Hey, everyone! Welcome back!
I know it’s been a really long time since we’ve posted a video, and that’s because we’ve been really busy working on the Help for HS Cookbook!
Food is definitely one of the hardest parts of any healing journey, so we’re putting together a collection of recipes to help take out the guesswork. It’s definitely been a labor of love, but we’re so excited to have it ready for you early this summer. So be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and join our email list so that you can be the first to know when it’s available.
Now with that announcement out of the way, I want to talk to you guys about a common fear that I know a lot of you have. And that is, “will I give HS to my kids?”
HS can be such a life-altering condition, and we’ve heard from some of you that you’ve decided not to have children out of the fear that they will have to live with this pain.
We do know that there is a strong genetic component to HS. And while there is no guarantee that your kids will or won’t have it, you can actually influence your genetics – and your children’s genetics – by how you take care of yourselves.
The idea that we can turn genes on or off through lifestyle and environmental factors is called epigenetics. “Epi” means “above,” so we’re actually working above or beyond our genetics to influence how our genes express themselves.
I want everyone to understand that just because you have the genes for something, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have the disease, or that the disease will be severe.
Genes can be turned on, genes can be turned way down, and they can be turned off. I always tell my patients that our genes give us a loaded gun, and our environment pulls the trigger.
And we know that things like inflammatory foods, sleep deprivation, polluted air and water, and toxic chemicals can turn on our bad genes or make our genes express themselves more strongly.
Now, we have certainly seen a genetic pattern for HS among our patients. I would say at least 30% of our HS patients have parents, siblings, or children who also have it.
The medical research has also identified several different genes that predispose people to HS.
Some of these genes are related to the immune system, and some of the genes relate to the structure of the skin and the hair follicles.
One really important gene that’s involved in HS is called the “nicastrin” gene (NCSTN). Nicastrin is a protein that plays a big role in the stability and support of our cells, and they’ve identified at least 11 different mutations of the nicastrin gene that lead to HS.
Another important gene for HS is the TNF-alpha gene. It’s been found that having different variants of this gene creates a susceptibility to HS, and it can also promote more frequent flares and more severe disease.
So what can you do to reduce the expression of these genes? It really goes back to the basics, and these are the things that we preach to all of our patients – regardless of what we’re treating them for.
Number 1 is to avoid chemicals as much as possible. Toxins disrupt how our genes function and they block the body’s healing and repair mechanisms. So get a good water filter, a good air purifier, use non-toxic personal care products, and eat as many organic foods as possible.
Number 2 is to sleep and rest. Sleep is when your body restores and heals, so you need deep sleep to support your genes. Things like alcohol, caffeine, and having light and electronics in the bedroom are some of the biggest sleep disruptors.
Number 3 is to make sure you’re eating well. Not only do we need to avoid inflammatory foods like gluten and sugar, but we need to eat the nutrient-rich foods that support our body. It can also be really helpful to take a high-quality multivitamin every day.
Number 4 is movement and exercise. And I know this isn’t always possible because of pain, but even gentle walking or yoga is better than nothing.
Finally, number 5 is stress resilience. Stress puts extra burden on your genes and it can disrupt a lot of processes in your body.
And even though it’s not possible to completely avoid stress in our lives, doing things like journaling, meditation, prayer, spending time in nature, and even laughing can help to shift us into a more relaxed state.
So the take-home message is that yes – there is a chance that your children could develop HS, and we sometimes do see it run in families, but not always. There are no guarantees.
But your genes are not your destiny, and by doing your best to take care of yourself and your children, you can greatly reduce the severity and progression of disease, or even prevent it from developing in the first place.
If you’re not already on our email list, be sure to sign up because we’re always sharing ways that you can support your health, just like we talked about today, and I will leave links in the description box for you.
Thanks so much for watching, be sure to subscribe and give me a thumbs up if you liked this video, and I’ll see you again soon.