The Role of Genetics in Health

Today we are led to believe that we are a victim of our genes.  The genes passed down from our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc.  We are told that obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer are genetic.  The prevailing belief is that we get sick from bad luck, bad germs, and bad genes.

Food for thought:

How is it that all these diseases have drastically increased over the last 100, 50, even 20 years, when our genes have hardly changed in over 40,000 years?¹

Aside - our genes have hardly changed since the genus “homo” came on the scene nearly 2.5 million years ago with Homo habilus.  While Homo sapiens (humans) have been around for 250,000 years, it’s generally agreed that “modern” humans have graced this earth for the last 40-60,000 years.

Well, if our genes have not changed, they cannot be the reason that we are so sick… heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, infertility, Parkinson’s - all these and more have been on a drastic rise even in just the last two decades.  So no genetic change - but plenty of change in our state of health.¹

In Western nations, 75% of all deaths are caused by chronic disease, or diseases of civilization.  Humans in industrialized nations are not living to our potential.

“One hundred and twenty-five years of activity and vitality should be the attainable goal for mankind. All other mammals live for five times the number of years it takes them to reach maturity. Man reaches his skeletal maturity about the age of twenty-six. This indicates one hundred years of PRODUCTIVE life as a reasonable goal for all of us.”²

If we compare a chimpanzee in the wild, to one in captivity, which one is healthier?  I hope you picked the one in the wild.  Do they have different genes?  No.  What’s the difference between the two?  Are there any humans still out in the wild?  The answer is yes.  Modern day hunter gatherers (those that mimic the lives of our ancestors) do not suffer with the chronic diseases that we have such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, etc.³

Do we have different genes than our hunter gatherer counter parts?  NO!!!  So then, what is the difference? The answer: the environment. They eat, move, and think in ways completely different from ourselves.

Danielle Binns, CNP, BA