Pottenger’s Prophecy: How Food Resets Genes For Wellness or Illness
By Gray Graham, N.T.P., Deborah Kesten, M.P.H. , and Larry Scherwitz, PH.D.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have the ability to reshape our genetic potential, especially if we could do so in a natural manner? In recent times it has been the accepted idea that we are stuck with our genes which have been passed to us from our ancestors. However, this belief is beginning to be challenged. The authors of Pottenger’s Prophecy feel that with emerging scientific discoveries and by heeding the wisdom of the past, we may already have the tools and the ability to re-create our health destiny.
Speaking of Francis Pottenger’s study findings and current medical advances, Graham, Kesten and Scherwitz tell us, “For it suggests that many health conditions can be reversed, that what we think we inherited from our parents is changeable, and that what is passed down from generation to generation isn’t necessarily fixed. In other words, DNA isn’t destiny, something else is. And that something else tells us that even devastating and often life threatening ailments can be reversed; that both degeneration and regeneration – for both ourselves and our progeny – may be possible through the quality of food and lifestyle choices we make each day. In other words, we believe from recent evidence in transgenerational studies that Pottenger got it right: the food we eat each day is a strong determinant of our health, which, in turn, reflects the health of the genes we pass on to our children.”
Chapter one of Pottenger’s Prophecy gives us an example of how certain health problems can be corrected or even prevented by discovering a person’s genetic shortcomings through genetic testing. In this case the remedy was high doses of vitamin D. Genetic testing had discovered that the patient had a genetic variation which prevented her cell receptors from binding properly with vitamin D. This meant that the vitamin D which was present in her body was unable to do its job. The solution was consuming high doses of vitamin D, which reversed the patient’s osteopenia. However, the authors do caution that the seeming solution isn’t always that simple. It is explained that genes apparently team up with other genes to accomplish specific tasks. So, if you manipulate one gene, this could affect the function of the whole gene team. It is a very interconnected web. For example, if a drug is created to affect one gene, it may end up affecting the whole organism in unpredictable ways.
The study of epigenetics is telling us that the food choices we make now can change aberrant genetic tendencies for the better and that our children and grandchildren may also benefit from our positive dietary and other lifestyle changes. The good news is that we can be in charge of our health and that we are not destined to particular illnesses thought to be due to unchangeable genetics. The authors tell of a 2005 twin study conducted by Mario Fraga ; “Born with identical genes, you might expect that if one twin got a certain disease at a particular point in her or his life, the other twin would also be susceptible to the same disease around the same time. Rather, his study provides an epigenitc explanation as to why identical twins not only do not get a disease at the same time, but why one may get sick and the other doesn’t.” They go on to say that as twins become older and have different life experiences and practice different lifestyles, that these differences would sway their genetic expression.
Pottenger’s Prophecy gives many examples of how our diet and the environment can affect our genes and consequently our health and the health of our progeny. More importantly they include guidelines for implementing this new science of nutritional epigenetics so that we have a practical blueprint to proceed from. Chapter 10 contains the Ten Green-Gene Food Guidelines. One of the Guidelines which is heavily stressed, warns us that the quality of the fat we consume is of the utmost importance. Fat is one of the most contaminated substances in the food chain and we must try and locate the purest sources that we can. We also need to try and consume animals which have access to their natural diets. Another important issue involving fats concerns whether or not the fat has been heavily processed. Always choose the fats which are the most minimally processed. Readers are advised about how to store and prepare foods. Also listed are the cleanest and dirtiest foods in regards to pesticide exposure. Pointers are given on how to choose foods that are right for you.
The authors offer the thought that it is not just the chemical composition of our foods that heals and regenerates but it is also the atmosphere which enfolds us during the meal experience.Turning off the TV, listening to soft music, being grateful for our food, and taking time to eat in a relaxed manner, are all good points to keep in mind.
Pottenger’s Prophecy is a very intriguing and informative book. The book is written in a manner which is easy to understand. The authors share a comment which I feel sums up their message…. “Ultimately, we wrote Pottenger’s Prophecy to introduce you to a new nutritional concept: that as much as 95 percent of today’s chronic conditions may be due to the nutritional environment of cells and not to defective genes.” In an age of chronic illness and degenerative disease, this is a book that should be read by everyone. We can reverse our “inherited” and self inflicted suffering by becoming familiar with the ideas in this book and in other books which present similar concepts. Once we understand where our problems stem from, then we will have our cornerstone on which to build a healthier and more joyous future for ourselves and subsequent generations.