Genetic studies have taught us that we have DNA that determines if we are likely to get cancer, heart disease, strokes, Alzheimers or any number of diseases. There are even tests available to list your genetic propensities. But we now know that those genetic tendencies can be switched on or off with diet and lifestyle choices. There are gene sequences that damage DNA and others that can repair it. The alteration of gene sequences is called Epigenetics.
Ancient Traditional Chinese Medical texts refer to Congenital Qi: that which is passed down from your ancestors, and Acquired Qi received during your life-time. The latter is obtained from food, exercise, things you’re exposed to, and your life style. But Congenital Qi is not the end all be all, it can be altered by Acquired Qi. What the ancient scholars were writing about essentially is DNA and Epigentics.
Some of the factors that can damage your DNA, and switch on inherited health issues, include lack of sleep, lack of exercise, malnutrition, social isolation, and chronic stress; physical, mental, or emotional.
When we damage our own DNA those damaged genes are handed down to our children and their children in alarmingly tangible ways. For instance, malnutrition as a child in a maternal grandmother can set their grandchildren up for diabetes and a fat gene that causes weight gain. If a paternal grandfather was overfed as a child it can increase chances of early mortality in his grandchildren.
Short term stress, pushing ourselves occasionally, helps repair our bodies. But studies show that extreme chronic stress has negative effects for this life time and sets the genetic stage for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in children and grandchildren.
Exercise results in positive effects on over 4,000 repair genes. But a study of healthy 20 year old males, restricted to bed rest for one week, displayed damage to over 4,500 genes that four weeks of exercise didn’t fully repair. This shows how essential daily exercise is.
Food such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, radishes, daikon, mustard or collard greens) and allium vegetables (onions, garlic, shallots, leeks, chives) as well as mustard seeds or greens, horse radish, turmeric, hot peppers, beets, green tea, liver and other organ meats, are some of the foods and herbs that can repair DNA. Grilled or smoked meats, prepared foods that contain chemicals, and rancid oils are some foods that can damage it.
Smell your oils, including Cod Liver oil or other oil supplements. If they smell bad discard them. Oils should be kept in cool places or refrigerated.
Various toxic exposure is damaging. Even constipation, or bowels that move too slowly, cause the body to reabsorb toxins it’s trying to eliminate. This can negatively effect your DNA.
Stabilized low blood sugar, healthy gut flora, vitamins and minerals from a wide assortment of foods, meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and interventions such as Acupuncture, herbs and nutritional supplements, can all help prevent disease, slow the aging process and repair our bodies at an accelerated rate by repairing our DNA.
What ancient wisdom and modern science tell us is that our health, to a great extent, is a choice. Everyday choices that determine which genes are switched on or off; the healing, anti-aging ones, or the destructive ones that kick in our inherited health issues. Our health is our choice, not simply fate or ancestry. So exercise daily, or don’t. Eat good clean protein and a wide assortment of healing vegetables three times a day, or don’t. Go see a state licensed Holistic practitioner for chronic health issues, such as a Chiropractor, Naturopath or Acupuncturist who is trained in nutrition and nutritional supplements and herbs, or don’t. Find means, like meditation, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Acupuncture, to deal with and reduce chronic stress, or don’t. Your body, your life, your health, your choice.
Health & Happiness,
Nancy Burton, L.Ac. (Licensed Acupuncturist)