Our genetic systems appear to be primarily controlled and/or altered by the foods and other chemicals we ingest.

Most people have been led to believe that one‘s genetic system is at the root of most serious health problems one may encounter. In most cases this simply is not true, as the latest research shows.  In the years ahead, how the West views medicine and illness will dramatically change.

In November 2005 conventional medical researchers finally confirmed what orthomolecular medical and environmental researchers have understood for years – that specific foods and chemicals turn genes on and off, and affect ongoing genetic expression.2 This understanding will eventually cause a revolution in the way future drugs are developed.  Many of our modern disease states are primarily a result of pollution, malnutrition, and/or improper exercise habits.

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Such factors are dramatically affecting ongoing genetic development and health in people.

To some it may sound implausible – that simply eating a specific food or supplement, could permanently change your behaviour for the better, or reverse diseases such as schizophrenia,

Huntington’s or cancer.3 However, in the latest research, normal rats have been made to behave differently just by injecting them with a specific amino acid (a building block of protein). The change to their behaviour was permanent.4 The amino acid altered the way the rat’s genes were expressed.5

This is now raising the idea amongst conventional medical researchers that drugs, dietary supplements, and/or other nutrients might permanently halt the genetic effects that predispose people to mental or physical illness, just as orthomolecular medical researchers have shown for 25 – 30 years.

Dr. Linus Pauling first proposed the term Orthomolecular Medicine in 1968 in the journal Science. (One of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century, Pauling was one of the fathers of modern chemistry, having won the Nobel prize for describing the nature of the electron. He also made many important medical research discoveries. In addition, along with Watson and Crick, his research was critical to the discovery of DNA, the backbone of all life on Earth.)

In practice, the orthomolecular doctor relies heavily on laboratory testing.  In addition to standard clinical chemistries, orthomolecular doctors now employ a wide range of sophisticated laboratory analysis, including those for testing levels of amino acids, organic acids, vitamins and minerals, functional vitamin status, hormones, immunology, microbiology, and gastrointestinal function. Many of the newer tests have yet to be adopted by most in conventional medicine.

Orthomolecular medicine prescribes the use of natural substances found in a healthy diet such as vitamins, dietary minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, amino acids, essential fatty acids, dietary fiber, phytonutrients, etc. in the prevention and treatment of diseases. It focuses on the role of proper nutrition & exercise in relation to health. Nutrition and/or nutritional intervention comes first in medical diagnoses and treatment – drug treatment is used only for specific indications.

Orthomolecular medicine is defined as the provision of the optimum molecular constitution, especially the optimum concentration, or balance, of substances that are normally present in the body, for the purposes of treating disease and preserving health. The field of orthomolecular psychiatry deals with the use of orthomolecular medicine to treat psychiatric problems.

This paper is designed to show you how to choose foods to enjoy a full and vibrant life.

Our genetic systems can not adapt to change quickly.

The very gradual evolution of our genetic systems was the product of millions of years of exposure and adaptation to natural chemicals and unpolluted foods.  However, in just 60-70 years the modern world and the physical environment in which we live have rapidly changed. As a result, a combination of factors are now dramatically affecting our health.  These are:

  • Excess stress due to high paced lifestyles,
  • Modern technologies yet to been proven as safe – including intensive agricultural farming methods, processed foods, many modern electrical devices, and certain medical practices,
  • high levels of industrial and agricultural pollution,
  • and a lack of proper exercise.

America spends more money per capita on health care than any other country. Yet it is one of the unhealthiest societies, leading the world in obesity and with 73.5% of deaths caused by degenerative disease in 2001.6   Canada is not far behind.

Junk foods, such as sugary sodas and chips make up nearly one-third of calories in the U.S. diet.7 Moreover, Americans consume approximately 50% of the world‘s pharmaceutical drugs.8 North American seniors are taking an average of eight to twelve prescription drugs daily for multiple health problems.9 Britons spend about ¼ as much and live just as long10, although they also are suffering serious health problems as a result of their ―modern‖ western living.

While Americans are ―living as long as most western counterparts, many spend their last years in hospitals and homes.

Canada has the highest cancer death rate in the G8, and the second highest rate in the world.11 Few Canadians realize Ontario is ―officially‖ one of the most polluted places in North America.12 Even fewer realize that ―unofficially‖ hundreds of thousands of pre-regulation oil well sites in Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, and the northern territories contain shallowly buried toxic dumps of diesel fuel and radioactive materials which are seeping into the water table.

Many Canadian cities and towns are highly polluted due to previous and/or ongoing unregulated industrial, forestry, and/or agricultural activity.

An understanding of the connection between nutrition and cellular replication became possible ever since two critical discoveries:

  1. a) DNA‘s role in cell division and replication, and
  2. b) the precise nature of the enzyme action that make it possible.

Because of these, we now known that anything interfering with normal enzyme balance or activity will first cause a chain reaction of problems within the organism, and then again further up the food chain, when that organism is consumed by another.

This new understanding places primary responsibility for health on the individual (which can choose its nutrition), rather than on a genetic act of God (for which we are helpless).

These ever-growing realizations by the public at large are creating a revolution in consumer attitudes towards health care options before them.

Nutrition affects the actual replication of genes every time a cell divides.

The reasoning is simple: if any of the many levels of enzyme activity required for the copying of DNA is compromised by nutritional factors, how can the body make accurate copies of DNA and other derivative genetic structures in the body?

Most MDs only received about 6 hours of nutrition classes in 4400 hours of training.

As of 1989, of the approximately 130 medical colleges in North America, less than 25% had courses on nutrition. On the other hand, graduates of the 4 CNME certified naturopathic medical colleges in North America have 200 hours of academic classes, and 1000 hours of clinical nutrition.

But change is slowly coming. North American Medical schools are now rapidly adapting to expand training in Nutrition and alternatives practices as well. Many conventional medical practitioners are establishing integrated medical clinics, which offer a wide and comprehensive range of medical services. That said, it will be many years before the majority of doctors are up to speed on nutrition and its affects on genetics.

Sam Bock

Click to access genetics.pdf