Do Frogs Have Bad Genes?
When scientists report that a third of the world’s amphibians are dying off and becoming extinct due to toxic exposures and reduced habitats, do they blame it on the animal’s bad genes?
In fact, as Russell A. Mittermeier, president of Conservation International (CI) says, “Amphibians are one of nature’s best indicators of overall environmental health. Their catastrophic decline serves as a warning that we are in a period of significant environmental degradation.”
Apparently some smart scientists understand that frogs are sensitive creatures, with permeable skins, that are unable to tolerate toxic chemicals. I’m not sure why the same wisdom doesn’t apply to humans. I’m always surprised when I hear medical experts talk about “bad genes” and “genetic defects” in relation to chronic illness. It may be true that some people naturally have better detoxification pathways than others, but that doesn’t mean that any of us are built to tolerate the insane levels of chemicals we’re exposed to.
If you live on planet earth, you have been exposed to far too many toxins, regardless of your genetics. If you have an autoimmune condition, chances are that you more sensitive than others and your illness serves as a huge wake up call for humanity.
Your Genes are Not Your Destiny!
We have been taught to think of genes as being set in stone, a determining factor over which we have no control. If someone has family members, or relatives with the same autoimmune disorder, they may assume that “it’s in their genes” and there’s nothing they can do about it. But your genes are not your destiny; they are “instructions” to build the proteins, hormones and everything else your body is made of.
Many factors influence how well, or poorly, those proteins get built. The emerging science of epigenetics studies the factors that influence, and even control, how our genetic code expresses itself.
Visionary developmental biologist Bruce Lipton in his book, Spontaneous Evolution, uses a building construction analogy that I’ll expand to illustrate how gene expression works. Your genes are like the blueprints used to construct a house. The blueprints are a crucial source of information that informs contractors how to build the house.
Although the genetic difference between human beings is less than 1 percent, everyone’s blueprint is a little bit different although our blueprints do have much in common—doors, windows, floors, ceilings, etc. Some blueprints are designed to make mansions, and others to make a ranch house or cozy bungalow. It’s possible to make a shoddy mansion even from perfectly good blueprints if you use poor materials and incompetent workers. Epigenetics describes everything that goes into creating the final result out of the original blueprint in your DNA.
Imagine that you give identical blueprints to five contractors in different parts of the country. Will they build exactly the same house? No, there will be all kinds of variations. The houses may look similar, but one may end up with shoddy plumbing because of an incompetent subcontractor that used old, broken parts. One builder might purchase the finest finish materials, while another buys everything from the discount building center.
One contractor might be distracted, and makes mistakes everywhere, while another is conscientious and creates a beautiful, long-lasting home.
You could use the same analogy for a dinner recipe. If you don’t have all the ingredients, or use foods that have begun to spoil, the best recipe could wind up, at the least, not tasting very good and, at the worst, make you sick.
The emerging science of epigenetics studies the factors that influence, and even control, how our genetic code expresses itself.Epigenetics informs us that if we give our body the proper ingredients and a positive, non-toxic, inner environment, it can give us optimum health and the best expression of our unique genetic code.
The foods and supplements you eat are the main ingredients your body needs to fulfill your inner blueprint. If your DNA needs certain amino acids to create your best body, and you don’t provide those building blocks, the body has to make do and the resultant weakness makes way for possible illness. Stress and toxins are other important factors that can confuse and distort the process.
In 2010, a paper in Science Magazine reported that while risks of developing chronic diseases are attributed to both genetic and environmental factors, 70 to 90 percent of disease risks are probably due to differences in environments.
Genetic testing can be an invaluable tool that can help you discover how your unique genes may be affected by stress, poor nutrition and toxins, and can help your practitioner design a program to help you get better or avoid getting sick in the first place. But it’s a mistake to see yourself as “genetically flawed” just because you’re getting sick in our increasingly toxic world. Just like our amphibian friends, your body is designed to thrive in a healthy environment that includes clean air, clean water and clean food – don’t forget that!
What You Need to Know:
Your doctor might tell you that you have a genetic predisposition that led you to develop your autoimmune condition. My experience has shown that by removing the physical, emotional and environmental factors that trigger autoimmunity, your condition can be reversed. You can get better. The bottom line is that you have a lot of control over your health and your genetic expression.
Michelle Corey, C.N.W.C., FMC, is a Wellness Recovery Specialist, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, researcher and author. Michelle studied holistic nutrition at Clayton College of Natural Health and completed a comprehensive 2-year practical program at Academy of Functional Medicine and Genomics. Since reversing her autoimmune condition, Michelle has helped hundreds of people reverse autoimmune and other chronic conditions. She is currently an advisor to the Academy of Functional Medicine and Genomics and the Functional Medical University. She is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants. Michelle and offers Functional Mind-Body healing retreats, workshops and online courses.
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