Tap Into Your Health Potential: How Epigenetics Can Help Shape Your Future

There has always been a significant gap between modern scientific medicine and traditional or alternative medicine. However, the discovery of epigenetics has bridged that gap and created excitement across the entire healthcare industry.

Genes, genetics, and DNA

Your genes, located within your cells, are responsible for your inherited traits, including physical appearance and predisposition to certain diseases. These genes are made up of DNA – the building blocks of protein and hereditary material.

The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an internationally collaborative research program that mapped out all human genes and gave us a deeper understanding of how humans function. The complete human genome sequence was published in 2003. Since then, our understanding of genetics has changed drastically.

Epigenetics: Changing the game

Epigenetics means “above” genetics or “on top of” the genetic code. It is the study of how modification in gene expression changes organisms. While genes remain unchanged, their expression can be influenced by external modifications to DNA, affecting how cells turn those genes “on” or “off.”

This is fascinating because it means that the fate of your health is not fixed, even if you have a genetic predisposition to certain diseases. We now know that we are not at the mercy of our genetics and that we can influence our genetic expression with our thoughts, actions, and environment.

How to change the epigenome

Many diseases and conditions – including obesity, heart disease, some cancers, and autism – have been linked to specific epigenetic changes. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that “Some of these changes are genetic mutations that are passed along in families. Some are mutations that happen randomly or because of environmental factors. And some are epigenetic changes caused by environmental or other factors.”

We know that not only do lifestyle factors and environmental toxins make us feel ill, but they also leave chemical markers on our DNA, changing the epigenome.

This means that our environment and choices, such as what we eat and drink, whether we smoke, whether we exercise, how long we sleep, and so on, have a direct effect on how our genes express themselves. By making healthier choices, we can change our genetic predisposition for diseases by altering our genes’ expression at the epigenetic level.

Harnessing the power of epigenetics

The more you do something that supports wellness, the more you can create positive change in your genetic expression. However, the opposite is also true. If you have a biological predisposition to a specific disease, living in a way that negatively impacts your genes can trigger markers that turn on the bad switches and turn off the good ones.

Epigenetics has proven what natural wellness therapies have been saying all along: that the environment and your lifestyle choices affect your health. With this knowledge, scientists are now directing research into areas that directly address the epigenome.

As quoted from a 2006 article in Discovery Magazine, “Epigenetics is proving we have some responsibility for the integrity of our genome. Before, genes predetermined outcomes. Now everything we do—everything we eat or smoke—can affect our gene expression and that of future generations. Epigenetics introduces the concept of free will into our idea of genetics.”

Epigenetics is a concept that scientific medicine and natural medicine can agree on, as it is both evidence-based and natural.

Further Reading

The Impact of the Environment on our Genes – NICHD

Human Genome Project – NHGRI

Cancer Genome Atlas – NCI

Why Your DNA Isn’t Your Destiny – Discover Magazine

Epigenetic Influences and Disease – Nature