Why Epigenetics is Important When Seeking Optimal Health
I recently had a client in my office who wanted to be sure that she had all her ducks in a row regarding her health as she approaches retirement. During our brief conversation she suggested, based on reading that she had done, that supporting epigenetics doesn’t really impact health.
Unfortunately, this client was pressed for time and we didn’t have time to delve into this further. If there had been time, I could have shared case study after case study to show knowing our personal epigenetics and supporting our genetic weaknesses does indeed have a significant impact on health.
I do encourage clients to learn more about nutrition, epigenetics, and any tests that I recommend for them. I truly want each client to take charge of their health. I believe that we are our own best advocates and working with all of our chosen health care providers, we can get the best results. Armed with this knowledge not only can we maintain our health, we can actually reverse the course of chronic diseases!
From my years of study, I know how important all these puzzle pieces are for achieving optimal wellness. I certainly don’t expect a client to be able to grasp all the nuances of what goes into maximizing health from reading a few articles. That would be like me expecting to read a few articles about engine repair and then be able to evaluate whether a car needs a tune up or just an oil change!
You may sense my frustration at not being able to have a conversation with this individual about the importance of knowing your personal genomics, no matter what phase of life you are entering.
So, here is a quick explanation about epigenetics, and why it is important to know your genomics if your goal is to be as healthy as possible. (And, no, there isn’t going to be a test afterwards!)
Epigenetics is the expression of your genes. While we cannot change your genes, we can influence how your genes behave. Scientist are working to positively impact epigenetics by inserting viruses to deliver tiny changes within the nucleotides. These small changes can make significant improvement in gene expression. I just read an article, “Researchers Modify CRISPR/Cas9 System to Target Epigenetics and Reverse Diseases.” I loved it; it is a fascinating read about how epigenetics can be used to reverse many chronic diseases.
The science is incredibly exciting to be sure but, the part that excited me the most was the impact on muscular dystrophy. The researchers successfully “bolstered the expression of genes involved in the same pathway as the one with the mutation. This essentially overrode the impact of the damaged gene.” This result was increased muscle growth and function in mice with MD.
Yes, this was a study done on mice…and yes, epigenetics is still a relatively new field…but it is valid, well-documented and our knowledge in the area is growing by leaps and bounds every year!
How does this study relate to what we are doing to help YOUR health? Good question.
This is exactly what we are doing, albeit we are using much simpler tools.
We remove things that down regulate gene expression such as toxins, hydroxyradicals, peroxynitrites, or other inflammatory compounds.
At the same time, we provide ample co-factors in order to upregulate the gene expression with food and targeted supplementation.
Case in point: I’ve been working with a client who has muscular dystrophy for the last year and a half. As a result of our supporting his epigenetics, we’ve made major steps in improving his health. He’s put on about 30 lbs and has increased his strength and muscle definition. He is making definite progress on the way to reaching his health goals. Because he was willing to learn how to support his genomics.
It will likely be decades before the CRISPR/Cas9 technology makes it to the consumer, so until then, we use the tools and knowledge we have to alter the epigenome. The result of supporting epigenetics is a reversal of chronic disease symptoms and improved health. TODAY. Amazing!
CRISPR image courtesy of WhatIsEpigenetics.com