The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 990: Diet and Lifestyle as Gene Therapy (Archive)

Actually changing genes is very difficult, but changing how they behave is under our control; this is the science of everyday gene therapy.
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Diet and Lifestyle as Gene Therapy (Archive)

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We air this show in memory of Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, who died last month. He was a frequent guest on The People’s Pharmacy and we are sorry to learn of his unexpected death.

Genetic Destiny:

We are all born with certain genes that help determine our height and the color of our eyes as well as our likelihood of developing certain diseases. The genes don’t change, but their activity can change significantly in response to living conditions. The study of how gene activity can be modified is called epigenetics.


The field of epigenetics has been developing rapidly over the past few decades, and we now have a much better understanding of how exercise, diet and other lifestyle factors influence gene expression. And our genes are not the only ones that matter: billions of bacteria that live in and on us have genes, the microbiome, that are profoundly affected by what we eat and what we do.

While this research is new and very specific, the guidelines for nutritional epigenetics would be familiar to our grandmothers and great-grandmothers: nourish our gut bacteria with vegetables and fruit, avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners, practice meditation and get plenty of exercise. How do these actions affect our risk of cancer?

This Week’s Guest:

Mitchell L. Gaynor, MD, was the founder and president of Gaynor Wellness. Dr. Gaynor was clinical assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. His book is The Gene Therapy Plan: Taking Control of Your Genetic Destiny with Diet and Lifestyle. His websites are and

Listen to the Podcast

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

Buy the CD 

Listen to the CD and read the book: that way, you can check on Dr. Gaynor’s recommendations for the best supplements and the healthiest foods to prevent chronic disease in as much detail as you wish.

Download the mp3

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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Have been avidly following Dr Gaynor since your first interview. Very sorry to hear about his death. Who else is working in the field of epigenitics that we can turn to now?


This type of information will be highly useful in responding to those who take no responsibility for their physical condition, who say, “oh well, it’s genetic.”

Listen every Saturday on 89.1 . Have learned a lot !!!!!!

One of the best interviews ever!!! I immediately ordered Dr. Gaynor’s book.

This was a superb interview! Amongst all the great information and tips that Dr. Gaynor gave us, he even mentioned the serious, widespread problems of both insulin resistance and leptin resistance.

I think many people would find their health improving merely by following Byron Richards’s 5 rules of the leptin diet:

1. Never eat after supper.
2. Eat 3 meals a day, with no snacks in between.
3. Don’t eat large meals.
4. Eat a high-protein breakfast.
5. Reduce refined carbohydrates in your diet, but don’t cut out carbs entirely.

What are people who get calcium oxalate kidney stones and are supposed to avoid things like cocoa, raspberries, pomegranate, dark greens, etc. supposed to do? They are told to avoid many of the most “healthy” foods that many of your guests promote.

I’d really like a transcript of this program. I’ve already requested the book (from the library) because I do better with reading info than listening to it. Is a transcript available?

Am very interested in following comments.

I listened avidly (of course), was edified that for the most part we eat the right foods thanks to my wife’s un-abideing interest in healthful eating, and feverishly took notes but still missed significant information. We want to hear it again.

We’re glad you liked it! We’ve also got some good news for you, we’ll be offering the show to listen to for free for four weeks starting Monday (April 27th). You can get it as a podcast through iTunes, or listen to it streaming on this page. Depending on your location, your station may also rebroadcast our show on Sunday. We’re also offering a special combination package of Dr. Gaynor’s book and our interview in the Listen & Read section of our store.

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