Thursday, June 19, 2008

The End of Genetic Nihilism

This just in: Your genes don't determine your destiny. It has been understood for awhile now that genes can predispose you to certain diseases, but new research shows that changing your lifestyle habits can actually "turn off" bad genes and activate positive ones. Essentially, if you make the outward changes in lifestyle, your body adjusts and makes changes at the genetic level.

The study was conducted at the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and followed 500 men diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. The men, for reasons unrelated to the study, were not receiving any other treatments at the time. They changed their eating habits to mostly plant-based foods (fruits & veggies, soy, legumes, whole wheat), walked for 30 minutes per day, did one hour of yoga-type stretching or meditation each day, and met once a week for a group support session.

"After three months, we repeated the biopsy and looked at changes in normal tissue within the prostate. We found that many disease-promoting genes (including those associated with cancer, heart disease, and inflammation) were down-regulated or "turned off," whereas protective, disease-preventing genes were up-regulated or "turned on." For example, a set of cancer-promoting oncogenes called RAS was down-regulated in these men. The Selectin E gene (which promotes inflammation and is elevated in breast cancer) was down-regulated. Another gene that suppresses tumor formation called SFRP was up-regulated, thereby reducing the risk of cancer. These genes are the target of many new drugs that are being developed. Clearly, changing lifestyle is less expensive, and the only side-effects are good ones. "

Because the study looked at the healthy tissue, not cancerous tissue, it is likely that the results can be generalized beyond just men with prostate cancer. The end of the era of genetic nihilism is upon us.


The Imaginary Reviewer said...

So (I may have misunderstood somewhat), does that mean that my Dad's flatulence is not the fault of his genes? Because that's what he blames.

Herbal Amanda said...

IR: Flatulence is the result of not chewing your food properly