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Genes and Chronic Illness

It is important to understand that chronic illnesses, especially those that show up after decades of life, are polygenic. That is, hundreds or thousands of genes are orchestrated in a particular way to manifest that physical illness.

Though the Human Genome Project wanted to isolate the heart disease or cancer gene, the workings of the body are much more complex, with countless variables. No two people have heart disease for the same exact reason or because their gene expression is identical.

Not only are the genes involved in the expression of disease different, but the genes involved in the ini- tiation and progression of the disease vary, with some genes having a role in the early stages while others are expressed later in the disease’s development.

The biochemical and physiological processes occurring every day are constantly in flux with genes, demonstrating much flexibility in which ones are expressed and which ones remain dormant.

Once again, genes do not determine our destiny. They are just blueprints, biological instructions that perform no activity until they are prompted to do so by an environmental trigger.

To read more about how diet and daily activities influence how genes do their job, please see “Epigenetics and Food” in the online IDEA Library or in the January 2016 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.

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