Do you ever wonder if you were just given lousy genes? We’re told that our genetics plays a pivotal role in our health picture — for example, that ultimately it’s genetics that’s responsible for our body shape and size or whether we will develop a particular illness or disease.
You’ll often hear someone say, “my mother had that so I must have inherited it from her.”
And while it is true that our genetics do play a role in many aspects of our health, epigenetics teaches us that it is what we do with our genes that matters. According to epigenetics you have the ability to control the expression of your genes, meaning you have the ability to control to what extent you “inherit” certain health conditions.
Until fairly recently, science suggested that the genes you inherit from your parents are the most common way to inherit risks for diseases like some cancers and heart problems. But researchers are starting to pay closer attention to what leads genes to express themselves and I love it, because it puts you back in the driver’s seat of your health.
Because, let’s face it, when you believe something is genetic (and very few health conditions are 100 percent the result of your genes), do you feel like there is anything you can do about this?
So, you spend your life living in the cloud of false belief that you have to put up with your health picture, when there may be numerous paths you could take to resolve a particular health challenge.
As scientists started to learn that DNA alone does not define our health destiny, more focus has been driven towards understanding this layer of genetic inheritance or potential – epigenetics.
Epigenetics plays an important role in determining what our DNA blueprints become. Epigenetic changes can be created by exposure to things like smoking, environmental pollutants and nutritional factors, as well as lifestyle behaviours.
Essentially it is our environment that has the ability to switch our genes on or off which, of course, has significant implications when it comes to turning on or off the genes relating to disease.
Furthermore, researchers have demonstrated how it is possible to pass on these epigenetic changes to your children. So how you eat, drink, move, think, breathe, believe and perceive literally has the ability to influence your genetic blueprint and that of the next generation. It is truly mind-blowing.
This is particularly exciting, as we used to hear of people who were likely to have inherited disease risk factors feeling completely disempowered by their luck of the draw. We have moved from feeling “trapped” or “defined” by our genes to being empowered that the lifestyle we lead can literally alter the expression of these genes.
The power is well and truly within our hands, or perhaps more accurately, on the end of our forks. The foods we choose and the nutrients they contain literally have the power to flick the switch on our genes. Do your best to consider that with the choices you make on a daily basis.
I’m pleased to let you know that I have a new book due to be released in late August that will be relevant to women of all ages. And if you missed it, earlier this week we announced my upcoming Spring tour throughout New Zealand and Australia called The Hormone Factor. I created this event as I want every woman to truly understand and appreciate how the female body works and the steps to take to better support their hormonal systems in this busy world of ours. You can read more about the tour below.
Take such good care of you.
Dr Libby x