January 24, 2017

Turning on Health and Turning off Disease

 by Amanda Box, N.D.

You’ve filled out health forms a million times. You’ve checked the boxes for the diseases your closest relatives suffered. The doctors ask you if your mom, dad, or grandparents have ever had any of the “following diseases.”

Now, you’ve come to expect those genetic ties to come knocking on your door at some point. You may have begun to believe that you are doomed to suffer the same ailments that plague your family line. Even if you feel cursed and helpless, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s, does not have to be your fate.

I have some exciting news to share! You are not genetically condemned to be a victim of the diseases of your parents or grandparents. You may have your grandmother’s blonde hair and your dad’s green eyes, but you do not have to embrace the diseases and ailments they had!

Even if you inherited a genetic predisposition, you can switch off the genes that influence disease in your body!

Every single cell in your body contains your one-of-a-kind DNA and specific genes. Some of these genes are visually expressed, like hair color and eye color. Other genes are not expressed, yet we still carry them and can pass them on. This is why a new baby may have red hair like her great grandfather, when both her parents have brown hair.

Predispositions to diseases like cancer and diabetes can be a part of our inherited genotype, as well. However, located on top of each genome is something called an epigenome (“epi” literally means above).

Epigenomes are like switches that tell our cells what to do. They can tell a gene to express itself or turn it off; like turning a light from green to red or vice versa.  What makes epigenomes so incredibly fascinating is that they give us the power to change the destiny of our life and health!

Doctors and scientists have been studying epigenetics for years. They have come to discover that our lifestyle choices and environment have a lot to do with our genetic expression.  The foods we eat, our activity level, and what we are exposed to can change the outcome of our lives on a genetic level!

What’s even more interesting is that when we change the expression of our genes, we change our genetic blueprint. This new blueprint is passed on to future children. In essence, when you choose to make healthy choices, you can pass down a blueprint of health to your kids and grandkids!!

Turning on Your Good Genes

Many of you have thrown caution to the wind believing your fate is to suffer the diseases of your family line.

  • You continue smoking because you believe there is nothing you can do to prevent the impending heart attack that killed your father and grandfather.
  • Maybe you eat and drink whatever you want because you feel like you might as well enjoy yourself if you’re going to die of cancer like your mother and aunts anyway.

Whatever your destructive thought pattern might have been… you are dead wrong! You are not held hostage to the diseases of your family!

You may carry the very genes for cancer or heart disease. But, those genes can stay inactive, never manifesting themselves.

However, you unlock those destructive genes when you make unhealthy choices. You activate the ability to manifest disease in your body! Essentially, you hold the key to your genetic expression, good or bad!

Rewrite Your Genetic FutureNow that you know that you can rewrite your genetic future, I’m sure you want to know how to go about doing just that. Turning on good genes and turning off bad ones is simple. Follow the principles of health:

  • Make healthy food choices
  • Exercise
  • Don’t smoke
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation
  • Reduce stress

These healthy principles create a favorable environment for our cells. When our cells are happy, the genes inside our cells reflect health. However, when our cells are in an uncomfortable environment, our genes receive stress signals. This is when gene expression takes a turn for the worse.

Nutrigenomics

Nutrition plays a very important role in healthy gene expression. There is an entire scientific field dedicated to nutrition’s role in our genes called nutrigenomics. According to the nutrigenomics site, it is described as:

“The study of how different foods may interact with specific genes to increase the risk of common chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Nutrigenomics also seeks to provide a molecular understanding of how common chemicals in the diet affect health by altering the expression of genes and the structure of an individual’s genome. ”

Nutrigenomics has 5 core principles(1):

  1. Under certain circumstances and in some individuals, diet can be a serious risk factor for a number of diseases.
  2. Common dietary chemicals can act on the human genome, either directly or indirectly, to alter gene expression or structure.
  3. The degree to which diet influences the balance between healthy and disease states may depend on an individual’s genetic makeup.
  4. Some diet-regulated genes are likely to play a role in the onset, incidence, progression, and/or severity of chronic diseases.
  5. Dietary intervention based on knowledge of nutritional requirement, nutritional status, and genotype can be used to prevent, mitigate or cure chronic disease.

Nutrigenomics provides a scientific basis to the belief that we should all receive personalized treatment. For example, when doctors suggest pharmaceutical drugs and dietary recommendations, our genetic diversity should be noted first.

Nutrigenomics is blazing new paths in mainstream medicine. It is debunking the “one-size-fits-all” diets and exercise regimes. We are individuals with different body types, blood types and metabolisms. Our varying genetic characteristics make us unique! It only makes sense that one type of diet, exercise routine, or medicine won’t work for everyone.

Chinese medicine separates people into yin and yang types. Ayurvedic medicine from India has kapha, vata, and pitta types, each of which have individual dietary and herbal recommendations. Many alternative approaches understand the importance of identifying a person’s individual differences. Eastern Medicine has been practicing this principle for thousands of years!

Eat Right for Your Genotype [am4show guest_error=’noaccess’]

Around 15 years ago, Dr. Peter D’Adamo began to classify people by their blood types. He released a book in the US titled, The Blood Type Diet. He noted that our blood types separate us, varying our ability to digest certain foods, metabolize nutrients, maintain a healthy weight and much more.

Recently, Dr. D’Adamo went a step further using epigenetic research to create a dietary plan based on different genotypes. I believe this genotype-based diet is cutting edge and provides people with a clear and concise plan to maximize nutrition. This diet is designed to influence your epigenomes in positive ways, turning on your good genes and silencing the bad ones. Simply put, this diet prevents disease and promotes health with genetically individualized plans.

Dr. D’Adamo divides people into 6 genotypes based on ancestry. These genotypes are the genetic blueprints our ancestor’s created. Their lifestyle is passed down through the generations.

I believe the Genotype Diet takes popular dietary plans like The Paleo Diet and Nourishing Traditions (Weston A. Price) and goes one step further. D’Adamo identifies genotypes by characteristics. Your body structure, fingerprints and length, metabolism, and immune system function reveal your genetic makeup. Identifying your genotype allows you to dictate how and when your genes express themselves. Ultimately, with the right tools, you can turn on the good genes and shut down the bad ones. Which genotype are you?

eating for your genotype

The Hunter  

This type is typically tall, thin, naturally athletic, and has a fast metabolism. They are very energetic, but prone to burnout when overstressed. The hunter has a strong immune system. Hunter men often have a ring finger equal in length to their index finger. This genotype does well on a Paleo-like diet.

This genotype does well on a Paleo-like diet. Foods the Hunter needs to avoid are dairy and grains. Beef, chicken and turkey are all acceptable meats for the Hunter type. Beneficial produce for the Hunger type include sweet potatoes, broccoli, peaches, and pineapples.

The Hunter genotype needs vigorous exercise for at least 40 minutes at a time. Dr. D’Adamo suggests running, biking, and high intensity dance exercising.

The Gatherer

This type is not often tall. Their lower legs measure shorter than their upper legs. Gatherer women tend to have an hour-glass figure. They also carry extra body fat and gain weight easier than other types. The Gatherer is very similar to the Kapha type in Ayurvedic Medicine. They often have symmetrical differences in fingerprints, finger lengths, and breast size.

A Gatherer’s diet is more vegetarian based, although lamb, turkey, eggs and most fish are acceptable.  Most legumes and seeds are not beneficial for the Gatherer. The Gatherer can choose from a plethora of fruit and vegetables, including raspberries, watermelon, asparagus, and onions.

To develop long, lean muscles, Gatherer genotypes should try swimming, pilates and yoga.

The Teacher

The teacher type is not very tall, not noticeably muscular, and quite thin. However, they have a steady energy and strength that seems out of the ordinary for their stature. They are very close to the Chinese Yin category and are robust, energetic, but have a strong dislike for the cold.

Teacher’s benefit from a vegetable based diet, but can include some meats like turkey and fish. They can also derive protein from legumes, nuts, and seeds. Teachers tolerate grains, so wheat, rice and quinoa are acceptable. Some of the vegetables and fruits included in the Teacher’s diet are blueberries, grapefruit, spinach, and artichokes.

Hiking, yoga, and resistance training are all recommended exercises for the Teacher genotype.

The Explorer

The explorer is quite muscular and has a torso length that is often longer than their legs. Many left-handed people are explorers. They can have difficulty digesting fats. They may suffer with acne and migraines due to impaired liver detoxification. They often have reactions to medications, but improve after completing a liver cleansing program.

The Explorer’s diet excludes pork, eggs, and most cheeses. They can eat ricotta and mozzarella cheese, as well as meats like mutton, quail, and turkey. Most legumes and grains are acceptable foods. Vegetables like carrots and broccoli, and fruits like raspberries and watermelon, are part of the Explorer’s diet.

Aerobic exercises like running, competitive sports, and dance are the most beneficial for the Explorer genotype.

The Warrior

The warriors are often tall with long faces.  They tend to flush and get hot easily. Warriors are often quite thin and energetic in their youth, but can gain weight around their abdomen as they age. When this occurs, they have what is referred to as the apple body shape.

The Warrior diet includes mostly seafood for their source of meat, but should limit their intake of red meat and poultry. Many grains and legumes are also part of the Warrior’s diet. Apples, grapes, lettuce, and cucumber are all recommended produce for the Warrior type.

Suggested exercises are pilates, hot yoga, and golf (without the cart).

The Nomad

The size of the nomad can very greatly. But, they tend to have equal torso to leg length as well as equivalent upper leg to lower leg measurement. Most green-eyed and red hair people are nomads. They have a larger bone structure, but not necessarily a higher fat percentage. They can be quite muscular with normal to high metabolisms.

Nomad’s need to limit red meat and poultry. They can, however, have lamb, mutton, turkey, and most fish. Most grains are acceptable for the Nomad type, as well as a long list of vegetables and fruits. Recommended produce includes cauliflower, zucchini, strawberries, and tangerines.

Jogging and dance are exercises that benefit the Nomad genotype.

If you’d like more help in identifying your genotype, Dr. D’Adamo offers a genotyping kit.  You can also use this website to help with identification.

I also recommend purchasing the Change Your Genetic Destiny for more complete descriptions of dietary recommendations based on your genetic makeup.

Once you have identified your genotype, you can make the appropriate adjustments to your diet and lifestyle to maximize your genetic potential.

You have the power to change your genetic destiny! Taking control of your health is so much more than losing weight and having low cholesterol. Things like following the FDA’s food pyramid or signing up for the latest MLM diet fad are not designed for your genetic potential. They are broad one-size fits all plans that don’t work for everyone!

Identifying your genetic type and making the appropriate lifestyle changes can rewire your genes. Break free from the diseases of your family and flip your genetic switches towards well-being and a long life!  It’s truly in your hands.

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Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

Sources:

(1) http://nutrigenomics.ucdavis.edu/?page=Information

 

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Eating for Healthy Genes

 by Amanda Box, N.D.

Eating right isn’t just about being able to fit into your skinny jeans. What you eat has an effect on a different kind of jeans; the kind of genes you were born with.

These genes make you the unique person you are, from the color of your hair to whether you can curl your tongue or not. When your mother and father’s DNA combined, it formed an exclusive genetic blueprint. This inherited design created a unique you.

In many aspects of who you are, you have every right to shout out, “Take it or leave it! I was born this way!” Embrace your uniqueness because it is what makes you truly beautiful.

However, when it comes to your health, just because you were born with “bad” genes, doesn’t mean you have to “wear” them. Your parents’ and grandparents’ health issues don’t have to determine your fate. You may have been born with a predisposition to a disease, but science has revealed you are not enslaved to what you inherited.

You have a choice not just to make the best of what you were born with, but to alter your body’s genetic design. What you choose to put in your body can change the genetic blueprint passed down to you, as it pertains to health and disease.

Scientists studying the effects of nutrition on our genome have branded this field nutriepigenetics. This study of nutrition’s role on gene expression has proven that we have some control over our genes.

Certain foods and nutrients can turn bad genes off and good genes on, or vice versa.  Our genes are not fixed. A gene might express itself depending on factors like diet, stress and exercise.

This is an exciting discovery because many of us live in fear of the impending diseases that took our family members. What is fascinating is that when you better your genetic blueprint, the new and improved version is passed down to your future children. You have the power, in many ways, to break the disease curses that have passed down through your family for generations. You have the power to create healthy and strong genetic lines for your future children and grandchildren!

Macronutrients and Gene Expression

Knowing what to eat and what not to eat is a powerful tool in controlling your gene expression. Activating bad genes boils down to making poor decisions.

Chemicals, toxins and a sedentary lifestyle are primarily responsible for causing genes to activate disease. Click to Tweet.

Though everyone is different and unique, there are certain foods and lifestyle choices that can have a negative effect on gene expression. Our macronutrient ratios negatively or positively impact our genes the most. These are the amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fats we eat on a daily basis that vitally alter our health.

Carbohydrate Intake

A high carbohydrate diet benefits no one, regardless of their genotype (complete heritable genetic identity). A diet high in carbohydrates is attributed to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and much more.

A recent study in Norway monitored a group of 32 obese men and women.  The group was divided and given a powdered diet formulated with calories to maintain their body weight. However, each group was given a different macronutrient ratio. Specifically, the amount of carbohydrates and protein varied. The first group’s powder was formulated according to USDA recommendations:

  • 65% carbohydrates
  • 15% Protein
  • 20% fat

The second group’s formula included:

  • 33% carbohydrates
  • 33% protein
  • 34% fat

Both groups took turns on each diet. Their blood work and genetic expressions were observed and noted. The studies found, that no matter what a person’s unique genetic makeup was, a high carbohydrate diet exacerbates disease.

Professor Johansen, who spearheaded the study stated, “Genes that are involved in type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and some forms of cancer respond to diet, and are up-regulated, or activated, by a carbohydrate-rich diet.” (1)

This study is a huge step towards our understanding of diet and gene expression. We live in a society overloaded with carbohydrates and, consequently, saturated with disease, as well.

Reducing carbohydrate intake is a huge step towards activating healthy gene expression. Click to Tweet.

If you have been consuming a high carbohydrate diet, it is never too late to change!  According to the findings in this study, it only took around 6 days to change the gene expression of the participants! This means if you lower your carbohydrate intake, you can begin to reap the benefits within a week!

Protein

Protein doesn’t seem to have the same detrimental effects on gene expression as do carbohydrates and fats.

Most people don’t eat excess protein, but rather excess fats and carbohydrates. However, it is important to note that more is not better when it comes to protein consumption. A diet balanced in the macronutrients carbohydrates, protein, and fat is best.

Our bodies are constructed of protein. Our organs, muscles, skin, hair, glands, and bodily fluids all contain protein. Our cells need protein to survive and to make repairs in the body. It is also important to consume adequate levels of protein to maintain healthy levels of essential amino acids. Amino acids from protein are crucial on a genetic level in the body.  We need amino acids for coping DNA, RNA, and for gene expression.

Proteins are the building block of life. However, consuming too much protein can create an acidic environment in the body that triggers harmful gene expression leading to disease.  Remember, balance is key when it comes to macronutrient consumption, even with the amazing benefits of protein.

Fat

Fat consumption can be a little tricky because not all fat is created equal. Although some forms of fat can cause disease, other fats actually prevent them!

Vegetable oils can actually induce health problems. But because they are unsaturated, many believe they are healthy. The most popular vegetable oils (soy, corn, canola) are genetically modified. When you introduce GMO foods into your body, you run the risk of modifying your own genes.

GMO foods are created by the splicing, dicing, and transferring of genes from one organism to another.  Although GMO foods have their own built-in pesticides and resistance to herbicides, these modifications come at a price, not improvement.

GMO foods not only negatively impact our gene expression, but they change the actual DNA of bacteria in our body! Click to Tweet.

Genetically modified foods convert bacteria in the gut turning our digestive system into a pesticide-producing factory!

Frying with these oils only makes things worse. They create oxygen radicals that negatively impact our genetic expression. Furthermore, these oils produce carcinogens that are linked to cancer and heart disease.

Although canola, soy, and corn oil should be avoided, there are a few healthy unsaturated oils to include. These oils, as with any type of fat should be consumed in moderation and always avoid using them over high heat.

  • Avocado
  • Safflower
  • Olive Oil

Saturated fats are often painted as the bad guy, especially for heart disease. However, coconut oil can be safely incorporated into your diet without causing negative gene expression. Coconut oil contains compounds that improve health by encouraging weight loss and fighting viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Healthy Foods for Your Genome

BP-Food PlateGood nutrition is key to reprogramming our genes from a state of disease to a state of health and wellness.  However, following the USDA’s Food Pyramid is not going to lead you to wellness. The food pyramid pushes grains and isn’t truly balanced. Instead your diet should be:

  • Low to moderate in carbohydrates
  • Low to no sugar
  • Moderate to high in protein
  • Moderate in healthy fats like coconut oil and omega-3
  • High in colorful vegetable and fruits

I’ve included Barton Publishing’s Healthy Food Plate for a good visual reference.

The foods that seem to have the greatest positive effects on gene expression contain substances called polyphenols. Polyphenols are a compound found in antioxidants that fight inflammation and protect our cells from free radical damage. Protecting cells protects our genes, making these compounds extremely beneficial.  They can also lower blood pressure and increase insulin sensitivity preventing heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Many fruits and vegetables contain polyphenols. Some of the highest levels are found in:

  • Green Tea
  • Red Wine and Grapes
  • Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Dark Chocolate (at least 60% cacao)

Replacing a large part of grain-based carbohydrates with vegetables is a fantastic way to enhance your polyphenol and nutrient content. Skip the bread and add another vegetable to your plate instead. Eating to maximize your good genes doesn’t have to be boring or without flavor. It won’t take long before you begin to crave these healthy foods that boost your health and wellness.

I’m a huge fan of ethnic food, whether it is Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean; you name it. I love the vast array of spices and flavors. Something I feel we lack in the West are dishes that are flavorful, but also are packed full of healthy vegetables. In America, vegetables are often kept separate, as a side dish. However, in other countries they are incorporated into the main dishes adding both flavor and color.

One of my favorite dishes to prepare for my family is a Korean Dish called Bibimbap. You can pick your vegetables making this a great “clean out the fridge” dish. Using quinoa instead of rice bumps up the protein content making it even healthier. This beautiful dish comes packed full of nutrition, polyphenols, healthy fats, and protein.

Korean Quinoa Bibimbap

korean quinoa bibimbap 2Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ red cabbage, finely sliced
  • ½ lb ground beef, sliced beef, or chicken browned
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp Bragg’s Liquid aminos or tamari sauce
  • A handful of raw organic spinach
  • 1 ½ cooked quinoa
  • 1 carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 zucchini, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 2 eggs
  • Cilantro, lime, and chili sauce to garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Add garlic and cabbage. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add beef or chicken. Cook and break up ingredients with a wooden spoon until browned.
  5. Add spices and Bragg’s Aminos or tamari. Cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add baby spinach stirring until wilted. Remove from heat.
  7. Divide quinoa between 2 serving bowls. Add meat and vegetable matchsticks.
  8. Cook eggs to your liking and top each bowl with an egg.
  9. Top with cilantro, lime, and chili sauce. (2)

Even though sugar is truly bad for your genes, it doesn’t mean that those of you with a sweet tooth need to be deprived! Luckily, there are healthy alternatives to sugar that taste delicious and give you the ability to still have dessert!

Since dark chocolate in high in polyphenols, this dessert is not only delicious, but good for you!  The surprising part of this recipe is the avocado, which makes the mousse not only creamy, but packed with healthy fats. This recipe is a snap to make. It is also raw, vegan, sugar-free and gluten-free!!

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

avocado chocolate mousse_2Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 2 tsp liquid stevia
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh fruit and nuts for garnish

iDirections:

  1. In the bowl of a blender or food processor, blend avocado until smooth.
  2. Add all other ingredients, blending until mixture is uniform.
  3. Chill for about 2 hours in the fridge or half an hour in the freezer.
  4. Garnish with fresh fruit or chopped nuts.

It is NEVER too late to incorporate healthy food choices into your life. As I stated earlier, studies have shown it only takes 6 days for your genes to change expression.

For those of you headed down a path of disease and destruction, this is incredible news! You can begin creating a life of health and wellness today!  Don’t drag around the ball and chain of your family’s diseases any longer! You have the power to cut that chain and run towards a long future of health and wellness.

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Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

 

Sources:
(1) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110919073845.htm
(2) Adapted from www.iquitsugar.com

 

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!

Exercise

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!

Lifestyle

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.

Nutrition

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.

Thoughts

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
Takeaway’s

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!

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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.

Memory/Cognition

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.”

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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.

 

 

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