Understanding What Epigenetics Is
By Dr. Marie Starling and Lisa Biederman, CNTP
What is epigenetics?
Epigenetics is the study of changes to gene expression without changes to the DNA sequence. Epigenetic changes turn genes on or off and determine which protein is transcribed.
Genetics are influenced greatly by environmental and lifestyle factors such as nutrition, sleep habits, stress levels and emotions. Epigenetics can create over 2,000 variations of proteins for one gene blueprint and these modifications can be passed down to later generations as well. This means that how we see, process and deal with your world dictates how our genes express themselves.
When scientists embarked upon the human genome project, they expected us to have around 125,000 genes to make all the proteins generated by the body. What they found when they sequenced all the genome was that we only have about 25,000 genes. This tells us that we have a unique way of expressing and combining genes. This means that our genes do not run the show, but rather what we express from our genes runs the show.
Our perceptions and emotions drive what we express epigenetically. If you have misperceptions, you will create inappropriate responses. If you have anxiety and feel stressed all the time, the hypothalamus and endocrine system will communicate to your cells that world is an unsafe place and your body will turn on select genes and produce certain proteins.
If you feel like the world is safe and wonderful, you’ll have a different epigenetic expression. The cell is a receptor. It has places for information to be accessed by binding to hormones and different molecules in the intracellular matrix. Because the cell doesn’t have eyes, it can’t see what is going on in the world.
It has to rely on your interpretation of the world to produce the proteins that you use to produce your life. A stressful world leads to a body that has an increased production of stress hormones. A world of love and ease and plenty expresses a cell that is ready to deal with that kind of loving and peaceful world.
Gene expression is controlled by your conscious and subconscious brain. Your conscious brain can process about 40 bits per second while your subconscious brain can process about 40 million bits per second. Since your interpretation of the world influences your subconscious brain, it is important to acknowledge emotional states, and to deal with them appropriately.
We recognize that emotions are critical to your health and we offer several techniques for addressing emotions such as Neuro Emotional Technique, Allergy Clearings, Reiki/Healing Touch and Emotion Code. Nutritional components also help us express our genes appropriately.
As your Functional Medicine specialist in Denver, CO, we look at genetic testing and how each individual’s SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), or genetic variations, influence health, and how we can support the individual nutritionally to influence genetic expression in a beneficial way. To request a consultation call The Healing Center at (303) 721-8900 or send a request through our website.