Creating Healthier Futures & Healthier Children through Epigenetics
Everyone has heard of DNA, which is like a blueprint for your body; a set of instructions on how your cells create you. But have you heard of your epigenome? This is the part of your cells that decides which sections of your DNA are activated (or which genes are switched on or off).
So your DNA is the instructions your body comes with, and your epigenome decides how those plans are used. For example, in cells in your eye the epigenome will turn on the genes in your DNA that allow them to detect light. In your red blood cells, the epigenome will turn on the genes to carry oxygen.
As you can see, the epigenome plays a very powerful role in our health. It can also influence whether or not you develop diseases that may be coded in your DNA.
Your DNA is always constant, but your epigenomes are more fluid. They change as we grow and develop (such as during puberty), and are influenced by many other factors, including diet, levels of various nutrients, lifestyle factors, physical activity, psychological stress, toxins, pollutants, pesticides, and countless other factors.
Everybody is born with strengths and weaknesses in their body. We all inherit tendencies towards the diseases our parents had, such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, etc. Whether we develop these diseases or not depends on our epigenomes. The good news is that there are exciting new developments in how to look after and improve your epigenomes. According to Professor Anthony Hannan (head of the Epigenetics and Neural Plasticity Laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health), “Epigenetics is a revolution that is going to transform medicine, where the prevention and treatment of disease will be based on your genome (DNA) and your epigenome, which is different for every set of cells or tissues in your body.”
If you were a song, your DNA is like the sheet music, and your epigenomes are the sound engineers that create how that music will be played- which bits are loud, which are edited out, whether the melody is dominant, or the drums are taken out altogether. Would you like the song of your life to be played by a high-class orchestra, or by a badly tuned ukulele?
Can Epigenetics be Used to Create Healthier Children?
It is now understood that your epigenome is influenced by the health of your parents, and likely even your grandparents. So changing your own epigenome can affect your children’s and grandchildren’s development and health. Our understanding of how epigenetic changes are transmitted from parent to child is still not entirely clear, but the evidence suggests that this happens at the time of conception and during pregnancy. So it is great to work on improving your epigenome while you are pregnant, but excellent to do it before the baby is even conceived. A baby’s first 2 years is also a crucial time to improve their epigenome. (Naturopaths recommend working on your epigenome for 12 months prior to attempting to fall pregnant if possible.)
Our naturopaths are trained in the latest natural methods of improving your epigenetic health. If you are interested in optimising your future health (or that of your children), please book in for a free Comprehensive Assessment, and we can check how well their treatments should work for you.