05 Dec Epigenetic Modification: 5 Ways to Change Your DNA
Imagine you had the ability to change your genes so that you never have to worry about cancer, so that you increase your metabolism, so that you retain your youthfulness, and so that you can be the best possible version of yourself! Well, according to scientists, with epigenetic modification you can!
Epigenetic modification is the ability to change your DNA expression by altering certain externalities. Although DNA provides the blueprint for a person’s life – determining whether a person whose eyes were blue at birth will eventually turn hazel or how tall he or she may grow to be – recent studies have shown that your genetic code is not set in stone. You may not be able to change the color of your eyes, but you control the future of your health! Experts explain that the true secret to life does not lie within your DNA, but instead within the mechanisms of your cell membrane.
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, a New York Times best selling author on health topics, each cell membrane has receptors that pick up various environmental signals, and this mechanism controls the “reading” of the genes inside your cells. Your cells can choose to read or not read the genetic blueprint depending on the signals being received from the environment. Although you may carry a certain gene, whether or not it plays a role in your life can be dictated by environmental factors. The idea behind epigenetic modification is that you can change the course of your life, disease and health by changing the expression of your genes. This is miraculous news for cancer prevention, addiction recovery, and more!
“There is medical evidence that we can control our appearance, health and vitality through our gene expression,” said Dr. Amy Shah. “Epigenetics is the way the body reads your genes. You change the words in your books so that it becomes a different version of the book.”
For instance, if you were born with the gene for Type 2 diabetes but are not exposed to certain externalities such as particular foods or toxins, you can prevent diabetes. According to Shah, you can actually modulate 50 to 80 percent of gene expression. This is accomplished through changing the way you eat, move and even think.
5 Ways to Achieve Epigenetic Modification:
1. Eat Whole Foods and Incorporate Superfoods
Start by cutting out processed and inflammatory foods and replace it with whole foods and superfoods. Not only is this important for overall health and wellness, but nutrition plays a decisive role in epigenetic modification.
As human beings, we all posses tumor suppressor genes that are capable of stopping cancer cells in their tracks. These genes are present in every cell in your body, but so are proteins called “histones.” Dr. Jean-Pierre Issa at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center explains that histones can “hug” DNA so tightly that it becomes “hidden from view for the cell.” If a tumor suppressor gene is hidden, it cannot be utilized. Essentially, too much histone “turns off” these cancer suppressors, and allow cancer cells to develop.
The good news is you can use epigenetics to prevent cancer! Certain foods, such as broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, garlic, and onions contain substances that act as histone inhibitors. They block the histone, which allows your tumor suppressor genes to activate and fight the growth of cancer cells. By regularly consuming these foods, you can naturally boost your body’s cancer-fighting mechanisms. Epigenetics is a relatively new field of science. Researchers are still learning how certain foods interact with your genetic code. One thing is certain: whole foods play a vital role in promoting health.
Christopher Holden, head chef at the Sanctuary at Sedona, points to superfoods as a huge impactor in epigenetic modification. Superfoods are so high in minerals, vitamins, probiotics, enzymes and antioxidants that scientists separate them into their own category!
“When you eat superfoods, you start to evolve into a super hero. I mean literally, some of the herbs can change our genetics,” said Holden. “You can literally rewrite your genetic code in order to further evolve yourself in this very life. ”
2. Get Physical
Exercise is an excellent way of achieving epigenetic modification. Not only does exercise release endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting brain chemicals that can reduce stress, but it also induces genome-wide changes. In a recent study conducted by Lund University Diabetes Centre researchers, they found that exercise directly induces methylation. Methylation occurs when methyl groups, a cluster of carbon and hydrogen atoms, attach to the outside of a gene to determine whether the gene can receive and respond to messages from the body.
The study selected generally healthy, but sedentary men and asked them to exercise over the course of 6 months. In addition to various external health benefits, researchers found that the men had altered the methylation pattern of many of the genes in their fat cells. In most instances, the genes became more methylated, but some had fewer methyl groups attached — both cases affect how those genes express protein.
“Our data suggest that exercise may affect the risk for Type 2 diabetes and obesity by changing DNA methylation of those genes,” says Charlotte Ling, an associate professor at Lund University and senior author of the study.
Achieving epigenetic modification doesn’t only occur over long periods of time. Other studies have found that even a single workout has a profound effect on DNA methylation within human muscle cells! So start getting physical today!
3. Get 8-10 Hours of Sleep
Getting the proper amount of sleep makes a difference in epigenetic modification. A study published by the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine found increased methylation among children with sleep apnea. Essentially, because of the disorder, these children were not able to get the recommended (8-10 hours) amount of sleep and this created changes in how their DNA was expressed. In this case, it resulted in increased systemic inflammatory response and organ vulnerability. It’s no wonder why insufficient amount of sleep is linked to a number of health conditions such as obesity and immune suppression.
4. Meditate Mindfully
Mindful meditation is the practice of being aware of the present moment and noticing feelings and thoughts as they come and go. This is a powerful way to achieve epigenetic modification and can enable you to recover quicker. Psychoneuroendocrinology published a study that explored the effects of intensive mindful meditation within a day.
Over the course of 8 hours, an experienced group of meditators were asked to practice. When compared to a group of control subjects, the meditators displayed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene0regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes. This translates to faster physical recovery from stressful situations.
According to researcher Richard J. Davison, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, “This is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice.”
5. Limit Stress
How you feel plays a big role in determining your genetic expression. You can actually turn your genes on and off with your emotions! That’s why limiting stress is an important way to achieve epigenetic modification. Many of the steps mentioned above, such as exercise and meditation, can reduce your stress.
Although many people carry emotional scars, burdens and traumas that can negatively affect their health, it is possible to limit stress and take control of your health. Using techniques like energy psychology, you can correct the trauma and help regulate your genetic expression. Dr. Mercola points to the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) as an effective method of reducing stress, but there are many others so you can choose whichever works best for you.
Introduce these 5 simple habits into your daily routine and take control of your health, future and life right now!
Dr. Mercola is a distinguished expert on the topic of epigenetic modification.
The Sanctuary at Sedona is another resource on epigenetic modification.