It’s true your genes contain your unique blueprint for health and disease risk. However your genes are controlled by a powerful external influence called 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.
With some genes, you want to up regulate the gene expression while other genes you want to down regulate the expression. For example, there are some genes that 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 behaviour 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 while for others it can cause pain, inflammation and result in injuring more easily especially when exercising. For some, a high carbohydrate diet works well but for others, 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 as well as 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 but for others that would make no difference at all and they would remain low in this extremely important vitamin.
There are so many variables from person to person and gene to gene.
Another common misconception is:
There are a number of things 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 less 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 less 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 the best, you may only having a sprinkling of those genes. You also have a lot of unfavourable 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 environment of epigenetics for the best health outcomes for you and your family.