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Q&A Time: Getting Perspective on the Gene Thing

iconsChristine (from USA) Question: “With modern medicine today there are many tests you can have now to see if you are more likely to develop some awful diseases such as Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s. Would you want to know?”

The right question

One of the things I teach in the 30-Day Happiness Challenge, is to ask better questions. And also to make sure the question we are asking does not pre-suppose a ‘fact’ that is not really a fact (100% true, 100% percent of time). Otherwise the answer we get will not be relevant.

By the way. Just wanted to remind you that I am not a Doctor, in case you forgot. I am just a voracious reader, researcher and therapist / Coach.

Here is the thing on modern medicine. It is EXCELLENT at treating symptoms – or broken stuff – but crap at the preventative stuff, and the creating optimum health stuff. For more on this read ‘Mind Over Medicine‘ by Dr Lissa Rankin.

The ‘story’ often told by the establishment are things like – there is not a cure for cancer. They forgot to tell that to the 1000’s of people globally that have cured themselves of cancer (there is a book called Spontaneous Remission which lists 3,500 cases and suggests it is not as rare as we are lead to believe). This is why I don’t support most cancer research, because they are looking up the wrong tree.

I heard recently that only 3% of oncologists would actually use chemotherapy if they got diagnosed with cancer. The other part of the story suggested a good commission to a doctor for referral to the program. Unfortunately I think the essence of this may be true.


Epigenetics means ‘above’ the genes. A very basic definition of the way the genes work is DNA is the blueprint, RNA is created as a replica, then proteins are created off the RNA script to form new cells. However, the end result is not a 100% match for the DNA because of epigenetic modifications which affect the expression of different genes. Certain genes are turned on or off as a result of the environment in and around the cell.

Time to stop with the biology stuff before I confuse myself too. 😉

In layman’s terms, there are things that we can do, or stop doing, that affect the expression of our genes. For instance the blood stream, which is the external environment and ‘feeder’ for cells, is impacted by our thoughts – because our thoughts cause us to release different neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and hormones into the blood, which affect cells in different ways.

The other point to note is that of the 20,000 – 25,000 genes, less than 2% of them are actually expressed. So we have less than 2% that are expressed, which are highly affected by the things we do or don’t do in our lives. So for me, when the medical profession suggests the likelihood of something, they are pretty much doing the ‘guessing‘ thing (and more often planting a seed in your mind that will grow into a weed – and make them partially correct).

The placebo effect

The placebo effect is considered to be a major player in the success of most drugs. Something like 30% plus (and up to 90%). In Dr Bruce Lipton’s great book ‘The Biology of Belief‘, he even sites a medical case where the placebo effect worked in minor knee surgery. They pretended to do surgery (making incisions, splashing water around and talking as if they were doing the real work) and the clients got the same results as the ones who got the ‘real’ surgery.

So I am not 100% convinced of the susceptibility of a condition being being passed on from a hereditary perspective that this not heavily influenced by someone’s BELIEF in the likelihood of them having the same condition. Remember that genes, and epigenetic modifications can be turned on and off by environmental factors.

Thinking, Feeling, and Behaving are the key players in this game

Getting back to the question, from my research, I am of the belief that Alzheimer’s is greatly influenced by a quality diet, physical activity and use of mental faculties (mental push-ups so to speak) among other things. These cause epigenetic effects on the expression of genes.

The whole book – The Guidebook to Optimum Health – is about the things we can do to reduce the likelihood of experiencing dis-ease in our lives.

Let’s look at them again:

  • Pillar 1: Do the physical activity thing. It works as well as many anti-depressants for example and supports the lymphatic and immune system.
  • Pillar 2: Eat natural foods. Reduce or remove sugar as it messes with your hormones and bodies ability to manage energy.
  • Pillar 3: Detoxify the body and immediate environment so the internal organs and systems can function more effectively.
  • Pillar 4: Rest, so the body can self-heal. Just like it does when fixing broken bones.
  • Pillar 5: Your thoughts affect the biochemistry of your body. Which impacts every cell. You need to change your thinking to change your health or potential health outcomes. Your expectations (predominant thoughts) create and affect your reality.
  • Pillar 6: Our emotions affect our bodies. Excessive stress (or active negative emotions) break the body down. The relaxation response, turns healing and rejuvenation on.

The result of worry

Here is what ‘worrying’ about something that is a ‘guess’ will do to your health.

Worrying leads to the activation of the stress response which leads to a fight or flight reaction and switching off the immune system. It leads to unhealthy levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the system, among other things; which can lead to a breakdown, overuse or confusion for the bodies natural defences. Defences that ensure the body runs optimally. That foreign objects in the body are clearly identified as threats and removed.

My hypothesis on hereditary diseases

This is my theory on the hereditary thing:

  • The results might be more about beliefs (thought patterns) and the placebo effect, as opposed to a mutated gene (which is rare) or epigenetic modification.
  • Our thinking, emotional patterns and habitual behaviours that we have often learned from our parents, affect our health and how our genes are expressed.
  • We have the potentiality to learn new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving, which will change the expression of our genes.
  • What we DO NOW matters more than grandpa’s genes or the style of jeans that he wore.
  • There are 1000’s of reported cases of people going into ‘spontaneous remission’ – so I believe the body’s intelligence is more impressive than the intelligence of our known science.
  • Worry less, DO more.

In summary

Great question, so thank you very much for asking Christine. This is a subject I am very passionate about, and which I think has a LOT of misinformation surrounding it.

I believe (and the science of Epigenetics shows) we can change how our genes are expressed, by changing our behaviours of thinking, feeling and doing.

We have a choice in each and every moment. We can step into health and growth or step back into fear and bad habits.

So stop worrying about what we might have, which might or might not be expressed, and is actually more greatly influenced by lifestyle choices, thinking patterns, and the meaning we give to the events in our life (which cause the activation of the stress response or the relaxation response).

I am aiming for a publishing date of 31 July 2014 for The Guidebook to Optimum Health. A lot of what you need to know will be in it. 😉 Also what do you think of the logo / image for the 6 Pillars, shown at the top of this article?


Make sense? You are the leader of your health; but know if you ever need a hand or help, just head over to my Facebook page to connect up. If you want to receive weekly Happiness Tips like these, then make sure you sign up HERE.  

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