By Dr. Christopher Kent

There weren’t many exciting days in my high school biology class. The class was interesting, though, and we had an excellent teacher. One day stands out in my memory. The excitement in the teacher’s voice was contagious. He brought forth a model from the back room, and carried it to the demonstration table in the front of the lab. We were told the story of Watson and Crick’s work on the double helix DNA and that it was the “blueprint of life.” Our teacher could hardly contain his enthusiasm for sharing the secret of life with usdescribing how the sequencing of the pyrimadines cytosine and thymine, and the purines adenine and guanine, encoded our identities and our futures. This was cutting edge stuff in the ’60s, and we were mesmerized.

The “dogma of genetic supremacy” followed me from high school, to college, and professional school. Even in chiropractic classes, it was suggested that the “limitations of matter’ were defined by our genetic legacy. But there was something brewing shortly after I left my teaching position at Palmer in 1979 Guy Riekeman and Joe Flesia held a symposium where I first heard the word “epigenetic.” The speaker was Ron Pero, PhD. Little did I suspect that one day I would coauthor a paper with him on DNA repair and chiropractic care. [1]

Fast forward 25 years or so to an interview with Bruce Lipton, PhD for the On Purpose series. Bruce had the same zeal for his message as my high school biology teacher. But his message was very different: “It is now recognized that the environment, and more specifically, our perception (interpretation) of the environment, directly controls the activity of our genes. Environment controls gene activity through a process known as epigenetic control.” [2]

The significance of this hit me squarely between the eyes. We are not slaves to our DNA. Our environment controls the activity of our genes. More significantly, our interpretation of the environment determines how our genes express themselves, and we can direct our interpretation of life’s events. In short, we are not slaves to biochemical caprice. As sentient beings, we sculpt our biology.

This stuff is finally hitting the popular press. Discover magazine recently featured an article whose title boldly proclaimed, “DNA is Not Destiny.” [3] The author wrote, “A human liver cell contains the same DNA as a brain cell, yet somehow it knows to code only those proteins needed for the functioning of the liver. Those instructions are found not in the letters of the DNA itself but on it, in an array chemical markers and switches along the length of the double helix, known collectively as the epigenome, that lie along the length of the double helix . These epigenetic switches and markers in turn help switch on or off the expression of particular genes.”

The take home message is stunning: “Epigenetic signals from the environment can be passed on from one generation to the next, sometimes for several generations, without changing a single gene sequence…Put simply, and as bizarre as it may sound, what you eat or smoke today could affect the health and behavior of your greatgrandchildren…Epigenetics is proving we have some responsibility for the integrity of our genome…Before, genes predetermined outcomes. Now everything we do…can affect our gene expression and that of future generations. Epigenetics introduces the concept of free will into our idea of genetics.”

For the chiropractor, correction of nerve interference takes on a deeper significance. Subluxation distorts our perception of the environment, and compromises our ability to respond to it. As every DC knows, following an adjustment, patients frequently report a heightened state of perceptual awareness and well being. Quite simply, correcting interference may well affect the genetic expression of the patient, but the bodies and brains of their progeny.

We now know that there are two ways that correction of vertebral subluxations may affect genetic mechanisms:

1. Chiropractic care could influence basic physiological processes affecting oxidative stress and DNA repair.

2. Correction of vertebral subluxations may change a person’s perception of the environment, and facilitate constructive, appropriate responses to environmental change.

This knowledge positions the chiropractor as a facilitator in determining the legacy of humanity. That’s the power you hold in the very hollow of your hands.

@Column Head:


@Body text:1. Campbell CJ, Kent C, Banne A, Amiri A, Pero RW: “Surrogate indication of DNA repair in serum after long term chiropractic intervention a retrospective study.” Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research [February 18, 2005, pp 15].

2. Lipton B: “Mind over genes: the new biology.”

3. Walters E: “DNA is not destiny.” Discover. November 2006.

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