Gene Expression


We are all born with a certain set of genes, passed down through the decades. Our DNA is set at conception and we can do nothing to change that. Grandmother may have had diabetes, and your father a heart attack at 45 years old. Just as the color of your eyes and the color of your hair are predetermined, many chronic diseases are in your genes. This however does not mean that you have to accept that fate and just let it play out. No, you are not doomed to diseases that plagued your family tree. Just as you can change your hair color, and you can get contacts so your eyes are a different color, you can be conscious of diet and exercise and not become obese like your mother. These are all your choices. You can also choose to live your life in a way that you may not have to get diabetes or heart disease.

While it is true you cannot change your genes, you can influence the way they express themselves. What does this mean? Your genes can express themselves in different ways. They can express themselves as disease or as wellness, depending on how you have treated them. Diet, exercise, lifestyle, and environment all affect the way your genes express themselves. Say diabetes runs in your family. You have watched your sister drink and smoke and eat fast food and sweets most of her life. She is now overweight and has developed diabetes, and just chalks it up to inevitable due to her family history. You on the other hand have lived your life eating well, exercising, watching your weight and staying away from harmful lifestyle choices, and you do not have diabetes and quite possible will never have diabetes, because your genes have expressed themselves in a healthy way. Gene expression refers to the way messages that are locked into your genetic inheritance factors are translated and ultimately influence your function. You can have a huge effect on the factors that are locked up in your DNA. Everyone is different, and not all genetic characteristics can be changed. Genetic characteristics are not “all or nothing”, they can be seen in varying degrees of expression among individuals. All of the genetic messages you need to “remake” yourself are present in every cell in your body.

So, to influence your gene expression you need to be informed as to your family health history, your own health history, biomarkers of function (are you aging appropriately or are your birthday age and your biological age very different?), your personal dietary habits and responses, and your personal use of medications, alcohol, tobacco, and to take a good look at exercise and lifestyle. There are different choices that you can make to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and arthritis. What you eat, how you nourish your body, exercise, and lifestyle choices are your best defense against the genetic expression of illness in your life. With today’s paradigm of food production supplements can be very effective in maintaining proper nutrient balance for optimal health. You can choose wellness and use your genes to your advantage in aging healthfully and happily. You can alter the onset of chronic diseases by making choices now before any symptoms arise. Choose a healthy, happy life!

Submitted by Tricia @ Nutrition by Tricia

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