There Is A Link Between Responsibility, Epigenetic Factors and Health
Marcus S. Ettinger B.Sc., D.C.
©21 May 2001 Marcus Ettinger. All rights reserved
Revised 28 November 2015
(no portion of this may be re-printed or used without permission)
The words RESPONSIBLE and RESPONSIBILITY are two words, I feel, that need to be resurrected from the dead. These words need to be re-taught, re-learned, promoted and once again held in high-regard like they once were. Is it just me, or have you noticed that our society seems to be losing personal accountability for just about everything? I have personally witnessed and felt the effects of this, in my practice and in my surroundings, for some time now. “IT’S NOT MY FAULT” and “I’M ENTITLED” are some of the phrases and concepts that are literally destroying our civilization: morally, ethically, spiritually and physically. Solution: If each one of us would just take RESPONSIBILITY for our own little universe (family, friends, work space, home…) the ripple-effect that this would have within our society would be more significant than can be imagined. Please don’t just think about this idea. Please read this e-mail to the end and act on it! Thank you.
During the last 50 years, Earth’s population has increasingly been witness to: global terrorism, global warming, dwindling natural resources, over-farming/fishing, GMO’s, deforestation, mass-extinction of wild-life, medication being prescribed and consumed like candy, mandatory vaccinations, and societal epidemics like welfare, morbid obesity, world hunger, income-inequality and many others. Why have all of these situations occurred? In my opinion, one of the major causes is a global pandemic known as, ‘the decline of personal responsibility.’
The dictionary has many definitions for the word RESPONSIBLE. The first one fits what I feel I do as a doctor: “legally or ethically accountable for the welfare of another.” When I graduated from college, I swore an oath to be responsible for anyone who seeks my care, and I feel I have never violated that oath.
There are two other definitions that fit how I feel I act in my personal life. 1) “Involving personal accountability or ability to act without guidance or superior authority.” 2) “Capable of making moral or rational decisions on one’s own, therefore answerable for one’s behavior.”
For the rest of this paper, I am going to focus on RESPONSIBILITY as it pertains to one’s state of health. As for all other facets of one’s life, just be honest with yourself – can I be more responsible. If you have not been applying the definitions above, within and outside, go-for-it. The people and world around you will see the positive change and acknowledge you for it – you will be setting a good example. (see exercise at the end of this e-mail)
Responsibility As It Pertains To Our State Of Health
It is my personal opinion that the vast majority of people who are experiencing health challenges either created or are actively contributing to their negative condition, knowingly or unknowingly. They may even be ignoring the fact that a health challenge exists, even though negative symptoms are present. Most will also put the responsibility, on a doctor or doctors, for their overall health status, for returning them back to good health (with drugs and/or surgeries) or to maintain their health at a certain level (with drugs and/or surgeries). All of this is, at some level, lack of personal accountability and responsibility.
Examples: If you have high ‘this’ or low ‘that, take a pill. If it’s clogged, send in Roto-Rooter. If it’s too fast or too slow, take another pill. If you think there may be a problem now or in the future but aren’t sure yet, take a pill, just to be on the safe side. If there’s a new symptom that pops-up from taking drug A, don’t stop drug A, because drug B will handle that pesky new side-effect. Fact: it’s actually not a side-effect, IT’S an EFFECT. 99% of all medications ONLY activate or suppress chemical reactions within the body. Basically, pharma drugs treat symptoms, while masking the underlying condition or disease state. Pharma drugs do not rebuild or regenerate tissue – they do not CURE. Only the body itself can cure itself.
This apathetic and irresponsible attitude our society has developed, toward personal health care, is extremely dangerous. It is putting a HUGE financial burden on future generations, and is accounting for hundreds of thousands of needless deaths and hospitalizations each and every year. 2.9 TRILLION dollars a year ($2,900,000,000,000) as of 2104, is spent on health care in America. That’s almost 20% our GDP and more than the income produced by France.
The Five Components Of Taking Responsibility For Your Health
Geneticists (doctors who study and research our genetic makeup, DNA, etc…) state that we reach our genetic potential around 25-30 years of age. This means that we are at our peak, our prime, at that age. After this, one’s body starts to deteriorate. Some of us can go through this process VERY slowly while others break-down quite rapidly. The rate of this deterioration does depend on your genetics, slightly. The lion’s-share, 95%, rests on controllable, epigenetic (above genetics) influences – sleep, nutrition, exercise and positive mental attitude. In layman’s terms, “epigenetics is the effect you create, by the level of personal responsibility, you devote to creating and maintaining your health!”
Creating and maintaining vibrant physical and mental health is not the sole responsibility of doctors, family, friends, Richard Simons, or Jenny Craig. They are part of EDUCATION. IT’S ACTUALLY YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to engage in positive epigenetic influences (stresses) on your body and mind. Below are five powerful factors that if practiced, robustly, with enable you to achieve and maintain, long-lasting, vibrant health. The first one, education, is not an epigenetic factor, per se, but is needed to make the other four more effective and powerful.
“Stress is the cause of at least 95% of all illness and disease. The remaining 5 percent is genetic and was caused, you guessed it, by stress somewhere in the ancestry of that person.” – Bruce Lipton PhD
First, there is EDUCATION, LEARNING, KNOWLEDGE. Educate yourself on diet (paleo, blood-type, ketogenic…), anatomy, exercise, stretching, meditation, juicing, what it means to be healthy and anything else that may help or benefit you in living a longer and healthier life. You can also hire a coach, like myself or a personal trainer, who can guide you in a right direction.
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas Edison
Second is SLEEP. Optimally we need between 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. This is critical to the way we operate during the day. Adequate sleep is also mandatory for key processes such as learning and consolidation of memories. The sad part is that most of us often fail to get enough sleep even though we know how crucial it is. Making-up missed sleep by sleeping more on the weekends or loading-up on caffeine, to stay awake, can actually cause more harm than good.
The long-term effects of not getting enough sleep or disrupting the body’s natural sleep rhythm can lead to negative epigenetic changes, in certain genes, linked to weakened immunity and tumor growth (cancer). Other effects caused by lack of sleep are: lack of energy, moodiness and irritability, poor stress adaptation, difficulty problem solving, and a lack of creativity.
“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Third is NUTRITION. The most important point here is to eat to support every single cell in your body, not just for the taste or because it’s a good deal. With that said, I am not a sadist, I am a realist. Yes, please, eat for the sheer love of food, good food, one or two meals a week. If you don’t, that’s irresponsible in my book. Life is too short to neglect the finer things in life, but at the same time, too short to reduce your life-span by eating like crap. Juicing, nutritional supplements and functional foods are also part of this.
“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
Fourth is EXERCISE. The human body will remodel according to the stress placed or not placed upon it. Nothing is truer. Less than 5% of the U.S. adult population participate in 30 minutes of physical activity per day. And, for children, it’s far worse. The surest way to develop osteoporosis; arthritis; sore joints; weak muscles, ligaments or tendons; a slow metabolism; dementia or Alzheimer’s is to not exercise – that includes exercising brain as well.
“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” – Hippocrates
Fifth is A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT or POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE. If you spend a prolonged period of time in an environment (work, home, friend, in-laws, spouse….) that you don’t want to be in, because the people are chronically negative, invalidating, rude, mean, antagonistic, unethical… toward you or others – get out! If unethical or criminal behavior is occurring in any form – get out! The negative impact that will be created inside of you, from being in this type of environment, will literally eat you alive. This is actually the most important of the four.
“When we live in a world that supports us and our mind sees it as a healthy, wonderful, happy place, the chemistry from the brain goes into the blood and enhances growth. An environment that’s threatening or scary releases chemicals of fear into the blood and that causes the system to shut down and go into protection.” – Bruce Lipton, PhD
The above five components when positively and routinely followed (responsible) are proven to strengthen the BODY, the MIND and the SPIRIT. When not followed (irresponsible) the opposite will occur, leading to dis-ease and non-optimum health.
These five components of taking responsibility for your health may seem obvious to some, and to others it may seem as foreign as learning Swahili. For those of you who are taking personal responsibility for your health, I validate your effort. For those you reading this and are saying to yourself, “that makes sense and I will take more responsibility for my health.” I validate you as well. For those of you who believe your body will run forever without any needed adjustment to its present condition or believe that all those aches and pains, stiffness, inability to eat the foods you did when you were younger, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and increased weight are just signs of getting older, and that it’s “inevitable”, you are wrong or just misinformed. Please re-read this and/or do some research on your own. I just want to help, I do care, and I know you know that.
The good news is that it’s never too late to change your present condition. Recognizing that a problem exists, and also recognizing that a positive change needs to occur, are the first steps. Once that is done, all that is needed is an action step(s) that will transform your thought(s) into something tangible and real. It’s the ‘power of intention – thoughts can become things.’
Marcus Ettinger, DC
See how far outward you can go on this list. Think to yourself, “what am I responsible for?” 1. myself 2. my loved ones 3. those other then my loved ones 4. mankind 5. all living things 6. matter, energy, space and time (anything not living) 7. me as a spiritual being 8. the one you worship. Note: there are many aspects/facets to each of these.
Do you take a little or a lot of responsibility for some or all? Locate which area(s) that may need more attention. Focus on that area (apply action) without dropping-out responsibility for the areas you are good in. Before too long you will notice positive changes in your life and in the lives that you touch.