In honor of Heart Health month in February, Weld Family Clinic will host a Heart Health Class on February 22nd at 6:15pm. We’ll be discussing the important role cholesterol plays in the health of your brain and the dangers of cholesterol-lowering medications like “statins”. Join us!More
Epigenetics has been around for several decades now, but many people have never heard the word much less understand the concepts. I would like to discuss a few of the major points in the field of epigenetics and outline how you can use these concepts to change your life.
Literally translated – “above or upon the genes”, epigenetics is a fascinating shift from how many of us learned about genetics and the role of DNA in our lives. I learned in middle school, high school and even in college that DNA was the master – our destiny. If you were dealt a crappy hand, you were doomed to a life of suffering and an early death. The Human Genome Project was touted as the answer to all of our wonderings about life, disease and death. It was the Rosetta Stone for the questions of health care. DNA housed in the nucleus, after all, controls the function of every cell of the body. If we can identify all the possible genes – the building blocks of the body – we’ll know everything about the body.
They claim to have found breast cancer genes, prostate cancer genes, heart disease genes, obesity genes, ADHD genes and even the “hangover gene” (I’ll unravel the entire gene theory of health and disease with this one in a few paragraphs.)
But a fascinating and unexpected thing happened…
They only discovered about half as many genes as they expected they would – that they projected would be necessary to control and coordinate the functions of the 70,000,000,000,000 (trillion) cells that make up a human being. The Human Genome Project came up short in a big way. There must be something else at play.
So back to epigenetics…
Epigenetics steps in to turn the field of genetics on it’s head. Genes are just code – like software on your computer’s hard drive. I’m currently writing this article on WordPress through a web browser named Opera. In order to access this site to do my work, I had to do several things.
- I had to click on the Opera icon to open the program
- I had to enter the address of the website I wished to access
- I had to enter my username and password to access the editing program for this blog
Even though the program is loaded on my computer’s hard drive and I have accessed this site in the past, this didn’t all happen automatically when I started the computer – I had to initiate it.
From the previous few paragraphs, we have enough evidence to unravel the entirety of the gene theory of health and disease. Remember the “hangover gene”? A person with the hangover gene suffer more intense hangover symptoms than one without the gene. But let me ask you a question…if neither of these individuals drink alcohol to the point of intoxication, will either of them get a hangover? The answer is clear. It’s not the presence or absence of a gene that determines our biology. It is the environment. More importantly, it is often dependent on the conscious and subconscious choices we make.
In epigenetics, the function of the cell is not controlled by the nucleus and DNA, but rather by the cell membrane. The ultra-thin, semi-permiable phospholipid bilayer that envelopes the cell. If the nucleus is the “hard drive” of the cell, the cell membrane is the “processor” as well as the “mouse” and the “keyboard”. It is the interface with the environment. The most important take-away from this is that what is present in your environment – in total – is the defining factor in your health and your entire life. That which is in the air you breathe, the food you eat, the water you drink, the movement you generate, and even the thoughts that you think affect your life and your health in immeasurable ways.
Yes, I said it. Your THOUGHTS affect your health.
Not only from an emotional level – from a molecular level. Each and every one of your 70 trillion cells is affected by what goes on inside your MIND (which is different than your BRAIN – that organ contained within your skull that sends messages at 170mph to all the cells of your body). The MIND is not contained within any specific part of the body. In fact, it is likely not contained within your body at all. Thoughts are not just electrochemical action potentials from the brain. Just our computer analogy above, something has to initiate the action potential. The conscious and subconscious mind initiate the action potentials that control and coordinate every cell in your body. It does this by initiating changes in the cell membrane of neurons which, in turn, stimulate the cell membranes of the target cells. Therefore, your thoughts are literally creating your biology. What you believe to be true about yourself and your life and health shapes your reality. What you focus on, you get more of. If you focus on sickness and disease, that’s what you’ll get! If you focus on your lack of money, time or energy, you’ll get EVEN MORE of what you DON’T want – less money, time and energy! By changing what you THINK about, you can literally change your LIFE!
Give it a try…it doesn’t cost a thing!More