Thursday, December 07, 2006

To the Third and Fourth Generation

This article from Dr. Mercola supports the theories I have been developing about nutrition and genetics. I usually post health articles to my wellness feel this is also relevant to genealogy. I hope to soon have genealogy site, also.

You Are What Your Grandmother Ate

You may have read already about the research showing that the diet of a mother can have an influence on a specific gene for at least two generations.
This study on mice looks at "epigenetic" changes made to DNA, involving genes that can be silenced or activated based on exposure to chemicals.
Half of the mice in the study were fed a nutrient-enriched diet, while the control group ate a standard diet. Exposure to those high amounts of nutrients in the womb changed the coats of the mice offspring from golden to dark brown fur, while the offspring of the control group remained unchanged.Not only that, but the children of the darker-coated mice were similarly affected; they also had dark brown fur.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences November 14, 2006; 103(46): 17308-17312

Dr. Mercola's Comment:
When I was actively seeing patients it was very clear what my primary responsibility was -- to teach my patients to eat the way their ancestors ate. If I could facilitate that change alone and have them avoid processed foods, trans fats and the ridiculous excess of omega-6 fats nearly all consume, the vast majority of them would have radically improved health.
However, this information should not cause you to worry about the diets of ancestors. First of all, it is likely that they were eating far healthier than you, but even if they weren't your body has incredible, dynamic healing capacities that have the potential to reverse much of the damage.
Mirto from Carnation, Alabama commented in Vital Votes:
"There is way too much emphasis placed on such things as blaming our condition on the fact it runs in the family (genes). What runs in the family is an eating pattern that has been passed down from generation to generation.
"I saw it in my family and was heading down a road that was the consequence of this. I drastically changed my diet, including taking supplements, and no longer have to take any drugs, including aspirins.
"When you see a number of members of a family being overweight, check what kind of food they eat, it's appalling. The cook or cooks of the house usually picked up the style from their mother, who picked it up from her mother and so on. First of all that's a problem right there. You would be much healthier eating at least 75% of your food raw, which I usually do ... "
As far as genes go, I firmly believe that conventional wisdom imputes to them a far more exaggerated influence on your health than they really have. Fact is, genes are little more than information storage facilities that don't do much to influence your health. Rather, it's the expression of your genes, influenced by how you live your life, that weighs far more heavily on your health than anything else.
Dr. Gene Weber from Yakima, Washington also pointed out regarding that issue:
"When we go to the doctor a lot of the time, genetics are used against us to force the issue for prescribing what I feel are unneeded drugs, many for long term.
"There was a study done by Dr. Pottenger more than 60 years ago known as Pottenger's Cats that basically helps explain how we are what we eat, and how we can change our 'genetic' outcome by improving our lifestyle. This of course involves diet, exercise, and our emotional state to name a few. We need to know these things so we can make better choices when it comes to health care

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