Your genes indeed contain your unique blueprint for health and disease risk. However, your genes are controlled by a powerful external influence called epigenetics. Knowing this enables you to gain better health through epigenetics.
This is why your genes are not necessarily your destiny and why you have more control than you realise as to whether your genes will express or not. It is also why knowing your genetic blueprint is so beneficial because it allows you to know what epigenetic influences to target.
What is Epigenetics?
Epigenetics is almost everything and almost everywhere. It’s how you and your genes respond to the environment you live in.
- The food you eat
- The stress in your life
- The chemicals you are exposed to
- The quality of your sleep
- If you exercise and the type of exercise
- Where you live
- The people you surround yourself with
- The use of medications and drugs
- The use of supplements
Epigenetics controls whether your genes express or stay switched off.
You want to up-regulate the gene expression with some genes, while in other genes, you want to down-regulate the expression. For example, some genes cause inflammation while others control inflammation.
In this situation, you would ideally want to switch on the genes that control inflammation and switch off the genes that cause inflammation.
Everything you do and everything around you will send messages to your genes, influencing the behavior of those genes.
This means there is the potential to make your genes work for you by controlling as many epigenetic influences as possible.
I Eat a Good Diet and Exercise so I should be O.K., Shouldn’t I?
It would be easy to think that if you ate a healthy diet, reduced stress, and did some exercise, then your genes should be reasonably happy. That is right only to a point. It is obviously beneficial to eat well, exercise, and de-stress, but what is the right food and exercise for you. Our genes are all different, and so what is right for someone else may not be right for you.
- For some of you, eating a high protein diet with limited carbohydrates works really well. For others, it can cause pain, inflammation, and injury more easily, especially when exercising. A high carbohydrate diet works well for some, but it causes weight gain, diabetes risk, and inflammation.
- Exposure to certain chemicals and sprays can cause huge health risks in some people, and more vigilance is required to avoid exposures. Some people have the ability to clear toxins more effectively.
- Some people need to be sure their vitamin b12 status is good because they have problems absorbing B12. A low b12 causes all sorts of health issues, including poor memory, musculoskeletal problems, and cardiovascular problems. For others, b12 is never a problem.
- Twenty minutes of sun exposure a day is ample for ensuring vitamin D levels in some people. Still, that would make no difference for others, and they would remain low in this essential vitamin.
There are so many variables from person to person and gene to gene.
Another common misconception is:
‘My granddad smoked a packet a day and drank whiskey every day and lived till he was 90 years old. I must have good genes. “
Several things are going on here. Firstly your mum or dad received half their genes from your granddad, and you received half your genes from your parent. You don’t know what half of what half you received.
There are also different epigenetic influences at play.
In your grandparents’ or even parent’s day, there was much less processed food.
- There were fewer sprays and chemicals used in the food and sprayed in the environment.
- Cities were less busy, and there was less pollution
- Seafood was less contaminated.
- Farming used fewer sprays.
- Work hour expectation was less. In many professions, the working week was 5 days instead of 6 or 7.
- Very little EMF (electromagnetic radiation) exposure.
Obviously, there are many variables here, but the bottom line is that some people were just lucky and got away with abusing their bodies. They probably did have good genes as well, but at best, you may only have a sprinkling of those genes. You also have many unfavorable environmental challenges your parents and grandparents didn’t have to deal with.
Genetics and Epigenetics go hand in hand when it comes to health and longevity.
Knowing your genetics allows you to use the powerful epigenetics environment for the best health outcomes for you and your family.