I was writing a chapter of my book on Lifestyle Medicine today(I was at the beach and took that photo). I was delving into how the environment can impact genes and wanted to share! We pretty much know that the genetic code of the human population changes 0.2 percent every 20,000 years. What most people do not know is the code itself may not change, but the way the genes are expressed is highly influenced by our lifestyle and environment.
Genes get “turned on” or “turned off” by lifestyle factors! This is such an important concept to understand if we are make an impact on turning around the chronic disease epidemic we have.
The way in which genes get “”turned on” or “turned off” by lifestyle factors is called EPIGENETICS.
Epigenetics is the study of gene activity that doesn’t involve changes to the genetic code, but still gets passed down to at least one successive generation. These inherited patterns of gene expression (known as the “epigenome”) hover above the genome and are what determine whether your genes get switched on or off, and at what intensity. This epigenetic blueprint determines what effect environmental factors like diet, stress, gut disorders and toxins will have on genes passed from one generation to the next.
What this means is that, yes, genes are important. But it also means that the genes that might predispose us to develop conditions like diabetes may only be activated in the presence of environmental triggers like poor diet, toxic chemicals and a gut disorders! We have a wellness mission on our hands!!!
All people living in the modern world are affected to some degree by at least one of the lifestyle factors I will cover in this book. Even those who eat a pristine diet can’t escape the toxins in our water, air and (even) organic food. This is why we have a diabetes epidemic on our hands