An epic conclusion to an epic undertaking about epigenetics. Drs Wallach, Lan and Schrauzer evolve our beliefs in the causation of disease from the earliest times. In so doing, they boldly present a credible and reasonable approach to maintaining and improving our health.
There are very technical descriptions to the term epigenetics. This treatise says it is the story of nutrition and nutritional deficiency at the enzyme, chromosomal and gene level and how they affect your DNA duplication and transmission. Or to put it in a phrase that is repeated several times – YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU EAT – YOU ARE WHAT YOU ABSORB.
As a novice science student, I was taught that there are scientific laws – principles derived from repeated observation that applied under the same conditions. A theory tries to explain an observation. A theory is therefore a consensus statement of the prevalent thoughts on a subject. For example, it is a law that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. One theory was that it revolved around the earth. As new facts came to light – we now understand that is not true. The accumulation of new facts may give rise to new theories.
Epigenetics brings is through the various theories on health throughout the ages. The authors needed to do that to set us up to thinking that our current theories are also just consensus ideas. Ideas that can be challenged. They challenge the current genetic model of disease. Outlined in the book are various diseases that are thought to be of genetic origin – but are now being challenged as nutritional deficiencies. The theory of diseases stemming from genetics may be flawed.
There are two facts that stand out in this book which ring true to me. Firstly, the promise of breaking the genetic code to solve diseases has failed. Having personally worked in the biotechnology field, I can ascertain that the hopes have not be realized. James Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, is quoted as saying in 2013 that “gene sequencing is not the answer to solving the problems of human health, and much of the research currently being conducted is irrelevant!”
Secondly, Dr Wallach is a veterinarian who has studied diseases in animals that have human equivalents. The advantage of working with animals is that you can make better observations because of the controlled conditions and there is no bias or placebo effect. His breakthrough experiment on Cystic Fibrosis in a Rhesus Monkey is outstanding in support of nutritional deficiencies as our main source of diseases.
What is the bottom line for maintaining and improving your health from this book? Actually it is quite simple. There are three principles.
1. “Eliminate acute and chronic damage” by eating fresh, non-processed and gluten-free foods.” My son Jonathan, the head chef at one of Toronto’s best seafood restaurants also quips that fresh non-processed foods are best tasting too. So do it for the taste and health of it.
2. “Repair existing cellular, tissue and organ damage through non-hazardous and supportive nutritional and non-pharmaceutical methods.” Pharmaceuticals are great when needed – but I’ve found other supportive methods including yoga are important for complete health.
3.” Establish an ongoing preventative maintenance and repair program by employing an optimal diet and daily supplementation with all 90 essential nutrients and herbs as medicines when appropriate.” We are what we absorb. This is so true as I’ve struggled through Vitamin D and Iron absorption issues myself. The book has a fabulous list of nutrient recommendations. Dr Wallach has developed a line of nutritional supplements that deliver these.
I’ve always wondered at the discussion, debate and controversy about nutrition. We’ve been around for thousands of years and still can’t figure it out? It really is as simple as getting the right stuff into you. When we all lived in the Rift Valley, we had all our essential nutrients available to us. As humans have spread around the globe, we’ve discovered that they are not evenly available. Add to this the change in lifestyle from hunter-gatherer to a demanding urban-stressed rushed peoples and the needs for nutrients have increased. The consequences of not having them are illness. Getting your 90 essential nutrients is one of the basics for maintaining and improving your health.