Most people recognize that their life-choices impact their health to a certain degree. For example, whether you smoke or not can be a factor in whether you develop lung cancer. If you exercise and watch what you eat, you can help control your weight. This article will discuss epigenetics and how your life choices can impact your genetics, as well as those for your children and their children.
What is epigenetics?
Epigenetics impacts the way your body reads specific DNA based on your environment and behaviors. As a result, certain genes can be turned on and off, depending on what you are exposing your body to.
How do your life choices impact epigenetics?
By exposing your body to a high stress environment, you can make your body more susceptible to heart disease. If you couple this stress with smoking, poor diet, and exercise, you increase your chances of heart disease astronomically.
In contrast, just because someone has a genetic predisposition to developing Type II Diabetes, as both their father and grandmother have diabetes, doesn’t necessarily mean they will also develop diabetes. They can “turn off” the genes that result in diabetes by making different life choices. For example, these choices might include proper diet and exercise.
It is interesting to note that where a low fat diet with limited red meat and a high concentration of complex carbohydrates would benefit a person battling heart disease, a different diet is recommended for an individual at risk of diabetes. A person who is at risk of diabetes is often instructed to limit their carbohydrates, and in some cases a ketogenic diet is recommended.
How does epigenetics impact you and your posterity?
These varying diets and recommendations are important to understand, especially since diet has such a tremendous impact on health. Individuals in each scenario require different diets because their genetic make-up and predispositions are different.
This leads to the idea that medicine does not equally translate between individuals, because specific genetics have been turned on or off depending on their environment and behaviors. It is not only the environment and behaviors of the patient that impacts their health, but also the environment and behaviors of their ancestors, as certain coding is passed down from one generation to the next.
Thus, genetic disorders can also be turned on and off, depending on the choices of the individual and their ancestors. Another good example of this is alcoholism. If you have a father or grandfather who is an alcoholic, you are likely predisposed for alcoholism. Does this necessarily mean that you are an alcoholic or that you should completely refrain from alcohol? No, but it is important to know that if you have other similar risk factors, especially in your environment, your likelihood of being an alcoholic increases.
How can you biohack your health to optimize your genetics?
Once we understand that epigenetics is unique to each individual and their family tree, you can practice the art of turning on and off how your body reads DNA by implementing specific therapies.
An example of this can be seen with individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Not only are there therapies like ABA therapy to help teach specific behaviors, but there are also diets and protocols that have shown great promise and changes for many individuals. People who have undergone detoxification protocols from heavy metals have transitioned from non-verbal to verbal. Of course, when you couple this with speech therapy you are more likely to have a more positive result.
In contrast, individuals on the spectrum can also get worse due to a lack of therapies and/or negative environmental factors. While a child may have been progressing and exhibiting more positive behaviors, an illness could offset this progress.
You can utilize diet, vitamin and mineral supplementation, detoxification protocols, behavioral practices including meditation and therapies, and learn to biohack your DNA. By biohacking your DNA, you can create a healthier and happier life.
The field of epigenetics is quite fascinating, and the more you learn about it and how it impacts your life, the more you understand how nuanced it can be, but also how impactful it can be.
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