Our Genetic Design
The conventional belief is that the infirmities of aging – the functional declines that characterize the aging process – are hardwired into our DNA. That belief is, in large part, based upon the assumption that our phenotype (what we are) is substantially the same as our genotype (what we are genetically designed to be). To avoid that unwarranted assumption, the Hypothesis frequently substitutes the term "genetic potential" for "genotype." The Hypothesis argues that humans have the genetic potential to maintain complete functionality throughout our lifespans. Progressive dysfunctionality results from our phenotypes greatly diverging from that genetic potential, with the divergence increasing over time. The Hypothesis explains that the “aging process” is a correctable disorder. This concept is the critical distinction between the Institute’s Hypothesis and the conventional paradigm.
Under the conventional paradigm, the only way to remedy the infirmities of aging and the related chronic degenerative diseases – a $2 trillion per year problem – would be to delay or reverse aging itself. At least that’s what they tell us. Somehow extending life is supposed to delay the onset of the degenerative process. And that’s going to be incredibly difficult and expensive. Moreover, there is widespread public resistance to the interference with natural processes such as aging and death. If that’s what every human on the planet is fated to experience, science shouldn’t mess with it.
The Institute is not suggesting that the Hypothesis addresses aging itself. What the Hypothesis does tell us is that the infirmities and diseases associated with aging are a disorder that represents a deviation from our genetic potential. That disorder, which ultimately kills 100,000 people per day, is the greatest epidemic in the history of the world. The reason that the founder commissioned the Institute and this website is to generate enough public interest in this issue to force the hand of the government and the medical establishment. The medical establishment feeds off of our chronic diseases to the tune of $2 trillion a year. That's great for the shareholders of the pharmaceutical companies. But by remaining willfully ignorant of the fact that the infirmities of aging are a correctable disorder, our medical establishment is countenancing the preventable deaths of 100,000 people per day.
How can the Institute say that we have the genetic potential to function perfectly throughout our lifespans, when everyone suffers from increasing dysfunctionality as they age? Phenotype (what we are) never matches genotype (what we are designed to be). Phenotype is affected by environment. All infectious diseases are examples of the environment interfering with our genetically designed processes. All health-motivated lifestyle modifications (not smoking, diet, exercise) are examples of humans trying to modify environment so that phenotype more closely matches our genetic potential. If we were absolutely locked into our genotype, there would be no point in making these modifications.
It’s important to understand that our genotype does set limitations. Athletic performance provides a good illustration. No matter what we do to modify our environment (diet, training, etc.) there are certain athletic feats that most of us will never be able to do. But that does not mean that we are anywhere near our genetic potential. Achieving maximum genetic potential is something that only professional performers ever approach. The rest of us have a great deal of room for improvement. We know that if we train properly for an extended period of time, we will get stronger and fitter. But even those who have engaged in intensive training programs for years know that they can continue to improve. As we train more and more, our phenotype will more closely approach our genetic potential. But until we reach the point that no further training results in any improvement in any modality, we will not have attained that optimal genetic potential.
The medical establishment argues that loss of function is hardwired into our DNA. The Hypothesis argues that our DNA is fine; loss of function is the result of environmental factors. Which is right?
A measure of the power of a scientific theory is the accuracy of the predictions it makes. The Theory of Evolution is remarkably powerful. That Theory predicts that humans should have a maintenance process that prevents loss of function. No trait should be more favored by natural selection than functionality. A maintenance process would be no more difficult for evolution than the original growth process or a healing process.
Scientists and academicians observe that historically every human has lost functionality with the passage of time. They then reach the not unreasonable conclusion that loss of function over time must be the evolutionary default mode. How could something that happens to everyone not be part of the human genome. If we had a maintenance process, we would have seen it.
Interestingly, efforts at explaining why we deteriorate with age have failed. There is no generally accepted theory that explains why the aging process occurs. That’s not the way that natural sciences are supposed to work. If something occurs 100% of the time in nature, there has to be a reason why it occurs. But every proposed explanation for why we lose function with age is flawed.
Conventional wisdom is that loss of function with age is inevitable because that’s all that the medical establishment has ever observed. The Institute started with a different set of observations. We observe that older humans who frequently exercise with intensity gain improved functionality across multiple modalities. That's evidence that there is a process that not only slows loss of functionality, but can improve functionality over time.
The Institute is not troubled by the fact that almost no modern humans engage in intense exercise. Every person who does enjoys the same results in terms of improving functionality across multiple modalities. A critical link in the logical chain is that all animals that are subject to the forces of nature are forced to engage in intense exercise on a regular basis. If not, they die. The evolutionary default mode is intense exercise on a regular basis. Our genetic design assumes that that is our normal environment. Deviating from that environment results in a deviation between our phenotype and our genetic potential.
The reason that intense exercise is a critical aspect of the environment is that intense exercise results in dramatic changes in blood chemistry that in turn activate the Growth Process. The Growth Process is an improved version of the maintenance process that the Theory of Evolution predicts.
The willful ignorance of the medical establishment is killing 100,000 people per day.
Intense exercise is qualitatively different from traditional cardio or resistance training. It's defining characteristic is that it results in dramatic changes in blood chemistry.
The Theory of Evolution predicts that humans should have a maintenance process that would prevent the infirmities of aging.
No current scientific hypothesis adequately explains why humans suffer the infirmities of aging. All merely describe symptoms of FDS and are riddled with anomalies.
All animals, including humans, that are subject to the forces of nature must frequently engage in intense exercise.