Why "It Runs In My Family" Means Less Than You Think

Why "It Runs In My Family" Means Less Than You Think Hero Image
Photo: Stocksy & iStock

As a nutritionist specializing in chronic conditions, I hear it all the time: “It runs in my family”

The human genome project and the development of easy-to-access genetic testing has allowed the world of genetics to explode over the last several years. All of the time, client’s ask me to have their genetic testing done to determine what they believe that they are destined for.

Will I develop Cardiovascular Disease?

Could my high blood pressure be due to a “salt sensitive” gene?

Are my hormone imbalances genetic?

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More often than not, clients say to me that their health conditions are inherent. Mom and dad had cardiovascular disease, sister has hormone imbalances, and high cholesterol runs in my family. While some of that may be true, I began to think more deeply into the idea that these people that we share the same genes with also share many of the same lifestyles and environments. The lightbulb went on!

The world of epigenetics is an expanding field, pioneered by many experts researching to understand how much our genetics play a role in the development of chronic disease. After attending a seminar by Dr. Deepak Chopra a few years back, I walked away with a critical piece of knowledge:

95% of our genes are fluid and based upon our LIFESTYLE and ENVIRONMENT.

That’s right, you’re in more control than you think!

I began to think deeper about how those we share genetics with also share our same homes, environments, and cabinets. Could your genetic risk for cardiovascular disease be due to your family all consuming a Standard American Diet? Or could an environmental toxin like mold in your home or toxic chemicals from a nuclear plant nearby be the driving force to certain genes turning on or off?

So how do we truly know if our troubles are truly genetic or lifestyle and environment based? The world of functional medicine and functional nutrition relies heavily on in-depth analysis like blood work, stool analysis, heavy metal testing, metabolic analysis (like Organic Acid testing), environmental testing, and others that help you understand what’s truly the root cause of how you’re feeling. Combining these results with your specific genetics provides endless insight into how to feel your best and ward off disease in the long run.

We’re not in control of the cards that we’re dealt, however, we’re in control of the hand that we play!

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