This is the story of Jo – retold with her permission, with a few details changed to protect her identity!
I met Jo a few years ago when she was 45.
She was very concerned about her future health. Both her parents had chronic health issues. Her mom passed away early in life from cancer and her dad had recently passed away at the age of 68 after a downhill battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Jo was very concerned about what this meant for her. She had married later in life and had a specific plan about what she wanted her future life to look like. It certainly did not include going through what her parents went through.
She was scared. The doctors she had seen all told her to make sure she was doing regular screening for cancer and to live a healthy life but that there was little they could do for her while she was “healthy”.
When Jo came to see me, she was ready to change the trajectory of her life.
At the time of her first consultation, she was understandably drained by the recent events in her life. She was overweight and experiencing aches and pains and exhausted all the time. Getting through a normal day felt like a marathon race for her.
She was prepared to invest in her health and to make the necessary changes.
So, Jo invested in a nutrigenetic test.
And her results were extremely interesting and elightening.
Jo’s results showed variants in the genes that control all of her cellular defences: inflammation, methylation, detoxification and oxidative stress. Because her results showed that she has variants in so many areas of her cellular defence mechanisms, she is extremely vulnerable in the wrong environment.
I explained it to her like this: imagine that your body has a waste or toxin disposal system. Wastes/toxins that the body generates and that the body is exposed to are dumped into the disposal system to be recycled or disposed of. As long as more waste leaves the system than enters the system, the body will be healthy. Even the simple process of breathing creates waste.
In her case, she has issues with all the processes that deal with waste, which means that her waste disposal system functions very poorly and she is very likely to have an overflow of toxic waste into her body, which could eventually be the cause of disease in her body.
She also has a variant in a gene that is strongly associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease when inflammation and oxidative stress are uncontrolled in the body. The good news is that the function of this gene is also incredibly responsive to the right changes in diet and lifestyle.
This was not bad news for Jo. This was not a diagnosis of disease. It was an opportunity to make positive changes in her life.
Jo was hugely relieved to know and understand her risks because this meant that she could now be in control of her health by making the right decisions for her future health.
She was now in control of her destiny, she was no longer a helpless victim of her genes and she felt that she was now back in control and no matter what life throws at her, she at least did what she could to have a healthy body.
We started with some baseline tests to be able to understand her health status based on her current lifestyle. Her blood results showed increased levels of inflammation, low vitamin D levels, insulin resistance and high cholesterol levels – both indicative of metabolic syndrome and dysregulated cortisol levels. She was not in great shape!
So, what did we do?
During several consultations and coaching sessions, Jo and I started to critically evaluate her life in order to create and implement changes that were both realistic and sustainable.
Exercise – she needed to get moving, to prioritise exercise that she enjoys. Exercise is not about burning calories or long hours at the gym. Regular, moderate exercise is anti-inflammatory.
Toxin identification and elimination – in order to reduce the amount of toxins her body has to process, Jo needs to be aware of where toxins lurk in her environment. As time has gone by, she has replaced most of her personal care products and home cleaning products with more natural, toxin-free alternatives.
Supplementation – we identified specific supplements that would give maximum impact. I prefer to use supplements that work through the genes to switch on the cellular processes. In this way, one supplement can have far reaching effects.
Stress management – managing stress is extremely important. When cortisol is out of balance, it affects your sleep, your hormones, it creates inflammation in the body. Daily stress is never going away, but learning and practicing tools to deal with stress are critical to long term health. We incorporated this into her daily routine.
Alcohol – alcohol is a toxin to the body. It also raises your cortisol levels (as much as we drink it to relax) and it plays havoc with blood sugar levels. Jo made the decision to reduce her use of alcohol and save it for special occasions.
Eating and food – food is your foundation. Jo realised that her reliance on canteen food at work and eating out a couple of times a week was not ideal. She had no control over the way the food was cooked and she was not eating enough natural, fresh foods. One step at a time, she started making changes in her kitchen and started to prepare more of her own food, significantly increasing the amount of plant foods she was eating.
It was not a quick fix for Jo and she has needed to make some serious changes to her life, but through ongoing health coaching and support, she continues to improve her health.
After 4 months, retested her bloods and her markers had all improved.
Jo already felt better, she had lost 10 kg. She was sleeping better, she had more energy and focus. In fact she seldom brought work home, because she was more effective and gots her work done faster.
Jo uses the analogy of a loaded gun to explain her situation to her friends and family. She says that her genes are like a gun, loaded with bullets in the chamber. Her lifestyle choices are the bullets. She now makes the decisions about which bullets she loads into her gun.
“I never took the time to prioritise my health before and after doing this test, I realised that my health is in my hands.I don’t feel guilty if I leave work to go to gym – it is the most important appointment of my day.“
Jo is a brilliant example of the value of nutrigenetic testing. By knowing what your personal variants are, you get to the make choices and changes to your life that can totally change your health trajectory. It is only by doing a test that you can know what your personal variants are.
Are you worried about your future health?
Let me help you future-proof your heath.