Genomics is a new field of medicine related to the science of genes in disease.
We have all heard the myth of genetic fatalism which suggests that certain diseases run in families. For that individual who accepts the inheritance of disease, that person may feel doomed to follow in the diseased footprints of their family predecessors. I argue with this belief system because I think we can influence our health outcomes with various natural methods.
As long as you are still breathing, there is hope for recovery and prevention.
We know that genes are made of DNA, and that some genes are “turned on” while others are “turned off.” Our genetic expression is affected by toxic chemical exposure, damaging radiation and stress. Likewise, genetic expression is affected by supplements, diet and lifestyle. Therefore, our collective goal should be to reduce the risk of disease, slow the aging process and improve the quality of life.
For this we must be proactive.
DNA is not destiny alone. It is a dynamic blueprint. One of the fundamental principles of orthomolecular genomics is that our DNA interfaces with nutrition. In the war against disease, scientists are looking for genes on which to place blame.
This work has accelerated since the recent mapping of the human genome. Certain genes are suspected to be involved in the development of certain diseases: cancer, schizophrenia, heart disease etc.
Such linear thinking will hamper medical science until we acknowledge and better understand how orthomolecular nutrition can influence the expression of these genes and lead to better health.
A large problem of today is the travesty of the North American diet. Author Jack Challem suggests that a non-Paleolithic diet is problematic for health. He outlines how refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed oils, trans-fats and high fat proteins, respectively, lead to the displacement of good nutrients, hormone alteration, changes in gene function, inflammation and the risk of disease.
No longer will I accept that people are doomed to disease based on family history alone.
Yes, it may tweak my approach, but nutrition, especially, can overcome vulnerable genetics. Gene therapy could be redundant if we can correct problems using orthomolecular nutrition, an infinitely safer way to go.
Dr. Tara Macart and her husband Jonathan own Opti-Balance Naturopathic Medicine in Qualicum Beach.