By Richard Labaki
“It runs in the family” is an expression I often hear from clients when the diagnostic phase uncovers a certain imbalance, such as elevated cholesterol, triglycerides or other biomarkers. And this expression is normally conveyed with a sense of surrender to the genetic fate. After all, there is no point in struggling against something over which they have no control – or so they believe! Yes, we come to this life with a determined set of genes that define our physical looks, metabolic capacity, fitness levels, susceptibility to certain health conditions, and even our mental and psychological tendencies (the latter is debatable on the premise of nature vs. nurture theory.) However, and while our looks and height are unchangeable genetic expressions, not all of the genes that we have inherited (whether the good or the bad) are bound to be expressed at one point in our lives.
So let’s assume that comprising your genetic makeup is a bad gene that predisposes you to a certain type of cancer. This does not mean that you will be hit by this cancer at one point in your life. Surely, you have a greater tendency to develop this disease than someone who does not have the specific gene for it. Yet, what is becoming apparent today, as our understanding of genetics deepens, is that a bad gene could be switched on or remain switched off based on a series of elements – many of which we can certainly control!
An example I have personally witnessed is a dear friend who developed a tumor in the thyroid gland a couple of years back. Her twin sister did not suffer the same ordeal. And we all know that identical twins share similar genetic makeup, so surely this tells us something highly intriguing about gene expression. If bad genes were ticking bombs that are set to “explode” at a predetermined time then twins should likely suffer the same disease and at around the same phase in their lives. However, now we know that the issue is far more complex than previously believed.
Pinpoint and prevent
The elements that play a crucial role in gene expression include one’s diet, lifestyle (daily habits such as activity and inactivity levels), stress, exposure to environmental pollution and others. So in essence, how you lead your life and where you live determines whether the bad genes that you have inherited will be expressed in the form of a disease or not. Consequently, learning about your genetic background goes a long way in helping you implement a customized health plan that reduces the likelihood of developing diseases to which you are genetically susceptible. Few labs around the world currently provide genetic analysis to determine issues concerning disease disposition and other health-related matters.
My work with Dermapro Clinics, Detox & Wellness Center got me in contact with a genetic testing lab in Europe with which the center collaborates. By providing a saliva sample, the lab is able to determine your genetic profile in sub-panels (specific aspects like physical fitness, weight control, skin health, etc.) This way, a person could select matters that are most significant to him or her. The tests provided by the lab not only pinpoint genetic weaknesses/predispositions but also provides specific preventative recommendations in terms of nutrition and lifestyle. And this helps tremendously in optimizing your genetic expression in order to improve overall well-being. Such genetic tests are undoubtedly the next step in the realm of preventive medicine – helping holistic therapists and functional medicine doctors in customizing health plans that consider each person’s unique set of challenges.
If you found this article interesting, please "share" and "like". And feel free to leave your comments/questions below - I would love to hear your opinion and answer your questions.