You Have More Influence on Your DNA Than You May Think

By Jacquie Woodward

Each of our approximately 100 trillion body cells regenerates periodically. The consensus seems to be that all are replaced every 7 to 10 years with some as often as every few days according to the plan of our genes (DNA). Our genes provide the “cell reproduction blueprint”, but the science of Epigenetics (literally meaning “above genes”) now tells us that the environment we provide these cells can alter that blueprint and, thereby, alter the make-up of trillions of replacement cells every day. Cancer cannot occur in a healthy cell with DNA intact.

To avoid cancer, we must protect our genetic integrity. Through lifestyle choices, we can influence both the reproduction and performance of our body cells. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to “do life” without influencing the integrity of our DNA and subsequent health of our body cells. We are seldom at the mercy of random genetic change even though sometimes we’ve been led to believe otherwise. Instead, we can absolutely impact the genetic make-up and internal environment of our body cells so that cancer has no open door to wreak its health havoc.

In my case, several years ago I stood in the batter’s box with two strikes against me (2/3 pancreas removed because of tumors and “troublesome changes” in remaining 1/3). There was no choice but to hit a homerun. Striking out was not an acceptable option and “modern medicine”, thank God, admitted it had nothing for me. My goal became “making my body cells inhospitable to cancer” and that goal was accomplished when my follow-up scans consistently reported “no incidence of recurrent or residual disease. My replacement cells were obviously healthy.

I had already relapsed once because I did not change my lifestyle after “dodging a nasty curve ball” in my first “at bat” with pancreatic cancer. I was determined not to repeat that mistake and took seriously a physician friend’s advice, “You will have to be your own doctor if you get through this.” Then she quickly quipped, “I think I read you should eat a lot of blueberries.” This was, perhaps, the best medical advice I ever received. I began to research nutrition and other lifestyle elements seeing the entire proposition as opportunity rather than denial-a perspective I highly recommend.

The details of my healing adventure are beyond the scope of this short article; however, I quickly learned that I had a “say” in the quality of body cells replacing the ones that had contributed to the insidious ill health leading to cancer.

I learned the obvious truth that whatever substances we take into our bodies by ingesting or absorbing (through the skin) can become building materials for newly generated cells. The countless types of body cells require diverse materials to replicate themselves. Among many other “ingredients” brain cells need lots of fatty acids, bone cells need specific minerals, etc. If we don’t send in the right stuff, cells use what we do send in and the cliché “garbage in/garbage out” cannot be denied. Genes, themselves, must be constructed of certain nutritional molecules as they are replaced within new cells.

I learned that providing the raw materials available in a mainly raw plant based diet along with plenty of very clean water is essential for building healthy body cells. We are built of the same molecular materials as raw plant based foods so that, in such a diet, the food and our bodies constantly adjust and adapt to each other. We are 70+% water so it’s a no-brainer to realize how damaging dehydration can be in every life process. Beverages other than water are seldom useful in building and maintaining healthy cells.

The raw plant-based food contains cell building and functioning nutrients no other material contains. The raw state of such food is rich in essential enzymes that cooking destroys. The plant-based food is rich in countless essential nutrients and the solar photon (from photosynthesis) is an often-overlooked nutrient. After a few years, I added a bit of meat eaten but only from animals that had eaten plant-based diets rather than contrived processed feeds. I basically choose foods in the form closest to their created form.

Sugar is cancer fertilizer and absolutely must be removed from the diet. It fosters inflammation and acidity that are both damaging to DNA and normal cellular function. Artificial sweeteners are “read” by the immune system as “foreign matter” compound the negative impact. Stevia, an herb, can be used for sweetening with no negative impact.

It’s quite possible that prescription drugs taken on extensively can deplete essential nutrients we must have in building healthy well functioning body cells. If a pharmaceutical is depleting nutrients, it is critical to find out how you can replace the particular nutrients being lost. I caution that man-made vitamins are often “read” by the body as foreign matter and can be damaging rather than helpful. Nutrients are best delivered in food and we can choose foods rich in what we particularly need to replace.

Habitual shallow breathing is a seldom considered friend of cellular level depravity that can lead to cell sickness and death. I personally use periodic deep breathing exercises that can be done anywhere. I also purposely breathe deeply in my exercise routine which is doubly beneficial because it moves lymphatic fluid that bathes body cells and carries off debris and toxins.

Sleep habits impact our genes immensely. There are many studies demonstrating a negative impact on DNA from such things as sleep deprivation and irregular sleep patterns. We know that every healthy cell has two anti-oncogenes (anti-cancer genes) and sleep deprivation is a threat to these. We need both genes intact.

Ingested, breathed-in, or absorbed toxins (including those in skin products) are often overlooked culprits for damaging and altering DNA. We can benefit from thinking of our largest body organ-our skin-as another mouth because considerable materials are transported via bloodstream to our body cells once absorbed. Many sunscreens are both toxic and restrictive as they limit skin exposure to sunlight required to make real vitamin D. Artificial vitamin D is basically a potentially damaging hormone (therefore a toxin). We can choose to wear “shade garments” and move in and out of shade periodically.

Persistent toxic thoughts and words (adverse or suppressed emotions) can impact cellular DNA as dramatically as toxic food and water. Body chemistry is measurably impacted in a negative way by persistent negative stresses or emotional insults. A feeling of helplessness is particularly damaging, and fear of cancer happening because of family history (DNA) can bring on such feelings. Bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness are proven “make you sick stuff” leading to inflammation which can become a hotbed for tumor formation.

Above, I’ve endeavored to list a sampling of the most impactful “lifestyle elements” that can negatively affect our DNA and predispose us to abnormal cellular replication. These elements degrade our health in other ways as well and cancer is essentially a symptom of extreme ill health making effective “treatment of cancer” more a matter of building a body/mind where cancer cannot live than killing off some “alien other” that has randomly invaded our body.

Realizing that cancer has a cause and is never a random occurrence gave me a platform to stand on as I sought to “swing for the fence” in putting this bully dis-eases behind me once and for all. I poured myself into research to “become my own doctor” as my friend suggested. However, even though I’d been a long dormant Christian, I also poured myself out in prayer, which made my healing an “inter-active miracle”. Nevertheless, I found enormous evidence that we are not slaves to our DNA and that only a tiny percentage of disease can truly be attributed to random genetic mutation.

In my book, “Slam the Door on Cancer and Lock It Out of Your Life”, I use my own experience to illustrate how lifestyle changes allowed me to make my body inhospitable to cancer. You can also find a list of the references and resources I used in my “inter-active miracle” healing from pancreatic cancer in Appendix 2 & 3 of my book as well as on my website: by clicking the “Resources & References” tab at the top of every page. There are many blog posts on this website that extend the discussions in the book and some of these include links to short videos where I discuss aspects of beating cancer that you might not find elsewhere. My book is available in print and digital form on as well as on my website where it comes with a bonus CD from one of my seminars.

You may also benefit from visiting my Video channel at There are several short videos from interviews in which I try to share a sense of hope and specific encouragement that cancer is absolutely NOT an automatic death sentence and we are not the victims we’ve been led to believe. We have a “say” in our health and healing.

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