What is epi-genetic medicine?
Epi-genetics is the science that genes can be turned on and off by environmental factors and lifestyle. Your systems in the body are programmed for how that system will react in the future.
Turning genes on and off:
A gene is a small piece of DNA that contains the code for one trait. Your genes store information, and there is a mechanism that allows you to turn a gene "on" or "off. It is estimated that the human genome has a total of 22,000 to 30,000 genes, but not all of them are active. Turning genes on and off is functional because in this way it is possible to prevent problems in the current generation and in subsequent generations.
As indicated earlier, genes can be turned "on" and "off. This is useful because you prefer to have genes with negative characteristics, such as susceptibility to certain diseases, turned off. Environmental factors determine which genes should be active or inactive. Examples of environmental factors include smoking, diet, exercise, computer and phone use, heat and cold.
Epigenes are conditions:
In the past, it was thought that the package of genes you were given determines entirely how your body functions. However, it turns out that in addition to genes, there are also epigenes. "Epi" is Greek and means "on" or "at. Epigens represent the conditions we are exposed to. It means that epi-genetic conditions along with your gene set determine how your body acts. So the genes you are given at birth are programmed by the epigens. Environmental factors and lifestyle can partly manipulate the action of epigens.
What factors affect epigenes?
- Evolutionary influence
- Transgenerational influence
- Climate of the uterus
Evolutionary influence entransgenerational influence:
These two factors cannot be influenced. They are determined by evolution and you inherit genes from your parents and grandparents. Genetic info, and therefore epi-genetic info, is passed on to each other for generations.
Climate of the uterus
The third factor, the climate of the womb, affects only the generation that comes after you. Especially the last three months of pregnancy are important for the final epi-genetic information that your child inherits. What a woman experiences in these last months, for example a stressful period is of great influence on the rest of the child's life.
The last factor is the most interesting, because you can influence your epigenes by modifying your lifestyle. A lifestyle with high stress, poor diet and no exercise causes diseases such as depression, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer, chronic fatigue and pain. It also makes diseases of the mouth such as caries (cavities), gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease) increasingly common.
Lifestyle interventions, including diet, exercise and relaxation, can affect your body. Get your lifestyle matched with your genes to grow old fit!
What can you do to positively influence your epigenes?
The solution to epigenetics is a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle consists of:
- sufficient sleep
- varied and healthy eating
- enough exercise
- mental challenge
- sufficient relaxation
- no smoking
- moderate with alcohol
- good oral hygiene