Did you know that ancestral trauma has been found to have epigenetic implications that can impact physiology all the way down to digestion and metabolism?

Lee Ann Foster guides us through the concept of epigenetics, of the various tools she uses including neurofeedback, and how healing is always multimodal.



Audio Transcription: 

My friend, welcome to functional nutrition learning for kids, you are listening to your host Dr by Saturday. This is where we get together every week, sometimes every two weeks like today to talk about key areas of nutrition, functional medicine, holistic health for your child with autism, Down syndrome, ADHD, or learning disabilities. But we never lose sight of the neurodiversity paradigm of the idea that your child’s intellect is fully capable right now, but that we just might have to find the right mode of expression.

The role of functional nutrition is to help your child feel comfort in their body. And the role of presuming competence is to move forward to achieve an equal or higher education. And often I think that one is impossible without the other. Now I’m going to ask you a question. Are you struggling with focus for your child? If you are, go request a free 20 minute consult with me at functional nutrition for kids.com. That’s all together WWW dot functional nutrition for kids.com. and navigate to the contact me section. There’s a tab on the upper right. And do you know that there are people who’ve gotten enough from a free consult with me with answers to questions that they’ve struggled with for years, so just go request a free consult Now, if that makes sense. Let’s move onward to the farsighted and compassionate Leanne Foster.

I am super excited to introduce Leanne foster today. Leanne is a master’s level psychologist and an epi genetics wellness coach. Welcome, Leanne. I’m so excited. You’re here. This is my first time talking with somebody that has your experience. You’re having me. Yeah, getting to know you a little bit. And looking forward to this conversation. Can you talk to us a little bit about what it means to be an epigenetics wellness coach? Yes. So what I do is I get people’s Raja netic data, we can use 23andme version four, but I am certified through a company called appear on which means limitless. And what we do is we have our own genetic sequencer. So you know, with 23andme, we’re running into some issues with them selling data. And they also change what kind of genetic information they report. And so we didn’t want to rely on that. So we get your genetic data and we destroy the data after I have given you your own raw data, because it’s your and then created at reports. And so what we do, we look at things through an optimization lens, and not a sickness lens, not a medical system lens. Okay, so when I get someone’s reports, first of all, I’m coaching them.

I want to know what their goals are. And so we have so much information on these reports. So I want to go, you know, whittle down to what’s most important to an individual. And then we just began to work through the data according to what’s important to them. And we look for what are ways that we can optimize your lifestyle. And and in doing that, I’m also interested in a person’s personality and preferences, right? Because if we figure out ways to optimize your lifestyle, and you hate the things that we’ve come up with, it’s not sustainable, and you’re not going to stick to it. So I work really hard to figure out how can we do this in ways that you’re gonna love it and stick with it? Right. So, you know, the overall arching issue is, we know that genetic determinism is not an accurate scientific reality, we’re not determined by our genes, right? Rather, the lifestyle that we live in determines what genes express however, when when, when we’re looking at the snips and so on, are they not some form of genetic determinism? So the snips are there for sure. But it is your lifestyle that will determine whether those snips Express or not whether they’ll get read like a code and a computer or not on that’s what you’re doing.

You’re you’re trying to optimize the expression of, of these genes one way or the other. Exactly. Now, there are some, obviously that are determined, like Down syndrome is determined, Huntington’s is determined, but it’s very, very small percentage of genes that actually are determinative. Most of them are just a chance, right, a percentage of whether or not they’ll Express which can be greatly impacted by lifestyle. And even within the deterministic nature of Down syndrome.

What we have seen is that there’s so many more genes that can be expressed or not, which is why it’s obvious that there’s as much of a spectrum with the extra chromosome as there is without an extra chromosome. Absolutely, yes. So yeah, that That’s and we have this wonderful conversation when we spoke last time about all intervention, especially when we’re trying to deal with inflammation or neuro degeneration or any neurological issue being multimodal. And it was it was super exciting because we were on the same page right away about that. And we’re so we’re in this world where we’re interventions are do this, and we’ll fix your child kind of thing. Right? I mean, I have multiple issues with that I have issues with the term fix.

I have issues with the term do this. And I’m pretty sure nutrition is one of the things are one of the approaches that you use. But can you speak about your experience with using a multimodal approach? Yeah, absolutely. So my husband and I run a an integrative neuro psychology practice. And so we see a lot of people with different neurological challenges. And so we, we want to set everyone up for success.

We want to help them optimize their life no matter where they are, right? So some people come and they’re really having a lot of struggles, and other people come and they just want optimization. No matter what we do, we want to set them up for success. And so we look, we tell them, we’re going to hit it every from every angle, right? So we’re going to look at nutrition, we’re gonna look at supplementation, we’re gonna look at body movement, we’re going to look at sleep hygiene.

I tell people all the times sleep is the mama of the body. And if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. So that is that number one, then, you know, what are our stress management practices? What are our body movement practices? What are our mindset practices? What kind of stories do we tell ourselves about the world and ourselves and other people, so we look at everything and then we in our practice, really specialize and kind of going in the back door, and addressing the physiological dysregulation in the brain in the nervous system with very non invasive, but very targeted specific technology. So we we map the brain, we assess the autonomic nervous system. And then we train those with neurofeedback and heart rate variability training. And can you there’s multiple things I want to talk about, I want to talk about neurofeedback and heart rate variability training, but I also let’s see if we can stay in this in this mode for a little bit longer.

What has been your approach when we when you use one modality and when let’s say the the inputs coming in from the environment, be that diet or otherwise are not addressed? Oh, that’s such a great question. And we’ve really come to the point where we interview our clients on the front end to determine who’s a good fit. And we’re very honest with people on the front end, because if people aren’t willing to address their nutrition, and their lifestyle will get a level of improvement, but nothing, nothing like the level of improvement that we can get if people are willing to address the lifestyle. And we really want to see people get an optimal experience. And so it’s kind of hard to work with somebody who refuses to make those other changes, because they’re limiting themselves.

You’re adding this source of constant external stress to the body and the mind. And that is probably gonna eventually undo any benefits that come in. And I think that’s the same from my perspective, because I’m working on the other end, I’m working from the functional nutrition perspective. But if that is all that we do, and we’re not addressing the the learning aspect, the education and and the movement, which is which of the two things that I talk usually about, is that there’s no point for building an empty foundation where there’s like, You okay, you’ve built the foundation.

Now, what are you going to build on top of that? Right? Yeah, yeah. So and you you work with adults with, with with trauma? And and did you actually do is this the term wellness trauma is that’s the term I have in my mind. Did you say that? Or did I make up the term? You made that term up? But it’s a great term, because one of the things that that we talked about a little bit that I’d like to expound upon is, I see a lot of adults and, and children, honestly, who have what we would consider trauma, but it’s not popularly talked about as trauma. And so I often ask people, do you know anything about what your mother’s experience was like when you were in the womb? Because if your mother was stressed out and she was having trauma, then you started off being born in the womb in stress hormone, and that has certainly impacted you, you know, if she had a difficult birth, that is a trauma, if you’ve had illness as a child and had to have medical interventions, that is considered trauma, because you know, when especially when you’re young and pre verbal, that gets processed in the body, not through verbal processes, because they’re not there yet. And so it very much impacts your entire system. So I like your term wellness, trauma.

There’s another connotation to wellness trauma too, but we’ll get into later trauma due to endless cycles of you know, because we talked about how they can be very different kinds of veterans practitioners, and where you can have a very appeal for an ill approach or can be just trauma from going back and forth between that. But But coming back to what you said, I mean, there’s there’s a lot of people walking this earth today, unfortunately, that are carrying different levels of trauma that, whether that be physical that whether that be through the birth canal, or not through the birth canal, like a C section, or whether that be due to childhood adverse childhood experiences. And it’s so overwhelming.

It’s that, you know, I almost hesitate. So when you say that to people, when people get that information, what do they do with it? What do we what do you ask them to do with it? Because it’s, it’s a little scary for me, I would like almost not even go there. Yeah, well, by the time people have come to us, and they’re interested in coming to us, they’re already in a position where they’re reaching out for help. So frankly, when we talk about that people feel relief. Just like when people get their brain mapped, and we talk in very detailed terms about what we see in the brain, people feel immense relief, because oftentimes, people are walking around thinking, this is a character fault in me, like, I just can’t get it together enough.

I can’t put these practices together, you know, enough in my life to get better, right? And so when we talk about how much all these things impact their well being, there’s a sense of relief, like, oh, it, it’s not, there’s nothing wrong with me. It’s this is just how life is. And I’ve, I’ve adapted, you know, we talked to people to saying, there’s nothing wrong with the coping skills you’ve created. They’re actually brilliant. You know, coping skills are brilliant, considering the time you created them, they just kind of get a little outdated as we grow up, and they need an upgrade, right? Yeah, and I like that I like the term upgrade.

If you want to bring if bring this discussion, full, full circle in just integrating everything that we talked about, we have the we have the trauma piece, we have the let’s say, let’s say childhood trauma, or otherwise. And then and then we have the interventions. And then we also have the epigenetic, well, not the epigenetics, but the genetic mapping that you’re doing through the testing. So where do these different pieces fit together? So would that be what the genetics be the part that they’re coming with? And then the trauma is the additional? What would we call them modulators or triggers that are added to those genes and influence the epigenetics? And then what can they do about them? Can we have like a full circle discussion on that? Yeah, absolutely. So we know, through a lot of research, and especially looking at Holocaust survivors and their children and grandchildren, there’s been a lot of research on how trauma is epigenetically transferred through the generations. So all that what, what all those big words mean, is that if my, let’s say my great grandparents survived something like the Holocaust, which mine did, then I have a tendency to be more or less resilient to stress. Okay. And so you and I talked a little bit to how this interfaces with nutrition. So there’s these genes called gad genes, glutamic acid, enzyme genes, okay? And whether or not I have polymorphisms, that can make it difficult for me to digest foods that have glutamic acid, so that’s grains, dairy, soy, foods high and free glutamate.

If I have certain genes, when I, when I ingest that food, I could end up with anxiety, pain, insomnia, brain fog, things like that. Well, let’s say that I am a person who does not have those genetic polymorphisms that makes it difficult for me with those foods. But I had, my great grandparents survived the Holocaust, and now I have epigenetically transferred trauma, that trauma will turn those genes on those polymorphisms on even if I don’t have those certain snips, so I will re act as if I had those snips right. So I will have a difficult time with that food. And I will experience things like anxiety, insomnia, pain, brain fog when I eat those foods.So we’re living in this perfect vicious storm, not only of past trauma that’s been passed on but increasingly more trauma that is being passed on because of the nature of The world we live in.

I’m actually putting these things together in my head as I speak to you, because it’s very unique perspective that I hadn’t heard before about previous, you know, ancestor trauma, if you will. And we’re also living in a world where our food is like humongously modified and we’re eating, I don’t know what we’re eating, right? We’re not that’s not food at any rate. And maybe we have genes, and maybe we have polymorphisms, maybe we don’t, but then, and then we’re just like, churning this this toxic pottage of ingredients over and over again. And then. And that’s, that’s the soup that we’re in right now. Right? So the what do you do with this? So again, it’s a multi modal approach, right? So we would begin to dig in and say, Okay, we need to limit the foods that are high and free glutamate.

We talked earlier about this beautiful website, unblind, my mind, this mother, HD biochemist, and she helped her daughter who’s on the autism spectrum, incredibly, by limiting those foods, and she’s got great resources on that website that help people do that. But then we would also look at like supplemental interventions like magnesium glycinate, vitamin B, six, and zinc. So we would make sure and you know, optimizing vitamin D, always. But we would also look at the behavioral things like blue light toxicity, and how do I mitigate that, you know, so I am downloading flux on my computer screen so that I’m protecting myself from the blue light there, but I’m also having blue light blocking glasses on so that I’m double, you know, protecting myself from the blue light. We look at things like get out in the sunshine every day without sunscreen and sunglasses.

You know, so I’ve been doing that since conversation with you, by the way. Awesome. That’s great. It’s things that you know, even even those of us that know what to do, we’re not necessarily doing that, because we’re really caught up in this world where there isn’t much room for some for things like that, unless you actually intentionally think about it. Exactly. So and then after these approaches, you layer on something you layer on a direct intervention like neurofeedback, and you see a pretty good I know this conversation isn’t technically about neurofeedback, but this is something that a lot of clients have asked me and I haven’t had any direct experience yet. But when somebody is coming in with something very severe, like, like trauma or anxiety, is this something that you see a great benefit to Neurofeedback from? Absolutely.

Now, we’ve been doing this for 30 years, my husband was one of the first and the highest levels of certification, and we’ve published research, the VA sends veterans to us, and they pay for it. And so we get the veterans who have post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic head injury, and we’ve had incredible success, most of them get off their medication. And they feel better than they ever had. So not all neurofeedback is equal, we use something that’s called Lauretta Z score neurofeedback, so we’re doing a 3d, very, very, very detailed map of the brain. And then we’re training to optimize all these networks of the brain.

One of the things that we see with children on the spectrum is that their anxiety networks are so far, like sometimes five and six standard deviations above the norm. And so what this means is all the electricity in the brain is trapped, going down these anxiety networks. So one of the first things that we do in training is help to kind of disrupt those stuck networks, and then the electricity is free to go and distribute through the brain. And so it looks like IQ increases when we test for IQ. We don’t believe IQ is really increasing. We believe that that stuck nature of what’s been happening in the brain is finally freed up so that they’re able to access and express who they really are.

That makes a lot of sense. And I think just for that one thing alone for for the for the anxiety trap, if you will, which is which is so common. Are you also seeing that as is that just becoming more and more increasingly common? Yep. Yeah. Yeah. So many toxins in our environment, and it’s the same soup that we discussed, and it’s just manifesting as anxiety, perhaps incredible amount of information.

Dan, thank you so much. But before we wrap up, one thing is if if you had to give some advice to a new parent, let’s say we’re talking about a parent with a child with a what if their child has autism, but if they’re specifically looking to make them more comfortable in their body reduce neuro inflammation or GI inflammation, what would be top two or three things that you think anybody can do by themselves?So I would really look to people like you People who are parents who have these special children, you know, this brilliant children who, who we just have to learn how to help them come out and express who they are people like you who understand the importance, the vital importance of nutrition. And who also understand, like we talked about this multimodal, you know, one of the first things I asked you is, had you heard of a nominee all and the neuro movement? Yes, that is so important, and it’s something that people can actually grasp and learn to do on their own. And the parents will benefit tremendously.

I mean, have you not by learning some of that modality? Absolutely. Yes. And one of the things one of the first things that Anat Baniel movement practitioner told me when I interviewed her for the podcast was that movement is the language of the brain. And that that phrase has just an I think that might be like the slogan of the ABM modality but it’s it’s stuck in my brain and it’s like the mantra of multi modality because, like I said, you can you can nutrition, everything, you know, you can just, you can just fill your child with nutritionally dense foods. But if we’re not speaking the language of the brain, then then what are we doing? Right? Yeah, yeah. And I think, you know, third, I would say, get into a community of like minded mothers, because that is so vital to have that support of like mindedness, because I know so many families that come to us they are fighting against their families who think they need to do things in conventional ways.

You know, drugged them, and and they just you need that supportive, like minded mothers to hold you up and keep you on track when other people aren’t necessarily seeing things the way you’re seeing them. Wonderful. Thank you so much. Great advice, Leanne. Where can people reach you? Can you tell us a little bit about where you’re located because I mentioned that and how people can Yeah, so physically, we’re located in Memphis, Tennessee.

Our website is neuro source.net And we can also be found on Facebook and our your services accessible online as well. So we do have my epigenetic services are available distance. We do have the capacity now to do home neurofeedback. And I will say, though, that that is not for complex cases. I wouldn’t want children doing home Neurofeedback God that is taxing on the parents. It’s just not. It’s not as fun. Yeah, no, I can totally imagine. Yeah, it would be hard, but if people contacted me, I could help them locate good Neurofeedback providers in their area. Okay,

I’m contacting you after this. It was so wonderful to have you on this podcast. lianza You’re like a breath of fresh air. Thank you so much for being here.Thank you so much for having me. You’re a breath of fresh air to felt connection talking to you and I’m so glad you’re out there doing the work that you’re doing. Thank you for listening. Today. I’m your host, Vijay and music today was by Maitri coach. Don’t forget to book a free session at functional nutrition for kids.com by navigating to the Contact Me tab on the upper right. Otherwise, I will see you next week. Bye.