Optimal health: Diet is only one form of input
Eating natural, unprocessed products and taking supplements are good first steps on the road to optimum health. But sometimes supplementation is not enough to bring about substantive or permanent changes. Avoid disappointment The common focus on food, special diets and specific products has meant that people often think that good food is all-important for health. Unfortunately, this is a perspective that often leads to disappointment. Check out your environment critically and create a comprehensive whole on the road to optimal health. The Exposome: A Holistic and Ecological Perspective on Health One of the promises of the Human Genome Project (1988-2003) was that we would better understand the origin of diseases, and thus, health. This promise remained partially unfulfilled because as it turned out, only ten percent of diseases can be attributed to genetic causes. The rest seem to be subject to influences from your environment. The total of environmental factors is also referred to as the exposome. The concept of the exposome articulates an expandsive perspective on human health and disease. It includes all complex and lifelong forms of exposure to environmental factors ranging from diet to lifestyle behaviors. It also involves the manner in which the body reacts to these exposures. Exposomica is the growing discipline mapping and analyzing the exposome. The term exposome was launched some ten years ago by Dr. Christopher Wild. He is affiliated with the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization. The term has long become commonplace among biologists and epidemiologists. From Genome to Exposome Within the exposome paradigm all non-genetic factors that contribute to health we call environmental factors or influences; these include chemicals, drugs, infectious agents, psychosocial stress, electromagnetic radiation, exposure to artificial light and so on. This contrasts the scope of the genome, or the complete set of genetic material. The exposomica field bridges different disciplines, in particular biology and mathematics but also evolutionary theory. Over the next few years this interdisciplinary field is expected to produce interesting breakthroughs in health and disease. Recent immigrants, low socio-economic groups running high chemical environmental risks and pregnant women are especially spotlighted of this new science. Apply the science to your health needs By paying attention to your entire exposome you will be better able to improve your health. Look beyond food (and supplements) and consider physical activity, electromagnetic radiation, artificial light and chemicals in your everyday products. A comprehensive health strategy taking on a mix of factors will enable you to make the large or lasting changes you want to achieve.