For so long, we’ve been conditioned to think our genes are rigid and unchangeable; and they alone define our health and longevity. We expect the chronic disease to be treated like the common cold. Take a pill and go back to work.
You can’t fix obesity or diabetes with a pill; some pills (like statin drugs) actually raise your risk of developing diabetes or having a heart attack, and if you consume the typical American diet that consists of over one hundred pounds of refined white sugar and corn syrup per year—you are actually enabling diabetes. And for diabetics who have been conditioned to think diet sodas and artificial sugar will keep your blood sugar stable—think again. Sugar substitutes are toxic chemicals that kill your nerves. Literally—it excites them to death.
We have been deliberately conditioned to look to someone outside ourselves for answers—when all we really need to do is look within. In ancient times, we had our tribe, our family, and our community. We passed our inherited knowledge from generation to generation, and everything that brought us joy, that healed us, that made us wiser and stronger—is encoded in our DNA. We must simply remember.
If you’re old enough to remember the incredibly popular “Marlboro Man” television advertisement campaign (1955-1999), you remember those smokin’ hot cowboys—that showed us that filtered cigarettes weren’t just for martini sipping housewives. When the ads first appeared in 1955, sales were $5 billion. Two years later, they were $20 billion. If you remember, those scientific studies on the safety of smoking, conducted by none other than the same Phillip Morris tobacco company who sold the cigarettes—“PROVED” that smoking didn’t cause lung cancer. Of course, the studies were scientific– those trusted nighttime news anchors that reported the results wouldn’t lie to us. And then five of the cowboy ad “hunks” died of cancer and smoking related lung diseases. There was six total. Cigarettes became known as the “Cowboy Killers.” And maybe—just maybe the science was a little skewed—since the tobacco company had a huge stake in the outcome. And then we learned that even second hand smoke was bad for us. Remember coming home from a restaurant and your clothes and hair smelled like an ashtray?
But we learned our lesson, didn’t we? We no longer blindly believe pseudo-science, paid for and conducted by tobacco companies to sell us cancer-causing cigarettes; or pharmaceutical companies to sell us cancer drugs that give us cancer; or foods laden with pesticides that poison our gut. We learned right? And after all, we now have legit TV doctors to explain the latest research so we can trust the validity of new drugs and food safety.
We. Learned. Right?
The study of immunology is relatively new. Just a couple decades ago—no one understood the importance of the gut microbiome in the prevention of chronic disease. You could say the greatest predictor of true immune system health is the state of the gut. Trust it! The antibodies in your immune system contain the memory of all the diseases that your ancestors overcame. Everything you need to know is already inside you—made possible by the evolution of cellular DNA memory and your mother’s breast milk.
What thousands of epigenetic studies have taught us, is that merely possessing a specific gene, does not guarantee the expression of it. Telomeres are DNA pieces at the end of chromosomes that act as protective end caps. Every time a cell divides, the chromosome end cap gets shorter. Once a chromosome gets too short, it dies. This process has been associated with rapid aging and death. We now have the science to show that people who consistently maintain high levels of physical activity have significantly longer telomeres than those with a sedentary lifestyle. The high physical activity gives you a biological aging advantage of nine years over those who are sedentary! (Study listed below)
Lifestyle choices can engage our cells to perform at their peak. All of us can consciously choose to engage in behaviors that enable our genes to heal us, not harm us.
In the words of Deepak Chopra and Rudi Tanzi:
“You will always have the genes you were born with, but genes are dynamic, responding to everything we think, say, and do. Suddenly they’ve become our strongest allies for personal transformation. When you make lifestyle choices that optimize how your genes behave, you can reach a state of health and fulfillment undreamed of even a decade ago. The impact on prevention, immunity, diet, aging, and chronic disorders is unparalleled.” (From the book, Super Genes, link below—highly recommend)
Author: Thomasina Copenhaver