When I had my first child, friends and family cooed , “Ohhh, he has your eyes!” or “Oh my gosh, he has his Mom’s smile!”
I’d smile… but inside I’d cringe. That voice in my head saying, “What if I gave him Celiac Disease? What if he’s going to die of a heart attack like every man in our family?”
See, right before my son was born, I found my Dad dead after a massive heart attack at the age of 52. My Grandpa had a heart attack at age 48 and died. My Uncle had a heart attack at 49 and died…
It doesn’t stop there, my Mom died from Celiac disease at 52 and that same condition just about killed me…
So while everyone is talking about his hair, all I can think is, “What if my son has an early death sentence because of the genetics I just gave him?”
At least that’s what we’ve been led to believe for the last 50 years…
“It runs in the family…”
“It” meaning (insert any death sentence here): heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s… you get the idea. And rightly so, my family tree shows this pattern.
So I began to ask the question: are we each born with a death sentence? Are we each going to die from our pre-determined genetics, no matter what?
We’ve all heard that saying about the weak link in the chain. It’s the weakest link that will fail first, and each of us has a “weak link” in our genes, inherited right from Mom and Dad. But how do these weak links break? Why is it that these weak links inside each of us keeps killing the ones we love…
Which “Weak Link” Is Going to Kill You?
Ever wonder why a doctor asks about your family health history? It’s because they’re curious about these weak links.
Remember the Human Genome Project? It was sold as the greatest accomplishment of modern science in the late 20th century. We thought we could solve this whole disease thing once we mapped the full genome…
In fact, the full sequence of genes was published in April 2003 after spending $2.7 billion. The project has taught us some amazing things about what genes do and don’t do.
Genes are what dictate processes in our bodies, control our cells, and provide the blueprints for building new things (like proteins). Now, before we go further it’s important to note: not all the genes we have are expressed (turned on). Just tuck that thought away for now. What researchers are now discovering is that certain genes are linked to certain conditions.
For example: if you have gene XYZ, then you have a higher likelihood, or greater risk, for developing condition ABC. More and more researchers are starting to identify some of these genes.
Here are a few examples:
- Celiac disease –> the genes are HLA DQ2/DQ8
- Rheumatoid Arthritis ? the genes are currently pointing to HLA-DRB1*0401
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis –> associated with various HLA genes that differed in populations.  Caucasian populations were associated with DR3, DR5, DQ7, DQB1*03, DQw7 or DRB1*04-DQB1*0301 haplotype. Japanese populations were associated with DRB4*0101, HLA-A2 and DRw53. In Chinese studies, associations with DRw9 were observed.
- Another inflammatory joint disease, Ankylosing spondylitis –> associated with HLA-B27. 
Amazing right? So now, between your family history and some genetic testing, we can tell for sure how you will die.
The human Genome Project and the research since has made HUGE leaps ahead, but actually proved something else that I believe is way more exciting…
They actually DISPROVED the idea that your genetics are your pre-determined death sentence.
It’s NOT Just About Your Genes!
Instead of the Human Genome Project saving us all, it raised deeper questions, like: if 100 people all have the same genes for Celiac disease, why do only a certain percentage of them actually develop the disease in their lifetime? And why does it seem to happen at random times during people’s lives?
That’s when scientists started realizing that something called “epigenetics” might matter more than our genetics.
See, we now know that something has to trigger these specific genes for the disease to occur… typically something foreign in the environment.
We see this when looking at identical twins where one gets the disease and the other doesn’t.
They share the exact same genetic code, so they each have the genes that predispose them. But what makes these genes do what they do?
The first place to look for answers is in what ACTUALLY makes these genes turn on… that’s where Epigenetics come in.
It’s like turning on a light switch.
Your genes are like a bunch of light switches in your house, but they aren’t all on – they change as your environment changes. They’re only on where you need them.
So, researchers are beginning to look at the environmental triggers that “turn on” the genetic light switches for disease.
- In Celiac disease, the environmental trigger is gluten
- In Rheumatoid Arthritis, there is a strong correlation between cigarette smoke and the onset of diseases
- Crystalline silica (quartz) contributes to the development of several systemic autoimmune diseases, including RA and systemic sclerosis. 
- Epstein-Barr Virus may be related to the development of MS.
How exactly these triggers work is also not fully understood. It’s not clear if they directly act on genes or if they are a catalyst in a series of events that leads to changes in gene expression.
The Human Genome Project was an incredible feat. And I’m convinced some amazing stuff will come of it some day…
But why haven’t we made much progress with our genetic death sentence?
We’re all born with a set of genes, which are handed down to us from our parents, but what makes the ticking time bomb go off?
The exact details of how each variation affects the disease development process is not fully understood.
But there is one thing researches are starting to discover…
Your Gut Plays a Huge Role in the Development of Disease
Researcher Alessio Fasano, M.D. has been on the forefront of recent autoimmune and Celiac Disease research. In 2011, he published a paper titled “Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Diseases” introducing a new theory that suggests leaky gut is the key element to the development of autoimmune disease…
And it’s only the beginning. More and more research is coming out connecting everyday conditions to the gut.
It’s not surprising that “leaky gut” is associated with both heart disease and autoimmunity, because if you follow the inflammatory cascade from leaky gut, it can lead to just about any chronic health condition that might be affecting you or your loved ones.
Nowadays, you can put just about any condition into Google along with “Intestinal Permeability” and find hours of research papers associating the two.
Here’s a few examples (link will open a Google search in a new window):
- “Intestinal Permeability and Autoimmune Disease”
- “Intestinal Permeability and Irritable Bowel Syndrome”
- “Intestinal Permeability and Depression”
- “Intestinal Permeability and Acne”
You don’t have to understand these papers, but you should know that the gut-disease connection is very strong.
What I believe (and many others are talking about behind closed doors): If your gut fails, then the cycle of chronic disease in your family will continue. The great thing is that once we begin to understand how the gut works, we can take action and fix the weak links that run in our family…
How to Change Your “Weak Links”
We inherit our genetics from our parents and there’s not much we can change about that. But we do have control over our health and breaking the vicious cycle of these “weak links.”
In order to do so, I’d like to share a powerful mindset Steve came up with years ago. He calls it “Being the CEO of Your Body.”
You are the CEO of YOUR Body. What it means is this: no one will ever care as much about your health as you do, which makes you the CEO of your body. You’re in charge. You’re making all the final decisions. And your health is in your hands.
And if you adopt this, it comes with all the responsibility of being a CEO in the business world. For example, you need to learn as much as you can about the health issues important to you – that way you can advise your doctors and know when they aren’t giving you good advice.
The Bottom Line is this: If you want to take control of your genetically pre-determined death sentence, I believe you need to start with your gut health first… and from there, you take your fate back into your own hands. From there, you become the CEO of your body. It’s the first step…
That’s why we’ve worked with our research team to write the most comprehensive article on leaky gut syndrome for you, so you can actually print it out and take it to your next appointment with you.
If you want to learn exactly how leaky gut happens (and know more than 99% of doctors), read this advanced article we wrote on Leaky Gut:
Here are the 5 most important ideas you’ll learn in this article:
- How Food Allergies Develop – Our skin is several layers deep, but the gut wall is only 1 cell layer deep – and right on the other side is the GALT (gut associated lymphoid tissue) where 80% of your immune system is
- The Mechanism of a Leaky Gut is – The cells of the gut wall are attached to each other in several places, the attachment that fails and causes leaky gut is called a tight junction
- How Your Gut Functions Like a Bridge – Tight junctions work like the Tower Bridge in London. Only the RIGHT things are allowed to pass by if the regulation and communication is working properly
- The Leaky Gut Myth Busted- the gut isn’t supposed to be “closed” shut. Proper function is always somewhat leaky – but for a reason…
- How Leaky Gut Creates The Conditions for Disease – Leaky gut leads to > local inflammation > systemic inflammation > hormone disruption > and detox burden
Education is an important part of being the CEO of your body. And your first duty as CEO is to read this article.
With that, I want to leave you with one last thought.
We Don’t Have to Let Our Genetics Kill Us Too Soon
After recovering my own health, and then helping others do the same for the last 6 years… I’m convinced each of us can use the power of real food and a healthy lifestyle to turn on and off the epigenetic switches… and reduce our risk of our genetics controlling our destiny. Of course, we can’t know for sure…
But I firmly believe I’m healthier than I’ve ever been right now at the age of 30, and I don’t intend to have a heart attack at 50 like the rest of the men in my family. I only wish my parents were still alive so I could save them before it was too late.
See, I believe we each have a choice… and that you have a choice. And if you start by taking control of your gut health, you can start down the path to changing your destiny. That’s my mission. That’s what gets me up in the morning… and why I’m grateful you’re part of this community.
P.S. – Would you like to know how to fix leaky gut and break the cycle of your family’s “weak links?” We’re hosting a free presentation TUES night to answer even more questions about Leaky Gut. Register here: http://leakygutwebinar.com/