Tag Archives: personalized wellness

Genomics: Sequencing the Genome Preventing Disease

Genomics – The Science of Mapping our Genome

Genomics is changing the way we our proactive about our health, changing the way we treat disease. Genomic testing is truly revolutionizing healthcare.

 ( Register for a FREE Webinar with world renowned Clinical Genomicist Dr. Mansoor, on November 9, 7 p.m. eastern, and receive a promo code for 50% off  genomic testing……testing for more genomic markers, than any other test available. )

My Recent Interview on Genomics and Lifestyle choices based on Genomic Testing
Recently I was asked to appear as a special guest on the Make Your Body Work podcast. The show is a Q&A format and we were talking about the following question from a woman named Ainsley:
 

“‘…I was reading a book recently that suggested that we can change our genes based on our lifestyle choices. This makes me wonder how important it really is to cater to our genes, or to even worry about what our genes originally say. If we can actually change our genes, then shouldn’t that be our focus? At least it would be a nice thought, if we’re able to change them.”

As you know, this conversation topic is right up my alley. I was happy to share some ideas and insights that could be helpful to you as well. Listen to the podcast 

Genomics: Deciphering our DNA to Prevent and Recover from Chronic Illness

What is the Genome?

What is the difference in genetic testing and genomic testing?

Genomics Best In Corporate HealthKnowledge is power. Again, I am going to emphasize – according to the CDC 80 % of illness is caused by lifestyle. If we have the knowledge that we carry a genetic predisposition for an illness – you think that might help us hone our lifestyle choices?

If we know that we have a genetic predisposition for diabetes, which can more often than not be prevented by our daily choices, is that motivation for greater commitment to a life to prevent diabetes?

If we have the knowledge for a more targeted treatment protocol of disease, or a more targeted guide for our nutrition, supplementation, exercise…..think that’s motivation?

We so often want a crystal ball to gaze into our future. We do have a number of crystal balls. I am referring to the crystal balls based of science and research, Science that can read & decipher code of our DNA. I am referring to the science of genetic testing & more recently the study of genomics. The study of genetics has been with us for a long time, ever since an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel traced heritable traits in his pea plants in the 1800s.

Genetic testing over the years has helped us isolate monogenic diseases – understand individual genes and their role in disease such as sickle cell anemia which we know strikes those of Middle Eastern, Indian, Mediterranean and yes, African heritage. Contrary to popular belief – sickle cell  is related to malaria prone areas, not skin color.

Genetic testing has helped women and men discover if they are carriers of the BRCA gene mutation. Other monogenic (one gene is affected) include cystic fibrosis, polycystic kidney disease, and Tay-Sachs disease.

Personalizing corporate wellness with genomics Best in Corporate HealthNow genomics: Genomics looks at a person’s entire genetic makeup – called the genome. If we look at our chronic illnesses of today – cancer, heart disease, diabetes these diseases are a perfect storm from the interaction of a number of genes……and further complicated by environmental factors and lifestyle choices…… And……the plot thickens…..
Where genomics is insanely helpful –  scientifically targeting  our lifestyle decisions. Genomics focuses on all of the genes and genetic material (not just one at a time) and their interaction with NON genetic factors. By understanding how genes interact with non-genetic factors over which many we have control, such as diet, exercise, and smoking, exposure to oxidative stressors……we can minimize our risk and prevent many complex diseases. Genomics allows us to choose more appropriate food choices, choose targeted nutraceuticals vs swallowing generalized vitamins that give us expensive pee, and genomics can be used in targeting treatment protocols for various diseases….Science has outdone science fiction!

Vitamins ….. Supplements . ….Nutraceuticals

We spend billions every year on vitamins and supplements. There is no question there is better health to be gained with educated supplementation, when guided by real science. Problems:

  • Most people take a general multivitamin – quality varies and is extremely questionable
  •  Very often excipients (flow agents, binders, fillers, coatings, preservatives) are used that can be a health hazard
  • There is a very incorrect view that vitamins can only help us, not hurt us – and that is just not true. There are some conditions we could be totally unaware we have – and those supplements can exacerbate the situation
  • People think if some is good, more is better….just NOT true
  • There are water soluble and fat soluble vitamins. It is possible for fat soluble vitamins to be stores and accumulate to toxic levels
  • There is very little quality control
  • Certain supplements can encourage the growth of tumors

Just as with medication, we need to be educated as to the best choices for us. Genomic testing  – alerting us to our potential for disease – helps us make educated decisions over which supplements we should stay away from, and which ones will support our health.

Genomic Testing in our Corporate Wellness Programs

Corporate Wellness Magazine:

Genomics personalizing employee wellness
Getting very personal – genomic testing to personalize employee wellness programs

Personalization is the secret sauce for any wellness program

Personalized wellness programs deliver better motivation, knowledge, employee engagement, and results.

A personalized wellness program also conveys a serious commitment on the part of the employer to the employee. In our current  world where “attracting and keeping top talent in our organizations” is  a priority, personalization is key.

Providing Employees the Wealth of Health in Genomics –

Nothing Says Value & Appreciation More Than Health.  Appreciation breeds engagement

Harvard Business Review 2016: The Cost of Disengagement

Genomics Personalizing wellness programs
Targeting Health – Personalizing wellness with Genomics and Biometrics

“While a cut-throat environment and a culture of fear can ensure engagement (and sometimes even excitement) for some time, research suggests that the inevitable stress it creates will likely lead to disengagement over the long term. Engagement in work — which is associated with feeling valued, secure, supported, and respected — is generally negatively associated with a high-stress, cut-throat culture.  In studies by the Queens School of Business and by the Gallup Organization, disengaged workers had:

  • 37% higher absenteeism
  • 49% more accidents,
  • 60% more errors and defects.

In organizations with low employee engagement scores they experienced :

  • 18% lower productivity
  • 16% lower profitability,
  • 37% lower job growth
  •  65% lower share price over time
  • Businesses with highly engaged employees enjoyed 100% more job applications.
Genomics in wellness Best In Corporate HealthCancer Genomics

As a scientist, corporate health provider – my passion has always been preventing cancer. It was established many years ago that cancer is only 8-10% genetics – the rest is lifestyle – exposures to mutagens, carcinogens, oxidative stress that disrupt our inner ecosystem – and create an inner biology that is a good host for cancer. We have all been touched by cancer – either ourselves, or devastated by the loss of a loved one to cancer.

Cancer costs in the workplace – courtesy Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) 2014:

  • In lost work time & treatment: $19,000/100 employees/year
  • Lost work time and presenteeism  $10,000/ 100 workers
  • Medical and pharmacy treatments  $9,100
  •  Absent 3.8 more days per year
  •  Lose the equivalent of 1.8 more days per year to presenteeism.
  • At any given time, about 1/4 of employees with a history of cancer are in treatment.
  • Employees with cancer have an average of approximately four other conditions that complicate care management strategies

By studying the cancer genome, scientists can discover what letter changes are causing a cell to become a cancer. The genome of a cancer cell can also be used to tell one type of cancer from another.  In some cases, studying the genome in a cancer can help identify a subtype of cancer within that type, such as HER2+ breast cancer. Understanding the cancer genome may also help a doctor select the best treatment for each patient.

✔️ Coming Next week to Best In Corporate Health, an Interview with Bryce Wylde & Dr. Mansoor Mohammed – experts in the science of genomic testing 

Personalization   ⇒ Creating the Corporate Health Culture. A vital aspect of attracting top talent, creating a loyal, productive, healthy workforce 

 

At Best in Corporate Health……we get very personal....

Understanding what genetic predispositions we have. This enables us to target the choices we make in our daily lives. It enables health care professionals to better target treatment options for pre-existing conditions. Health is NOT one size fits all, nor should our wellness programs be.

Biometrics   Incentivize with wearable technology     Live Interactive webinars   FUN

And now ……     Genomics…………

Yes…..We get VERY personal……right down to the DNA….

Corporate health programs…what a wonderful way to affordably  make the world a happier, healthier place.

Shira Litwack, Corporate Program Designer
Shira Litwack – The Corporate Happy Place medical fitness professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Medical Exercise Specialist, Holistic Nutritionist

Chief Health Enthusiast – Best In Corporate Health

  • Shira is regularly consulted by Naturopaths, oncologists, health coaches on cancer exercise and exercise adherence.
  • Has assembled over 20 health and fitness professionals with varying specialties to bring to corporate wellness programs
  • Platforms include: Speaking, One-one/group health coaching, Retreats, Course development for in house delivery, Metrics to measure success available, Partners always included
  • Now offering live interactive webinars, just as if each participant has a personal health coach – making corporate wellness programs affordable to all.
  • Shira has been interviewed & published in hundreds of resources over the last 12 years:

Articles featured in: ezines, ArticlesInk, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Medical Fitness Network, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Willow (Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support),Myeloma Canada, Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Urban Poling for Breast Cancer, ROW – Recovery on Water for Breast Cancer, Sirius XM Doctor Radio


Redefine Data Analytics….Using employees’ own biometrics and sequencing the genome for the ultimate personalized wellness  programs-

Cancer – A Virus to Our Cellular HTML

Cancer – Think of it as a Virus to the HTML Programming our Cells

Cancer - Virus to our cellular HTML Best In Corporate HealthI sometimes get annoyed when people say/think “Everything causes cancer”. This thought often engrains a sense of helplessness within.The truth is, if we understand what cancer is, it helps us a deeper appreciation of prevention – we are certainly not helpless…A life to prevent cancer is a life to prevent all of our chronic illnesses,  infusing us with energy & power.  Let’s think of cancer as a virus that has reprogrammed and is spreading malicious coding to the  HTML of our cell’s genetic code.

Take a look at a beautiful website. Behind every beautiful site is HTML HyperText Markup Language, the “mother tongue” of our web browsers. Behind our being, is genetic code that dictates every cell of who we are, how we think and feel.  If we have one wrong little character in the HTML of our website it can completely destroy the function of that website. Well, the same is true for our genetic code.

Now, what is cancer? Cancer is a genetic mutation, something has reprogrammed the HTML of that cell. That cell is now reproducing incorrectly and potentially very dangerously, destroying healthy cellular function.  If our ecosystem is unable to shut that cell down, there is trouble. If our ecosystem is not optimized, the genetic saboteur is allowed to reproduce, and that deadly coding is reproduced.

Our bodies are a wonderland. Wonderland has an inner ecosystem that like any ecosystem needs to be kept in balance.  Chinese medicine describes our flow of Qi. Without the flow of Qi, our life’s force, the ecosystem is jolted out of balance.

We live in a world that is constantly bombarding our ecosystem.  Many times we are responsible for that attack: smoking, poor food choices, lack of physical activity…. And many times we do not know we are exposed to attacks on that biochemical terrain. Enter illness and disease.

Cancer is thought to be only 5-10% genetic. The rest is lifestyle, however, as mentioned above, our lifestyles consist of unknown as well as known carcinogens…..exposures that cause a cell to mutate.

Now……how magical are the powers of the right exercise? Exercise and nutrition are our body guards. When carcinogens attack, by empowering our body with the strongest possible biochemical terrain, one that is totally inhospitable to mutagens, we are able to fight the attacker and win.

Cellular Malware   (aka carcinogens and pathogens):

Certain chemicals (in our food, in our air, in our meds, in our soils……..)

Viruses and bacteria

Geophysical exposures, radiation…….anyone use a cell phone?

Hormonal imbalances…..including our big wide world of phytoestrogens endocrine disrupters…

Oxidative Stress & Inflammation

Some nasty lifestyle choices: smoking, sitting, poor food choices, stress, alcohol….

Our body depends on us to supply it with sustenance to empower the ecosystem.  This not only includes our immune system, but our digestive function as well. Think of our digestive tract as the first step of our immune system. A great deal of our mood and “happy functions” come from that mysterious land called our enteric nervous system……Unfortunately – even if we eat “the right” foods, our digestive tract can be impeded by that same cellular malware. Keeping our digestive tract a “united front” against the cellular malware includes a healthy balance in our gut microbiome, and assuring we maintain healthy levels of stomach acid. Unfortunately, there is a detrimental abuse of antacids – as low stomach acid is frequently mistaken for high stomach acid. And of course our digestive health is jeopardized by all the usual saboteurs….poor sleep, alcohol, sugar, processed foods, and of course people who don’t listen to grandma – and don’t get their roughage. Cellular malware thrives without an optimized digestive tract.

Preventing Cancer: Building Our Cellular Anti-Malware: (Our Fab 4)
  1. Nutrition..
  2. Exercise & Physical Activity
  3. Sleep
  4. Minimize exposure to carcinogens, mutagens, pathogens……reducing oxidative stress & chronic inflammation

When the body is unable to fight intruders, our biochemical terrain allows mutated cells, aka cancer cells, to reproduce…and reproduce……until “we have cancer”. It is believed that everyone of us have cancerous cells lurking within, our goal is that we have the defences to shut down those cells, or force what is called apoptosis – cell suicide.

Front and center to the body’s defences are our immune and circulatory systems.

Cancer - prevention Best In Corporate Health programsOur immune system is a pumpless system.  In other words, it can produce all of the wonderful superheroes in the world (lymphocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, immunoglobins….) but if there is no pumping action from our muscles, or no muscles, the immune system can’t do its job.

Exercise is imperative for optimizing our body’s performance. Every study shows us that exercise and physical activity are an absolute necessity for every organ system of the body, and a necessity, the “managing partner” to chronic disease prevention…all of them…

Our vigilance to proactive health, by honoring  the 4 components of Anti-malware is vital to the destruction of cancer, and all chronic illnesses at every level:

Prevention: enabling the body to kill those intrusions, to build a strong inner ecosystem

Management: make it through treatment, minimizing risks of side effects of treatment, fighting fatigue, getting our immune system to work in our favor, and  studies show us –  help better response to treatment, including protecting the body from potential side effects of medication

Prevention of recurrence. Rebuilding and equipping the immune system

Cancer occurs because their has been a genetic mutation, a change to the genetic code. The body has been attacked..the body needs to fight the attacker. By honoring our Fab 4, understanding their power, the many layers and complexities of each……we will fight cancer & chronic illness. We are NOT helpless, at all.


Corporate health programs…what a wonderful way to affordably  make the world a happier, healthier place. Educate people to Prevent cancer 

Biometrics   Incentivize with wearable technology     Live Interactive webinars   FUN    Genomics…………

Shira Litwack, Corporate Program Designer
Shira Litwack – The Corporate Happy Place medical fitness professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Medical Exercise Specialist, Holistic Nutritionist

Chief Health Enthusiast – Best In Corporate Health

  • Shira is regularly consulted by Naturopaths, oncologists, health coaches on cancer exercise and exercise adherence.
  • Has assembled over 20 health and fitness professionals with varying specialties to bring to corporate wellness programs
  • Platforms include: Speaking, One-one/group health coaching, Retreats, Course development for in house delivery, Metrics to measure success available, Partners always included
  • Now offering live interactive webinars, just as if each participant has a personal health coach – making corporate wellness programs affordable to all.
  • Shira has been interviewed & published in hundreds of resources over the last 12 years:

Articles featured in: ezines, ArticlesInk, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Medical Fitness Network, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Willow (Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support),Myeloma Canada, Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Urban Poling for Breast Cancer, ROW – Recovery on Water for Breast Cancer, Sirius XM Doctor Radio


Redefine Data Analytics….Using employees’ own biometrics and sequencing the genome for the ultimate personalized wellness  programs-