January 2, 2013
The New Year's resolution
that can change your genetics
I hope you're off to a wonderful New Year. If you're one to make New Year's resolutions, then I have one for you to consider that can make your life far more enjoyable. And it can have a huge impact on your health.

I teach both doctors and patients that there are three fundamental causes of disease. They are: malnutrition, toxins, and stress. The first two are relatively easy for me to treat. I've told you about highly effective ways to improve your nutrition and rid your body of toxins. However, stress is harder for me to treat, since it does not involve physical events on your body (like not getting enough nutrients or getting too many poisons). However, dealing with stress is vital for your health. A new study shows us why.

This new study found that people in demanding jobs with little freedom to make decisions are 23% more likely to have a heart attack compared to less-stressed counterparts. This study was an analysis of previous studies and questionnaires. But its conclusions are still valid, as we've seen stress studies are consistent with humans as well as animals.

Stress can directly alter your genes. I've told you in the past that your "hard wired" genetics have less to do with illness than the pundits will tell you. Your mind, diet, and lifestyle actually alter your "epigenetics," namely how your genes behave. To put it another way, what you think, what you eat, and how you live will switch your genes on and off. That's how stress impacts your health.

I know people who have left stressful jobs simply because they knew what the unbridled stress was doing to them. And, I've sometimes had people tell me that the rewards of their work are so great that they trump the stress. For example, integrative physicians are under incredible stress. We're constantly fearing an FDA (or other agency) attack at any time. Yet the rewards (helping people otherwise left adrift) are so great that our lives are still enriched. I have a friend who has battled cancer for 12 long years and I'm confident that his integrative medicine work gave him reason to live, despite the stresses.

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Only you can make such a determination about how work and other stressors affect you. On the other hand, you do have enormous power over how your words and behavior might stress out someone close to you. All of us can strive for more positive impacts on the lives we share with others.

So in 2013, find ways to reduce your own stress. Then find ways to relieve the stress of others. Use your words to encourage, uplift, and rebuild broken lives. With these changes, you will make the world a better place to live for everyone around you.

I hope you have a healthy New Year!

Ref: Lancet, September 14, 2012.

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