3 Roots To Treat Dry Eye, Blepharitis, and MGD with Andrea Nakayama
When we talk about true health, there are three main roots that must be investigated in order to be truly healthy. These three are genetics, digestion, and inflammation, and they’re a large part of functional medicine. We’re talking with Andrea Nakayama today about the important things to address that can bring your body back to health.
After recognizing that there are these three roots, you have to look at the circle of influence around them. How is it possible to address all three of these and live a normal life? Stephen Covey defined this circle of influence, and in the center is where you have control. On the outside is the area of concern and all of the things you need to do to change. Often, you can get stuck in the middle, feeling like you don’t have enough control and causing anxiety. Circle of influence exists between the control and concern areas, and it’s where you actually have the ability to do something every single day to influence how you address both your concerns and sense of control.
If you think about your genes, the circle of influence includes our food, movement, environment, and mindset. These branches influence the root of our genes. When discussing digestion, the circle of influence includes mechanical, structural, chemical, and microbial factors. And when we’re talking about inflammation, the circle of influence includes clearing, calming, enhancing, and modulating.
3 Roots and Branches to Health
Although not your destiny, genes are incredibly important. If you have a family history of disease, it may mean that you’re more susceptible to that disease. However, you are born with genes that have on/off switches, so just because you have a certain gene doesn’t mean you’ll end up with that disease. You have influence on the outcomes, and it comes down to focusing on the four areas below. If you have the mindset that you’re going to have something, this influences your genes more than you might think.
What about genetic testing like 23 and Me? These tests are like wallpaper. It’s there and part of the room, but it’s not the entire picture. All they tell you is that the potential is there, but it will not tell you whether or not the gene is actually expressed. This testing shouldn’t be used in a prescriptive way without understanding the entire individual.
This is self explanatory, but what you eat affects your health like nothing else. If you’re eating processed foods with excess sugar and bad fats, your health is going to suffer. Flood your body with green leafy vegetables, fruits, and a rainbow of colors.
Do you move your body every single day? You should, because exercise is not only important for making you stronger, but it also helps detox the body. Begin incorporating movement that you love, be it walking, dancing, yoga, swimming, or something else active.
When you look around your environment, you see that you’re surrounded by things that can have an affect on your health. This may include air pollution, the cleaners you use in your house, and the chemicals you use on your body. By addressing this issue and replacing those things (where possible) with healthier alternatives, you can help your body heal.
If you don’t believe you can heal, you never will. If you believe you’re going to have a certain chronic disease, just like your family, you will be more destined to suffer from it. Mindset plays an incredibly important role in health, so you should work on things you can do every day to keep a positive mindset.
Our food meets our physiology here, because our cells are largely influenced by what we eat. How does your food interact with your particular body? We’re stressing our bodies at least three times per day (every time we eat) and your body must break down that food into the micronutrients your body needs. You should be able to get the correct nutrients from the good food you’re eating, but your body has to be able to use it.
The microbial function is central to this in your digestive system, and digestive function brings together both the inside and the outside of the body.
We often forget to stop and chew our food, but this is so important for breaking down all of the nutrients your body needs. There are other mechanical components that occur throughout the entire body to help break down the food you’re eating, but the first place is in your mouth.
This is simply the structure of your digestive system. You can also think of leaky gut as a structural imbalance because there’s an impairment in the structure that is supposed to be protective.
Just like chewing wakes up your digestive system, using lemon water or apple cider vinegar in the morning helps to do the same. It gets the body ready for the chemicals being released which break down food at a molecular level. We need stomach acid, enzymes, and other secretions for proper digestion.
This branch ties everything together. We are now much more prone to chronic disease and autoimmune disease, but the traditional healthcare system doesn’t know how to handle it properly. There are ways to feed your microbiome through the foods you eat every day, and you can eat probiotic rich foods (non-dairy yogurt, kimchi, real pickles, sauerkraut, miso, and others). You should also eat resistant starches, which move through the body, resist digestion, and begin to feed the bacteria in your gut (cold potatoes and green plantains are great). You also want polyphenols like blueberries, matcha green tea, and green leafy vegetables. It’s not essential to run out and purchase probiotics, as you can see, but they can be beneficial.
As we’ve already discussed, all of these things are interrelated. The circle of influence around inflammation contains many of the same things we’ve already discussed, and it includes clear, calm, enhance, and modulate. Inflammation is a positive thing the body does, but it’s supposed to have its effect and then calm down.
Clearing body waste is incredibly important here, and what you pee and poop out shows this. Toxins in your body can be both external and internal, with internal being things like hormone imbalances (endotoxins). You need to be able to excrete what you don’t need, such as body waste, contaminants, stress and anxiety, and removing the most inflammatory foods. This could include processed food and excess sugar for everyone, but it may also include foods you are specifically sensitive to, such as dairy for Andrea and wheat for Dr. Travis.
As you’re clearing, you want to make sure that you’re not inciting anxiety. To calm, think of inflammation, digestion, environment, and diet. Dietary change often isn’t a handout, and many women have responses that make them feel left out in response to food. If your friends are having a glass of wine, you want to partake. If your grandmother makes her famous casserole, you feel like you can’t say no. You need to make sure you can still have fun things, albeit slightly different in composition (a healthy vs. traditional brownie).
Because everything in the body is connected and we’re all unique, we get more into individuality here. Enhancing means that we’re making sure to nourish with the right nutrients our body needs to have a well functioning immune system. Vitamin D, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin A, and others are essential for functioning, but the need may be unique. The best thing you can do is make sure you’re eating a rainbow rich diet, sleeping well, and then looking into what’s unique for you.
This realm can be tricky because we’re discussing chronic, unresolved inflammation. Modulation is a balancing act and means that we may need to do more enhancement, or we may need to do more calming for certain individual people. It’s important in this branch to see a functional medicine doctor or someone else who can test you individually and help you turn up and turn down certain dials so the immune system can do its job.
If you’re looking for someone to help you in your journey to healing, reach out to email@example.com. Andrea also has a virtual clinic, and you can find that at fxnutrition.com. Her podcast is 15 Minute Matrix, which you can listen to at 15minutematrix.com, and make sure to follow her on Instagram @functionalnutritionalliance.
About Andrea Nakayama
Andrea’s become a big deal in the world of functional medicine, as a nutritionist who can help chronically ill people get better when no one else can. Her clinical skills have won her the attention of many world-renowned doctors, who consult with her on their own difficult cases. More than that, Andrea trains a thousand practitioners every year in how to have the clinical success she’s had. She’s training an army of change-makers in the field of healthcare.
Those triumphs came out of Andrea’s own tragedy when her young husband was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor while she was pregnant with their only child.