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Our Journey to Health: A Personal Account by Cara from Pure Home Body

A father with Crohn's disease and a mother wanting to prevent her children from developing the disease. How genetic screening can help her.

It surprises everyone when I tell them the body naturally wants to be healthy. Day in day out it is faced with what we throw at it. And day in day out it does what it needs to maintain homeostasis.

When patients walk into the Pharmacy with a freshly diagnosed disease, they ultimately are given a choice. The choice to continue down their current path, where homeostasis has been overridden and they can hope for the best. Or, they can choose to change.

But change, my friends, is not easy. And I’d be the first one putting my hand up claiming I failed.

It takes a readjustment to our lives that can be against our core values that have created the habits by which we live by.

No matter what disease or illness, there is a level of perception and choice.

And up until recently I thought we had to look at our mental state, our overall lifestyle including our home environment, diet, exercise and stress amongst the main key factors, to determine how we make change.

And naturally these are important.

But I never knew how big genetics would be at play.

But duh! Makes sense right.

One evening I was ‘googling’……I know, I know……I tell everyone not to!

But like everyone else, I wanted answers. So……..I googled. Actually I Google Scholar’d.

‘How to prevent Crohn’s Disease in children if a parent has it’.

A simple but complex question.

It was right in the middle of hubby’s flare up. We were on a late-night emergency dash for a suspected bowel obstruction. He’d been wheeled away for an X-Ray after being popped on the morphine drip for pain. See it’s a double edge sword for him the poor thing. When an obstruction is at play you must go ‘nil by mouth’ meaning you cannot consume anything until you pass a bowel motion. No pain meds, no water, no nothing until you get put on fluids and pain meds via a drip.

So, as I waited, I became concerned. My youngest has always complained of a sore stomach. This particular week it was quite often. Plus, my eldest has always been a fussy eater….and I was wondering could all these gut issues be related. Could I stop any genetics at play? …..Or could it just be kids being kids? After all it’s not uncommon for kids to complain of a sore stomach or be fussy eaters.

But ultimately, I was lost for answers.

Searching, checking the source, reading, searching, checking the source, reading……. I finally happen to come across a relatively new approach to health. It was science based. Tick. Worked with your genetics. Tick. And developed a lifestyle that suited you personally. Tick.

After reading a little on it, I made my first appointment at what is called the iDNA Health Clinic. Heck, if this didn’t work for Michael than maybe it could help explain my weight gain, fatigue and sore joints.

I met Sharon who……BLEW my mind with information about our health. Her knowledge of human biology is incredible. And her discussion explained the importance of understanding your genetics as a means to unlock how your approach your health. From your diet and how your body utilises it, to how your detoxification pathways, to your gut health, to your intolerances,…… right down to how effectively you absorb vitamins and minerals, eliminate medications, or process Vitamin D or Vitamin B12 and how you remove toxins from our body. But these are just of few of the things they can help you with.

See, I sort of knew about genetics but only as far as to say you had a familial predisposition in relation to illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and the like. So that meant, if it’s in your family you’re likely or have a strong chance of expressing it.

Which poses the question. If we can find out more about how our body really works can we look at genetics for prevention? Which in my eyes, is the pinnacle of health. Prevention is key.

I’ve now put both myself and my husband through the DNA testing and will soon be doing my children.

What came back was dumbfounding and has helped set both of us on a tailored lifestyle that is specific for our own bodies.

Hubby found out that he was gluten intolerant. Not in a coeliac sense though. See when you are tested by your doctor for this the standard tests only check for the condition based on 2 genes related to the enzyme responsible for breaking down gluten. In fact, there are 4 genes that can determine this intolerance. Mic had a mutation of the 4th gene which is not looked at by doctors.

I’ve lost you, haven’t I?

Cue quick biology lesson.

Coeliac Disease is associated with Gene 1 and Gene 2, which are responsible for the enzyme that break down gluten in your digestive tract. Genes 3 and 4 are related to the structure of a special immune cell in your body know as an ‘antigen presenting cell’. This cell sits in the lining of your stomach just below the single layer of cells that line your intestinal tract and have an arm like structure that extends into the intestine. On top of this arm are little fingers that your food, and the rest of your bowel contents run past. The mutation on Gene 4 is related to a ‘finger’ on the arm specific to gluten. Generally, this finger will pick up gluten and register it as fine. However, a mutation here picks up gluten as a foreign body and triggers an immune response and inflammation within the body. You may experience digestive discomfort or you may not, but mutations in these genes can also be expressed as a skin rash, foggy brain, tingling in the arms and legs to name a few. And despite not showing full blown issues yet, continuing to eat it will create problems for you later.

I found out I also had this mutation. So I’m off the gluten too. Mind you I just about died but thanks to Amanda who works together with Sharon at iDNA Health, I was placed on a 6 week assisted gluten removal program. The support I needed to get myself motivated to remove it as I myself did not experience gut symptoms like hubby.

For someone like hubby who has an autoimmune disease this is vital in helping curb an overactive immune system especially in his case, where it involves the bowel.

I also found out I was lactose tolerant. Quite surprising to me, I thought this may been giving me my stomach discomfort and indigestion. 30% of the population maintain the ability to digest milk by producing lactase through life and I am one of them! Yes!

Prior to this appointment I had removed all milk from my diet and moved over to soy and almond milk. I struggled especially with my tea and coffee! Little did I know this was not necessary. Being lactose tolerant also means that I can experience the benefits of sourcing calcium from milk and my likelihood of developing osteoporosis later in life is reduced. Milk in my case, is a win.

Hubs on the other hand is milk tolerant but casein intolerant. Therefore, despite him consuming lactose free milk, it still contains casein and he has had to cease it. Another minor aspect we didn’t know, yet made so much sense when we looked closer at his stomach problems. He used to consume the lactose free and complain afterwards of gurgling.

In terms of vitamins and minerals I had my Methylation and Vitamin D pathways examined. I have an issue converting Vitamin D from sun exposure to its active metabolite. As a result, it is letting down the Vitamin D pathway. My recent bloods show I am very low in Vitamin D (we’re talking Rickett’s range) and yet I am adequately outside, make appropriate dietary choices and I’m still low.

My genetic testing also indicated due to the lining in my stomach I naturally absorb less Vitamin B12 and therefore supplementation of a specific compounded B formulation delivered with the active salt and correct balance and type of B’s was required.

Now you think this would be mainstream right?

The sad part about it all is that you will not find out any of this information through your doctor. Your simple blood test won’t look into this, although they do assist in understanding your current body needs. Nope, mainstream medicine are still on the fence about this type of testing. Yet, it has the power to shift the Band-Aid approach to health towards a more preventative one. Something I largely advocate.

Remember, at the end of the day you have a choice about the pathway you wish to take for your health. Wouldn’t you find it easier if you knew which pathway you had to choose?

Yep that’s exactly what I thought.

Now I’m only at the beginning of my journey and so is hubby. And I’m eager to find out more about my kids, so I will keep you updated. But now I’m that intrigued to find out about how everyone else goes. I want to giveaway 5 free consultations with the gorgeous Sharon. Yep I want to see how knowing more about you can help change your life.

So, if this is something that you would like to know more about, or have suffered for a long time with an illness to no avail with your current medical regime. This may be something you would like to consider.

Please email me at [email protected]. Only available to the first 5 emails that come through and you must be local to Perth.

Note: All information is subject to a personal opinion of the Author. It does not replace the guidance and advice of your General Practitioner or Doctor. Instead use the above as an adjunct to your health journey.

Republished with permission from the author.