Epigenetic Triggers and Recovering Your Health
by Janice Carlin, PhD, CHHP, CHNP, CNHP
Copyright © 2018 Janice Carlin All Rights Reserved.
We have been gravely misled about how and why certain health conditions and diseases affect us. Yes, it has to do with genetics, however, there is so much more to it than even your doctor probably knows. This is because neither you nor your doctor was educated about epigenetics in school. With the escalating epidemics of chronic health conditions affecting people of all ages worldwide today, it is essential for everyone to gain this knowledge, because epigenetics not only sheds a light upon what is happening and why, but also empowers us to do something about it for ourselves, our families, and each other.
Epigenetics shows us that the ways our genes express themselves can be changed as they respond to what we are exposed to in our environment. These responses can occur before birth or after we are born. They can occur at any time during our lives.
Our DNA are composed of unique expressions of genes. We receive one allele from each parent. Some of these alleles contain a variant or genetic mutation within them. Depending upon which variants we inherit determines a lot about our health and how different health conditions show up for us.
Here is the part where epigenetics comes in: Some of the variants never express themselves. That is, they are not activated. So you could carry the variants that are considered markers for certain diseases but never develop the conditions. However, the gene variants have the ability to turn on and also back off. How do they do this? Essentially, there has to be a triggering event.
Kendal Stewart, M.D., a nationally renowned Neurotologist/NeuroSensory Specialist writes:
"A patient who is genetically, or otherwise, predisposed to developing [an illness] will not do so until they experience a triggering event. Unfortunately, there are a large number of factors that can act as a triggering event, from vaccines (live viral), severe infections, environmental exposures, trauma, and surgery, to emotional states such as stress."
Something that can act as a trigger for one person, may not show any effect for another. This is the reason why people are so confused about environmental toxins’ effects on our bodies. Parts of your own, personal gene variants, plus the amount of toxins already stored in your body are an indication of how you will most likely respond to environmental triggers.
Our bodies have natural pathways that allow for detoxification. However, these can become damaged as toxic exposures affect our DNA. One of the body’s main detoxification pathways is methylation. If you have inherent genetic variants that predispose you to have compromised methylation, and you never detoxify your body or work to keep toxins away from yourself, you could experience some of your other gene variants being turned on. It is the methyl groups that turn genes on and activate enzymes. (http://www.drhardick.com/genetics-detox-methylation). This is vital to know.
What Health Conditions Does This Apply To? Is Autism Included?
The lack of the body’s ability to effectively detoxify itself affects everything. Environmental toxins and emotional stress open the doors for any gene variant to be activated. This absolutely applies to autism, and this condition is one of the most well-researched in terms of epigenetic triggers. See the scientific articles at the end.
What You Need to Know and What You Need to Do:
First and foremost, allow yourself to stay aware and conscious in regard to chemicals and their toxic effects. Just because the government allows something to be made, processed, and sold does not mean that it is truly non-toxic to the body. All chemicals are toxic to the body and have effects. When you combine chemicals together, the result to the body is called synergistic toxicity, which means that the effect is greater than each of the individual chemicals and it is unpredictable. In order to take the necessary action of keeping as many chemicals away from your body and your children’s bodies as possible, you have to realize that none of them are truly safe.
With this awareness, you can take action!
#1 Eliminate Chemicals
In order to recover your health and heal your body, you have to get the chemical toxins away from yourself. Until you do this, the body will not be able to begin the detoxification process. Once you decide to make the changes to clean up your lifestyle, be consistent. Any continued exposure to toxins will slow or stop the healing process.
You have to stop the triggers to allow your body to recover and turn the genes back off that are causing the problems.
Choose natural body and home cleaning products
Eat organic food – no GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, synthetic additives and preservatives, MSG
Drink pure water – no fluoride or chlorine
Use an air purifier (not air fresheners – these are toxic!)
Swim in natural water (lakes, springs, ocean), not chlorinated or chemically treated salt pools
Use natural bedding like natural latex and organic cotton or another natural fiber
Also, be sure to eliminate any toxic mold in your home and workplace. Mold is a strong toxic trigger to many health problems.
#2 Support Methylation
Due to the high level of toxins we are all exposed to, it is important to support the body’s methylation pathways. You can do this by using targeted supplements. My favorite source for these supplements is Neurobiologix, because they have been formulated by Dr. Kendal Stewart, who was my personal doctor in the past and is a true expert in the field.
Dr. Stewart shares the hopeful statement: "Methylation deficiency is the missing component of neurological and immunological recovery. An adequate supply of methylation vitamins is vital for health and the prevention of neuro-immune syndromes. However, genetic and acquired factors predispose many people to develop methylation deficiency. Treatment of methylation deficiency can prevent and treat the neuro-immune syndromes."
Be aware that depending on what your body is experiencing at the time, you may or may not be able to tolerate too many supplements at once. The “Pulse Method” described by Dr. Ben Lynch in his book, Dirty Genes, is a fantastic approach. Basically, you only take the supplements that you feel you need at the time. If you feel worse taking a supplement, stop. You may or may not need to take them each day. Learning to listen to and trust your body’s wisdom and communication is vital.
#3 Support Your Body Through the Detoxification Process
Detoxification is essential to being able to heal. Some people become confused when their bodies are going through a detox process because they feel that their symptoms have worsened. As your body begins to cleanse itself, your symptoms could worsen, but then as you progress through the process, they will improve. Depending upon how easily your body is able to move the toxins out of itself, and how much you are supporting it in doing so, are determining factors in how you will experience detox. Please remember not to panic when you or your child does not feel well after beginning the detoxification process. Healing is not always a nice-feeling experience. Trust that you are doing the right thing in clearing out the toxins so that your body can begin to heal.
Sources to educate yourself about MTHFR, methylation, and detoxification support:
Dr. Kenal Stewart. "Methylation Deficiency: The Missing Component to Neurological and Immunological Recovery." Dec. 2012 (http://www.neurobiologix.com/v/Files/Methylation%20Deficiency%20by%20Dr.%20Kendal%20Stewart.pdf)
Dr. BJ Hardick. "The Relationship Between Genetics and Detox (It's All About Methylation)"
Dr. Ben Lynch. "MTHFR's are Toxic: Reduce Body Burden - Part 1"
Dr Ben Lynch. "MTHFR C677T Mutation: Basic Protocol"
Eshraghi, Liu, Kay, Eshraghi, Mittal, Moshiree and Mittal. “Research in Autism and Epigenetic Triggers: Epigenetics and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Is There a Correlation?” Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. March 27, 2018. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2018.00078/full
Takeo Kubota and Kazuki Mochizuki. “Epigenetic Effect of Environmental Factors on Autism Spectrum Disorders” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. May 14, 2016.
Dario Siniscalco, Alessandra Cirillo, James Jeffrey Bradstreet, and Nicola Antonucci, "Epigenetic Findings in Autism”. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. September 11, 2013. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/9/4261