geneticsI have become a big fan of these online summits. The format is a week or so of expert speakers on a particular aspect of health. You can listen for free during each summit’s run, and you can purchase the talks in several formats before and after. I have more time than money, so I always take advantage of the free education.

Some of the presentations were more oriented towards professional medical people – researchers and clinicians. I have listened to enough of these that I am catching on to the process and the technical terms, at least to some extent. In general, what I took away from the summit is contained in the bullet points below, from most to least important for us who are health-conscious patients.

First, take a breath and relax. Your genes are not your destiny. In fact, as much as 85% of our health or illness depends on exogenous, non-genetic factors. That’s according to Chris Kresser [].

Next, we need to clarify genetics (the study of an individual gene) vs. genomics (the study of all genes and how they interact with one another). That’s also according to Chris Kresser as above.

We should realize that each individual gene acts or doesn’t act within a system that is impacted by many other internal and external factors. That’s the new science of epigenetics (literally, above genetics).

Third, the genetic and genomic testing that’s available now is not very conclusive. Wikipedia tells us that the definition of a SNP is “a variation in a single nucleotide that occurs at a specific position in the genome.” Several of the speakers, including Chris Kresser and Andrea Nakayama [] among others, pointed out that evaluation one SNP at a time can yield contradictory advice.

Finally, several speakers including Dr. Tom O’Bryan [] stated that one of the best current uses for this type of testing is to encourage and motivate people who have not yet come to the view that health is strongly related to the choices we make about our diets, exercise habits, relationships, and stress management. The summit host, James Maskell, agreed with that assessment.

So what I think we can all learn is that the “Back To Basics” approach that I use in my coaching work is the right one for most of the people most of the time. To find out more about what I believe, keep reading around this site. And please leave a comment or any questions you have – that helps me help you. Thanks.


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