Thursday 4 April 2013

Epigenetics and Holistic Health

What Is Epigenetics?

Epigenetics offers a new way forward in understanding chronic disease and is often labelled the new biology.

Epigenetic means "on the gene," and the term refers to the recent discovery that stress in the environment can impact an individual's physiology so deeply that those biological scars are actually inherited by the next several generations. For instance, a recent study has shown that men who started smoking before puberty caused their sons to have significantly higher rates of obesity. And obesity is just the tip of the iceberg - many researchers believe that epigenetics holds the key to understanding cancer, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, autism, and diabetes.

So let's be clear about this, Epigenetics is showing that our life style does impact our genetic code and that of our children.

"The potential is staggering.....the age of epigenetics has arrived" Time magazine January 2012.

How Environment, Emotions And Beliefs Effect Our Gene's Expression

Epigenetic changes relate to how our genes express themselves and not a true change of the genetic code. In other words the genes you are born with are your genes and their code is yours but how they express themselves varies according to enviromental factors and emotional or psychological factors.

Toxins in the enviroment and harmful belief systems and emotions actually interfere with the highest expression of your genetic material which in turn produces all the biology that makes up your body. With the aging process this only gets worse.Thus, these Epigenetic changes lead to an unhealthy gene expression which can manifest in chronic illness and are major factors in the cause of diseases like heart disease, obesity, cancer, neurological and cognitive disorders and infertility.

The read out of our genes is affected by enviromental signals, through how we percieve the world around us - Epigenetics.

How you as a unique individual see the world selects which gene sequences are going to be activated and modified to make the proteins (and then enzymes) which best fit your enviromental circumstances at that time.

This is very important - perception runs our genes!!! Your unique perception as a unique individual activates the neccessary gene expression for your unique circumstances at that time.

Now here's the most important part!!! Misperceptions will miss-run your gene expression, which leads to faulty proteins which in turn leads to faulty enzymes which lead to dysfunction and disease!!!!

Mis-perceptions are a 'faulty' interpretation of the world around us. When these inaccurate perceptions run our genes it leads to illness. This is so important!!! 

This is why our thoughts/belief systems and emotions are a prominent factor in our state of well-being.

Implications For The Next Generation

 In the diagragm below the mother smoking introduces a toxin to herself and the developing foetus.This will alter the epigenetic expression in the mother and the foetus.This in turn will alter the epigenetics within the foetus' own reproductive system which will then be 'passed' on to its own offspring - 3rd generation (it may well also alter the gene code).

The mum also has an emotional need to smoke and she knows it is harmful to her so her thoughts and belief system will alter the gene expression as well.

Simply put, toxic enviromental influences and thoughts/belief systems have a significant impact on our 
biology/physiology/bodies. To the mum and dad in the above example I would say you can change... empower yourselves to change. 

Change your perception and you change your physiology.

Detoxify and support the repair of the damage and you change your biology.

How exciting!!! AK (Applied Kinesiology)  has many of the answers and "how to's" to make these real and meaningful changes  to your life.

For advanced reading and some great short videos go to these links at the University of Utah.