What is Epigenetics?
Is it really possible to alter your “writing” to your genes? Epigenetics means changes to your genes without altering the actual writing on the card. It’s possible to use your nutrition, diet, exercise, stress, or even your environment to affect your “writing” to your genes.
Think about your life and what you have learned from it. Do you really understand your environment? Think about your nutrition, exercise, and stress. These all affect your behavior and your health. Do you really know your environment? Or are you just “totally unaware” of how much your environment affects you?
Well, researchers used a simple and elegant method called epigenetics to answer these questions. Epigenetics is basically the study of how environmental factors and your individual genetics can influence your genes. Unlike genetic differences, epigenetic signals are permanent and don’t change your genetic material, but rather they can determine how your body reads a genetic code. Using nutrition, diet, and your environment, the present study showed how changes in these three variables can affect your health.
The researchers involved in this study looked at two sets of twins, one with the common environment (their grandparents and mothers) and one with the uncommon environment (parents, grand-parents, and strangers). Both sets of twins had similar results for both cytotoxicity (how fast their cells divide) and for obesity.
However, the unique environment group had much lower obesity and methylation levels, suggesting that the epigenetics explained why. What the researchers found was that although the environment did not directly cause obesity, the environment did strongly affect it. The results were impressive, and the findings have implications for nutrition research.
Nutrition science has had a difficult time proving how environmental factors and genes interact to affect health issues such as obesity. One proposed way of investigating the interplay of diet and obesity was the adoption of a Mediterranean diet wherein moderate fat and carbohydrate consumption were common but not heavily adopted.
However, recent studies have shown that this type of diet did not actually increase the risk of obesity as opposed to a more “Western” diet. In addition to this, there is the adoption of a vegetarian diet that has been shown to result in lower levels of obesity in some people. So it seems that the environment, genes, and nutrition do indeed interact to affect an individual’s weight.
While you are here, you might be interested in this Bruce Lipton video in regards of this very same topic “Epigenetics”
Although the study is still new, the potential impact of epigenetics on nutrition research cannot be overlooked. With more individuals living with an increasing number of environmental factors affecting them, it is becoming clear that nutrition, at least nutrition related research, is no longer able to exist within the borders of conventional scientific thinking. Dietary and lifestyle changes need to be integrated into our everyday lives if we are going to stem the tide of obesity.
Epigenetics, however, holds a great deal of promise as a method to conduct these types of changes.
Mirko is for people who knows him well a true motivator and inspirer. He has been the driving force in projects such as a wellness center in Thailand, a corporate on-line travel agency and membership club with over 120,000 members worldwide. Mirko has created a strong professional reputation as one of the leaders in the hospitality and fitness & recreation industries.