Some of our genes are fixed genes and they will always express themselves in the same way. For example, the genes that determine eye color are fixed by the time we emerge from the womb. No matter what we eat, we can’t turn our brown eyes blue! Likewise, according to Dr. Frank Lipman, “certain genetic conditions, such as sickle-cell anemia or Tay-Sachs disease, are not affected by diet or lifestyle. If you have the genes for those conditions, you’ll suffer from those disorders no matter what you do.”
However, we have some control over many of our genes. Where does our control lie? True, we can’t change our genes. But in the vast majority of cases, we can change how our genes express themselves. The science of genetic expression is known as epigenetics, and it is one of the most exciting frontiers of medical science.
The great news is that those “fixed” genes represent only 2% of the total so we can impact 98% of our genes through nutrition and lifestyle management! We can turn on the good genes and turn of the bad genes. According to Dr. Lipman “this is true for most of the disorders related to aging: Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension”. What you eat, how you exercise, whether you get enough sleep, how well you release stress, and which supplements you take to address your particular nutrient needs can all have an enormous impact on whether you develop these conditions—regardless of your genetic destiny. Your exposure to environmental toxins and your ability to detoxify your body also affect your genetic expression.”
Everything we do in our lives, what we eat, think, feel, how we exercise can have an impact on the expression of our genes. For example you may have a “fat gene” causing a tendency to obesity. However, that doesn’t mean you will get fat instantly, you can affect the expression of that gene by eating healthy, avoiding sugar and refined carbs, exercising, etc. Or you may have a gene that gives you the predisposition to develop a particular disease like diabetes or heart disease. Well, optimizing your diet and lifestyle and taking care of your microbiome and decreasing inflammation will help to turn off that particular gene.
The other way around works too, you may have great genes that will help you stay healthy but if you eat junk food, don’t exercise, smoke, etc. you shut those genes down and inhibit their expression.
Every day-even every hour-your genes respond to the food you eat, the air you breathe, the stress you face, the choices you make.
Like Dr Lipman says: “feed your genes the right “information” and you will modify the expression of your genes, improving the way your whole body functions.”
And Dr Mark Hyman also supports the power of our actions for gene expression: “what you eat, how you move, how you restore your system, along with your thoughts, feelings and social connections, regulate your genes. Those genes end up creating the expression of who you are and how you are. You can turn on genes that create health or disease, weight gain or weight loss”
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