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Chances are by now you have heard of a lot of different kinds of healthcare — cutting edge healthcare, wellness care, preventative healthcare, but have you heard of “transgenerational” healthcare? What would that even mean? It is a term you will hopefully start hearing more and more of, especially if the health of your children and your children’s children is important to you.

Most of us think of health in terms of how we feel, less of us think in terms of how our bodies are actually functioning. Let’s be honest, most of us seek out “health” care when we have symptoms. We take better care of our cars and pets than we do of our bodies. Few of us go in for testing to make sure we are healthy. And to be clear, while colonoscopies, mammograms, and other types of screenings are an important part of prevention, how many of you, after getting a good report, have ever been told how to keep things healthy? Typically, they just keep testing you until you are too old for the tests to be helpful or until they find something.

The first step in understanding transgenerational health care is to understand your own health. Health is not the absence of symptoms. You can have osteoporosis and never “feel” it until you break a bone. You can have cancer and never “feel” a thing. How you feel is a very poor indicator of your health. True health is both feeling your best and being your best. When your energy is good, you’re healthy. When you sleep well and wake up refreshed, you’re sleeping healthy. When you feel good after a meal and not sluggish and tired, you’re eating healthy. When your brain functions good no matter your age, your nervous system is healthy. We are designed by God to be very healthy, and because we have a lot of built-in reserve capacity, we rarely know when we start to lose health until it is quite far along.

Part of what I do through functional medicine is incorporating all these things to help you not only feel better but to actually be better. When your blood test and chiropractic analysis show improvements, you can know for sure you are indeed healthy. I recently had a patient come in for a follow up on his blood labs and he told me that this is the best he has felt in years. His test results confirmed it. He had referred his mother and they both already noticed a difference in her energy as well — and she is 80 years old!

Therein lies the “transgenerational” aspect I am talking about. I want to encourage you to start thinking about health as including the health of your family. If you’re healthy but your kids are always sick, it affects you. If you are always worrying about your parents as they age, it affects your health as well. If your spouse is unhealthy, it affects your relationship, your health, your life. With the exception of your young children, I understand you can’t make anyone else make good choices. You can surely encourage them, and sometimes the best thing you can do is be a good example. When people see you in a state of optimal health, they notice. They start to say things like “I want what you’ve got.” When you come from a place of high energy and vitality, people will listen to you.

Now when it comes to your young children, you CAN control their health. Their diet is what you feed them. Their TV and screen time is whatever you allow. The vitamins and supplements they take are controlled by you. If you buy the cheap stuff, you do so knowing they may well be getting lead and other heavy metals with their B vitamins and iron. If they are having chronic ear infections, you control whether a chiropractor cures them by working with the immune system, or tubes are put in. You control sleep, diet, almost everything — their health is controlled by you! You can raise healthy kids by being a great role model with your life. Otherwise, as Dr. Jim Sigafoose once said, you can “leave your children at home so they can develop the same problems you have.” A little harsh, but very accurate.

I want to teach you one more word, and that is the word “epigenetics.” I first heard this word in 1995, and now almost 30 years later it is coming into common use. It refers to the fact that we can control the expression of our genes. You may have the genetics for obesity, but by doing some extra work with your diet, supplement, and exercises, you don’t have to express those genes. Certain supplements can even affect the expression of good and bad genes. Even more fascinating is the science that shows that your nutrition can affect the next three generations of children you have. And not just mothers when they are pregnant — although that is the biggest effect — but also the dads before conception. That is powerful! If that is the only thing you get from this article, remember that! The choices you make today can affect your great grandkids for the better… or the worse.

So how do you start? First recognize that your health is largely a matter of your choices. Then recognize that your choices can influence those around you for the better or worse. So eat healthy, buy quality vitamins and supplements, see your Doctor of Chiropractic — and not just for pain — then watch how you being healthy affects those around you, which in turn decreases your stress and makes you even healthier. Finally, look forward to someday holding your great-grandchildren, and knowing that your choices 50 or 60 years ago are making them healthy and happy.

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