Have you heard about Epigenetics yet?
What is Epigenetics?
The term epigenetics refers to heritable changes in gene expression (active versus inactive genes) that does not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence; a change in phenotype without a change in genotype. Epigenetic change is a regular and natural occurrence but can also be influenced by several factors including age, the environment/lifestyle, and disease state. Epigenetic modifications can manifest as commonly as the manner in which cells terminally differentiate to end up as skin cells, liver cells, brain cells, etc. Or, epigenetic change can have more damaging effects that can result in diseases like cancer. At least three systems including DNA methylation, histone modification and non-coding RNA (ncRNA)-associated gene silencing are currently considered to initiate and sustain epigenetic change. New and ongoing research is continuously uncovering the role of epigenetics in a variety of human disorders and fatal diseases.
For a simplified version visit…http://www.whatisepigenetics.com/what-is-epigenetics/
Here’s an analogy that might further help you to understand epigenetics. Think of the human life span as a very long movie. The cells would be the actors and actresses, essential units that make up the movie. DNA, in turn, would be the script — instructions for all the participants of the movie to perform their roles. Subsequently, the DNA sequence would be the words on the script, and certain blocks of these words that instruct key actions or events to take place would be the genes. The concept of genetics would be like screen-writing. Follow the analogy so far? Good. The concept of epigenetics, then, would be like directing. The script can be the same, but the director can choose to eliminate certain scenes or dialogue, altering the movie for better or worse. After all, Steven Spielberg’s finished product would be drastically different than Woody Allen’s for the same movie script, wouldn’t it?
(Courtesy of whatisepigenetics.com)
The Low Down
Now you have the low down I want to tell you about something really interesting that happened the other day. I had visit from a Genetic Counsellor to talk to me about Epigenetics. I have been thinking for a long time about introducing a type of genetic testing by a company called 23andMe to Green Door Health. But the question was how were we going to interpret the raw data? I had heard of a few apps (nutrahacker etc…) but it still seemed really complicated.
Then this amazing lady came into my clinic to talk to me about providing the reports from 23andMe data and I danced a happy jig!! She takes the raw data (up to 10,000 genes) and sifts out the benign and uninteresting ones and prepares a confidential report explaining it in lay-mans terms. It is complete with a traffic light system to show which genes are “switched on or off”. As you hopefully understand from the above information, it is not just about the genes you are born with it is whether they are active or not. I even saw a sample report which explained MTHFR with a cute little diagram to make it simple to understand, among others she showed me a gene responsible for emotional eating and others for diabetes or cardiovascular disease. It was fascinating. The testing can even show you which natural medicines suit you or which specific vitamins or minerals you need or should avoid! She picks about 50 of the most relevent genes to put into the report.
This amazing Genetic Counsellor is coming to Green Door Health to talk to us and answer all our questions in the next few weeks so please email us. As soon as we have a date we will create an event and let you all know.
She told me a very interesting story that might explain how genetic testing can improve your health in such a simple way.
A lady who came to her after suffering Migraines for many years and after spending thousands trying lots of different treatments and drugs including chiropractic, massage, kinesiology, herbs and even pharmaceutical drugs to no effect. Then she found out through genetic testing that her body needed to make more nitric oxide ( a chemical that helps to dilate blood vessels) as one of her genes was not “switching on” production. So she was told to eat more beetroot and cacao, two natural things that increase nitric oxide production. Voila! migraines gone. The testing is relatively inexpensive and you get the results in 2 weeks, after which she prepares the report and you sit down with her to discuss it.
I would recommend checking out the 23andMe website for any questions. The genetic report will also tell you…
“what percent of your DNA comes from populations around the world, ranging from East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and more. Break European ancestry down into distinct regions such as the British Isles, Scandinavia and Italy. People with mixed ancestry, African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans will also get a detailed breakdown.”
Information is completely private and secure.
Please ring the clinic if you wish to register your interest. The talk will be free but will fill up fast so let us know if you are interested.
Naturopath & Director
Green Door Health