DNA HEALTH & EPIGENETICS
With advances in DNA health, epigenetics, and the study of biological mechanisms, we now know how to turn good genes on and bad ones off. This information is re-shaping the way we approach wellness, proving that the environment is the key to how our genes express themselves and the way this impacts our overall health and quality of life.
What is Epigenetics?
When we analyze a person’s health at a cellular level, the Epigenetics of the person’s DNA is of primary importance to us. While we are born with a specific DNA code, the Epigenetics of our genome can actually be changed. The science of Epigenetics shows that we do not need to be victims of our genetic inheritance. As a simplified definition, Epigenetics is the study of biological mechanisms that will switch genes on and off based on environmental changes.
The relationship between DNA and epigenetics can be best described as follows. DNA gives the instructions for various functional proteins to be produced inside the cell — this process is known as the central dogma of molecular biology. Epigenetics provides the specific details of the instructions generated by the DNA. In other words, Epigenetics affects how genes are read and understood by the cells, and subsequently, whether the cells should produce relevant proteins. For example, the COL1A1 gene in DNA is present in all types of cells but “expressed” in skin cells to produce Type 1 Collagen proteins.
Key Points About Epigenetics
Epigenetics Controls Genes. This is achieved through (a) nature: epigenetics is what determines a cell’s specialization (e.g., skin cell, blood cell, hair cell, liver cells, etc.) as a fetus develops into a baby through gene expression (active) or silencing (dormant); and (b) nurture: environmental stimuli can also cause genes to be turned off or turned on.
Epigenetics Is Everywhere. What you eat, where you live, who you interact with, when you sleep, how you exercise, even aging – all of these can eventually cause chemical modifications around the genes that will turn those genes on or off over time. Additionally, in certain diseases, such as cancer or Alzheimer’s, various genes will be switched into the opposite state, away from the normal/healthy state.
Epigenetics Makes Us Unique. Even though we are all human, why do some of us have blonde hair or darker skin? Why do some of us hate the taste of mushrooms or eggplants? Why are some of us more sociable than others? The different combinations of genes that are turned on or off is what makes each one of us unique. Furthermore, there have been indications that some epigenetic changes can be inherited.
Epigenetics Is Reversible. With 20,000+ genes, what will be the result of the different combinations of genes being turned on or off? The possible arrangements are enormous! But if we could map every single cause and effect of the different combinations, and if we could reverse the gene’s state to keep the good while eliminating the bad… then we could, hypothetically, cure cancer, slow aging, stop obesity, and so much more.