It seems that most average Americans have a lot of bad inflammation, hormones and genes floating around right now, causing all kinds of various problems that we are programmed to just accept as “facts fo life”.
Really, we are in control of most of these problems, once you realize how interconnected each bodily system is, it gets pretty simple to fix!
We can influence gene expression to a far greater degree than previously thought possible.
I’m going to utilize a few quotes from one of my favorite bloggers, Mark Sisson, to introduce this concept:
“The take home message here is that you can literally reprogram your genes to live a long, healthy, productive, happy and energetic life. You can either sit idly by and end up a victim of poor gene expression, or you can take control of the signals you send your body (through diet, movement, stress management and many other lifestyle behaviors) and become the best version of you possible. “
“while your genes are “fixed”, the expression of those genes – the amount of proteins they cause to be made, whether or not they are even switched on or off at all – depends on the “environment,” the circumstances surrounding those genes. Diet, exercise, exposure to toxic chemicals (or fresh air), medicines, even the thoughts you think (which generate actual chemical signals) all influence gene expression – positively and/or negatively, depending on the choice.”
When you change to a diet low in sugars and rich in healthy fats, those or other genes are directed to reduce inflammatory expression, down-regulate insulin-producing metabolic machinery, up-regulate insulin receptors and rebuild cell membranes to reflect the presence of better building materials. Research in gene expression is exploding right now and is examining both the impact of environmental factors and the promise of epigenetic therapies. The connection between insulin resistance and genetic expression (particularly in relation to exercise) was raised in last week’s comments. Diet and toxin exposure have been shown to influence gene expression in laboratory studies. Here are a few study abstracts to pique your interest: PubMed 1, 2, 3.
- The placenta displays different epigenetic markings throughout pregnancy, which can alert physicians to developing complications like poor fetal growth or preeclampsia.
- Researchers recently compared intestinal gene expression in breastfed and formula fed infants. The intestinal tract acts as a primary site for immune response, particularly in infants whose bodies must quickly learn to adapt to foreign foods outside the sterile womb environment. Glitches in intestinal (and related immune) development can cause food allergies, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease. Of particular note, gene expression that regulated cellular response to oxygen deprivation was more pronounced in breastfed babies, suggesting a possible cause for why breastfed infants have a lower SIDS risk.
- Prenatal exposure to common environmental toxins can induce epigenetic changes that put a child at more risk for later cancer than post-birth exposure does. The study focused particularly on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are associated with oil and coal burning.
- Scientists have found that the memory ability of offspring may be impacted by their mother’s early learning environment. Mice with genetic memory impairment that were offered a sensory rich environment (toys, activity and attention) had offspring that showed enhanced memory ability even when the pups themselves received none of the environmental benefits their mothers had.
- Gene expression related to longevity and cancer was negatively impacted by alcohol and typical Western diet consumption.
- Researchers have identified food compounds that inhibit epigenetic dysfunction. Sulforaphane (broccoli), indole-3-carbinol (cruciferous vegetables) and organosulfur (garlic and onions) compounds are among the most protective food related substances discovered so far.
The take home message here is that you can literally reprogram your genes to live a long, healthy, productive, happy and energetic life. You can either sit idly by and end up a victim of poor gene expression, or you can take control of the signals you send your body (through diet, movement, stress management and many other lifestyle behaviors) and become the best version of you possible. [I put this quote in twice on purpose]