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What is systems medicine and how is it integrated into our overall health and wellness?

Systems medicine is an interdisciplinary field of study which evaluates the systems of the human body as part of a whole, including biochemical, physiological, and environmental interactions. And, with the outlining of the human genome back in 2001, Systems Medicine became widely recognized.

Humans are estimated to have between 20,000 and 25,000 genes although this number could drop further as genome sequence quality and gene finding methods improve over time. While the code for our lives seems smaller than what we expected, tremendous consideration is now being paid to the regulatory aspects of the genome and research studies on the heritable epigenome are gaining momentum. Methylation, a cornerstone epigenetic and metabolic process, now yields more than 85,000 hits on a PubMed search.

With the readily available access to genetic testing, many patients now have a greater understanding of their genes, most often concerning their single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, associated with methylation. It truly is a wildly exciting time to be practicing Functional Medicine, the clinical application of systems medicine. Several hypotheses have been developed on the phenotypic expression of single nucleotide variations. A heterozygous mutation in MTHFR A1298C SNP, by way of instance, can make it difficult for people to detoxify efficiently. Genetic testing and metabolic biomarkers can help demonstrate “lesions” in methylation.

What is Methylation Support?

Methylation is fundamental towards a variety of bodily functions, including detoxification, neurotransmitter production, and epigenetic regulation. Researchers have seen the impact that improving methylation can have on fortifying folic acid and reducing neural tube defects. The Methylation Diet and Lifestyle, or MDL, program was created with the purpose of embracing both the importance of healthy methylation balance as well as recognizing the limitations in our current understanding of methylation.

Methylation imbalances, such as hypermethylation and hypomethylation, in the gene promoter regions are associated with many health issues, from allergies and aging to neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. The regulation of the epigenome is a highly complex process. And, further research studies are still required to determine the effect of high-dose, long-term methylation interventions.

Furthermore, healthcare professionals need to consider whether high-dose, long-term methylation interventions are the right treatment approach for patients with these health issues. Numerous research studies have demonstrated reasonable concerns about supplementation. There are also patients who are unable to take methyl donor supplementation due to poor epinephrine clearance and other biogenic amines or detoxification activity. Understanding whether this treatment approach may be an appropriate methylation intervention, however, suggests that other, alternative treatment options may be required for overall health and wellness.

Food-based folates, by way of instance, have only been demonstrated to have protective effects on methylation. A variety of phytochemicals, not closely associated with methylation, seem to effectively modulate global epigenetic and biochemical methylation activity. And, decreasing methyl donor depletion by reducing toxic exposures, nourishing the microbiome, and increasing the stress response is safe and efficient. Nutrition can ultimately help eliminate the “lesions” in methylation for balanced bodily functions.

Methylation is a simple biochemical process which affects a variety of bodily functions, including DNA production, detoxification, and cellular energy, among many other fundamental processes. However, approximately 60 percent of people in the United States have a genetic mutation which tremendously affects methylation. When methylation isn’t working efficiently, it can affect the production of a variety of important molecules, including glutathione, coenzyme Q10, and melatonin, among many other fundamental substances. Understanding the importance of methylation support is important towards our overall health and wellness, and there are several ways you and your doctor can promote better methylation support.

Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight

The Methylation Diet and Lifestyle Program

The Methylation Diet and Lifestyle program wouldn’t have been created if it wasn’t for the years of discussions on current research studies and patient treatment approaches. The following article serves as a guide to help people how to evaluate their methylation status and understand the current methylation health issues, and how to incorporate an MDL program into your protocols as well as the potential concerns from supplementation. Nutritional guidelines and lifestyle modifications can help improve methylation.

However, how can we determine when we should utilize the MDL? This treatment approach ultimately offers the methylation support patients might need, especially for those who cannot tolerate supplementation. It is also a safe and effective long-term strategy for a majority of patients who have utilized a short-term course of higher-dose methyl donors. The full MDL program also supports detoxification, microbiome and hormone balance, stress reduction, and it can be modified to incorporate other programs which are also generally recommended, such as elimination diets, grain and lectin-free plans, low FODMAP diets and traditional gut restoration programs. Highly restricted plans, such as the ketogenic diet used for epilepsy, can incorporate aspects of the MDL with additional nutraceutical support. Any dietary program can work with the Methylation Diet and lifestyle program for overall health and wellness.

Smoothies and Juices for Life

While many healthcare professionals can recommend the nutritional guidelines and lifestyle modifications described above, there are several remedies you can try for yourself at home. Smoothies and juices are a fast and easy way to include all the necessary nutrients you need for methylation support in a single serving. The smoothies and juices below are part of the Methylation Diet Food Plan.

Sea Green Smoothie
Servings: 1
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
• 1/2 cup cantaloupe, cubed
• 1/2 banana
• 1 handful of kale or spinach
• 1 handful of Swiss chard
• 1/4 avocado
• 2 teaspoons spirulina powder
• 1 cup water
• 3 or more ice cubes
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until completely smooth and enjoy!

Berry Bliss Smoothie
Servings: 1
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
• 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen, preferably wild)
• 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
• 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed or chia seed
• 1 tablespoons almonds
• Water (to desired consistency)
• Ice cubes (optional, may omit if using frozen blueberries)
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Best served immediately!

Sweet and Spicy Juice
Servings: 1
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
• 1 cup honeydew melons
• 3 cups spinach, rinsed
• 3 cups Swiss chard, rinsed
• 1 bunch cilantro (leaves and stems), rinsed
• 1-inch knob of ginger, rinsed, peeled and chopped
• 2-3 knobs whole turmeric root (optional), rinsed, peeled and chopped
Juice all ingredients in a high-quality juicer. Best served immediately!

Ginger Greens Juice
Servings: 1
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
• 1 cup pineapple cubes
• 1 apple, sliced
• 1-inch knob of ginger, rinsed, peeled and chopped
• 3 cups kale, rinsed and roughly chopped or ripped
• 5 cups Swiss chard, rinsed and roughly chopped or ripped
Juice all ingredients in a high-quality juicer. Best served immediately!

Zesty Beet Juice
Servings: 1
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
• 1 grapefruit, peeled and sliced
• 1 apple, washed and sliced
• 1 whole beet, and leaves if you have them, washed and sliced
• 1-inch knob of ginger, rinsed, peeled and chopped
Juice all ingredients in a high-quality juicer. Best served immediately!

Protein Power Smoothie
Serving: 1
Cook time: 5 minutes
• 1 scoop protein powder
• 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
• 1/2 banana
• 1 kiwi, peeled
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• Pinch of cardamom
• Non-dairy milk or water, enough to achieve desired consistency
Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until completely smooth. Best served immediately!

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, spinal health issues, and functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .

Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez

Additional Topic Discussion: Acute Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most prevalent causes of disability and missed days at work worldwide. Back pain attributes to the second most common reason for doctor office visits, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Approximately 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at least once throughout their life. Your spine is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles, among other soft tissues. Injuries and/or aggravated conditions, such as herniated discs, can eventually lead to symptoms of back pain. Sports injuries or automobile accident injuries are often the most frequent cause of back pain, however, sometimes the simplest of movements can have painful results. Fortunately, alternative treatment options, such as chiropractic care, can help ease back pain through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, ultimately improving pain relief.

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "The Importance of Methylation Support" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.

Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.

Blessings

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*

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