How to Change Your Genes
The gene pool has a lifeguard called epigenetics.
Using healing enhancers will help it come to your rescue.
You can influence which of your genes are switched on and which are switched off with what you eat, how much you exercise, and how much stress you allow in your life. The science of epigenetics explains how that works.
As a human, you have approximately 21,000 genes. But you also have 50 to 100 “marks” for each of your genes. Your marks are switches that turn on and off your genes. These marks or switches are what you can control by what you eat, how much you exercise, and how much stress you experience.
Conrad Hall Waddington (1905–1975) proposed the term epigenotype in his 1939 book, An Introduction to Modern Genetics and in 1942, in an article called “The Epigenotype.” He described epigenetics as the means by which your genetic expression is affected by how you interact with your environment.
The most noticeable effect of epigenetics is seen in how tissues differentiate. Your brain cells and your bone cells share the same genes, yet they look and behave very differently from one another. The difference is because of which genes are switched on and which ones are switched off. The switches are determined by epigenetics—in this case, by the effects of chemicals from surrounding cells.
Just as epigenetics determines where you have brain cells and where you have bone cells, it also determines whether to switch on genes of wellness and whether to suppress genes of illness. It’s been shown that childhood abuse results in changes in epigenetic effects on gene expression. Researchers at McGill University showed that genes were switched on and off differently in people who suffered childhood abuse than in those who did not. They theorized that this could explain higher rates of illness in those who suffered childhood trauma.
Epigenetics Can Protect Future Generations
We already know about epigenetic defense mechanisms. Disease-causing genes can be silenced when epigenetic effects prevent their expression. This explains why one identical twin can develop bipolar disorder (manic depression) while the other does not. They were affected by different experiences and by different sets of behaviors. Those differences affected gene expression epigenetically.
What you experience and how you behave can even affect future generations in two ways:
- If you model healthy behaviors and resilient attitudes for your children or for other children, they may adopt those behaviors themselves. Those healthy attitudes and actions can change their genetic expression. They may be less likely to express an inherited case of anxiety, depression, or physical illness. Their epigenetics might overrule their undesired genes by not allowing them to switch on.
- Sometimes epigenetic influences may be transmitted to subsequent generations. In a landmark study published in 2014, researcher Lars Olov Bygren and his team[CJ1] [BW2] found that the children and grandchildren of people who suffered through a famine lived longer than expected. They lived longer because they did not develop obesity. It was the first time an epigenetic trait was shown to be inherited by subsequent generations.
Hopefully one day we will be able to show what effects specific types of diets, exercises, meditations, and social interactions may have on genetic expression. If we know what genes need to be suppressed and what behaviors will do that, we may be able to tailor a particular type of exercise or diet or meditation to prevent a particular type of illness in someone who might be inclined to inherit it.
Enhancing one’s healing with positive attitudes, healthy behaviors, and compassionate love has been shown in studies to be so strong that it can rival the effectiveness of some medications. When well timed, healing enhancements can, in some cases, prevent the need for medication. When medication is needed, they can strengthen its effect.
Be sure to discuss your plan for exercise, diet, and other healing enhancements with your health care providers. It is especially important to discuss medication decisions with your prescriber. Healing enhancements can help you get well and stay well, but they should not be undertaken until you have discussed them with a qualified professional.
I hope science will convince you that adopting a set of healthy attitudes and behaviors will be worth the effort. If you go to the trouble of practicing healing enhancement in your daily life, you’re likely to see payoffs. You’re likely to feel better and have more energy, and you may have less need for medication.
The genetic lottery is not so risky when you work with your epigenetics. By influencing which genes are switched on and which genes are switched off, you may be able to prevent (or at least mitigate) some illnesses and enhance your wellness.