GENES VS. ENVIRONMENT: ARE WE GENETICALLY PRE-PROGRAMMED OR DO WE HAVE CONTROL?
A misconception that our genes control our destiny has been a widely accepted philosophy. It has been this philosophy that has acted as crutch for some, allowing for blame to be cast at a person’s inherent genes, of which they have no control. But before marching to a set destiny, one must understand that there are many contributing factors to a disease, and that a full, 360 degree view of a person’s environment is critical to truly healing, including: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, biochemical, as well as stress levels & food intake.
We have been conditioned to burn it, cut it, drug it, and just remove it altogether at the very first signs of a possible issue. Today, the eradication of body parts is almost too much to bare – immune systems, breasts, gallbladders and more … But it begs the question, where are we headed, and where do we draw the line?
So before marching to a preset destiny, I ask you to give this article some thought, and ask the question, is it our genes that made us susceptible to disease, or does our environment really determine our health?
GENES VS. ENVIRONMENT
Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief, details his scientific explanation of the new science of Epigenetics, which illustrates how the environment controls our genes. This new, cutting-edge science of Epigenetics changes everything that we have previously believed, compared to the current central dogma, in which it has been believed that genes control our destiny. Lipton explains how the environmental signals regulate genes based on emotions, experiences, perceptions, environment, behavior, foods…etc. If a person has the courage to evaluate these very influences, then a person can change the course of their lives!
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article stating “…some mutations cause an increased risk of illness, but that risk increase is very small in comparison with risks of other factors like diet and exercise.” (Goodman, Denise M., MD, MS “Genomic Medicine”, April 10, 2013).
This article discusses Genomic Medicine, also called “personalized medicine,” which is a result of the Genome Project completed in 2003, which has allowed scientist to really begin to understand genes intimately. “Personalized medicine” suggests customization to the individual, because every person is biochemically unique. The article goes on to explain how everyone responds to their environment differently, and therefore to diseases as well. Our DNA sequence can have just a 1% variation; however this subtle difference is huge, as it could increase your “susceptibility” OR “provide protection”.
I have seen how a holistic lifestyle can make a huge impact, down to a cellular level. It is these changes that have the power to change the course of your life, and the expression of your genes.
THE CELL: ENVIRONMENTAL SIGNALS & INFLUENCE
A cell’s survival actually depends on adjusting to a constantly changing environment, which is the foundation to adaptation and ultimately evolution. Dr. Lipton explains how the change begins with the environmental signals, which alters the regulatory proteins, followed by a change to the DNA (and RNA) and finally the protein is changed… the expression is changed.
In his groundbreaking research regarding the cell membrane, Dr. Lipton explains how there are proteins that power the cell (IMP). They contain a) receptors that pick up specific environmental signals and influences, including certain energies like vibration & thought, as well as foods & toxins AND b) Effector proteins, which are then activated into the actual behavior (expression). Therefore, the expression of the IMPs, influenced by your environment – food, toxins, energy, vibration & thought – can modify our genes, but without changing the basic blueprint. It’s these modifications that are passed onto future generations through traits. The question is, what do we want to pass on? Mutated genes or healthy, functioning genes?
EXPERIMENT: GROWTH VS PROTECTION
Dr. Lipton preformed an interesting experiment that I always share with my clients because it has a powerful message. He explains that we have two automatic survival mechanisms in our bodies – growth and protection. These behaviors are required for us to live, survive, grow & evolve.
Dr. Lipton exposed cells to both toxins and nutrients. When he exposed them to toxins, the cells retreated, (as we do if exposed to some kind of threat, toxin or stress). By exposing the cell to nutrients, the cell moved toward the nutrients. Seems straight forward, but you need to understand one more thing: The growth & the protection mechanisms cannot operate at the same time – if one is working, the other is not!
Make no mistake about it, stress affects each of these mechanisms. When we call upon our fight or flight response (which we do constantly living in modern America), our energy reserves are redistributed to support this protection mechanism. This stress absolutely inhibits growth and energy, as it is designed to. The longer your body has to protect itself, the longer our visceral organs cannot be nourished and our bodies must fight to reach homeostasis. You can survive under short-term stress, but chronic stress compromises your health, thus running the risk of dis-ease.
Expose your intelligent cells to foods that are alive, providing it the “quantum” energy that it needs, and your body will thrive. Conversely, toxins, stress, and processed foods will ensure that your body will constantly be in protection mode, spending its energy reserves defending its territory. It’s the processed foods, laden with preservatives, toxins, chemicals, dyes, etc., that smother your cells, inviting them to die. Dr. Lipton is clear in his book that, “diet trumps genes”, and JAMA’s article echoes that above as well.
Does this formula hold the key to changing the gene expression? This, coupled with the right energy and thoughts, we can accomplish “quantum leaps”…
What is energy? What is Quantum Physics? Well, a topic like Quantum Physics seems intimidating for most of us, but in simple terms, it is just unexplained energy, of which our universe is made up of. These concentrated energy packets are believed to connect all of us, and all that is – people, animals, plants, food, the earth, are all made up of this energy, which gives our cells “life”. There are many healing techniques that channel this “energy” and use it as a vehicle for healing such as acupuncture, chiropractic, Reiki, massage therapy, prayer, meditation, Chinese Medicine, homeopathy, etc. There are countless stories of harnessing its’ success. Eastern medicine has had 3,000 years of understanding and honoring this energy.
It’s this energy that powers all cells. But it’s how we hone in that energy – how we choose to express it, that makes all the difference.
THE POWER OF OUR BELIEFS
Positive thinking is simply not enough. We have all experienced positive thinking and have not had the desired outcome! Dr. Lipton explains that it has failed because it was not what the subconscious mind was really thinking. The subconscious mind, based on childhood experiences and learnings, will override the conscious mind every time says Lipton! When your conscious mind has a wishful thought, and it is in conflict with a “formerly learned truth,” then the subconscious mind (the more powerful part of your mind) will always triumph! Thoughts, which are the minds energy, directly influence how the brain controls the body, and how it functions either positively or negatively, depending on the subconscious “interference”.
In Molecules of Emotion, Dr. CandacePert explains how those signals are then distributed throughout the whole body and how your emotions can manifest anything, based on the flow of these behavior-regulating signals. Your whole body tunes into the regulatory signals of the limbic system’s chemical communications (our emotions), which can override the entire system. Also, Dr. Deepak Chopra, author of Quantum Healing explains how neuropeptides (chemicals released in our brains) carry “energy” known as our “feelings” to our cells. The message is the same – this is the same energy that propels our cells forward.
Dr. Lipton further explains how the conscious mind generates emotions, which are “manifested through the controlled release of the regulatory signals of the nervous system.” Energy propels us in the direction of either positive or negative thoughts and manifests accordingly. You have to actually convince your subconscious to “feel” healthy or “feel” happy, despite what is happening around you, in order to create change.
The subconscious is a “behavior-recording system”, and our “beliefs control biology” says Lipton. Behavior is programmed and stored at a very early age from your perception of your environment, as well as studying your elders. So if your subconscious doesn’t “believe” your conscious truth, then a positive outcome will not prevail! The way to make that happen is to reprogram our beliefs… When the subconscious changes, the cells of our body will follow – that means that our genes, have the ability to change as well!
DNA is a genius molecule that lives right at the “point of transformation”. DNA is constantly transferring messages and choreographing energy in our world, down to the cellular expression. This is Lipton’s work, and it shatters the central dogma mentality.
Genes may reflect our potential for cancer… or any disease, but it doesn’t have to be our destiny! It is said that Darwin, on his deathbed, regretted not giving sufficient credence to the role that the environment plays on our genes, says Dr. Lipton. By reprograming our beliefs, we need to control cancers’ destiny in our body, and not the other way around! We need to get ahead of it – we need to get in front of it!
I find it ironic that Western Medicine takes the Hippocratic Oath to practice medicine, however Hippocrates himself, The Father of Western Medicine, is known for this very quote: “Use food as thy medicine, and medicine as thy food”! This baffles me because this is the very part that is missing from Western Medicine.
Is it so farfetched to consider other variables, along with science? Isn’t that how we evolved in the first place? By questioning, experimenting and thinking outside the box? Don’t we need all the help that we can get right now?
Western medicine bases decisions on probability, and is protected behind these percentages. While there is a chance of being right, there is also a chance of being wrong – that’s the definition of probability. So why shouldn’t we consider alternatives under those same laws of probability? We need to be open-minded, to work with true, honest & transparent science, and to use all of the ancient information that we have available. We need to do this for the sake of our moms, dads, husbands, wives, friends, family and especially our children… and all the future generations.
We have 3,000+ years of information on energy and food at our fingertips, yet in the meantime, the western medical profession is “caught between an intellectual rock and a corporate hard place”. We really can’t afford to ignore the role that energy & food actually plays in health and disease anymore – not another day! I was just at a top NYC hospital, and the cancer ward is PACKED!
While our Western Medical community is brilliant, and its abilities for treating trauma, emergencies, surgeries and transplants are just miraculous, when it comes to preventative care, we have seemingly digressed during the last century! We have to stop treating the symptoms and get to the root cause of illness! Drugging, cutting, removing, and radiating sets off a whole host of bodily reactions, consequences and imbalances (just listen to the commercials on television!) because we are treating the body as separates. Instead, the body is an intertwined, complex set of systems, that all rely on one another.
Unfortunately, through this all, we are bucking up against “big business”, who has nudged their way between nature and its’ people, ignoring centuries of knowledge regarding human care. We are keeping our people in the dark, and our children’s genes are at stake. We have the power to utilize proven ancient compounds & practices designed to help heal and protect us, yet they are discarded. This is a problem that is completely unnecessary. When we remove the ego that stands in the way, all that is left is common sense echoing this cry. “Eastern” Medicine and Western Medicine should not be two separate, opposing teams, but instead we should have one Unified Medicine, where we all can come to the table in the name of healing, honoring the Hippocratic oath, without this continuing to be a hypocrisy.
Whether a disease whispers in your ear with a minor symptom, or screams at the top of its lungs with full blown cancer, we must review our environment, and everything that makes up our environment – because it is our environment that makes the most impact on our cells. The environmental burden that you may have accumulated can change IF you accept responsibility for your own health, look at all aspects that influence your life, have an open mind & courage to see your truth. Your health is YOUR responsibility.
The Biology of Belief, Dr. Bruce Lipton
Molecules of Emotion, Dr. CandacePert
Quantum Healing, Dr. Deepak Chopra
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), (Goodman, Denise M., MD, MS “Genomic Medicine”, April 10, 2013).
Article by: Ann Marie DeGregoria, 2013
Nutrition Therapist Master (NTM), Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition®, Reiki Master
Ann Marie is Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition®, holds a Master Nutrition Therapy Practitioner certification from the Nutrition Therapy Institute (NTI) in Denver, Colorado, a leading private nutrition school and is a Reiki Master.
To date, she has completed 500+ hours of in-depth nutrition courses including: Anatomy & Physiology, Biochemistry, Pathology & Clinical Applications, Nutrients as Building Blocks (both clinical & holistic nutrition), Food as Therapy, Personal Relationship with Food, Body Typing, Weight Management, Sports Nutrition, Digestion & Detoxification, Lifecycles and Healthy Aging (from conception to end of life), Research & Communications (AMA), Nutritional Endocrinology & Reproductive Health, and Intro Herbology, Supplements & Nutritional Lab Reports.
Ann Marie has continued her education in: The Art of Visual Diagnosis (according to Traditional Chinese Medicine), Meridian & Organ Diagnosis, Emotional & Spiritual Diagnosis, Chakras Healing & Energy work, as a Reiki Master, Herbal Support and Functional Nutrition.
Ann Marie’s passion for nutrition started at an early age, when she was encouraged to use food as a way to protect and heal her body. The concepts of: food as thy medicine, to always question the general “narrative” and to always listen/honor her intuition were the 3 most important and best gifts that were downloaded to her as a child, by her grandmother.
Today, as a teacher of nutrition, her main goal is to help others incorporate these gifts into their lives, to identify root causes, to promote personal responsibility, self awareness and an understanding of how to heal.
Ann Marie provides personalized consultations, gives speaker presentations and is a writer. Her book is well on its way, gaining more and more wisdom and experience with each passing year :). She has been featured in Luxury Living Magazine, and she has also been a guest speaker on Internet Radio, W4HC, Health Cafe Live, Bonko.tv and on FireHouse Kitchen episodes.
Finally, Ann Marie has spent 12+ years in Corporate Sales and Marketing, working with Fortune 500 companies. She put herself through college, and graduated from Northeastern University. She holds a BS in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance. Today, she lives on Long Island, New York with her husband, children and puppies.