We're almost at the end of 2009, a very important anniversary year in both history and science. Both Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, and Charles Darwin, author of The Origin of Species and creator of the theory of natural selection, were born on February 12, 1809. Modern evolutionary theory, of course, is based on Darwin's theory of natural selection.
The evolutionary history of humans traces the family history of mammals back to tetrapods, four-footed vertebrate animals in existence 365 million years ago, in the late Devonian period. Tetrapods originally were wholly aquatic, and toward the end of the Devonian they developed the ability to breathe on land and walked out of the seas.
How were the tetrapods able to accomplish this revolutionary transition? Over long stretches of evolutionary time, genetic mutations which conferred a benefit were retained. 1,2 Those tetrapods that had developed the complex ability to survive and thrive on land gained a reproductive advantage. The history and science of evolution can be summarized by a simple concept - those that produce the greatest numbers of surviving offspring win. The air-breathing tetrapods won because they could explore new territories and find new supplies of resources. They became stronger and could reproduce stronger, survivable offspring who would pass on the air-breathing genes.
Human beings continue to evolve, although we ourselves don't notice the process. Our lives are short in comparison to the lengths of time involved. We are able to observe that humans are certainly taller and live much longer than the humans of 1000 years ago. These changes represent evolutionary advantages.
On an individual level we're not able to alter our genes. But we are able to take steps to make our bodies strong and help ensure our cellular and genetic processes are functioning at their highest level. Cells need the right raw materials and the right metabolic environment in order to function properly. So healthy food in the right quantities and sufficient amounts of regular exercise are important. 3 A key critical factor is proper functioning of the nerve system, which coordinates all your body's activities. The nerve system, conductor of your physiologic orchestra, makes sure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently.
From the point of view of genetics and evolution, an individual human being has an advantage if she is healthy and well. If such a person has children it is likely they will be healthy and well, too. They will survive and pass on whatever genetic advantages they have gained. A healthy nerve system is needed to help ensure such health and wellness. Chiropractic care helps ensure that your nerve system is functioning at peak efficiency and doing what it's supposed to do.
Chiropractic care optimizes biomechanical function of spinal vertebras which optimizes the free flow of nerve signals throughout your body. These nerve signals coordinate the work of all body systems. Raw materials reach cells when they're needed. Genetic function is optimized, cellular products are produced on time, and the cell divides when necessary.
Proper flow of information and instructions transmitted via the nerve system helps ensure health and well-being at the very deepest level. Your genetic advantage is passed on when you're healthy and well. Chiropractic care helps make this happen.
1Zhang F, et al: Copy number variation in human health, disease, and evolution. Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet 10:451-481, 2009
2Danilova N, Amemiya CT: Going adaptive. The saga of antibodies. Ann NY Acad Sci 1168:130-155, 2009
3Solomons NW: Developmental origins of health and disease. Concepts, caveats, and consequences for public health nutrition. Nutr Rev 67(Suppl 1):S12-S16, 2009
Chiropractic - A Link to Your Genes
The genes you've inherited from your parents determine all of your physical characteristics. Your genetic heritage also contributes, to a variable extent, to your personality, your interests, your choice of activities, and your choice of profession. Your genes are very closely involved with your health and well-being.
But there's much more to making you who you are. The DNA code packed into every one of your cells is only the starting point. The ways in which your genes are expressed are also determined by environmental and socioeconomic factors and the availability of raw materials. A significant part of the environment we often overlook is the nerve system - the guiding system of our internal environment.
If nerve signals are blocked or not flowing freely, gene expression may become disordered and disorganized. The proper information isn't getting through and health begins to break down. Chiropractic care helps restore nerve system function which helps optimize cellular function and normal genetic activity.