Being born with a genetic predisposition, like an increased risk of developing diabetes or an autoimmune disease, sucks. It makes our diet and lifestyle choices that much more important to take care of, because it’s diet and lifestyle that will determine whether or not that genetic predisposition becomes an issue for you…
Genetic disorders do not dictate our fate, our lifestyle and diet choices do.
There’s a reason why doctors who have patients with high cholesterol might advise them to reduce and manage their stress, or patients with an autoimmune disorder to change their diet…
Because diet and lifestyle are two components of what will perpetuate and aggravate a genetic predisposition, leading it to develop into a genetic disease.
What Is a Genetic Predisposition?
A person with a genetic predisposition is someone who is born with an increased chance of developing a certain disease based on their genetic makeup. The important thing to note with genetic predispositions, also known as genetic susceptibility, is that being born with one does not mean the person will certainly develop the genetic disease.
Genetic predisposition is a marker, a warning that the person has an increased risk of developing the genetic disease, and there are things that a person can do to increase that risk further…
What Are Some Examples Of Genetic Predisposition?
Many diseases have been proven to be linked, and others have been shown to possibly be linked to genetic predisposition, many of which are some of the most well-known medical issues worldwide. These includes:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Celiac Disease
- Certain Mental Health conditions, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia
- Dementia & Alzheimers
- Autoimmune disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Heart Disease
Why Do We Get Genetic Predispositions?
Genetic predispositions come from genetic variations that are passed down from the parents to the child. These gene variations differ from the ‘standard’ gene that most people have, as they leave you vulnerable to disease if you come across the right (or wrong) accumulation of contributing factors that worsen the risk.
How Do Diet and Lifestyle Impact My Genetic Predisposition?
Depending on the genetic susceptibility, diet and lifestyle factors that might contribute to increasing the risk of developing that genetic disease include:
- Sugar consumption
- Chronic sleep deprivation
- Alcohol, drug, or substance abuse
- Smoking or vaping
- Environmental exposures (pollution or pesticides)
What Else Could Contribute To Genetic Disease?
Other contributing factors include:
- Hormonal changes, such as menopause or pregnancy
- Acute illnesses caused by a bacterium or a virus
- Toxicity (heavy metals or mold)
- Other genes
Physical and mental stress can increase the chances of developing genetic diseases, and the above are all things that perpetuate stress in the body and the mind.
There’s a lot in this list that we cannot control, however, there’s also an awful lot that is in our control, like diet and lifestyle. This is why testing for genetic susceptibility is so important, so that the individual can then understand exactly what diet and lifestyle changes they may have to make to keep the genetic risk low.
Because we’re all dealt a different set of genes, there is no one-size-fits-all nutrition plan. We need to eat according to what our unique body needs (and doesn’t need), like someone who is recently diagnosed with celiac disease who may now need to change their diet and lifestyle to accommodate this disease, avoiding more internal damage to the digestive system.
How Do I Know If I Have a Genetic Predisposition?
Some genetic predispositions come with symptoms that might be diagnosed fairly quickly by doctors. Other times they’re more difficult to spot and might require further symptoms and testing to diagnose.
If you suspect you may have a genetic predisposition, the first step is to get lab testing. If any are discovered, you can then start thinking about what and how you can make sustainable changes in your life that will promote health and reduce symptoms.
Sure, our genetics might load the gun, but it’s our lifestyle and diet that can pull the trigger.