Hippocrates — the ancient Greek father of medicine — famously said that “all diseases begin in the gut.” Modern medicine continues to prove him largely correct. There is now evidence pointing to gut health as a causative factor in Diabetes, Parkinsons, Alzheimer's, Cancer and Auto-Immune diseases. Brain health and Mood are also linked to keeping a healthy micro biome.
So what to do in response to this?
In the last ten years, a sea change has begun in the world of patient interaction with the medical world. With the advent of the internet, patients, formerly without recourse to much help, are now searching the internet for how to improve the state of their health; there are many internet groups devoted to this pursuit of patient wellness, leading to a situation where many patients are now much more educated about their particular diseases and methods for dealing with symptoms than was formerly customary. And they are willing to embrace modes such as nutrition and supplements to tweak and improve and cure their disease states. Beyond this, they often reach out to other people who have worked at improving their own health for years and have become community leaders in these groups.
For many people these days, a secret way to regain full health is to change their diet completely from the Standard American Diet (SAD) and adopt a different nutritional model; this approach towards dieting is targeted at achieving health and high(er) performance in all aspects of their lives rather than strictly for weight. Both physical health and mental clarity improve.
So we've seen the advent of the Paleo and Bulletproof Diets, which have created tribes and social movements to support the changes in lifestyle that typically occur after beginning these diets. These join older standards such as Vegan and Raw Diets and the Macrobiotic Diet. More particularly, for Gut Health, there is also the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), along with Body Ecology for yeast prevention and general health, and the offshoot of the Paleo Diet that specifically addresses Auto-Immune conditions, called Auto-Immune Paleo Protocol, known as AIP. For Adrenal and Thyroid Health, there is the Adrenal Reset Diet started by Dr. Alan Christianson.
One of the most elusive skills about learning to keep your body healthy is learning to read your body's reactions to foods you ingest at a source level, before the subtle reactions develops into bad symptoms that switch on genes leading to chronic illness. We are now aware of our ability to help determine our genetic destinies. This is a huge improvement over the previous model which many of us were raised with when genetics was strictly a static outcome.
Here is Dr. Frank Lipmann, Functional Medicine doctor, addressing how epigenetics effects gene outcomes:
Bathing your genes in the right environment (good nutrients, food, love and thoughts), will turn the genes for health on and the “disease” genes off.
You can “turn on” genes that prevent chronic diseases and “turn off” oncogenes that promote breast cancer and prostate cancer as well as turn off genes that cause inflammation and oxidative stress. Your genes are controlled by epigenetic coding that tells them to be expressed or not expressed — which is completely controlled by your environment and lifestyle.
This factor, let's call it body intuition, which is fundamental to maintaining a healthy body, is completely ignored in our educational system. In general, as we grow up and attend school, there is absolutely no value placed on it societally, so there is little incentive to learn such skills. Later in life, when attempting to reverse an illness or in the course of seeking a more healthy and productive body/mind, this is a skill that must be learned from scratch for most people.
And yet, this connection between body and mind is one core of good health. Other methods that strengthen it come from the practice of yoga, Qi Gong, meditation and energy medicine.