Can Our Genes Determine Our Risk of Disease?

If you’re over 40 years old, you probably remember all of the excitement back in the 1980’s and 90’s about sequencing the human genome.

The idea was that our genes held the key to preventing and reversing disease, and once we had access to our genome, we’d be able to solve chronic disease once and for all.

This led to some pretty bold declarations, like this one from Lord Sainsbury, the UK Science Minister at the time:

“We now have the possibility of achieving all we ever hoped for from medicine”
BUT WAIT, not so fast…

Even before the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003, the limitations of using genes to predict and prevent disease were apparent.

Ironically, Craig Venter, one of the primary scientists involved in sequencing the human genome, was among the first to realize this when he said:

“We simply don’t have enough genes for this idea of biological determinism to work”

This means that, by themselves, our genes can’t explain or account for our health and our risk of disease.

And of course, this leads us to another important conclusion: our diet, lifestyle, and behavior are far more important determinants of our health than our genes.

In fact, recent studies suggest that 85 percent of the risk of chronic disease is driven by non-genetic factors. (1)

Other studies have shown that engaging in just 5 key lifestyle behaviors (not smoking, not drinking excessively, maintaining a healthy BMI, getting enough exercise, and eating a healthy diet) can extend our lifespan by a whopping 13 years on average. (2)

This is fantastic news because it means “we” are in the driver’s seat when it comes to our health, and the health of future generations.

But this can also be bad news, both for individuals and for society in whole, if we don’t take responsibility and consistently engage in health-promoting behaviors.

Take the Destiny of you Health into your own hand and you can live the life of health and vitality you truly deserve.

What will YOU choose! 

Special thanks to: Chris Kresser

(Information provided by Chris Kresser Co-Founder and President at California Center for Functional Medicine and Founder and CEO Kresser Institute)