Reversing A Fatal Genetic Disorder Through Lifestyle Medicine

Reversing A Fatal Genetic Disorder Through Lifestyle Medicine

There is nothing more important that you can give a patient than hope.

In 2010, the Smith family had little hope. Their 13 year old son had a series of abnormal lab tests which finally resulted in hopeless diagnosis. He was diagnosed with myelodysplasia (MDS) and given a poor prognosis by his oncologist.

The survival rate is close to the flip of a coin. There is a slight advantage for children that receive a successful bone marrow transplant; for the rest of the kids the survival rate is dismal. Essentially the treatment is wildly expensive and many lose their child.

While many of you may have never heard of this condition, it is the number one cancer among children in the United States. Myelodysplasia typically leads to full blown leukemia. [1]

This would be alarming if not for the fact that cancer has been reaching epidemic rates among all age groups since the 1940s. Nearly a hundred years ago, cancer rates were about 1 in 8000 with childhood cancers being nearly unheard of. Fast forward to 2014 and cancer rates have skyrocketed to the unacceptable rates of 1 in 2 Americans, with childhood cancers following. MDS / leukemia account for the majority of childhood cancers, slightly above brain (CNS) cancers. As of today, the expectation is that 1 out of every 10,000 children will get cancer each year. [2]

The Smith's son was diagnosed through a bone marrow aspiration from his pelvis. The results showed that the cause of his cancer was an abnormal chromosome mutation at 9q (J-3396, J-6911, and K-5930). This means that every time his bone marrow tried to make normal cells, the coding was broken. This accounts for the abnormal cell lines leading to anisopoikilocytosis, macrocytosis, polychromasia, leucopenia, neutropenia, refractory anemias or in more common terms, his cells were messed up. Each year the bone marrow aspiration test demonstrated the same result, 100% abnormal 46 XY karyotype with the same mutated DNA.

Two years later, after attending one of my Food as Medicine seminars, Mrs. Smith gave me a call to see if I could help her son. I told her something no other specialist had said, genetics can be fixed. Finally there was some cautious hope in her eyes. I explained that each time a cell divides it will either produce the same mutation or it will fix the mutation. I told her that mutation was a normal thing that the body has to contend with each and every day. It isn't until the exposures to chemical toxicities overwhelms our nutritional ability that we end up with such chronic mutations or disease. This process is called epigenetics.

Epigenetics is a fascinating process by which the body turns on and off genes through one carbon metabolism. By understanding how to help the body with its epigenetic gene manipulation, a physician can help recover mutations and unfavorable gene sequencing. [3] This whole process is why my identical twin daughters are slightly different as they get older. Their DNA is 100% identical but through environmental factors, diet, and lifestyle, their DNA sequencing has evolved to allow these slight variations. So without getting overly complicated, this means Mrs. Smith's son can improve his DNA and un-mutate his chromosome.

After a lengthy discussion with the family I learned that we were on a time deadline. His next chromosome test was in 6 months. Because of the severity of this case I did some additional research and put together a comprehensive treatment plan that would achieve success in the time allotted. Since I am a lifestyle functional medicine doctor, the focus was on food that would provide improved epigenetic potential while removing the most likely causes of the DNA mutation.

So what is the likely cause of her son's cancer? The main cause of mutation with MDS is exposure to chemicals like benzene or its derivatives. [4,5] Since benzene is a highly flammable component of crude oil, you might think exposure to such a volatile chemical would be rare, especially in children. That would be true except for the fact that many food companies use benzene derivatives to preserve your food.

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.