Research on Epigenetics Making a Difference
Health by design the podcast where we explore your brilliant biology, current research and successful traditions to give you the health of your life.
Episode eight epigenetics or controlling your genes. Hope for those of us with genes! Stay to the end for an epiphany that may come from life-changing research. Does research say our genes can repair? Today’s episode, we’ll cover genetics or epigenetics. In other words, if we have a gene for a disease, will we automatically get it?
We’ll talk about what are genes? And does our design allow for genes to repair? Genetics, we are told is something we are given by our parents that we have no control over. It is something we are born with true yet. Is that the whole truth? Many messages around us seem to say that it doesn’t matter what kind of food you eat and that supplements don’t make a difference.
The implication is that our genes determine our lot in life. Is this true? We like to think we know better. We’re pretty sure that what we eat and drink makes a difference in our lives. This is important as all these things are something we have control over -what we eat, what we drink, our emotions, our spiritual health, who we hang out with.
Not everyone wants control with control comes responsibility. I love listening to stories from a dear friend who I’m excited to say will be on this show in two upcoming episodes. Quick side note, I’ve decided to do an interview per month for a while on this show. As you know, normally I come out with an episode every week, but one of those episodes, the last one of the month will be an interview show instead of just me.
So anyway, she has a PhD in public health and a masters in dietetics. I love listening to her stories and she says the saddest thing is seeing people come into the oncology department who don’t want to hear what they can do to get better. Some don’t want that control. Is it that they prefer to give responsibility to the doctor, to the nurse, to someone, anyone else?
Maybe it’s a fear of failure. I understand if you’ve been told all your life, this is what you should expect. Why would you believe otherwise? It’s not your fault or is it that they don’t realize that they have a measure of control? A common saying or implication of the messages in our world is that if your parents have cancer, it’s inevitable for you. After all, if you have the gene isn’t disease inevitable?
So to answer this, let’s start by a super brief history of the idea of genes to help us understand what they are. Then we’ll talk about research, showing that we can control them. And finally, the genome project actually, I’ve decided to put that into a second episode. In the late 1860s, Mendell discovered that in peas, like the kind that you eat, a dominant trait by one parent could be mixed with a dominant or recessive from the other.
For example, a tall pea plant may be mixed with a short pea plant and the odds of a dominant gene being the result is three times out of four. His research was regarding plants, but the rules he found of alelles are very much like when you have children. If one of you, it has blue eyes or green eyes.
And the other has brown eyes. We know that brown eyes are dominant. And if both have a recessive gene for light eyes, somewhere in the genes, the odds are that one out of every four children would have blue eyes. So each combination of genes from mom and dad creates someone uniquely different.
In the early 1900s, it was discovered that each set of genes from one parent combined with the other parent into chromosomes for the next person, it was then found the chemicals could damage chromosomes, AKA gene mutation in the mid 19 hundreds. In 1941, Crick and Watson discovered the amazing DNA helix that holds the genetic tendencies that we each have.
I love crikey and Watson’s research. And one of the things that they say is that structure follows function. So when he first saw the DNA helix, he knew because of the beauty in it, that it would represent how we are designed. Science direct also says that quote, ” a gene is no more or nor less than a DNA sequence that codes for the amino acid sequence of a protein or more generally a polypeptide”. Unquote .
For the purpose of this episode, the DNA sequence tells our body what to do. They may overlap and be known as a alelles, genes, nucleotides, chromosomes, mendelian traits, but to keep things simple, I want to use the term the way we use it when we’re talking to a friend, right? Genes are any predisposition given to us by our parents. So genes are what our parents give us.
What our epigenetics? Quote, “epigenetics refers to the changes in the biochemical structure of DNA that alter gene expression” unquote.
In other words, epigenetics are the environment you give your cells and they may be more important than the genetics you have been given The environment around your cells that you control through your diet, through your lifestyles, through your fasting, through your emotions, through your spiritual health, all these things may be the main determining factors in whether a cancer gene, for example, turns on or remains dormant.
Let’s say a person has a gene for cancer. Research shows that epigenetics are more important than our genetics. Research shows that in some that gene may never quote “turn on” unquote, and the person may never get cancer, even though they have the gene.
Now, just a side note. I was thinking my husband’s father died when my husband was 10 years old.
And his father had developed cancer 10 years before and he had managed to overcome it. And then he had a tragedy happen in his life that he wasn’t able to overcome. And within six months he had passed away of the cancer that had come back again.
So. I’m not saying that we have all control only God has all control, but this means that if both parents died of a cancer, that has an inherited tendency, the expression of that gene is somewhat within our control. The way the gene manifests or doesn’t manifest. Those tendencies are largely ours. Doing all that you can to keep your cells expressing themselves in a healthy fashion is a big goal of this podcast.
That means just because your parents or grandparents got some disease doesn’t mean that you will get it. The truth is that research shows genetics are not as big of a deal as the epigenetics. So let’s look at some research on epigenetics and whether genes can be repaired.
Can we fix our genes? On pub med, the national institutes of health online place for medical research there are 118,000 pages of search results. That means over a million research studies have been published on epigenetics. The search would only show me the top 10,000.
So here’s just a few. Here’s one from the journal of immunology that shows that genes can repair. It says, quote, high fidelity, B E R or base excision repair factors keep cells that have a genetic tendency from becoming cancerous. So I think one of the goals that we have is to make sure that our repair factors are working properly.
Right. One of the things we know is that when we fast our body repairs and does autophagy. When we sleep for a long enough period of time, I believe it’s over six hours. Then the glymphatic system will go through the brain and clean out the old dead cells or do autophagy’s in our brain. It keeps our brain functioning better, thinking more clearly and prevents some of the problems that leaving a cluttered metabolism can cause.
So a gene can be repaired as you become healthier genes that might predispose you to cancer are more likely to turn off. You may have a gene that predisposes you to something, but it does not mean that you will get it..
When Sam, he goes down and what it inhibits goes up in mice, it is shown to contribute to cancer.
Sam E is involved in cleaning out the dead cells that keeps our metabolism working.
Right. Or like I talked about a moment ago, the autophagy’s of fasting. Know that genes can be damaged. Okay. This article says malnutrition during pregnancy results in structural and functional changes in the developing fetus. That may also predispose one genetically to obesity type two diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
That means that if you’re intending to have children or You are married and know that it’s a possibility it’s very, very important that you get on a good diet. There’s a great book called real food for pregnancy by Lily Nichols, that I highly recommend whether you’re pregnant, thinking about getting pregnant, or even if you just want to raise your children in a healthy way.
The diet recommendations that she has in this book are just like what I was trying to write out in one of my books, the health toolbox. And what’s rather ironic. Her cover is almost exactly the cover that I had come up with for my book that I never published when I got sidetracked and decided to do podcasts cause this is way more fun!
Malnutrition can change genes to make disease more likely. We know that nutrition is important, but did you really know or understand that malnutrition could affect us genetically? Let me read part of that quote again, quote, malnutrition.dot dot may also predispose one, genetically to obesity type two diabetes and metabolic syndrome or diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular issues.
To be honest, the knowledge that we are designed and that there is always something we can do to repair genes in mitochondria and thus ourselves and our health has allowed me to be a nutritional consultant for years, without it taking a toll on my health. As I have seen, sadly, happened to some others. I listened to as many do daily to the stories of ailments that people were coming to me to get help for.
I don’t always have all the answers, but because I believe our design makes sense. And I believe that we are often as human beings intelligent enough that with a few leading questions, people can figure out if there was something they were doing that was contributing to said, ailment. My knowledge and health would allow me to share nutrients that they may be lacking or have them consider an emotional pattern or a spiritual pattern that may be contributing to their disease.
I saw people overcome many, many things. I actually started to document stories. I collected stacks of stories. It seems there is always more than one way to overcome something. The many stories of overcoming I’ve collected may be the source of the next book one day, who knows.
But the bottom line is that listening to your own body, getting insight from someone knowledgeable in nutrition and being willing to make changes can often make huge differences in a person’s level of health and whether disease genes turn on or off. Live science.com defines what controls our genes as follows.
Quote, epigenetics literally means above or on top of genetic. It refers to external modifications to DNA that turn genes on or off these modifications do not change the DNA sequence, but instead they affect how cells read genes.
This means that genetic predisposition to a disease or as this article showed even our happiness can be dependent upon our lifestyle, diet, exercise, and thought habits. What’s funny about this to me is that I think almost anyone can start aerobically exercising regularly. Encourage more serotonin or happy hormones, cultivate happy thoughts, get spiritually sound and change.
So that happy becomes their default. we know that cells and genes can repair. If the gene never affects you, it’s almost like you didn’t have the gene in the first place. Right. That’s kind of a wild thought, but Laura Dodsworth said, “I try to consume different sources and make up my own mind about it”.
I want to encourage you to take the time to look into this. If you need help, learning how to research. Let me know if you already know, or you’d like to figure it out yourself. Go to pub med.nih.gov and type epigenetics in the search bar, scroll through the titles of the research and get an idea of what epigenetics can do to help us control our genes.
Listen for messages that imply that illness is or maybe isn’t within our control; that we have to rely on the experts; that if our parents had cancer, then we are likely to have it too. After all isn’t everything genetic? The more you are aware of these messages, the less control they will have over you.
Recent research proves we can do something about it, to prevent ourselves from reproducing wrong. So what if our design allows for repair? Do we really have a bit of control over our genetics? Research shows that our design appears to allow repair. It shows both, that our genes can be damaged and that they can be repaired.
Everyone has a strong tendency to eat, drink and live as our parents, but we can make our own choices, choices that research shows may keep those genes from expressing themselves negative. Rather than be at the mercy of your genes. I want to encourage you to research for yourself.
This is something I teach in a few of my high school health classes, but I’ve been told moms need this info to get on my email firstname.lastname@example.org. And let me know, you are interested to see a brief video tutorial on how to research for yourself. one of the upcoming episodes I’m going to do we’re going to talk about the metabolic theory of cancer, and what did the genome research projects show about there being a gene that causes cancer – all these things together are reasons I’m a huge fan of getting your metabolism working, right. It affects us more than our weight. Keep listing. Give a review. And please share this podcast with a friend that you love.
May you be excited and hopeful as you consider how epigenetics are more under your control than genetics here’s to the health of your life.