Many people hold the belief that they are destined to share the same health problems as their parents and grandparents. If somebody in their family has dealt with heart disease, there is nothing they can do to avoid the same fate. However, despite this widely held idea, new research is showing this may not be the case and that a person switching to a diet that features a variety of raw vegetables and fruits can alter their genes so that their risk of heart disease is greatly lessened.
According to the study, some people carry a gene variant called 9p21, which has been directly linked to a higher risk of heart disease. The Public Library of Science published the study, which looked 27,000 participants with the 9p21 gene variant, and gave a number of them a diet heavy in raw fruits and vegetables to eat. Those that took on such foods were able to eliminate the effects of the gene variant. One of the doctors partaking in the study, Dr. James Engert, stressed, “That’s not suggesting that diet is going to overcome all variants, but for all intents and purposes — in this case — it suppressed the susceptibility.”
Epigenetics is the scientific field that studies how the environment can manipulate genes in some way, shape or form. The study above supports this idea strongly. However, research still needs to be done to understand exactly how this can happen, and how the mechanics of the body are changed. Regardless, this is still an excellent and significant step in the right direction, both for science and public health. People that have always blamed their family and genes for their health issues can now hold out hope that something can be done and that they have more control than they may have previously thought. As the public learns that healthy foods imply a healthy heart, more people may be willing to alter their unhealthy ways.
It’s no secret that heart disease is a major player in the mortality of men and women in America. From Taiwanese businessman Winston Wong, who’s Bio-technology Center is creating wireless heart monitoring devices, to Lobin’s heart monitoring t-shirts, companies are heavily invested in enhancing the quality of life for those diagnosed with heart problems. Yet hopefully, with the help of the new study, people may start to see that they are not defined by their genes and by taking matters into their own hands, they can stop heart disease in its tracks.
Written by Alan Parker, an active blogger out of New York City whose writing covers green technology, healthy living, and the great outdoors. You can follow him on Twitter @AGreenParker.