A recent research article in the Journal of Nature and Human Behaviour has pressed the pause button on some popular genetic myths.

Taking a Look at Obesity

Genes don’t dictate your future as much as popular thought would have us believe.

Genetic Testing

With the availability of genetic testing like 23andme, ancestry.ca and livingDNA we have more access to our genetic hardwiring than ever before.

This may be interesting when we are tracing our family roots, but when taken out of context it can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Science Magazine Articles are not Helping

Popular science publications don’t help when they write article titles about what genetics are telling us about disease.

That “catchy title” may get a lot of clicks to help with website placement on Google but the average person isn’t reading the entire article. If you did read the entire article, you would find the “Harvard educated doctor” also states that genetics are not the only indicator of disease.

What Does this Recent Research Say?

I wanted to break down the science that I mentioned right off the top in this post.

In the December issue of the Journal of Nature and Human Behaviour Stanford researchers looked at two genes that have been linked to obesity and exercise.

The researchers took a group of people with the “obesity” gene and asked them how they full they felt after a meal. They then measured the level of blood leptin in these people after that meal.


Leptin is a hormone associated with feeling full after a meal. This feeling is a strong long term psychological indicator of obesity.

The Results of the Research Project

The results were about the same for people genetically prone to obesity and those who weren’t after the meal.

The next week the same people went through the exact same process. This time half the group was told they had the gene that protects from obesity.

The other half of the group was told they had the higher risk version of the obesity gene.

The second half (that was told they had the higher risk gene) didn’t change their previous weeks results. Which would make sense if we are all slaves to our genetic makeup.

But here is where the science gets funky.

The people who were told they had the gene that protects against obesity had two and a half times more leptin in their blood tests.

Remember, Leptin is the hormone that makes us feel full, so we stop eating.

Just by being told they had the genes that protect from obesity was enough for their body and minds to create the physiology that could make that belief happen.

Even though some people had the obesity gene and others in the group did not.

Let’s Think This Through

Now before you stop reading and think this is another “power of positive thinking” article, let’s take a look at the true genetic research.

For a more complete understanding of how our genes influence our current and long term health, we need to look at a field of research called epigenetics.


Epigenetics is the study of cell biology, and how a parent cell impacts the genetic expression of its daughter cells.

This impact works through chemical tags added to chromosomes that can switch genes on or off.

What does this all mean to you and me?

Dr. Rudolf Tanzi Ph D wrote in the book Super Genes that up to ninety-five percent our gene expression is from our lifestyle.

Yes, up to ninety-five percent of our disease risk is from things that we do to ourselves, while the remaining five percent is possibly out of our control.

So we are not slaves to our genetics.

If we really want to make an impact on our health, we need to take a look at our lifestyle and see where we need to make changes.

It’s our lifestyle and the things we’re doing every day that either turn on or switch off our genetic expression.

It’s our lifestyle that impacts a parent cell to pass on the correct genetic coding to the next generation of daughter cells.

You are the one person in the world that has the greatest influence on your health, not your parents, your doctors or your co-workers.


What Lifestyle Indicators have the Greatest Impact?

I’ve had the privilege to spend almost 25 years in private practice and almost from day one I have prepared and delivered lifestyle talks to my practice members.

From hundreds of books, thousands of research articles and years in private practice here is my top 3 list on what gives you the biggest impact on longevity.

I’m also convinced that there is a priority to this list as well.

What to Work on First and Why

1. Posture and Neurology

Posture is the window to your spine and nerve system.

If your posture is off, the system dedicated to coordinating every other organ system is off.

Do what you need to do to correct your posture so your nerve system can function optimally.

Many people still don’t know that today’s chiropractic, especially a certified chiropractic biophysics doctor has trained specifically to correct postural problems and has the tools and experience to help you correct long-standing postural problems.

2. Fitness

Research has been quite clear that fitness is a stronger indicator to overall wellness than nutritional choices.

This makes a lot of people upset with me when I put physical activity ahead of nutrition because the nutrition and nutrient industry is big business but the facts are clear.

Fitness trumps nutrition but if you ignore your nutrition indefinitely it will eventually limit your ability to stay fit and compromise your neurology.
For a more complete strategy for fitness geared toward longevity, click here.

3. Nutrition

Finally, the one everyone thinks needs to be at the top of the list. Yes, it’s important but I have to go with the longevity science and the numbers.

Nutrition is important and critical for a long and healthy life but if you want to make the biggest impact on your long term health and you can only focus on one change at a time, posture and neurology is your first target.

I’ve seen the best results in my life and the life of my clients when we move away from the grains and begin to consume more healthy fats. I also believe that fad dieting is a dangerous roller coaster and for a better understanding of your nutritional needs the Eating for Your Metabolic Type platform is a great start.

4. Attitude and Relationship

The final piece of the puzzle is your attitude and relationships. As much as I put this as number four, this one needs to be personalized.

I’ve had clients that needed to start with one through three before they could become the person they needed to be so they could work on their attitude and relationships.

I’ve also had clients that needed to get out of a toxic relationship and change their attitude before they could make the necessary life change to start back at number one.

This one is a personal decision and will either fuel you for success or constantly derail you if you get it wrong.

Where do you go from here?

If you’re looking to make a change then we’d love to help you in your journey.

Our Lighthouse doctors and therapists work together to build a personalized health recovery plan for you and your family.

Throughout the year we provide advanced lifestyle talks to help you break through to the next level in your health.

We don’t have all the answers but we will do what we can to find you the support and answers you need.

If you want to find out more about Lighthouse then click here.

If you want to check out the availability of our doctors or therapists then take a few moments and fill out come clinical and personal information here.

You can book an appointment online or give us a call to discuss your health concerns with one of our team members.

We are a truly integrated health care group and our team collaborates with each other to ensure you are getting the right advice and care to help you reach your health goals.