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Understanding what causes sickness and disease is not just crucial to creating treatment plans. It is also essential in the prevention of illness. Environmental influences, such as a person’s diet and exposure to pollutants, can impact your epigenetics and genetics composition.
What is Epigenetics?
Epigenetics is the study of how cells control gene activity without changing the DNA sequence. Because epigenetic changes help determine whether genes are turned on or off, they influence the production of proteins in your cells. This regulation helps ensure that each cell produces only proteins that promote epigenetics and genetics growth and development.
Who is The Master Mind Behind Epigenetics?
The term was introduced in 1942 by embryologist Conrad Waddington. He related it to the 17th century concept of “epigenesis.” Waddington defined epigenetics as a complex “branch of biology which studies the causal interactions between genes and their products which bring the phenotype into being.” Link. His focus mostly on the mechanisms of epigenetics.
Are the Mechanisms of Epigenetics and Genetics Similar?
The mechanisms of epigenetics and genetics are not the same. Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not affect your DNA sequence. However, epigenetics changes how your body reads a DNA sequence. Furthermore, epigenetics is one step above the actual DNA concept. Thus, the prefix “epi” means above or in addition to. Therefore, epigenetics reforms the DNA structure.
How Does Epigenetics Changes DNA Structure
Epigenetics changes the physical structure of DNA. One example of an epigenetic change is DNA methylation. This is the addition of a methyl group, also known as a “chemical cap.” These groups are a part of the DNA molecule. They prevent certain genes from being expressed. Refer to my post on Gene [removed]October 6, 2022). DNA methylation has a unique function.
DNA is a biological process by which methyl groups are added to the DNA molecule. Methylation changes the activity of DNA segment without changing the segment. It typically acts to suppress gene transcription. See the article on DNA Transcription. https://youtu.be/L7MBa9P8-6s
DNA in Our Chromosomes
The DNA in our chromosomes is tightly wound on a protein spool, forming a coil. This coil opens up a bit before genes can be expressed. Link. Some types of physical stress alter parts of the protein spool. In turn, this makes the genes in that area harder or easier to activate. These changes, called epigenetic tags, can be passed on from one generation to the next. Tags help stabilize gene expression. Three examples of tags are as follows:
DNA methylation is a biological process by which methyl groups are added to the DNA molecule. Methylation can change the activity of a DNA segment without changing the sequence. It acts to repress gene transcription. link
Histones are highly basic proteins that function to compress DNA within the nucleus to form chromatin. This process provides a platform for regulating gene transcription.
Chromatin remodeling is a dynamic modification of chromatin architecture to allow access of condensed DNA to the transcription process for DNA transcription. Do not worry. You do not have to memorize any of this information in this phase of epigenetics. In the next phase, we transition to the epigenetic diet.
What is an Epigenetic Diet?
An epigenetic diet is designed to slow or potentially reverse damage to your DNA. Anyone who has a green, clean diet, whose practices a whole food plant based (WFPB), vegetarian or vegan diet has an epigenetic lifestyle. I have been leaning towards an epigenetic approach for the last two years. As a result, my overall health and well-being has improved 100%. Epigenetic care is all about mindset
What is an Example of Epigenetics?
Identical twins are the perfect example of epigenetics. Although they share the same DNA, their unique experiences in life cause some genes (and not others) to express the. This why, over time, identical twins come to behave and look differently. For example, Monozygotic twins differ in multiple factors.
What are Monozygotic Twins?
Monozygotic twins are identical twins. Twin studies help reveal epigenetic differences in gene expression. In fact, the differences in gene expression among older twin pairs were four times greater than those in younger twin pairs. There is a widespread “epigenetic drift” associated with aging. These differences are attributed to environmental, medical, marital, or learned behavioral factors. A healthy lifestyle is one way to improve your epigenetics.
Why is Epigenetics so Important?
Epigenetics in psychology provides a framework for understanding gene expression and how one’s experience and environment changes behavior, cognition, personality, and mental health.
As we grow and develop, epigenetics also helps determine which function a cell will have. For example, epigenetics determines whether a cell will become a heart cell, nerve cell, or skin cell. Epigenetics changes begin before you are born. Did you know that all your cells have the same genes but look and act differently.
Things like diet, stress, toxins, behavior, and lifestyle can affect how your genes are expressed. So, through epigenetics tags, parents’ experiences and lifestyle directly affects the genes that are passed down to their children and grandchildren. Although epigenetics has many advantages, it carries a few disadvantages as well.
Disadvantages of Epigenetics
While epigenetics changes are required for normal development and health, they are also responsible for certain diseases. Disrupting any of the tags (marks) of the epigenetic processes cause abnormal activation of or silencing of genes. These tags have very specific jobs to do.
Epigenetic tags regulate gene expression by acting as gatekeepers. These tags block or allow access to a gene “on” switch. The chemical tags (such as methyl groups) are added directly to DNA and attach onto large spool-like proteins (histones). With that out of the way, let’s move on to the epigenetic diet.
The epigenetic diet is a term coined by a laboratory in 2011. It refers to a class of bioactive dietary compounds that can regulate the epigenome. Studies indicate that the epigenetic diet plays a critical role in epigenetic regulation such as DNA methylation. (whatisepigenetics.com). An epigenetic diet maximizes the health of your DNA. This diet emphasizes compounds like:
- Sulforaphase (found in broccoli)
- Curcumin (found in turmeric)
- Epigallocatechin gallate (found in green tea)
- Resveratrol (found in wine)
Diet is not the only element that genes can influence. They also influence your mentality.
Can You Change Genes with Your Mind?
Scientists show how your thoughts cause specific molecular changes to your genes. Researchers found that training the mind or inducing certain modes of consciousness has positive health effects. This physically affect the body.
By changing your perception, your mind alters the activity of your genes. Thus, creating over 30,000 variations of products from genes. Are you wondering if epigenetic affect behavior, the answer is yes.
Does Epigenetics affect Behavior?
Behaviors and environment cause changes in your genetic makeup. Epigenetic processes lead to individual differences in appearance, physiology, cognition, and behavior. This group of traits is known as a phenotype. However, lifestyle factors also affect your epigenetics. In fact, several lifestyle factors modify epigenetic patterns. Among these patterns are:
- Physical activity
- Tobacco Smoking
- Alcohol Consumption
- Environmental pollutants
- Psychological stress
- Working on night shifts
Unfortunately, these are all viable reasons why people become twice their normal size. Throw in emotional eating and you can clearly understand their modus of operandi. Let’s put these “whys” under a microscope.
Why People Become Fat
Acquiring excessive weight does not happen overnight. When you consume more calories than you burn off, your weight will automatically increase. However, this is not the case for every person. Truth be told, obesity is generally caused by eating too much and moving too little.
Overindulgence and Lack of Motivation
If you consume enormous amounts of food, particularly, fatty, sugary, high-caloric, low-nutritional foods and drinks (high fructose sugar) without factoring in physical exercise, your body will store these as fat. On the other hand, your genes also contribute to obesity in many ways. For example:
- Genes affect your appetite
- Satiety (sense of fullness) is affected by genes
- Metabolism changes by genes
- Genes attribute to food cravings
- Body fat is affected by genes
- Genes affect behavioral epigenetics
What is the Emerging Field of Behavioral Epigenetics?
Behavioral epigenetics is the field of study examining the role of epigenetics in shaping animal behavior. It seeks to explain how nurture shapes nature, where nature refers to biological heredity and nurture refers to virtually everything that occurs during the lifespan.
Behavioral epigenetics is an emerging field. It examines the effect of the psychosocial stressors on an individual. Researchers in this field explore a range of outcomes such as:
- The individual’s health
- Cognitive stamina
- Behavioral patterns
How Can I Improve My Epigenetics?
While exercise creates an important stimulus to your body, the real key to epigenetic change, investing in a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, hands down. Good, wholesome nourishment to fuel the processes within the cells. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s become warriors of our health and wellness once and for all.
Frequently Asked Questions?
Can you reverse Epigenetic Changes?
Epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change the sequence.
Is stress genetically inherited?
Although studies show that certain genes are linked to specific anxiety traits, not all stress and anxiety is inherited. Stress can have an external locus of control.
Can you lose weight if you are genetically fat?
People with only a moderate predisposition to obesity can do two things to lose weight – eat fewer calories and get more physical activity. In other words, you can override your genetic imprint.
Why am I getting fat if I don’t eat much?
You will not gain weight from eating too few calories. The only way you gain weight is over eating the wrong types of food. Or maybe you skip meals, and your body is in starvation mode. See if your doctor can refer you to a nutritionist. You could be overfed and undernourished.
Three causes of obesity?
Consuming too many calories, lack of exercise, environmental factors.
Is obesity genetic or environmental?
There are many risk factors that contribute to obesity. Research studies estimate that obesity is 40% genetic and 60% environmental. However, there is a lot of variation in the scientific literature. So, these percentages are not carved in stone. Thus, there has to be a correlation between genetics and epigenetics.
What is the difference between genetic and epigenetic?
Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change your DNA sequence, but they can change how your body reads a DNA sequence.
How can I Improve my epigenetics?
You can improve your epigenetics by incorporating a healthy lifestyle. Next, you can start a plant-based diet that includes whole foods, teas, garlic, herbs, cruciferous vegetables, and other healthy ingredients. In fact, you can learn to read labels, join a Yoga class, and add strength training to your exercise routine. Also, you can start with low-impact exercises first. And this, my friend, is your ticket to an amazing lifestyle.
Final Take Home
Thank you for taking this epigenetic journey with me. It is a fascinating topic. Epigenetics is the study about changes in our body caused by the modification of your gene expression. Moreover, it is the study of how behaviors and environment affect the way your genes work. Unlike genetics, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change your DNA sequence.
Epigenetics helps the scientific community understand human disease and help us understand how our environment, genetics and life stressors impact individuals on a genetic level. Share your knowledge of epigenetics with your social circle. I’d also love to hear their thoughts on this subject. Feel free to leave your questions, comments, and feed back in the space below. I look forward to hearing from you.