You might think that genes are genes and there is nothing you can do about the genes you were so lucky to inherit from your parents, but you’d be wrong. How many times have we heard someone say, “[Insert condition here] runs in my family. There was never really any hope for me.”? Well, the truth is just because that condition runs in your family doesn’t mean you necessarily have to fall prey to it’s grasp.
Epigenetics means “above” or “on top of” genetics. It is the study of biological mechanisms that will switch genes on and off and the different circumstances in life that can cause genes to either be silenced (dormant) or to express themselves (active). Epigenetics are biological markers on top of the DNA that modify gene expression without altering the underlying DNA sequence.
How is Epigenetics Affected?
The importance of epigenetics lies in the understanding that lifestyle and environmental factors play a key roll in the genes expression, whether it be turning a gene on or off. Your lifestyle factors could be flipping the off switch to a gene responsible for tumor suppression or to a gene responsible for DNA protection and repair, leaving your DNA exposed to damage which increases your risk of cancer.
LifeStyle and environmental factors that affect gene expression are everywhere in our lives. They include such things as:
- Where you live
- What you eat
- Who you interact with
- How you handle stress
- How you exercise
- Chemicals/toxins in your environment
All of these things can create biological markers on your DNA that will affect how your gene is read and therefore affect whether it expresses in a healthy or disease state.
I love this explanation of epigenetics from WhatisEpigenetics.com. “Think of the human life span as a very long movie. The cells would be the actors and actresses, essential units that make up the movie. DNA, in turn, would be the script — instructions for all the participants of the movie to perform their roles. Subsequently, the DNA sequence would be the words on the script, and certain blocks of these words that instruct key actions or events to take place would be the genes. The concept of genetics would be like screenwriting. Follow the analogy so far? Good. The concept of epigenetics, then, would be like directing. The script can be the same, but the director can choose to eliminate certain scenes or dialogue, altering the movie for better or worse. After all, Steven Spielberg’s finished product would be drastically different than Woody Allen’s for the same movie script, wouldn’t it?”
The following genetic reports are from two biological, full siblings and as you can see, the copy of these genes they received from their parents are almost identical* but in real life, their personalities and bodies are very different from one another. **Note that this is a very basic report and there are actually many more genes involved but it is still an interesting comparison.
#1 – (Click to see Patient #1 Report)
Patient #1 has characteristics such as:
- Blue eyes
- Has an easy time staying thin
- Never suffered from serious skin issues
- Never suffered from food allergies
- Happy disposition
- High energy levels
#2 – (Click to see Patient #2 Report)
Patient #2 has characteristics such as:
- Hazel eyes
- Has to work at staying thin
- Suffered from serious skin issues since childhood
- Suffered from many food allergies since childhood
- Angry, “warrior” disposition
- Low energy levels
Similar script, but very different results as the patients/”producers” made different choices that have affected their genetic expression throughout life. The knowledge that you can influence your genes to express themselves in a positive way is truly incredible and I hope it excites and empowers you to realize you can take charge of your health!
Schedule a consultation today to find out how we can help your genes express at an optimal level and get your life back!
*While this report doesn’t show all genes, it shows the genes that science currently knows the most about.
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