Using Genetics To Treat Chronic Health Issues with Dr. Lulu Shimek
Dr. Lulu Shimek is here to teach you how to use your genetics to your advantage, whether you struggle with chronic health conditions or not! She is a naturopathic physician and expert in genetic health who helps patients with a variety of conditions such as autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and fatigue.
Dr. Lulu believes that once we dig down to the root of the problem we can ignite our bodies’ innate ability to heal and see unimaginable changes in our well-being. Click play below to listen, or read on to hear how you can take control of your wellness with your genetics in mind!
Dr. Lulu has a passion for genetics.
I really believe that our DNA is the key to changing our current state of wellness and the future of our health as well. When we look at the research around DNA so much has been uncovered, but we still have so much to learn. After so much research in the field, we’ve discovered that there are many aspects of nutrition that have the ability to actually alter our genetic makeup. Every piece of our lives has an impact on our genes, but the most impact can be made through our nutrition. Broccoli, for example, contains sulforaphane which reduces inflammation and prevents cancer. If we want to make real positive changes to our bodies, nutrition is one of the best ways to do that.
Genetics testing is empowering!
We have hereditary genetics, which we understand as being unchangeable; and then we have epigenetics, which outside factors can affect. We can look at both kinds and use it as a preventative tool. For example, maybe the combination of your genes and area you live in puts you at higher risk for skin cancer. Knowing that you’re prone to skin cancer doesn’t mean you will definitely get skin cancer. It means you know that you need to adequately prepare yourself for outdoor activities to avoid developing a condition later on. Using our genetics in this way can save lives many ways and improve our day-to-day lives as well.
You can obtain your own data by yourself with an at-home testing kit, but the real empowerment starts by having a genetic consultation. A physician, such as myself, can look at your results and see if anything sticks out as abnormal, how your body will react to specific stimuli, what you should do going forward, and more.
On utilizing test research in her practice:
All the data is changing constantly, so I get to learn about new discoveries and new tools often. We’re trying to dig deep and see what’s going on in the system so we can figure out what needs adjusting. Often we’re looking for small adjustments they can make in lifestyle and nutrition to have the biggest impact in their lives going forward.
First, we do a full wellness panel to get a good idea of where the patient’s general health is. Then, the patient and I review those results together and decide what to do next. Sometimes we will do further specific panels that align with their wellness goals or struggles. For example, if a patient has a lot of memory issues and fatigue we can look at a specific panel to see how their body functions from an energy standpoint.
**Prefer to watch? Watch our livestream, “The Genetic Genius with Dr. Lulu Shimek” below!**
How do you use this in-depth genetic research in your practice?
I work a lot with nutrition which is definitely the best way to make a positive impact on your health. After testing, I discuss with patients what changes they might want to make to what they’re eating. This can include a variety of suggestions, from small switches to big. Some adjustments will promote better habits in general and others might be more specific to their condition.
Herbalism is part of the foundation for naturopathic medicine, but for me it’s also the cornerstone. I find it’s an easy way for patients and people in the community to embrace their own wellness and empower themselves because it’s easy to learn about plants and their benefits. Vitamins specifically are so intangible for people to understand and it’s a lot easier to remember that they can use peppermint or ashwagandha for energy.
Easy nutrition hacks for more energy and less stress
In general life, I tell my patients to be free and do what makes them happy (barring extremes). If your nutritional plan feels too stressful to follow you need to take a step back for your physical and mental health. There are big emotional and physical effects from nutrition so the same thing won’t work for everyone. Genetics testing can tell you more specifically what you want to add or subtract from your nutritional plan.
Almost every patient I see mentions low energy, especially if they’re struggling with a chronic disease. If this sounds familiar, I would generally recommend looking at your nutrition and supplement plan for ways to add more B12. This can look like eating more spinach, asparagus, broccoli, almonds, or eggs.
Next, bring in some adaptogens, which are non-toxic plants that help us adapt to stress. These are key, especially right now, to help our bodies deal with the chronic stress we are under. Even if we don’t feel extremely stressed every day, those small physical, emotional, and chemical stressors can really add up. Ashwagandha, holy basil, and chaga mushrooms are great examples of adaptogens.
Foods that are killing your gut microbiome
Gluten is definitely number one. A lot of people struggle with inflammation and are just unaware that could be what’s causing it. Gut inflammation from gluten is especially prominent here in the United States due to our carb-heavy diet. Just cutting back on your gluten intake will give you a noticeable difference.
Sugar is like battery-acid for the gut and bloodstream, so removing all forms of refined sugar is a real key. You don’t need genetics testing to see that! Your body makes new red blood cells after 90-120 days so after that it will feel very rejuvenating. Once you switch to more naturally sweet things you really notice a big difference in your energy levels, taste preferences, hormones, neurotransmitter function, and more. Sugar completely changes the way our body works so cutting it out will provide nothing but benefits.