Epigenetics – the best possible research study-identical twins/20 years/different diets

This is totally amazingly cool. Identical twins doing different diets over 20 years and prospectively taking blood levels of various biomarkers. The very best kind of experiment you can do.  Give it a listen, only 7 1/2 minutes…


“It Doesn’t Matter What Genes You Have–You Have the Power to Overwrite Them, & It Always Starts with Diet.” 

Rosane Oliveira, DVM, PhD

Don’t miss Dr. Rosane Oliviera’s compelling 7:35 mins. talk at a recent McDougall weekend. Oliviera is the Assistant Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of California Davis Health System & she’s currently studying how gene expression can change (& fairly quickly) when one switches to a whole foods plant-based diet. Oliviera has a personal interest in epigenetics & nutrigenomics. She’s an identical twin–and over the past 20 years her diet & her sister’s have taken different directions. With 20 years of blood tests & medical records in hand, she was able to retrospectively analyze the differences in biomarkers between herself & her sister–& track them to diet changes & the differences in their diets. Weight Watchers, low-carb/low-fat, Atkins, a chicken, fish, & dairy diet, & finally to a low-fat whole foods plant-based diet. Only when her sister’s diet mirrored hers did their biomarkers (e.g. lipids) become identical–because they share the same genes. As Oliviera says, “You CAN change your gene expression. Most of us have genetics that lean toward HIGH CHOLESTEROL & gaining weight. All the women in my family, except me, are overweight with high cholesterol.”


About Geoffrey Levens, L.Ac.

It is my passion to help others find health on all levels. As a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, and on staff as a supplement/health consultant in retail environments, I gained much knowledge about physical health. As an individual who has had to deal with my own health problems, as well as those of my wife, I have gained compassion for the difficulty one may have in finding the right kind of information and help navigating those problems. From a dedicated 40 year meditation practice I have gained wisdom and patience in helping others on their path to full wellness.
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6 Responses to Epigenetics – the best possible research study-identical twins/20 years/different diets

  1. Tom Lynch says:

    Any suggestions to eliminate an enlarged prostate.

    • Obviously no guarantees but this is my recent experience. If you do end up doing this, I would love to know how it works for you as so far I am the only human I know who has actually done it!:

      PEMF vs prostate (BPH)

      Over the past 10+ years I have had gradually worsening symptoms of BPH. Over that time I have taken long trials of all the usual herbs and herbal combinations, and some fairly exotic and unusual ones. The only effects were possibly slowing progression but I really experienced no obvious benefits.

      Recently I took the International Prostate Symptom Score (I-PSS) online and tested well into the “severe” category which did not surprised me at all. Mr. I Hate Drugs was getting ready to bite the bullet and do it anyway as my urinary symptoms were seriously impinging on my quality of life. I also feared that surgery was almost certainly in my future as the drugs can only do so much and at age 65, I hopefully have quite a long time to live.

      Then I stumbled across this research study, thank you http://www.sciencedaily.com for the summary! Dogs are considered an excellent model for human prostate research so they tested 20 dogs who had BPH with treatment with a pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF), 5 minutes, 2X/day, for 3 weeks. The dogs showed dramatic improvement in all symptoms with zero side effects. You can guess that got my attention.

      Here is the actual study:

      Effect of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy on prostate volume and vascularity in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: A pilot study in a canine model
      DOI: 10.1002/pros.22829

      This is the bottom line from the study”

      The 3 weeks of PEMF produced a significant reduction in prostatic volume (average 57%) without any interference with semen quality, testosterone levels or libido. Doppler parameters showed a reduction of peripheral resistances and a progressive reduction throughout the trial of the systolic peak velocity, end-diastolic velocity, mean velocity, mean, and peak gradient of the blood flow in the dorsal branch of the prostatic artery. The pulsatility index and the resistance index did not vary significantly over time.

      The efficacy of PEMF on BPH in dogs, with no side effects, suggests the suitability of this treatment in humans and supports the hypothesis that impairment of blood supply to the lower urinary tract may be a causative factor in the development of BPH. Prostate 74:1132–1141, 2014. © 2014 The Authors. The Prostate published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

      I was already familiar with PEMF’s being used for medical treatment for other conditions and so far as I know, they are side effect free and very safe so long as a very few precautions are observed. Searching out treatment devices I found that there are two tiers: 1) Professional level, marketed to M.D.’s, Veterinarians, etc. These start at over $10,000 and go up to over $20,000. 2) Home use level. These run in the $200-300 range.

      A few of the pro level ones are very powerful but mostly they aren’t more powerful than the better home use ones, they just have more bells and whistles and fancier “boxes”. I settled on the SOTA MP5


      This seems to be the most powerful home use one available and has by far the most polished, solid looking construction. In addition, when I repeatedly emailed their customer service for more information and with questions, they were very prompt, friendly, and informative in their answers. What can I say? They are Canadians!

      Cutting to the chase, I am very impressed and happy with the results after about one month of use. Since the MP5 is a lot more powerful than the device used on the dogs, it necessarily pulses a lot slower. I have not idea about what effects what but just intuitively/arbitrarily used the 20 minutes preset running time of the device as my treatment length and did that once/day. I basically sat on it while doing email and checking the news on my computer. [If you ever get any PEMF device, be absolutely sure to keep the business end of it well away from any magnetic devices you have like computer hard drives, probably cell phones, and any cards you own with the magnetic I.D. strips. One pulse and whatever it is will be toast!]

      It took a couple weeks before I noticed the changes/improvements taking place but now it is quite clear. Here is a summary, though please remember this is an experiment with N=1 and so basically just a personal anecdote. As they say, “Your mileage may vary.”
      Nocturnal urination-Not much change here but I wake frequently due to other, neurological stuff that I suspect is left over from having had lyme disease.

      Day time frequency-Was almost hourly. Now 3-5 hours depending on how hydrated I am.

      Urgency and ability to “wait”-Was almost non-existent. I would suddenly have to go “right now” and could only wait a few minutes with great struggle. It never happened but I could easily see just going in my pants without being able to control it if I could not get to a place soon enough, like on an Ecuadorian bus ride!

      Starting/stopping stream-Was difficult to say the least, esp at night. I sometimes would spend nearly 5 minutes standing there trying to get it going. And at the end, it was a real “drama” trying to make sure there was nothing left to dribble out in my pants after I zipped up. Now, neither one is an issue.

      Completeness of emptying bladder-Was usually a major issue. I would usually have to spend several minutes extra, probing into my lower abdomen with my thumbs to put pressure on my bladder to facilitate. Now, not really an issue.

      Stream strength-Was what I would call pathetic. Lots of hesitation, stop/start, very weak. I will never be 30 again but for my age etc., not bad at all now.

      Volume-A very small amount would trigger the urgency so generally very low output each time. Now, since I can wait so much longer it is always much more than it was, and sometimes at night I am quite surprised by how much I could hold without having to fast hobble, doubled over to get to the toilet in time.

      I am continuing treatment as I think there is still some progress being made and also, just to be sure I consolidate the improvements. I feel quite certain that at the very worst, I have put off needing pharmaceutical help for many years and probably will never even have to think about surgery.

  2. Rob Tompkins says:

    I have been using the Sota MP5 for 5 weeks now and I think some improvement in my BPH related problems has occured but it is still too early for me to really tell. I am wondering if placing the paddle of the pulser on my lower abdomen just above my pubic bone might be a better way of using the machine for BPH. Seems like either way (sitting on it or placing it on the lower abdomen) should do the trick, but maybe someone else can post their experience with the machine and how they used it.

    • That is great to hear! I do think that application to perineum will give more direct, more powerful treatment where you want it and the prostate is pretty far down in the body. Look at diagram and “triangulate” w/ your own body. Also though, just above pubic bone there are powerful acupuncture points that will effect prostate and the magnetic field will definitely effect them. No reason not to do both unless you are pressed for time.

      Straight ahead!

  3. Rob Tompkins says:

    I used the Sota MP5 for two straight months, but in the end I had to conclude that I found no real improvement in my prostate conditions (BPH and inflammation). I am now trying a suppository called ProsCure that has many of the common herbs and natural ingredients that are used orally to treat BPH. The idea behind it is getting the ingredients to the prostate as directly as possible, rather than relying on the digestive system via the oral route. I am skeptical of any long term, cumulative improvements it may provide, but the inclusion of valerian in the suppository is novel and may be the main ingredient which has helped my condition a little. Valerian root does have some relaxing action on smooth muscle tissue, so this may be why I am experiencing a little relief with this product (acting like a weak version of tamsulosin/flomax). Hopefully other manufacturers will take this suppository idea and utilize more effective ingredients than saw palmetto, pygeum, zinc and others in this product’s formula.

    • Geoffrey Levens, L.Ac. says:

      Too bad about the SOTA. Hope you continue to see improvement from the suppository. Definitely, herbs (and pharmaceuticals) tend to work much better when you can deliver the dose right to the site like that


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