What is Wellness? 12 min read

What is Wellness?

Wellness can mean so many different things to so many different people.  To some wellness, is a place to work out.  To others, wellness is an absence of disease.  Still, to others, wellness is a lifestyle.

Early philosophers and physicians saw the value of wellness.  Aristotle, a great philosopher said, “the whole is more than the sum of it’s parts”.  Hippocrates, considered by many as the father of western medicine said, “treat the body as a whole, rather than the sum of its parts”.

Wellness is defined by the dictionary.reference.com as “the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind…” and “an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases”.

At Brio Medical, we define wellness a little differently.  Wellness is the customized treatment plan that helps each individual achieve optimal health, prevent disease before it ever starts, and achieve optimal age in health.  Wellness is helping the individual to achieve optimal health to fight illness, prevent disease, and maximize longevity.

Wellness is a lifestyle.  You must live wellness everyday.  Wellness must be as sure as each breath that you take.  You cannot think about wellness and be well.  Wellness must become second nature.   Wellness must become a habit.  Wellness just must be something that you do as a part of daily living.

 

Wellness is a proactive daily journey, rather than a reactive patch lifestyle.  This journey is as different as the individual.  For some, this journey will be very difficult, as they are in poor health.  For others, this journey will simply be a continuation of their current lifestyle.  The point is, the journey is unique for each individual.

 

The lifestyle and the journey in wellness requires a commitment.  Just as there is no pill that provides weight loss, no pill that defeats cancer, there is no pill that provides wellness.  At Brio Medical, we cannot make you well: with your commitment we can determine the path necessary for your journey into a wellness lifestyle and the path forward to maintain wellness.

 

Wellness requires partners.  That is what your team at Brio Medical is.  We are your partners in Wellness.  We are not your partners in disease management.  Funny word disease. It originates from two root words, ‘dis’, meaning lack of or without, and ‘-aise’, meaning wellness. Thus disease, or better dis-aise, is simply the lack of wellness. Whether you are struggling with disrupting symptoms or even disease, we are your partners in Wellness transformation.  In contrast, if you are healthy, we are you ongoing partners to maintain wellness.

 

Wellness works with the body.  Wellness does not interfere with what the body does on a day to day basis.  Wellness should not have side effects, drug to drug interactions or complications.  By working with the body, balance is achieved.  This balance, whether it be nutrition, hormones…this balance brings wellness.  By working with the body, side effects are minimized, compliance is improved, and wellness is achieved.

 

Most importantly, wellness honors our creator.

 

We, at Brio Medical, look forward to your journey in wellness.  So, to your wellness and to the glorify of our creator.

 

 

 

Epigenetics

 

 

Genetics is often called the study of heredity itself – the genetic “map” passed from parent to child that expresses specific traits. But epigenetics is a relatively new and rapidly expanding field of study that builds on the principles of genetics to explore the “switching” mechanisms that either suppress or express the message in a particular gene. The term “epigenetics” dates from the 1940s, although research since then has expanded its scope. Epigenetics refers to alterations in the expressions of genes that do not involve alterations in DNA sequences themselves. The behavior of certain chemicals can affect whether or not a certain gene is turned “on” – its information is activated and expressed -or “off,” so that its contents are dormant.

 

DNA methylation (DNAm) is one of several epigenetic modifications that alter the behavior of DNA without actually changing its fundamental sequence. DNAm can help maintain genetic stability – but disruptions in normal methylation can lead to either the activation or suppression of a particular gene. The role of epigenetics has been most intensively studied in relation to cancer, where changes in DNAm appear to “silence” tumor suppressor genes, but this process may also contribute to the development of a number of other diseases such as autoimmune disorders and a variety of neurological conditions.

 

 

Nutrition

 

“You are what you eat”.  “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”.   These are common quotes about nutrition.  They cut to the core of what nutrition is.  Nutrition is the foundation of any wellness lifestyle.  A lifestyle built on poor nutrition is like the house built on sand: weak, variable, and non-sustainable.  But, a wellness lifestyle built on good, balanced nutrition is like the house built on rock: strong, unwavering, and able to handle many variables.

 

Nutrition is not just simply something that one eats.  Nutrition is integral to both health and disease.  Health and wellness can never be achieved without proper nutrition.  To say a wellness lifestyle can exist without good nutrition is an exaggeration at the least. Likewise, disease requires poor nutrition.  One cannot exist without the other.

 

You cannot separate the two.  Good nutrition is a requirement for a wellness lifestyle, but a foundation set on poor nutrition is doomed to fail.  Our goal at Brio Medical is to create a customized, strong nutritional foundation for you—A sustainable foundation.  A foundation to build a wellness lifestyle upon.

 

 

Exercise

 

Just do it.  That is the Nike saying.  So many don’t.  Why?

 

Exercise is an integral component of any wellness lifestyle.  More than that.  Exercise is a requirement for a wellness lifestyle.   But before you head off to read the next best seller, “couch to Olympic gold” or set up an appointment with your personal trainer(s), exercise does not require a team of personal trainers.  Exercise does not require training for a marathon or a triathalon.  It doesn’t even require a 1/2 marathon.  Exercise requires a decision.

 

A decision to commit.

 

Exercise requires a commitment to a wellness lifestyle.  Without commitment, no exercise program will be successful.  An exercise program requires customization.  We all don’t have the drive or the ability to run a 10k or bike 20 miles.  Everybody starts from a different point.  Everybody has different abilities—thus the need for customization.   And time.    Exercise requires time, but just a little time—just 30 minutes a day 4-5 days per week.  Remember, you are not training for the olympics, just living a wellness lifestyle.

 

The decision of commitment is to start.

 

 

Hormones

 

Hormones.  According to the current medical establishment, hormones are concrete and linear.  In women, hormones are primarily of estrogen concern and in men, hormones are primarily testosterone.  Women are an estrogen sponge. Likewise, men are a testosterone sponge.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Hormones are dynamic and ever changing.  Hormones are never static.  Hormones can never simply be defined as estrogen equals female and testosterone equals male.

 

Hormones are a means of communication.  Hormones are a language.  Hormones are the way the body communicates: a hormone is made in one place, then is transported to another area to transmit a signal.  When the body communicates well, the body works well.  In contrast, when the body does not communicate well, dysfunction results.   Hormones are at the heart of this communication.  Many think of the commonly discussed sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone), but hormones involve many others: cortisol, DHEA, DHT, insulin, melatonin, leptin, and yes even vitamin D.  Hormones clearly effect sex, but hormones can effect metabolism, weight loss, energy, inflammation, mood… More, hormones can impact disease potential, particularly autoimmune disease and cancer, as well as the ability to heal and restore wellness.

 

Hormones are complex, not linear.  Proper hormone evaluation and thus treatment with hormones requires 7 areas of evaluation:

 

  • Hormone levels
  • Hormone balance
  • Hormone receptors
  • Hormone metabolism
  • Hormone metabolites
  • Genomic versus non-Genomic signaling
  • Outside influences

 

Only through proper, thorough evaluation and appropriate retesting can a healthy, safe, and customized strategy of hormone treatment be assured.

 

 

Inflammation

 

Inflammation is a normal physiologic process.  Inflammation is the product of the communication between the different parts of the immune system.  The cardinal symptoms of inflammation are: pain, redness, swelling, and heat.  In the short-term, inflammation protects and initiates the healing process.  In the short-term, inflammation is protective and very much needed.  But, when unchecked and with no off switch, chronic inflammation can be self-directed, cause collateral damage and cause serious physiologic disruption, even death.  So, a normal physiologic process designed to protect and heal can be the cause of a disease process that ends life.  Amazingly delicate balance.

 

Chronic Inflammation is  prerequisite for most chronic diseases of aging.  Again, we are not talking about the acute inflammatory response here, but the low-grade chronic inflammation that flies under the radar.  The obvious examples are the autoimmune diseases.  Autoimmune disease is simply the immune system attacking the body.  Examples here include Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, Lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis; but there are many more.  Recently, inflammation  has been shown to be involved in the development of insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, and atherosclerosis.  And no where is inflammation and disease connected,than in cancer. In cancer, inflammation is the bed in which cancer lies.

 

Unregulated inflammation equals disease.

 

 

Detoxification

 

Detoxification seems to be a buzz word these days.  Just google, bing, or yahoo detoxification and you will find everything from water detoxification to colon cleanses.

 

So, what is detoxification?

 

Detoxification is defined as the chemical change(s) of a xenobiotic, a phytochemical or an endogenous (made by the body) compound that renders it less toxic and ready to be excreted.  In short, detoxification is the means by which the body protects us from things that we take in from our environment or that which our own body makes.  The body converts the toxic compound to a safer, more excrete-able form to then eliminate from the body, so that no damage to the body will occur.

 

Toxins in and Toxins out.  Well, that is if everything is working as designed.  There are many organs that detoxify.  In reality, every cell must detoxify.  But, the primary organs of detoxification are the skin (through sweating), the kidneys, even the gut is involved in detoxification. But the most important organ for detoxification is the liver.

 

Detoxification must be customized.  Some individuals just genetically don’t detox well.  That is just genetically who they are.  Others don’t detoxify well, do to over use and depletion of their detoxification pathways.  Some require gentle detoxification intermediate support: others require aggressive, broad detoxification support.  Some people require minor daily support through vitamins and minerals: others require aggressive, specific detoxification protocols. We are all different and shouldn’t expect all of our individual detoxification needs to be met by the over the counter, one-size-fits-all detox in the box.

 

Supporting detoxification is great, but the best method to support detoxification is to avoid toxicant exposure all together.  According to the Environmental Working Group, the the most toxic environment one can encounter is in the home.  This toxic environment is the result of the many common products found in the home including: cleaning supplies, beauty products, daily home care products, unfiltered water, poorly ventilated air…  More than the toxicants encountered in our structure homes, are the toxins produced within the home that is our body. The first step in any detoxification plan begins with a clean, un-toxic environment in both homes.

Gut microbiome

Gut Origins.

Health, Disease, where does it all begin?  Are we simply a product of our genetics—simply a series of genetic sequences predestined to disease or do we have the ability to influence the genetic risk for disease?  Does the ability to empower health and prevent/treat disease exist?

The answers can be found in the gut.  Disease or Health begins in the gut.

It is estimated that up to 70% of the entire immune system of the body can be found lining the gut.  The body’s main line of defense is found in the gut.  The gut is the thin cellular barrier between the contents of the gut and the internal biochemistry of the body.  The gut is responsible for the transfer of information from dietary intake and the genome.  The gut flora plays a critical step in this transfer of information and thus the gut plays a critical role in Health or Disease.

 

But how?

 

It all begins with the gut microbiome. The predominant theory on the gut microbiome is that their numbers far exceed  the cells of the body by a factor of 10:1, estimated to exceed 1014 cells [1]. Other estimates question that theory and suggest more of a 1:1 relationship, at 3.8 x 1013 bacteria in a 70 kg individual compared to 3.0 x 1013 cells [2]. Whatever the numbers and the exact ratio, the gut microbiome plays a critical role in the physiology of the gut and thus the health of the individual—two coexisting, independent super organisms.

 

The gut microbiome environment can be a significant cause of inflammation.  Inflammation from the gut has been linked to systemic immune imbalance and autoimmune disease.  Inflammation from the gut has been linked to neurocognitive changes.  Inflammation originating from the gut has been associated with increased cancer risk.  Recently, inflammation from the gut has been linked to altered and dysfunctional metabolism changes.  Now the gut microbiome has been implicated in hormone metabolism.  The tentacles of the gut microbiome impact in health and disease appears to have no limitations. Clearly, health or disease have their origins in the gut.

[1] Thursby E, Juge N. Introduction to the human gut microbiota. Biochem J. 2017;474(11):1823-1836. Published 2017 May 16. doi:10.1042/BCJ20160510

[2] Sender R, Fuchs S, Milo R. Revised Estimates for the Number of Human and Bacteria Cells in the Body. PLoS Biol. 2016 Aug 19;14(8):e1002533. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002533.

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