested for the presence of C. pneumonia infection in a group of Alaska Natives–a population with a relatively low risk for developing heart disease–and, years later, compared these results with a forensic examination of each individual’s cardiovascular system at the time of death.

The researchers found that early serological evidence of infection with C. pneumonia was predictive of the presence of this bacteria in atherosclerotic tissue many years later, clearly supporting the notion of its pivotal role as an initiating trigger in the early stages of  CVD, rather than as an associated late-stage event. This strongly supports the use of C. pneumonia as a powerful early warning indicator of CVD, even in young, low-risk individuals, and sheds a completely new light on the bio-mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease.

Researchers have also identified this same bacterial agent inside the damaged brain tissue of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Infection with C. pneumonia is known to trigger an inflammatory cascade – one that often occurs inside the brain and other areas of the body. Clinical research has also forged a link between the Apo E4 gene, arteriosclerosis, and late-onset Alzheimer’s.

Spurred by this series of connections, a team of investigators sought to more clearly elucidate the role of C. pneumonia infection in late-onset Alzheimer’s. They examined post-mortem brain tissue in patients who had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and compared it with brain tissue from individuals who had never developed the disease. A surprising 17 out of 19 of the former AD patients tested positive for the organism, while only 1 of the 19 patients in the control group exhibited similar signs of infection. Significantly, evidence of C. pneumonia infection occurred exactly in those areas of the brain that showed specific neurological damage. In another study, published in Medical Microbiology and Immunology (1998;187:23-42), AD patients with both C. pneumonia and the Apo E-4 allele typically exhibited the most severe neurological damage.

The scientific evidence of the role of infection in seemingly unrelated diseases has prompted many practitioners to consider using broad-spectrum anti-microbial formulations as part of a base line treatment protocol. The role of broad spectrum combination formulas has continued to increase, as practitioners and patients seek out treatments that are safe and effective for long-term use. Used correctly, the wealth of the plant kingdom is one of our greatest allies in optimizing our health, and provides a strong defense in the ongoing war against infectious diseases.

About the Author 

Dr. Rachel Fresco, L. Ac. is founder and CEO of Bio-Botanical Research, Inc. Since it’s inception in 1989, Dr. Fresco has utilized her background in medical herbology, naturopathy, Chinese medicine and clinical nutrition to create products that have a significant impact on health and wellness, serving the needs of health professionals, pharmacies and individuals. Addressing concerns relating to infection, as well as the digestive and immune systems, her products have helped thousands of people worldwide. Many noted authors, physicians and laboratories recommend the broad-spectrum formulations such as Naturcillin that Bio-Botanical Research offers.  For further information call 800.775.4140, or visit online at www.naturcillin.com.

from:    http://wakeup-world.com/2012/10/01/broad-spectrum-botanical-medicines-a-safe-and-effective-treatment-strategy-to-address-fungal-bacterial-viral-and-parasitic-infection/