Forget the genes – take control!

The scientific view of what determines a life span or how a person ages has swung back and forth. A few decades ago it was all about what we eat and environmental issues. Then the view switched to genes, the idea that you either inherit the right combination of genes that will let you eat fatty steaks and smoke a pack a day and live to be 100 or you do not.

In more cases than not when a patient consults a health practitioner with some or other health issue he will mention an ancestor or two who suffered from this same complaint and so he pronounces: “I have inherited this disease”. And this is how it has been for a long time now. By keeping us focussed on the all-importance of genes themselves, the message conveyed to us is one of a basically predetermined helplessness, except through the possibilities afforded us by conventional medicines and modern medical technology. 

Well you’ll be glad to know that this is all poppycock! It is now believed there is no drug that can regulate genetic expression better or more powerfully than your diet can. Enter the field of Nutrigenomics – the study of how different foods and their constituents can interact with specific genes to increase or lessen the risk of common chronic diseases. It is believed we “actually control anywhere from 80 to 97% of our own genetic expression with respect to potential disease processes and even longevity.

Genes are turned on and off by regulatory genes and regulatory genes are controlled mainly by nutrients. So it is not the genes themselves that predispose us to disease or determine how long we will live but rather those things within our diet and environment that can act upon our genes. Although environmental chemical exposure certainly plays a role, foods fundamentally serve as our basic genetic instruction and guidance information.  The lesson we learn from this: Nutrients can in fact modify human physiology which means to a great extent we are in control of our destiny. The genes you inherited are no longer your life sentence.

This goes along with what I’ve been saying for years to those who blame their lousy inherited genes:  “With all due respect it is more likely to be the kinds of food and the methods of cooking that have been passed down from generation to generation”.

So forget the past, watch what you put into your body and indulge in moderate exercise, so that you don’t give your “lousy inherited genes” the opportunity to express themselves. Resolve to, from now on, see them simply as genetic “tendencies” not genetic certainties. Be the one telling your genes how long you will live – not the other way round. It is never too late to take control of your destiny.

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