Nature vs Nurture: Epigenetics and Our Health
The field of epigenetics, the study of the causes of changes in gene expression, has revealed the surprising fact that our inherited genetic predispositions towards developing disease are less important than our environmental stressors in the expression of genes involved in illness. With this in mind, it becomes profoundly important that we pay attention to and improve our internal and external environments to the best of our abilities.
Our external environment is in need of assistance. Clean food, air and water are obviously necessary for our continued health. Hopefully, our EPA will step up to the plate and protect our future generations from further pollution and drought. In lieu of our government’s help, individuals must step forward and do what they can to avoid using pesticides, herbicides and choosing to support local organic agriculture. By choosing to eat less animal products, drive less, conserve water, and use less electricity, together we can make a difference for the immediate future on our planet.
The good news is that our internal environment, or one’s state of being, is under our control. Our brains, with its neuroplasticity, can be trained to maintain a positive state of elevated thoughts and emotions while letting go of old negative thoughts and habits.
In a recent study, subjects were tested to see if they had particular genetic markers for athletic ability and satiation after eating. The researchers found that if the subjects were told that they had these particular genetic traits, but did not actually have them, their body’s responded as if they did. This study illustrates the power of our thoughts over our gene expression.
With daily mindfulness and meditation practices, our brains are able to wire new neural pathways that lead to improvements in the biochemical environment in which our genes are exposed. Changing the health of our internal environment in this manner is the best method for the prevention and treatment of disease.
This blog is intended to pass along information, share tips, and express ideas on topics related to improving spiritual, mental and physical well being. Your comments and suggestions are all welcome!