Researchers recently tracked low-risk prostate cancer patients who decided against conventional medical treatment and chose an alternate path. These patients engaged in three months of major lifestyle changes, including eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, moderate exercise such as walking for half an hour a day, and an hour of daily stress management methods such as meditation.
The health of the participants improved and researchers were surprised to find profound changes in the patients’ genetic activity when they compared prostate biopsies taken before and after the lifestyle changes. In three months, the men had changes in activity in about 500 genes — including 48 that were turned on and 453 genes that were turned off. The activity of disease-preventing genes increased while a number of disease-promoting genes, including those involved in prostate cancer and breast cancer, shut down. (5)
Lead researcher Dr. Dean Ornish reported, “It’s an exciting finding because so often people say, ’Oh, it’s all in my genes, what can I do?’ Well, it turns out you may be able to do a lot. In just three months, I can change hundreds of my genes simply by changing what I eat and how I live.” (6)
(5) Dean Ornish, et al, Changes in prostate gene expression in men undergoing an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105, no. 24 (June 17, 2008): 8369–8374.
(6) Change in diet, exercise may change your genes Reuters: June 16, 2008.