What does Epigenetics have to do with our health, wellbeing and aging for that matter what is Epigenetics.
Let’s start with what it is:
The term epigenetics refers to heritable changes in gene expression (on or off switch) that does not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence; a change in phenotype without a change in genotype.
Epigenetics-The study of heritable changes in phenotype that does not involve changes in the underlying DNA sequence.
Phenotype-The observable physical traits or biochemical characteristics of an organism based on a combination of the organism’s genes and environmental factors.
Genotype-The inherited genetic makeup of a cell.
It is believed that epigenetics has the potential to explain the aging process, human development, the origins of cancer, heart disease, and mental health illnesses, as well as other disorders.
What is so exciting about this is that where we once thought that what we inherited from our parents was our lot this is not necessarily the case. So if heart disease ran in the family other members would expect to suffer from it.
You hear people say “oh such and such runs in our family so it is inevitable that I will get it.” Well now science is saying we can no longer blame these diseases on our parents.
It appears that even when we do inherit these genes from our biological parents they may or may not be active in us. So when a gene is activated or turned on it is called gene expression. But what is so interesting is that this genetic expression can be affected by our experiences and even our thoughts and feelings.
Genes don’t make decisions about what they do or whether they are activated or not. They are the blueprint so to speak. They provide the design of the human body and how it develops.
The genome (Gene and Chromosome) refer to the information of an organism.
Recent studies have shown that the epigenome changes during a person’s entire lifetime. These changes are made in response to your environment, your surroundings, life experiences, thoughts and feelings, diet, personal behaviour, and even your beliefs and perceptions. Think placebo effect.
This is very exciting because it means that epigenetic markers can be rewritten so you can modify the instructions your genes receive.
Getting a bit much for you. Well simply put you can control which gene is turned on or off by your lifestyle, thoughts, beliefs, feelings, behaviours, diet and perceptions. Isn’t that exciting!
Science is saying that problems arising from our behavioural genes can be changed by our lifestyle choices.
Now there is so much more to epigenetic than this. It is true that certain conditions can be passed down from generation to generation but lifestyle factors play a large part in whether those genes are switched on or off.
So even if heart disease runs in your family it doesn’t necessarily mean you will suffer from heart disease if you make the right choices.
Epigenetics is still in its infancy but it is looking very promising for the future and our health and wellbeing.
Creator of :Changing Your Thoughts, Living Deliberately and Ageless Living.
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