January 21, 2017

4 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Genes

by Sarah Stanley

Are you under the impression that your inherited genes determine how you must live the rest of your life? Have you ever blamed your parents for the body you have?

Let me ask you one more question. If you knew you could change your genes, would you?

While it’s true that we inherit our genes, it’s also true that we can change our genes! This is what’s so fascinating about epigenetics! Our genes can be switched on and off. They are not hardwired. So if you don’t like what you’ve been given, there is great news for you. You can change your genes starting today!

Here are the four main ways in which you can modify and improve your genes!


Wikipedia defines gene expression “as the process by which possession of a gene leads to the appearance in the phenotype of the corresponding character.” In lay terms, this means that the genes that make up our chromosomes are the blueprint for our development.

Additionally, our genes can be turned on and off (think of a computer or iPhone). The hardware is our genetics and the software is our epigenetics.  To have a healthy body, we need both hardware and software to function. (Thanks to Dr. Richard Denison for explaining this!)

The first way to change your gene expression is through exercise.

I’m sure you know by now that exercise boosts your mood, improves your health, and makes your clothes fit. But the other amazing thing that exercise can change is our muscle and fat cells! Did your ears perk up hearing that?!

Researchers at Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden took sedentary, but healthy men, and sucked out some of their fat cells. They also measured their body composition, aerobic capacity, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other indicators of health.

one single workout can alter DNAAnd then do you know what these scientists asked these men to do? They asked them to start moving their bodies and getting their sweat on (as I like to call it). With the supervision of a trainer, these men worked out for an hour twice a week, doing spin classes and other aerobic exercises. They continued this exercise plan for 6 months.

Not surprisingly, these men lost fat, which resulted in weight loss. They also improved their blood pressure and lowered their cholesterol. All from simply moving their body intentionally and being active! If that’s not motivation to get active, I don’t know what is. 🙂

In addition, this study found that the methylation (a fancy word for the atoms and molecules that make up our DNA) reversed the genes that were previously headed for obesity and diabetes! See how amazing fitness is?!

Other studies have found that…

…A single workout altered gene DNA from unhealthy cells to healthy cells. Click to Tweet.

If you are sitting reading this article you might want to jump up and go for a brisk walk, do some pushups, sign up for a 5k or a half marathon, go for a bike ride or go to yoga tonight. You can start changing the expression of your genes through exercise to live a healthy, disease-proof life!


The color of your eyes, the color of your hair, and your body frame are passed down through generations. Your genes are a result of the lives that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents led. But only 2% of the genes you inherit cannot be changed. Only 2%! The other 98% can be changed!

This is why living a healthy lifestyle is such an important way to modify your genes. We really are a product of how we live! People used to think that heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke and other disease were hereditary (because of our genes) or growing older. But according to recent findings, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth!

The way we live our life plays a large part in determining whether we get disease or not. This is because we can live in a way that creates health, longevity, and production of healthy cells (epigenetics). Or, we can live a life of disregard that promotes sickness, disease and illness.

Each one of us has cells that can cause disease (like cancer).

How we take care of our bodies on a daily basis can promote healthy cells that will prevent cancer and disease. Click to Tweet.

Or, our daily lifestyle can condition unhealthy cells to permit cancer and disease to flourish.

We have more power over our health then we realize! This is why making healthy habits a part of our daily life is so important.

As you just read, fitness is crucial to promoting healthy epigenetics cells. Of course, it’s also a no brainer to stop smoking, which only destroys cells. And, of course, the right nutrition is paramount to a thriving and disease-free body.


carcinogen starbucksWhat you eat can either prevent disease – including cancer – or have the opposite effect on your genes.  And because what you eat changes your genes, therefore what you eat changes the genes for future generations, too!

What you eat today will either positively or negatively affect your children, your children’s children and beyond! Click to Tweet.

As you probably know by now, our food system is pretty toxic. As a result, we have to be more diligent than ever to educate ourselves and learn about what we put in our body. Our food system is becoming more and more unsafe not only for our bodies, but our land, our air, and our water.

There are many ingredients in our food supply that are known carcinogens.

  • Coloring dyes, in particular, are linked to tumors, ADHD and ADD.
  • The caramel coloring in popular Starbucks drinks is a known carcinogen (Caramel Coloring IV E150d). This caramel coloring is also used in soft drinks. If you still drink them, now’s a really great time to ditch this unhealthy habit!
  • Pesticides from GMO crops are toxins to the body that will have adverse effects on your DNA. These harsh chemicals are free radicals that will speed up aging (yikes!), wrinkles, and encourage fat cells. Not something I think you want, right?! Choosing to eat organically is another way to help keep your gene expression in tip-top health shape.


I thought (no pun intended) this was really interesting. Even our thoughts have an impact on our genes. You have more control over your health than you think you do! And part of this is how you think. Remember this quote?

What you eat and drink is just as important as what you think. If our thoughts are negative (toxic), then they will have a direct effect on our overall health.

No matter the source of toxicity (food, drink, air, water, thoughts) it will impact us.

Our beliefs about ourselves are ingrained in us and start at a young age. If we’ve grown up in a dysfunctional or a non-nurturing family, unhealthy beliefs can alter our genes. Our beliefs can change our biology, according to Konstantin Eriksen, a biochemist.

So, what you believe about yourself can either help your genes and wellness or cause disease. Click to Tweet.

How can you change your thoughts to improve your health today?

  • Positive self-talk
  • A grateful heart
  • Thanking others
  • Surrounding yourself with positive people
  • Speaking only kind, positive words

And looking for ways to enjoy the moment may all contribute to healthy thinking.


positive thoughts save health

Hasn’t this been an insightful read? I know for me it has! In life, we can’t control everything, but we can control our genes more than we realize. This is incredible! It is so freeing! Because we can positively change our genetic expression, we can change the course of our life.

We can alter our DNA by creating a balanced lifestyle of fitness; eating real, organic food; and thinking positive thoughts.

For some, it may require a total life shift and how you go about your daily life. For others who have scars from childhood, it may require seeking out a reputable counselor/therapist who can help unravel your unhealthy beliefs into healthy, positive beliefs. In turn, we create positive thoughts from negative ones and change our genes into something beautiful.

There is so much we can do to take care of our genes! But it takes diligence to make wise choices daily. Remember, how we live today will impact our future generations.

Cheers to healthy genes!

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:


SarahStanleySarah Stanley is a wellness educator, endurance athlete, speaker, author, and founder of #wellnesschat & {wellprint}. Passionate about healthy living Sarah lives what she speaks about, practicing a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle that fuels her ultrarunning adventures. Her goal is to empower others to be knowledgeable about what they put in & on their body so they can live healthy, disease-free and happy life. She’s been featured in SELF, SHAPE, Ladies’ Home Journal and Washingtonian. Find Sarah on Twitter (@SarahStanley)G+ (+SarahStanley) and visit SarahStanleyInspired.com to start your wellness journey today.



Epigenetics Prove You Can Control Your Gene Expression Naturally

by David Kekich

How old are you?

Uh, uh. Not so fast.

I’m not interested in the number of candles on your birthday cake and neither should you be.

Nowadays, as people like to say, “It’s not the years in your life, but the LIFE in your years” that matter and often the calendar is a bad indicator of that.

In fact, there might be a giant difference between your chronological age and your biological age,either for the good or the bad!

Here’s why.

Your chronological age measures the time you’ve been on this planet. Your biological age measures how you perform, look and feel. Your biological age gauges how long you might live. (Frankly, it may very well measure how long you WANT to live given factors like energy, cognitive condition and even sexual desire and function.) Recent studies have shown that the rate at which you age is only determined 25-35% by genetics. You control the rest. It’s called “epigenetics.”

Our 300 tissue types differ because their cells have certain sets of genes that are “turned on” or expressed, as well as other sets that are “turned off” or inhibited.

Epigenetics refers to the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. Or, simply put, the way your genes operate depends on much more than your DNA sequence. Epigenetic changes can switch your genes on or off. You and your environment have more influence by what is termed “epigenetic factors.” Changes in these factors can play a critical role in disease, how you feel and in your future.

In other words, you control much of your destiny. You can actually reprogram much of your body to resist diseases such as cancer…and even aging. What you eat, drink, breathe and think and how much you exercise has more bearing on your health than your DNA.

Your environment’s effects on your genes are so powerful that the ways they influence you can permanently alter the way your genes are expressed, and some of these effects can be passed on to your offspring.

So the consequences of your habits on your health, good and bad, can be inherited by your children and by your children’s children. Click to Tweet.

Let’s say your nutritional habits affected your predicted death rate associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. For example, if you practiced some form of caloric restriction just before puberty, your children would have less chance of dying from cardiovascular disease.

you are the captain of your shipThe flip side is that positive lifestyle habits also translate to modified gene expression. So you can pass on those epigenetic changes too. What are these changes, and how are they remembered? The answers to questions such as these lie in the concept of epigenetics that are beyond the scope of this article.

Previously, we’ve assumed that since we inherit our DNA sequence at birth, our genetic code was merely the luck of the draw and there’s not much we can do to alter it.
But we now know that we are empowered at birth regardless of the hand we were dealt. In fact, as much as 65-75% of your gene expression is controlled by your environment, including the food you eat, the amount and type of exercise you get…and even your thoughts.

So you can REVERSE most of your unwanted gene expressions that contribute to disease. Or, conversely, with poor health habits, you can unwind much of the advantages that you were born with.

You are the captain of your own ship. You are in control of your health. This even includes how well and how rapidly you age. Click to Tweet.

Recent discoveries allow us to objectively measure biological age. This measure may not yet be precise. But it does give you a good indication of how effective your anti-aging program works for you. Or, those same measures may illustrate how your habits are accelerating your aging process.

I enjoyed lunch with a young-looking 61-year-old friend. We compared notes on how we maintain our health. We found that our protocols and longevity goals were similar. He measured his biological age and found out he was about 45 years old! I did the same and got similar results. I turned 71 this year. Yet my blood pressure is better than it when I was a fit 35-year-old. My cholesterol levels are almost as good. And my body fat is about the same.

I attribute this to my improved diet, supplements and regular exercise. My skin elasticity, respiratory function and reaction time compare to someone around 50. And my immune profile, neurological scores and blood tests are equal to those of a 50-year-old man’s. Finally, an online test measured me at about 55.

I don’t say this to brag – but to show you how you can turn back your aging clock by applying your basic epigenetic knowledge. You can find the information in my book, Smart, Strong and Sexy at 100?

If my friend and I can do it, you can do it. We have essentially turned back our biological clocks by an astounding 15-20 years. That could mean we have bought ourselves the opportunity to take advantage of over 15 more years of medical advances, thanks to epigenetics.

biological age testI have another friend who pursued the same healthy lifestyle changes that I have–with even better results. His chronological age is 65. And he was dealt a bad set of genes which prematurely aged him. He was at risk of an early death. But he followed a well-balanced program. It included supplements, diet, exercise, stress reduction, a sensible lifestyle and regular visits to his anti-aging physician.

He dropped his current biological age to about 45. When he started, his biological age was probably at least 5 years higher than his chronological age. Now it’s 20 years lower. So he netted around 25 years—five years more than my other friend and I. These results are no coincidence.

One of my secrets is carefully chosen nutritional supplements. A favorite of mine of the new breed that affect gene expression is InflaGene – available HERE. And given the impact of inflammation on aging, disease and death, it may be the most important for you. It’s the only supplement derived solely from a network of genes that contribute to inflammation. Chronic inflammation is the direct link to nearly every major disease and to accelerated aging.

Most anti-aging physicians can quickly test you for your biological age. Ask for an H-scan. But courtesy of Dr. Stephen Cherniske, here are some free tests you can do at home:

Skin Elasticity

Lay your hand down on a desk or table, palm down. Pinch the skin at the back of your hand for five seconds. Let go and time how long it takes your skin to go back to its smooth appearance. If you’re very young, it should snap back immediately. An average 45-year-olds’ skin will take 3–5 seconds. At age 60, it takes about 10–15 seconds on average. By the time you are 70, it usually takes 35–60 seconds to crawl back. So if you are 60 and it takes 3–5 seconds, this test indicates your biological age is around 45.

If you want to increase your skin elasticity, follow the diet and antioxidant recommendations in this book.

Reaction time

Ask someone to hold an eighteen-inch ruler or yardstick vertically from the one-inch line. Place your thumb and forefinger about three inches apart at the eighteen inch line. Then ask your partner to let go without warning you. Then catch the ruler as fast as you can between your thumb and forefinger. Mark down the number on the ruler where you catch it. Do this three times, and average your score. A 20-year-old will average about twelve inches. That generally decreases progressively to about five inches by the time you are 65 or about 1 3⁄4 inches per decade. So if your score is seven and one-half inches, you test out at about age 50 for reaction time.

Games like ping-pong, tennis and foosball can increase your scores.

Static balance

Take off your shoes, and stand on a level uncarpeted surface with your feet together. Close your eyes and raise your right foot about six inches off the ground if you are right-handed, or on your left foot if you are left-handed. See how many seconds you can stand that way without opening your eyes or moving your supporting foot. Most 20-year-olds can do it easily for 30 seconds or more. By age 65, most people can only stand for 3–5 seconds. You lose about six seconds a decade, so if you score 12–14 seconds, you test at about 50 years of age.

Yoga, balance board training and exercise can improve your scores.

Vital lung capacity

Take three deep breaths, and hold the fourth without forcing it. Healthy 20-year-olds can hold it for two minutes easily. We lose about 15%, or 18 seconds per decade, so a 60-year-old will do well to hold it for 45 seconds. If you can hold your breath for 65 seconds, you test at about the 50-year-old level.

You can improve with exercise and deep breathing techniques.


Ask a friend to write down three random seven-digit numbers without showing them to you. Ask him or her to say the first string of seven numbers twice. Now repeat the string backward. Do the same for the other two numbers, and average the results. A 30-year-old should score 100%. Most of the 50-year-olds will miss one digit out of seven. Most of the 60-year-olds will miss two, and 70-year-olds will miss three.

Once you see how you measure up on a biological age test, you can reverse your biological dramatically by following the 7 easy steps in Smart, Strong and Sexy at 100? Let’s say you’re 50, but your test results measure you at 52 biologically. Not good. You’ve essentially shortened your projected life span by two years. However, now that you understand the power of epigenetics, let’s say you start your protocol today and retest in a year. The calendar will say you are 51. But your tests might measure you at 45. That means while you lived one more year, you’re biologically seven years younger. So you bought yourself an extra eight years.

Soon, when someone asks your age, why not tell them your biological age instead of chronological? Tell them “I was born in ____, but I’m actually about __ years old.”

Then, just to let them know how smart how smart you are too, ask them if they can spell, ”epigenetics.”

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:


David KekichDavid Kekich is President/CEO of Maximum Life Foundation that focuses on aging research, a 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to curing aging-related diseases. MaxLife.org is helping to make the anti-aging dream a reality with cutting edge Bio-Engineering research and products.



Pin It on Pinterest