Genetics and Your Health from “Takebackyrhealth.com”.
Is your destiny locked in because of the genes you inherit? There is an underlying belief that once your genes are determined nothing can be changed, but I have come to understand that this is not true.
The penny dropped for me, listening to an interview with Dr. Lucia Aronica PhD, a lecturer in nutritional genomics at Stanford University. She described factors that can turn genes on and off.
Your DNA is like hardware and mostly unchangeable, but there are ways in which your genes can be ‘expressed’, even though there is no permanent change. One of these is called methylation. This is where the genes are turned down or even turned off by the addition of a methyl group, or a ‘chemical cap’, to part of the DNA molecule, which prevents certain genes from having an impact. Another example is a histone, a protein that DNA wraps around, which can squeeze tightly preventing the DNA from being ‘read’ by the cell or loosened, by specific diet changes.
Is this significant? Yes! Think about this example. A queen bee larva starts out the same as any other larva, but by locking it away in a cell and feeding it royal jelly, the workers change this larva from being a worker bee to a fertile egg-laying queen bee. Identical genes, but the ‘expression’ of these genes is radically different, purely because of the food being eaten.
If food can make this much difference then it must be the nutrients in the food and resulting chemical impacts, or biological information, that can change the ‘expression’ of genes. What else can change genes? Exercise impacts body chemistry creating new biological information, triggering activities such as muscle building. Emotions deliver biological information to the body. Stress and our reaction to this has an important impact on body chemistry. Have you known someone who suffered massive trauma then succumbed to a very poor health outcome? It strongly suggests that the assault on the body triggered the health problem.
This reinforces the concept that everything is part of something bigger and even small actions can have a significant impact on the whole organism. It follows that nutrition, good or bad, can have a significant impact on your body and mind. We know that a ketogenic diet can reduce brain seizures, lower blood pressure, and reduce your risk of heart disease, so what you eat is extremely important. Not only for your health, but for your mood, longevity, creativity etc.
What if your diet is ‘turning off’ genes that could help repair DNA damage, increasing your cancer risk. What if your diet is wrecking your quality of life, but you never change it, because of strongly held beliefs?
Your diet really matters! You get to choose.
Seek professional medical advice before making dietary changes, particularly if you have underlying health problems. Find my book on Amazon here.
Good health, George Elder, Diet Researcher, Dip. Nutrition.