Innate Choice - Species Wide and Species Specific: The Science and Paradigm of Wellness & Prevention Nutrition

I just recently returned from speaking at the Parker Seminar in Florida. I was asked to speak about nutrition in general (The Innate Diet – The Genetically Congruent Diet for the Human Species) and specifically to explain the difference between wellness & prevention supplementation versus diagnosis & treatment nutraceutical therapy.

After I received so much positive feedback from the presentation, and so many questions, many from Innate Choice customers, I realized that it was worth writing a newsletter.

How do we determine what diet is healthy or what supplements, if any, are required? These are THE QUESTIONS regarding nutrition and unless we ask the right questions we will, of course, never get the right answers. Let’s answer these questions so that we can take the confusion out of nutrition and supplementation once and for all. Knowing the answers to these questions provides complete immunity from all the predatory marketing and confusion that takes place in the nutritional field. Let’s develop our innate immunity with the correct paradigm and the correct scientific questions and evidence.

The first concept that must be understood when discussing nutrition, or any other health topic, is that both what is required to express health, and what stressors force states of chronic adaptation and sickness, are SPECIES WIDE and SPECIES SPECIFIC. Think of biology, think of animal species. Is there any member of any animal species that requires different nutrients than any other member of that species? Do all giraffes require an individualized diet or do all giraffes require the same diet? They all require the same diet of course. Is what is toxic to eat for one giraffe toxic to all giraffes? Of course it is. Individuality regarding nutrition is only applicable to individual species NOT to individual members of a species. In other words, the genome of a giraffe is different from a panda and thus each species has unique nutritional requirements. However, every member of each species has the same nutritional requirements because every member of every species has the same genome – this is in fact how species type is determined; it is the very defining aspect of species.

It is our GENE CODE that determines what species we belong to and thus what we require in terms of nutrient sufficiency and what is perceived as a stressor in terms of nutritional toxicity or deficiency. GENE EXPRESSION is determined by our state of sufficiency and purity versus states of deficiency and toxicity. If we are sufficient and pure, if we are getting all the genetically determined nutrients that are required to express health and if, at the same time, we are free from toxins, we will genetically express our health potential (of course there are factors other than nutrition that affect health, for example exercise levels, self-esteem, social environments etc).

GENE CODE determines what we require, whether or not our dietary habits match these requirements determines our states of sufficiency/deficiency and purity/toxity, and these determine our GENE EXPRESSION which determines our state of physiology and health which determines whether we are EXPRESSING HEALTH or SICKNESS.

So, gene code determines WHAT we require, but whether or not we get sufficient amounts of what we require determines our gene expression and gene expression determines our state of cell function (physiology) or our state of health or sickness. Since our gene code is a constant (our gene code does NOT change during our lifetime – we NEVER change species type) the variable that determines our state of health is gene expression not gene code. What determines gene expression is state of sufficiency and purity or deficiency and toxicity. Thus the thing that determines whether we express health or sickness is whether or not we get sufficient amounts of the genetically required nutrients and whether or not we avoid those things that are toxic. You can see why it is so important, in fact why it is MOST IMPORTANT, to determine what the genetic requirements regarding nutrients are for any species for which we provide dietary recommendations. Sadly very little of this has guided “expert” dietary and supplement recommendations. For more information please refer to my book entitled The Innate Diet which I wrote specifically to answer this question with regard to the human species. The Innate Diet is the species specific diet for the human species. It makes nutrition simple as it should be. The book can be purchased at  The book was written as a workbook for the certification program I teach and is more of a reference guide than a book. I am working on a new version but for now the current workbook version is more than adequate to provide you with the information you need to understand what the human species should eat.  Please forgive the poor editing, I won’t be reusing the same editing service for the next version!

A simple rule I like to use is that if you have genomes that are similar enough that you can successfully produce offspring then you are a member of the same species. If you are a member of the same species you thus require the same nutrients and have the same list of things which are nutritionally toxic. Yes it is that simple. Not only do all members of every species have the same nutritional requirements as all the other members of that species they also have, with the exception of infancy when they are breastfeeding (if they are a mammal), the same nutritional requirements throughout their lives. The amount of nutrients required may differ due to metabolic rate (size of individual and activity level of individual) but the type of nutrients and the relative amounts of nutrients remain identical for EVERY member of a species.

The only exceptions to this, and they are EXCEEDINGLY RARE, are those with a genetic inability to biochemically digest, absorb, or manufacture a specific nutrient or enzyme. Examples would be hemochromatosis (iron metabolism disorder), Lysosomal Storage Disorders (enzyme disorders that often affect fat metabolism – Gaucher Disease is the most common which is a deficiency of the enzyme glucocerebrosidase), Phenylketonuria [PKU] (the inability to break down the amino acid phenylalanine due to defective gene responsible for production of the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase) and Tay-Sachs Disease (lack of enzyme Hexosaminidase A).  Genetic disorders causing nutritional or enzyme deficiencies are VERY VERY RARE both in absolute terms (far less than one percent of the population) and in relative terms (represent far less than one percent of the cases of nutritional deficiencies present in the population). Surgical removal and damage by pharmaceutical and recreational drugs of glands and organs can also cause such deficiencies. However, BY FAR, BY REALLY REALLY FAR, the most common cause of nutritional deficiency and toxicity is environment or dietary habits.

The other exception is allergies and hypersensitivities. The vast majority of these are solved by eating the Innate Diet as most allergies and hypersensitivities are related to genetically incongruent foods and the toxins found in them (grains/gluten, dairy, legumes, refined sugars, food preservatives, dyes, chemical additives, pesticides, herbicides etc). When these foods are eliminated so are most allergies and hypersensitivities. Be aware of those who try to “treat” the allergy and attempt to make you less sensitive to toxic foods! Why would anyone want to become less sensitive to toxic foods?

How Do We Determine What the Healthy Diet is for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our Patients?

The first thing we have to do is identify what species we belong to.  Let’s assume for now that you are dealing with members of the human species (yes even teenagers still fit in this category).

The next thing we must do is to realize that all members of every species require the same nutrients. This means that how we determine what diet to recommend has nothing to do with blood tests, muscle testing, metabolic type, blood type, hair color, gender, height, race, religion, or political affiliation. What God we worship, what race we belong to, and what blood type we are do NOT determine our gene code and thus do NOT determine what nutrients we require. These things might affect beliefs and behaviors but they do NOT determine our genome or our requirements. If you can mate and produce offspring you need the same nutrients because you have the same genome and it is genome that determines nutritional requirements!

The next thing we must do is to determine what the genetically required nutrients are for the human species and what foods are toxic to the human species. Easy. Humans are genetically designed to get our nutrients from free-range, organic, grass (not grain or soy) fed meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and water. You read that correctly, no grains or dairy. Humans are not genetically equipped to digest the anti-nutrients like gluten in grains or to consume dairy (no mammal on earth consumes breast milk past infancy). I don’t have time here to go into details but I will write newsletters specific to the issues of grains and dairy in the coming months. Again, if you want more information please read the Innate Diet book.

That was easy! If it is that easy why are there so many different diet books and why are the food guidelines and food pyramids not consistent with this information?  Easy again- lack of science, lack of asking the right question and an abundance of financial interests. Paradigm also has a great deal to do with it. Most nutritional recommendations are either based on what keeps someone alive or what can improve the health of someone who is very sick rather than what is required to express health potential. Many different diets can make very sick people a little less sick by making them a little less toxic and a little more sufficient but only the correct diet for the species can allow the expression of health potential and maximize the prevention of nutritional-related illness.

How many diet books or dietary recommendations have you seen that were based on the genetically congruent diet for the human species? If we don’t ask and answer this question how can we ever make correct recommendations? We can’t. One Species - One Diet. Is this not true for EVERY animal species you can think of? What makes you think humans are any different? Humans are an animal species and we are governed by the same physiological laws as every other animal species. Period - no exceptions. Gravity affects all animal species the same and so do all the other natural laws. If gene code determines what a species requires in terms of nutrition then this is true for ALL SPECIES not just all species except humans.

Supplementation vs Nutraceutical Therapy

Supplementation is NOT nutritional therapy or nutraceutical treatment. Nutritional therapy and nutraceutical treatments are aimed at signs and symptoms of disease or illness. Nutritional therapy and nutraceutical treatments are within the allopathic or disease & treatment paradigm. Such treatments are PRESCRIBED based on diagnosis. Such treatments are based on individual diagnosis and are thus prescribed only for the duration of the illness or symptoms. Nutritional therapy and nutraceutical treatments are for an individual person, based on individual diagnosis, for a limited time.

Supplementation is aimed at providing sufficient ingestion of those essential nutrients which are not readily available in the diet. The purpose of supplementation is the expression of health potential and the prevention of nutrient deficiency illness. Supplementation is within the wellness & prevention paradigm. Supplementation is REQUIRED based on dietary habits and essential nutrient availability. Such requirements are based on essential nutrient requirements for species type and thus apply to every member of that species for the duration of life. Supplementation is for EVERYBODY – EVERYDAY – FOR LIFE!™  This is precisely why this is the trademarked slogan of Innate Choice; because we are a supplement company not a nutritional therapy or nutraceutical company. We are the only such company in the world.

Supplementation, like all health, wellness, and prevention interventions, is a species-wide and species-specific issue. The definition of an essential nutrient is based entirely on genome or species type. EVERY member of a species requires the same essential nutrients as each other and throughout their lives. Can you think of any nutrient (again other than breast-milk) that any member of any species only requires for a certain amount of time? Can you think of any essential nutrient that is only required by some members of a species? Is not the very definition of essential based on what is required by that species but cannot be endogenously supplied by that species (required to be ingested)?  Essential, in biochemical terms, means that it cannot be produced by the cells of the organism of that species. In other words it must be ingested or absorbed from the environment, by every member of that species, everyday, for life.

Which Supplements are Necessary Based on Valid Scientific Research?

Great question. The way to answer this question to go through what I call the “Hierarchy of Questions to Determine Supplement Necessity, Quality, and Validity”.  Let’s review these.

1. Does the supplement represent an essential nutrient complex?

Essential, in biochemical terms, means that it cannot be produced by the cells of the organism. In other words it must be ingested or absorbed from the environment. Beware of claims that a nutrient or enzyme or cofactor is “important” or part of a “complicated” biochemical pathway. These issues are IRRELEVANT. The only relevant issue is whether or not the cells are genetically capable of producing it (if it is not essential they are). Just because the cellular “manufacture” of a product requires ingredients does not mean either the product or the ingredients require supplementation. Your body is INCREDIBLY INTELLIGENT and INCREDIBLY CAPABLE. Deficiencies are due to dietary ingestion patterns NOT due to the fact that your body simply forgets how to digest, ingest, and utilize nutrients or because it forgets how to manufacture them.

2. Is there a DIETARY deficiency of the nutrient complex?

Please note that I did NOT indicate any importance to cellular or plasma levels. These are IRRELEVANT if looked at independently of dietary patterns because we cannot manufacture essential nutrients so regardless of cellular or plasma levels, if we do not have them in our diet we are destined for deficiency and if we are deficient at time of testing it is clearly a result of dietary deficiency. Thus regardless of testing status the advice is the same – dietary sufficiency!

Cellular and plasma levels are EFFECTS not causes. The dietary ingestion habits regarding essential nutrient ingestion is the ONLY relevant issue.

3. Can we get the nutrient complex with a reasonable dietary alteration?

The GOLDEN RULE – Food is ALWAYS best and the best supplements ARE FOOD!

It is ALWAYS better to make a dietary alteration and consume the NUTRIENT COMPLEX in its naturally occurring, genetically compatible whole food form. This is the most cost-effective means AND it ensures that you get THE NUTRIENT COMPLEX as you are genetically designed to ingest it. Consuming food is also beneficial for many other reasons. The digestive enzymes from chewing, the proprioception from chewing, the emotional and social connection to whole foods, the greater awareness of food production etc.

4. Is the supplement in the form found in nature or biochemically altered by humans?

We have NEVER improved on nature. We have NEVER biochemically altered a food and made it better for human consumption – EVER. Do you think it would be better to consume olive oil from squeezed olives or olive oil that has been biochemically altered in a lab? Do you think it would be better to consume fish oil in its naturally occurring, full fatty acid complement form or fish oil that has been biochemically altered in a lab (concentrated,  all other naturally occurring essential fatty acids removed, changed EPA and DHA fatty acid ratio, changed from natural triglyceride form to ester form)?

Do you think it is better to consume whole food, whole nutrient complex containing fruits and vegetables or isolated nutrients or juice extracts?

The ultimate test is to ask – “Does this mimic what the healthiest humans (our hunter-gatherer ancestors) consumed?” If the product is delivered in a formula or in a form that is NOT FOUND IN NATURE then by definition it cannot be genetically compatible for the human species (or any species) because our genetic requirements are based entirely on what is found in nature.

Be aware of the word ‘natural’. ‘Natural’ does NOT mean as it is found in nature. ‘Natural’ means that it is a by-product of something natural. Only ‘naturally occurring’ means that it is in the form found in nature. There is a BIG DIFFERENCE!

Synthetic vitamins, isolated vitamins and nutrients, and synthetic vitamins extracted from yeast fall into the category of ‘natural’ because they are a by-product of something found in nature. However, they are NOT naturally occurring and NOT found anywhere in nature. The same is true for concentrated fish oils or fish oils with altered EPA and DHA fatty acid ratios and fish oils in the ester rather than triglyceride form. Be aware!

Synthetic, fractionated chemical vitamins never grew in the ground, were never energized by the sun, and were never alive or part of anything alive. They are chemicals, they are drugs; they are NOT food or nutrients. The tragedy is that under the current standards these chemicals can be marketed and studied as vitamins and they are also what are used to determine daily values and to study potential benefit and harm of vitamin supplementation. Ingesting chemical synthetic vitamins does NOT represent vitamin supplementation; it represents the ingestion of chemicals or drugs.

This confusion regarding the difference between real nutrients and synthetic chemicals is also the basis of all the seemingly contradictory and confusing information regarding the benefits of supplementation. A very important point that needs to be made is that research is clear that vitamin deficiencies are linked to chronic illnesses like cancer and heart disease and diabetes and osteoporosis and depression and virtually every other chronic illness. One of the seemingly confusing things about vitamin research is that there is very good evidence that vitamin deficiency is linked to disease, but research on vitamin supplementation is NOT linked to the prevention of these same diseases! One more confusing component of all this is that research on the consumption of fruits and vegetables is clearly shown to prevent cancer, heart disease, and many other chronic diseases. How is this possible? The explanation is actually very obvious once you understand that the vitamin supplementation research that fails to show a benefit does NOT actually study vitamins as they are found in fruits and vegetables. These studies use synthetic vitamins NOT naturally occurring vitamins!

Let me provide you with just a few quotes from the research.

The Physicians Health Study reported no benefit of supplementation with ISOLATED SYNTHETIC beta-carotene (Hennekens et al. Lack of effect of long-term supplementation with beta carotene on the incidence of malignant neoplasms and cardiovascular disease. N Engl J Med. 1996;334(18):1145-1149).

The Alpha-Tocopherol Beta Carotene (ATBC) Trial observed a higher mortality rate in the ISOLATED SYNTHETIC beta-carotene group and no treatment effect in the ISOLATED alpha-tocopherol group (Blumberg, J, Block, G. The Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study in Finland. Nutr Rev. 1994;52(7):242-245).

The Heart Outcomes Prevention and Evaluation (HOPE) study reported greater all-cause mortality with ISOLATED vitamin E (tocopherol) supplementation (Yusuf, S. et al. Vitamin E supplementation and cardiovascular events in high-risk patients. The Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation Study Investigators. N Engl J Med. 2000 342(3) : 154-160).

Dietary consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids lowers risk of lung cancer, CHD, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration. Intervention trials of SYNTHETIC, ISOLATED supplemental beta-carotene increased the risk of lung cancer in smokers (van Helden et al, Free Radic Biol Med. 2009 Jan 15;46(2):299-304).

For more information on this topic please view the archived newsletter entitled ‘Naturally Occurring vs Naturally Derived – What Everyone Needs to Know’.

Also be aware of companies that use the term organic instead of CERTIFIED ORGANIC. Organic is meaningless in terms of product quality and freedom from pesticides, herbicides, GMO foods, synthetic vitamins or synthetic fertilizers. The term organic has nothing to do with being grown, harvested, or processed according to certified organic standards. Many companies use the term organic to deliberately mislead consumers. If there is not a certified organic label on the product or the product description then you know you are being deliberately deceived. Also, companies are allowed to use certified organic ingredients and spike them with synthetic vitamins and still have the product certified organic. Be aware!

Also be aware of companies that give a long list of healthy ingredients such as fruits and vegetables but then simply add synthetic vitamins and make label claims based entirely on the synthetic vitamin content and not the fruits and vegetables (because there is so little of the fruits and vegetables in the product – the only thing the long list of fruits and vegetables means is that there is a large variety of fruit and vegetable content in minute amounts). As soon as you see a label that has 100% of the recommended daily allowance of fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K) in a fruit and vegetable product you can be virtually certain that these come from synthetic vitamins – fruits and vegetables contain virtually no fat or fat soluble vitamins (with the exception of vitamin K)!

5. Is there a BODY of RESEARCH supporting the effectiveness of supplementation for HEALTH and PREVENTION outcomes?

A handful of studies does not represent a body of research, and be especially skeptical if the studies are conducted by the manufacturer. BE AWARE of studies claiming superiority based on a “special formulation.” Make sure they compared the same amounts of nutrients, ask whether or not this formulation or combination is found anywhere in nature or only from a chemical laboratory. Nature makes the best formulations – no exceptions. It is called food.

Also make sure you check the outcomes they measure. Do they simply measure blood levels or plasma levels of a nutrient or do they actually show health and prevention outcome improvements from their supplement?

The MAIN POINT is that just because you can change the levels of a nutrient or biomarker in the BLOOD and measure this does NOT indicate that there is ANY benefit in terms of health, prevention or longevity or that there is no increased risk!

This is why nutritional therapy, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical companies like to refer to evidence for changing blood levels rather than changing health outcomes! Cholesterol drugs change cholesterol levels they don’t improve health, prevent illness, or prolong life! Ingesting synthetic, non whole food, isolated nutrients may change the levels of these nutrients in the blood but there is no evidence that they improve health, prevent illness, improve quality of life, or prolong life.

What 4 supplements have a body of valid scientific research indicating they are required by Everybody, Everyday, For Life™?

  1. Omega 3 EPA/DHA Essential Fatty Acids
  2. Vitamin D
  3. Probiotics
  4. Certified Organic Whole Food Phytonutrient Concentrate

I will be providing newsletters regarding I will be providing newsletters regarding the BODY of RESEARCH for each of these supplements in the near future. For more immediate information please go to and watch the FREE videos. You do not have to sign up for anything, your email address is not captured or asked for, and you will NOT be solicited.

Yours in the Wellness & Prevention Paradigm

Dr. James L. Chestnut B.Ed., M.Sc., D.C., C.C.W.P