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What are the chances that your health condition is hereditary / genetic?

by Dr. Kristen Halland

· Genetics

Funny story - the other day someone asked me if I was Irish (because of my light skin, light eyes, freckles, and reddish-blonde hair). I responded that I wasn't ....but realized in that moment that I am a giant recessive gene! We had a great laugh about that!

I've always found genetics interesting. Remember Punnet Squares from science classes? That's how you can tell what percentage chance someone has of inheriting certain physical characteristics (phenotypes). 

What interests me even more though is the topic of Epigenetics. Epigenetics is a new and ground breaking area of science but yet an "old" idea known by many for years. It describes how our environment will "turn on" or "turn off" our genetic expression. 

Many aspect of our lifestyle can turn on or turn off gene expression.... nutrition, stress.... among others. 

For example: what we put into our body (how we eat) can influence how our cells express disease (if you get cancer or not). 

What we do today will affect our health tomorrow. 

In fact, the research by the pharmaceutical companies even confirms that 5% of all cases of cancer are caused directly by inherited genes. That means that the remaining 95% of cases of cancer are caused by our environment. They further elaborate that the term environment refers to food, water, air, smoking, alcohol, exercise level, stress, and so forth. 

In a word - Epigenetics. 

That's why I love lifestyle change and working in functional medicine / integrative nutrition. It has the power to change the course of our lives and prevent disease! 

Our DNA is not our destiny !

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