Genetics and environment are two factors that mold human beings and their personalities; however, it is said that lifestyle modifications led to genetic alterations, according to medical reports.
Dr. Dean Ornish and his colleagues from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) claimed that while one cannot have a specific set of genes, his actions could dictate the genes’ actions as well, according to Web MD.
In a study involving 30 men with low-risk prostate cancer, a trial aimed to determine the effects of not having medical treatment until the cancer progressed and worsened.
The trial participants also had the “Ornish diet.” The diet consisted of low-fat and whole foods. In terms of activity, the study participants walked at least half an hour for six days a week and walked at least an hour for three days a week. Simple yoga-based techniques, such as stretching, meditation, imagery, and breathing were also done for an hour a day. And to boost their intimacy and social support, the men also joined a weekly support group.
In the same interview, Ornish said that people had a range of dietary options. He also mentioned that since the study participants had had prostate cancer, they had put them on the more intensive regimen. Ornish also pointed out that the more people changed, the better the outcomes and it might not be necessary to make changes to such degree for people who did not have cancer to begin with.
The study findings through genetic analyses revealed that there are variations in the noncancerous prostate tissues in three months. The results led Ornish and the team to deduce that more than 500 genes changed the way they functioned. It was revealed that genes with beneficial functions, such as genes that suppress tumors, became more active. On the other hand, genes with hazardous effects, such as genes that promote cellular aberration, were switched off.
In a statement in a news conference, Haqq said that it was absolutely intriguing that the lifestyle change could have as much effect as the most powerful drugs available to people at present, which proves that conditions can really be prevented through lifestyle modifications. Haqq added that they as medical oncologists were always looking for medications that could do the same as what life modification had done. He also mentioned that it was delightful to find that diet and lifestyle could have profound effects and worked as well as drug therapies with fewer side effects.
According to Ornish, the findings may inspire people who believe that their condition is already hopeless. In the same conference, he said that people who said “Oh, it is all in my genes, what can I do?” was what he called genetic nihilism. The urology chairman added that genes might be people’s predisposition, but they were not their fate.
According to Jess Ly of Huffington Post, people were nothing, but a collection of trillions of cells, and were comparable to a single drop of water in the ocean. She added that environmental factors that people were exposed to affect the physiology of the DNA, in addition to the operation of the proteins involved in reading and activating the expression of the aforementioned DNA.
Overall, human genes can be affected by environmental factors, which include the choices people make in life. Such choices involve people’s thoughts, feelings, relationship, and foods, which profoundly affects one’s perceptions of the world.