What is Epigenetics?
Why your genes do not determine your fate.
Our bodies and it's deeper functions have represented a fundamental mystery and many scientists have worked tirelessly through the centuries, to decode these time immortal secrets. Epigenetics is a recent development in uncracking the code оf how our genes express themselves. Knowing about Epigenetics and gene function can help you make better choices that lead to a longer life, with less disease.
Do your genes determine your fate?
It was once thought that our genes determine our fate. In fact, this view is still prevalent today, in the medical community. If your parents had cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, why then you are surely destined to get these diseases as well, right? What if this was no longer true? Too good to be true?
The Epigenetic Switch
Epigenetics is the science of how our genes (both good and bad) can be turned on or off, just like a switch. What has been learned is that genes are actually influenced factors in our lifestyle: diet, exercise, and our environment. Epigenetic influences can turn on or off certain genes for a period of time. For example, some оf our genes work to protect our bodies against cancer, while others put us at risk for cancer. Depending on which оf these genes are active, is what determines if we are at risk or not.
What researchers have found is that each оf us has an important role in how our genes are expressed, more than ever thought possible! We now can actually change our destiny...and no longer have to live in fear оf our parents' illnesses.
The Science оf Epigenetics
Epigenetics is a recent development that deepens our understanding of cell biology. It was discovered that several proteins that are attached to our genes have a control оf how each of our genes is expressed. Epigenetics refers to these proteins (histone and methyl groups) that are located "on top of" our genes, thus the term Epi (on top оf) genetics. These epigenes are super important, as it has been discovered that they have the ability to modify the response оf each оf our genes.
Modifying Genetic Expression: The Genetic Switch
The epigenes create modifications that can affect many changes in the expression оf our DNA. Epigenes work by switching the DNA inside the genes either "on" (activation) or "off, (no activation)." It is important to realize that epigenes do not change your gene sequence, however, what they do is to
“Alter the physical shape оf the gene.”
This effect, the change оf the gene's shape is known as nucleosomal remodeling. This remodeling оf shape оf the gene is the on and off switch.
Here's how they do it
All оf our genes are wrapped around the epigenetic protein histone. It is this wrapping around the protein histone that gives genes the characteristic spin. Histones, we now know, can modify the expression оf a gene by tensioning or tugging down on the DNA. When this happens the DNA cannot be "read" by the cell, which means that gene trait can not be activated, or turned on.
Modifications that relax a particular histone group, will allow that gene to be accessible to be read, in other words, activated to make proteins.
Epigenetics follows lifestyle
Epigenetic modifications mimic our lifestyle. All the good things you do, such as good habits like exercise and eating a healthy diet, will stimulate your epigenetics to activate healthy genetic outcomes and make proteins that help us age gracefully. Bad habits, however, stimulate the activation оf the bad genetic traits (like cancer) and then lead us down a path оf illness.
"The external and environmental factors, that turn our genes on and off, and in turn, define how our cells actually read those genes." - Bruce Lipton Ph.D. Author, Researcher
The effects оf pollution on your epigenome
The effects оf epigenetics switching can be good or can be bad depending on our habits and our environment. Pollution in our environment such as air pollution, exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals can also affect our epigenome. These negative influences not only affect the epigenetics of the exposed individual but can also have a downstream or “transgenerational” effect, meaning the negative influences can travel to the fetus. This is a strong reason for us to want to know more about how we can change and alter these epigenetic modifications for the better.
To learn more about this please go to: https://clinicalepigeneticsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13148-019-0726-x
So if you have inherited “bad genes'', or as in the case above even negative epigenetics, you now have the ability оf change how these genes express. You can minimize and even alter the effect оf bad genes by following healthy habits!
Epigenetics, Diet and Genetic Expression
Diet can have dramatic changes and affect how our genes express. Eating a healthy diet not only adds important vitamins, minerals but also phytochemicals from plants. Many оf the phytochemicals found in vegetables and herbs have the ability to fend off cancer and illness through the action оf stimulating a healthy genetic response.
The new field оf nutrigenetics is the study оf how certain foods can have a direct effect on our genes! There are more than 5000 different phytochemicals present in food  Foods like cruciferous vegetables, turmeric, and green tea are high in sulforaphane, which has been found to boost the expression оf healthy DNA. By consuming these foods we are stimulating epigenetic effects to the expression оf our DNA. You will feel much healthier as a longer life as a result. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4736808)
Would you like you to extend lifespan by 30%?
Meet NRF2 500
Did you know that certain foods can activate a powerful substance inside our own body that has the ability to turn on 500 lifesaving genes? In fact, many оf these activated genes can fight cancer! If you knew what these foods were, would you eat them?
NRF2 (nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2) is found in each cell and is a key regulator of the cellular antioxidant response. NRF2 is a transcription factor, or regulator of cell protection, and antioxidant responses. (https://www.mygenefood.com/blog/activating-nrf2-pathway-nutrition-need-know)
Transcription factors are proteins that bind to DNA and induce the epigenetic expression of particular genes. NRF2 activates the body's own super potent antioxidants.
NRF2 activates 500 genes and has been found to extend lifespan by 30%.
Learn more about the benefits of the NRF2 diet and Broccoli the NRF2 Superstar here: "Broccoli and your Brain" article by Dr. Craig