Monday, November 26, 2012

Welcome to the Synergy Health and Wellness Blog!

Hello, and welcome to the Synergy Wellness Blog!  In this inaugural blog post, I’ll lay out the narrative of this blog.  The primary theme of discussion is health and wellness, specifically lifestyle choices we can make to optimize our health.  The content within this blog is data driven and based on good scientific principles and practices.  You may notice that some of what I write appears at odds with what you’ve read or heard from other sources.  My plan is to lay out my thoughts and provide the scientific rational behind those thoughts in every post.  Where my ideas diverge from conventional thinking, I will describe why I believe the conventional thinking is flawed and how the science may not be saying what you think it says.

Before we go on I would like to lay out what I believe to be the best health model and compare it to the current model we use in the US.  First and foremost, optimal health requires the proper nutrition, very little sedentary time, daily activity, 8 hours of quality sleep, and the proper ratio of stress to recovery.  Within the stress:recovery category we look at things like strength training, work stress, family stress, and stress management modalities such as yoga, meditation, beach time, or just plain laughing.  When you take care of all of these things the vast majority of people achieve optimal health.  Pharmaceuticals provide help when infections occur, genetic defects are present, or a person leading an otherwise healthy life encounters a health problem.  Contrast this model with the current US model where people make terrible lifestyle choices and use pharmaceuticals in attempt to make up for those poor decisions.

As our understanding of human biology increases, the foundation that the current US health model is based upon crumbles.  Through advancements in the field of epigenetics, we now understand how nutrition, stress, and physical activity impact our health.  Epigenetics is the science of how our genes interact with the environment, referred to as genetic expression.  When we get regular physical activity and eat the proper foods, we affect thousands of genes in a way that improves health, immune function, brain function, stress management, physical performance, and any other way you can measure human health.  It appears that the primary flaw in using pharmaceuticals to compensate for not doing what is built in to our genes is that while the proper lifestyle choices affect thousands of genes, taking a drug to alleviate symptoms from poor choices may only affect as few as 10-20 genes, leaving many other avenues for things to go wrong.  It also could help explain why the average person takes as many pills per day as decades they have lived.  For a 60 year old person that’s 6 different pills per day!

I hope you enjoy this blog and pick up some good habits on the way.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss opposing ideas I welcome you to post in the comments section.  My only rule is that comments and discussions remain productive and don’t devolve in to flame wars or pissing contests.