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The Truth About Genetics, Epigenetics and Chronic Disease

Blog | 
Innovation | 
Outcomes | 

Chronic disease consumes 86% of the national health expenditure and kills 7 of 10 people. President Clinton and Obama both created initiatives to cure cancer through genetic research and therapies. Modern medicine has spent billions of dollars on genetic research, but there is little success to show.

Genetic research and therapies intend to alter people’s genes in order to prevent cancer and chronic diseases. Epigenetic research and therapies do not aim to alter genes, but environments. Epigenetic research proves that one’s genes cannot be changed, but they can be influenced. Epigenetics allows good genes to flourish, while mitigating bad genes. 

People who believe they can heal often do. In 2012, Chelsea Clinton ordered her father to lose weight before he could walk her down the aisle. Six years earlier, President Clinton had a quadruple bypass surgery and Chelsea was desperate for him to become healthier. He adopted Chelsea’s vegan diet, began to exercise and lost thirty-five pounds. President Clinton proudly walked his daughter down the aisle.

Heart disease kills 610,000 Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Despite surgical and pharmacological intervention, heart disease is responsible for 1 in 4 U.S. deaths. Caldwell Esselstyn, the head of Cardiac Nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic, says: “All our cardiac interventions address symptoms, not the root causes of the disease.” Dr. Esselstyn uses a radical hands-on approach: he treats the person, not the symptoms.

Anti-inflammatory and biochemical properties of a plant-based diet enhances natural healing mechanisms and prevents disease-causing genes from activating. The China Study by Colin and Thomas Campbell makes an empirical case that plant-based diets virtually eliminate heart disease, cures diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and most cancers. To reverse environmental factors that promote chronic disease, patients should:

  1. Eat less meat
  2. Exercise more
  3. Breathe fresh air
  4. Foster relationships
  5. Live in community

The truth is simple. High-tech interventions and industry propaganda lose sight of the truth. Since President Clinton changed his diet and lifestyle, he has not needed another surgery. The key to reversing America’s chronic-disease epidemic is through epigenetics, not genetics. We can’t change our genetic composition, but we can change our environment, habits and lifestyles. To live a happier and healthier life, patients need the right care, at the right time, for the right price. For more information on this topic, please read the full Market Corner Commentary here.

About the 4sight Health Author
David W. Johnson CEO

David Johnson is the CEO of 4sight Health, a thought leadership and advisory company working at the intersection of strategy, economics, innovation and capital formation. Dave wakes up every morning trying to fix America’s broken healthcare system. Prior to founding 4sight Health in 2014, Dave had a long and successful career in healthcare investment banking. He is a graduate of Colgate University and earned a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School.

Employing his knowledge and experience in health policy, economics, statistics, behavioral finance, disruptive innovation, organizational change and complexity theory, Dave writes and speaks on pro-market healthcare reform. His first book Market vs. Medicine: America’s Epic Fight for Better, Affordable Healthcare, and his second book, The Customer Revolution in Healthcare: Delivering Kinder, Smarter, Affordable Care for All (McGraw-Hill 2019), are available for purchase on