Have you been told that your condition, symptom, or medical situation is genetic?
Have you interpreted that to mean that you had no choice in the matter, and that you are destined to be sick, symptomatic? As if nature made a mistake with you. You got bad genetic luck so the story goes.
Well in 95% of more of the cases that we hear about this is a lie, and is intentionally disempowering and sapping your personal autonomy.
You have a choice in your health future.
Lets unpack this briefly to give you back your power.
you have 23 chromosomes inherited from your parents. They form double helixes, a fact discovered by a woman named Rosalind Franklin, whose work was critically influential in Watson and Cricks work to define the DNA. Without her work, shared without her permission, it is unlikely that they would have accomplished their work…as quickly or maybe at all.
Back to genes
The chromosomes contain our genes. Humans have 25,000 or so genes.
A gene is a basically a long sequence of 4 possible base pairs that are kind of like an instruction book, that our bodies keep referring to when making essential bits of us. Some genes code for proteins, some for other reasons, and a lot of that we just don’t understand.
But, lets talk two essential parts of this story that relate to your future.
Heritable Risk Factors, Epigenetics, Genetic Determinism and those Genes
Genetic Determinism: You’re not a fish. Your genetics are not fish genetics. So regardless of environment you won’t be. Specifically speaking, something like eye color is the same-its genetically determined and doesn’t change.
2 identical twins, who share the exact same DNA, born with
the same color eyes, will never have different eye colors regardless of how differently they choose to live.
Take those same twins, and examine them in 20 years. Since they have the same genes, do they have the same appearance, outlook, personality, health issues etc? If not why?
As an uncle who is close to his identical twins, I can assure you, that they are radically different though some things are the same.
Heritable potential traits,
meaning things that can change about us depending on our lives are based on epigenetics.
a concept that means genes turn on and off based on our environment, mindset, nutrition and lifestyle cause one gene to turn on, and another off, to help us adapt to our environment. Unfortunately some of these things that they can but wont’ necessarily lead to, like cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity, and Alzheimer’s disease are not what most of us would want.
But, just because we have a heritable risk factor because our parents or grandparents had conditions that are known to run in families, it does not mean we’ll get it.
If one person with a heritable risk factor for heart disease, decides to consume pizza, and french fries, and smoke cigarettes that will be likely to unlock that gene expression.
But if they had a twin with the same risk factors but heart health promoting choices, such as real food, lowered stress, and healthy Omega 3 fatty acid ratios, than they’d likely not have heart disease.
So your choices dictate your health more so, in most cases than your genes. Ask you doctor a few questions if they ever tell you that it’s genetic:
Is it genetically determined, or a heritable risk factor that I can change?
Can my diet, stress, movement and nutrition change this disease/symptom?
The answer, if they’re honest and informed will be a combination of backpedaling and quickly demonstrating the cold fact that they have as much nutrition training as they could get in the mainstream press. But they’ll probably say, yes, it is a heritable risk factor-if they’re being honest.
So, you have a choice-
And hearing this, although initially great news, also gives us responsibility and encourages a liberating sense of autonomy. But like fledglings gettin booted by mama bird, its scary when we first embrace how important it is to fly on our own. Its fer sure, scary to know that, especially as we commonly don’t know what choices to make and we hate to make the wrong ones.
But, this is the first step in truly changing our health, recognizing that we are in the driver’s seat, and our fate is in our hands, as least a good deal of it is.
At Vital Ways, this is where our practitioners, students and health coaches step in. To provide the next steps for those who have reached that conclusion and need some assistance to be empowered to take steps along the path to the health that they envision for themselves.
So next time you hear someone say that, it may make sense for you to say, ‘Duh everything about me is genetic, but, is it the only way my genes can express, or does my core 5, Environment, History, Lifestyle, Mindset and Nutrition also matter?