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Just how important are your genes for healthy ageing?

By Marcus Santer

your-genes-arent-fixed

The Saturday Quote:

“If the chromosomes in one of your cells were uncoiled and placed end to end, the DNA would be about 6 feet long. If all the DNA in your body were connected in this way, it would stretch approximately 67 billion miles! That’s nearly 150,000 round trips to the Moon.” [1]

So how important are your genes when it comes to successful ageing?

Opinions vary, but the best explanation I’ve found so far is this:

The best way to a longer life is by the preservation of good health. Research shows your genes only have a 20 to 25 percent influence on your longevity during the first 75 years of your life. The rest is heavily influenced by your lifestyle choices and environmental factors, i.e. things you can do something about… By your mid 80’s your genes become more important, and by the time you reach your 90’s the biggest influence on how much longer you’re going to live occurred the day your father’s sperm fertilised your mothers egg. [2]

So yes, they’re important.

Especially when you get over 80.

Consider one of my heroes Jack Lalanne.

He exercised every single day for 2 hours a day.

And his philosophy on food was: “If man makes it, don’t eat it.”[3]

Jack died aged 96.

That’s a good age.

But I only discovered recently that Jack’s brother, Normam Lalanne, died aged 97 and even though I can’t find any details, from the articles I’ve read Norman didn’t exercise or eat like his brother…

And yet he lived a year longer.

Now don’t get bogged down in quality Vs quantity here, because by all accounts Norman certainly lived a good life and enjoyed it, running his own marine engineering and sales business on the San Francisco waterfront up until 1996. Keeping in mind he died aged 97 in 2005, that means he was running his own business up until age 88.[4]

So I think it’s fair to conclude that your genes play a significant role in how successfully you’re going to age once you get over 80.

But you know what?

Traditional thinking was, you’ve got the genes you’ve got and there ain’t nothing you can do about them.

But the science of Epigenetics suggests otherwise.

And here’s my many orders of magnitude simplification of this subject:

Your genes aren’t fixed, your environment and lifestyle choices can change the behaviour of your genes for the better…

… Or the worse[5-7].

It’s up to you, it all depends on…

And where you live.

Making the right lifestyle choices puts you in a much better position to maximise the goodness in your gene pool and minimise the bad.

Fortunately when it comes to the right lifestyle choices I’ve done all the research for you.

I’ve looked at the studies, dug down deep to the evidence based facts and collected them altogether in my easy to read book:

The Healthy Ageing Pyramid – Discover the 7 health packed habits proven to help you stay young your whole life.

As movement and strength expert Danny Kavadlo described it:

“This book is a breath of fresh air. Marcus has created a work that is both highly informative and a pleasure to read.”​​​​​​​

You can download your copy by clicking here.

Bye for now

Marcus

Sources:

[1] The New Genetics: Chapter 1 – How Genes Work https://publications.nigms.nih.gov/thenewgenetics/chapter1.html
[2] Extracted from page18 of The Healthy Ageing Pyramid book
[3] Jack Lalanne: Live Young Forever
[4] Normal Lalanne: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sfgate/obituary.aspx?n=norman-lalanne&pid=15303402
[5] Fraga, Mario F., et al. “Epigenetic differences arise during the lifetime of monozygotic twins.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102.30 (2005): 10604-10609.
[6] Bell, Jordana T., and Tim D. Spector. “A twin approach to unravelling epigenetics.” Trends in Genetics 27.3 (2011): 116-125.
[7] Holliday, Robin. “Epigenetics: an overview.” Developmental Genetics 15.6 (1994): 453-457.