The content of this article is not based on any wonderful scientific study but rather is written from a common sense point of view and personal experience.
What has prompted me to write it is the recent death of my sister who at 64 years of age was 2 years older than me.
I have always maintained that genetics are overrated when it comes to determining how long you will live and/or whether you will enjoy good health or not as you age. In fact, in previous articles I have been criticized when I have suggested that I think the influence that genetics have on your health is only about 10%. (specific genetic disorders excluded).
When I stated that figure I was referring to the normal things that people get ill and die from such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes etc.
The 10% figure was based on an educated guess from my own general observations. I admit that I may be well out…perhaps it is 20%, maybe 30. I don’t know and neither does anyone else. But, I do believe that many people who suffer from so called inherited diseases do so not because of their genes but because they may follow a similar lifestyle, mental attitude and diet as their parents did.
I feel very sad for those people who resign themselves to a ‘predetermined’ death or disease simply because they expect to have that problem because their mother, grandmother and great grandmother all suffered from it.
This position of resignation is quite common in the case of breast cancer. Consider the frightening number of women who now have a ‘preventative’ mastectomy because they are fearful of getting breast cancer. Those physicians who encourage or condone such a practice are I believe negligent. It would be interesting to see the statistics for those women who have undergone this procedure based on fear alone. I suspect that many of them would have developed other forms of cancer anyway.
I truly believe that the belief that many people have that genetics play a major role in the development of specific diseases is enough on its own to make it a self fulfilling prophecy. Once again this is a personal opinion but I think that there is enough evidence to support the notion that if someone believes that they are going to get cancer then they probably will.
The way someone thinks about their health does have a physical impact on it. Although it cannot be accurately quantified I don’t think that many people would deny that this is the case. Unfortunately many Doctors ‘pooh pooh’ this notion because it is not proven…but, how can you run a double blind placebo trial on something like this?
I think that cancer in particular is quite susceptible to how a person thinks. After all we call have a cancer lurking in our bodies. There is a balance between pro-cancer and anti-cancer forces in the body and cancer only manifests itself when it overwhelms the anti-cancer forces. This is why it is so critical to give your body all the ammunition it needs in the form of anti-cancer nutrients etc…as well as maintaining a positive attitude.
Anyway, back to genetics.
I mentioned in the beginning about common sense and personal experience.
As you know my sister died a little over a week ago. She died of a heart seizure after complications during heart surgery for a replacement heart valve.
Both my parents had heart ‘issues’. Mum died when she was 89 and Dad at 81. Ironically neither of them died directly from heart failure.
Now, this is where the common sense part comes into it. If my sister who died of heart failure and given that there is a genetic strain in our family for heart problems, how come I don’t have a problem? Diane’s problems developed well before she was 60.
I know the answer to this, and I am sure that you do as well. The short version is lifestyle and prevention. Diane was not particularly fussy about how she ate. She certainly had her fair share of processed foods and intake of trans-fats. On the other hand I try to avoid anything man made or out of a packet and I certainly steer clear of trans-fats and all the so called healthy fats sold as butter substitutes.
Even though Diane worked long hours and was always on her feet she did not have any outside exercise regime which is critical for good heart health.
Faith in Doctors?
The other big difference is that Diane had faith in the Doctors. She accepted the statin drugs and other medication even though I tried to tell her that they would eventually kill her. On the other hand I use my Omega 3 fish oil and Total Balance every day. On a regular basis I use our Cardio-Klenz for a few months each year as well as our Neuro-Natural. In other words I try to deal with the cause of disease including heart well before it manifests itself. (It costs less than a daily Starbucks)
My blood pressure is still 120/80, my cholesterol is always a bit high (based on the current artificially low levels) but that doesn’t concern me as that is definitely genetic and nothing to be concerned about as my triglycerides are excellent, so is my homocysteine and most importantly my C-Reactive Protein which measures inflammation is great thanks to the Total Balance and Omega 3.
If your health is reasonable it is actually quite easy to maintain internal circulatory health by taking a few simple steps. If your health is showing signs of deterioration it can still be reversed but the longer it is left the harder it becomes. Sometimes it can be beyond repair but that would generally only be after years of ‘conventional’ medical treatment.
I sincerely believe that it is not natural for the body to get a prolonged illness or to deteriorate to the extent that it does for most people. I am now 62 years old and I see no sign of physical degeneration as yet. In fact, the most exciting part about becoming older is to see how long I can delay any significant deterioration.
If I believed that genetics play a significant part in health maybe I might not have made the effort to take care of my health and I would now be suffering a similar condition to what my sister had.
So, if you have family that suffered from cancer or heart disease don’t accept that you may face the same fate. If you take basic preventative measures they will in my opinion always override any genetic tendencies.
Warren Matthews is the co-founder and Chairman of Xtend-Life Natural Products, a family-owned, integrated manufacturer and distributor of natural supplements and skin care products.
Xtend-Life has since become one of New Zealand's business success stories, renowned for the purity of its ingredients, its innovative formulations and its competitive pricing. The company now sells its expanding range of natural supplements, omega-3 and skin care products each month to thousands of customers in over 40 countries.
Warren Matthews himself has emerged as one of the industry's evangelists. Travelling over 250 000 miles a year, worldwide, he lectures to nutritional science, health and beauty professionals, hosts consumer seminars and meets with Xtend-Life's customers and suppliers. His agenda is simple: to encourage continued scientific research into – and broader, better-informed public acceptance of – the very real benefits of pure, natural products along with sensible diet and lifestyles.
You can read his blog at http://blog.xtend-life.com/
Latest posts by Warren Matthews (see all)
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