What is Epigenetics?

What is Epigenetics?

Epigenetics means above the gene. It is a study of changes in genetic activity that does not encompass changes to the genetic code

Conrad Waddington (1905-1975) is often credited with coining the term Epigenetics in 1942 as “the branch of biology which studies the causal interactions between genes and their products, which bring the phenotype into being” (Source).

When I first heard this term it screamed to me MERCY.

Because “nutrients can reverse or change epigenetic phenomena. In recent years, epigenetics has become an emerging issue in a broad range of diseases such as type 2 diseases, obesity, inflammation and neuro cognitive disorders.”  It goes on to say that “In the nutritional field , Epigenetics is exceptionally important, because nutrients and bioactive components can modify epigenetic phenomena.” citation: Advances in Nutrition, Epigenetics: A new Bridge between Nutrition and Health. Sang-Woon Choi and Simonetta Friso

Essentially what this states is that your nutrition has a direct effect on your gene expression, in turning on gene expression for a disease and turning it off. This is why I say it screams Mercy, food is brought to us by a loving creator that gave all of it to us and declared it good. However I am only talking about those foods that are single ingredients that have not been genetically altered, boxed, bagged, canned or procured through a window at a fast food restaurant. By eating God’s foods in their original design you can significantly alter your gene expression. How exciting is it to know that you can help your gene expression by making simple and profound changes. I am grateful and humbled by the merciful God that provides these foods for us.

So How Do These Changes Happen?

There are epigenetic marks that tell your genes to switch on and off. The on and off switching is caused by the environmental factors of diet, stress, and prenatal nutrition. Because of these environmental factors, the imprint on the genes is passed on from one generation to the next

Dr. Michelle Holmes of Harvard University, who has studied cancer and lifestyle factors, said people might wrongly think their chances of getting cancer depend more on their genes than their lifestyle. “The genes have been around for thousands of years, but if cancer rates are changing in a lifetime, that doesn’t have much to do with genes,” she told the Associated Press in a phone interview from Cambridge , Massachusetts.

Epigenetics helps us understand that the genome is more like a dynamic, living being, growing, learning, and adapting constantly. You may have heard that most disease is due to random mutations or “bad genes,” but Epigenetics tells us otherwise.

The body of evidence compiled by thousands of epigenetic researchers working all over the world suggests that the majority of people’s medical problems do not come from mutations, as previously thought, but rather from harmful environmental factors that force good genes to behave badly, by switching them on and off at the wrong time. And so, genes that were once healthy can at any point in our lives start acting sick.

From “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food” by Dr. Catherine Shanahan

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