There is a chronic anxiety among populations who focus on the diseases acquired by their genetic line. Many define the potential of their own health based on what happened to their father and mother. Although a great deal of who we are appears to have been written in our genes, our actual health potential is more determined by our lifestyle, what we consume, our environment but more than anything else, what we think.
Studies at the world-leading Minnesota Center for Twin and Family suggest that many of our traits are more than 50% inherited, including obedience to authority, vulnerability to stress, and risk-seeking. Researchers have even suggested that when it comes to issues such as religion and politics, our choices are much more determined by our genes than we think.
Many find this disturbing. The idea that unconscious biological forces drive our beliefs and actions would seem to pose a real threat to our free will. We like to think that we make choices on the basis of our own conscious deliberations. But isn’t all that thinking things over irrelevant if our final decision was already written in our genetic code? And doesn’t the whole edifice of personal responsibility collapse if we accept that “my genes made me do it”?
Genes are only part of our health story, explains Jeffrey S. Bland, PhD, FACN, FACB, author of the book, Genetic Nutritioneering: How You Can Modify Inherited Traits and Live a Longer, Healthier Life. The propensity for certain health conditions that you inherit from your family is not, by a long shot, the sole determinant of whether or not most folks will get sick. Your lifestyle choices have a significant impact, especially when it comes to chronic illnesses such as heart disease.
Epigenetic Switch (more…)