• Dr. Lena Fernandez

Genetics: Can Your Daily Choices Help Avoid Disease?

A genetic predisposition means that there is an increased chance that you or your family member may develop a disease based on your genetic makeup.


Some people with a predisposed genetic makeup will never get the disease while others will, even within the same family. However, your lifestyle choices determine how your genes work more than anything else.



Since the human genome codes were cracked a few years ago, more people are aware that your inborn genes may place you at risk for certain diseases and disorders, both mental and physical.


Studies continue to find connections between individual’s genetic profiles and the likelihood of developing health problems. These potential issues can vary from breast cancer, heart attacks, depression, obesity, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s.


However, scientists in the new field of epigenetics are proving that your daily lifestyle choices, the food you consume, the chemicals you are exposed to, physical wellness, and even social environments can actually alter your health at the level of specific genes.


In fact, choosing to eat bread and butter versus a green smoothie for breakfast could mean the difference between having a significant health issue and avoiding one.

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Similarly, smoking is linked to poor health outcomes. So, how does this work at the molecular level? In this case, the carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals) in cigarette smoke directly affect the environment of your inborn genes.


The cadmium and other chemicals from cigarettes trigger the growth of cancer by mutating anti-cancer genes so that they no longer function effectively.


As a scientist and chemist, I conducted a safe study on how mice would function in different environments considering nutrition and fitness level. The first group of mice were treated with no carbs, healthy nutrients, and exercised for ten minutes daily on the treadmill.


The mice ended up more active, lean, and happier than the mice that were treated with carbs on a daily basis and only exercised once per week. The mice who did not have a healthy lifestyle became obese, depressed, and eventually became insulin resistant.


So, as you can imagine, healthy daily choices can change your genetic makeup and even make them work more efficiently. Why not try it out for yourself? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!


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