Genetics have long been discussed in ways that seem to indicate that they determine our fate. Our DNA tends to be thought of as this fixed set of information that is passed down to us from our parents (and it is for the most part). But did you know that our bodies have several mechanisms in play to control how our genes are expressed? The purpose of our DNA is to serve as the code for creating the many proteins necessary for life. According to the National Institute of Health, there are an estimated 20,000-25,000 genes encoding the various proteins that serve to regulate chemical reactions, control the movement of nutrients, create the physical structure of our bodies and perform countless other functions. In much the same way you adjust the volume when you do or don’t like what you hear, epigenetic mechanisms in our cells increase the activity of certain genes when we need more of the corresponding protein, and they turn down the genes corresponding to proteins that are needed less.
When we talk of our family histories and our predispositions to certain conditions and diseases, we need to remind ourselves not to put too much stake in the word ‘predisposition.’ A predisposition is merely a tendency; it is the leaning of a statistical observation one way or another, but it by no means guarantees our future. Our bodies and our very genetic expression are constantly responding and adapting to our surrounding environment, and the decisions we make on a daily basis are the tools we have to offset those decisions that were made for us (the genetic code we are born with).
We are now observing the effects of healthy and less than ideal lifestyle choices down to the genetic level, and practices like intermittent fasting have been extensively studied and shown to change the functions of the human body on cellular, genetic and hormonal levels. This includes everything from increasing insulin sensitivity and turning back the effects of Type-2 diabetes, to activating numerous pathways involved in longevity and regulating our cell’s normal life cycles to prevent diseases like cancer. This works, in part, because intermittent fasting helps to reset many of the metabolic and hormonal systems that spiral out of control in the constant presence of excessive blood glucose.
Another of the most effective means of changing our genetic expression is to consume plenty of nutrient dense foods while minimizing added sugars. Root vegetables and cruciferous vegetables are two of the best categories of foods you can eat. They contain tons of minerals and thousands of other essential nutrients. Super nutrient-dense foods like these (consumed with good, quality fats to aid in nutrient absorption) give our bodies the resources they need to regulate many of the aforementioned genetic mechanisms essential to good health and longevity. For more information on how you can hack into your own genetic code to make it work for you, join us for our class, Controlling Your Genetic Expression, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9 at Vital Health in Coeur d’Alene. Fee: $10. RSVP: 208-765-1994.
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Jonathan M. Sasser holds a Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine, is a Licensed Acupuncturist and is board certified in Oriental Medicine by the NCCAOM. He has more than 3,000 hours of training in acupuncture, classical Oriental Medicine, herbal medicine and nutrition.
Additionally, Jon also holds a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine. Jon is a “Health Detective.” He looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Jonathan is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements at Vital Health in Coeur d’Alene.
Visit our website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Jonathan, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Jonathan can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.