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Epigenetics: Were You Born This Way?

Thrive Carolinas / Comprehensive Lab & Diagnostic Tests  / Epigenetics: Were You Born This Way?

Epigenetics: Were You Born This Way?

Epigenetics: Were You Born This Way?

Your Genes Make You You

Genes found within your DNA create the building blocks of each person. They determine hair color, eye color, affect height, and control any number of things about you. In essence, every aspect of yourself, from physical characteristics to personality, can be partially attributed to your genetic makeup. This is the basic premise of the “nature vs. nurture” discussion. But what if “nature,” your genes, were themselves affected by your environment? This is where epigenetics comes into play.

At its heart, epigenetics is how and why specific genes are expressed and why others are dormant. For example, the COL1A1 gene is present in all cells, but it is only utilized (or expressed) in skin cells that need to produce collagen. Epigenetics tells cells which proteins to produce and which genes to express. This opens up a whole world of possible gene therapies to help combat inflammation, genetic diseases, and even genetic dispositions to cancer. Epigenetics can be the future of medicine. The question is: How can we directly affect the epigenetic process ourselves?

Be Your Own Epigeneticist

Epigenetic changes can occur from any number of things that are present within our world. We have recently begun specific gene targeting for direct and controlled mutations with CRISPR technology. However, that is far from the only method to alter your genetic expression. You can be your own epigeneticist with much more ease than tracking down a state-of-the-art Genetics lab. How much you sleep, what you eat, and even how much and what types of exercise you do can all have epigenetic effects. What is impressive is that these epigenetic activities that you can do at home can affect simple things, such as reducing inflammatory responses to long-lasting and significant life factors, such as delaying the onset of partially inherited diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

What is in your genes will ultimately significantly affect who you are in life. Our growing understanding of epigenetics gives us the power to control what genes and parts of ourselves we want to show the world. This is a small introduction to the broad world of epigenetics that we are just now scratching the surface of. At Thrive, our certified Functional Medicine (IFM) providers are accustomed to addressing complex and intertwined health issues, such as epigenetics, from a functional and preventative standpoint. Allow Thrive to be integral to your journey to optimal health and wellness. Your provider at Thrive can help guide you through the process of ensuring you put your best foot forward. By making sure you take all the steps necessary to put your best genes forward.

Stephen Fogg

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