Understanding The Power of Epigenetics in Shaping Our Health

We have heard about genetics for decades, but now we are hearing more about epigenetics. Many don’t understand the difference, and more importantly, why it even matters.  Understanding epigenetics allows us to have an impact on how it can affect our lives.

While the two terms are related concepts, they are not the same. Genetics refers to the study of genes and the traits we inherit from our parents and other predecessors. It focuses on DNA sequences, the code itself, and their impact on eye color, blood type and susceptibility to certain health diseases.

Epigenetics is the study of gene expression that affects changes to the DNA sequence. Modifications to DNA can turn genes on or off, regulate when and how they are expressed, and influence their activity. It can be influenced primarily by diet and environmental factors. This is the exciting part! We can actively influence and change our genetic expression! This means that we are not stuck with our genetic predispositions that we once thought we were. We can change it!

Let’s look at what we can do to circumvent some of the most challenging aspects of health and disease.

Environmental Factors: Diet, stress, exposure to toxins, early life experiences, physical activity, exposure to estrogen mimickers, microbiome health, radiation exposure, drugs and medications.

Diet: Nutrient-dense, traditional diets are rich in whole, unprocessed, organic foods which feed the body with the nutrients required to sustain health, develop a strong immune system, assist in a healthy microbiome and is essential for growth and development, repair and restoration of cells that die. This influences not only the current health of the individual, but long-term health outcomes as well.

The diet must include healthy fats. A good, high grade olive oil, coconut oil, real butter, and even fats like lard have been shown to be instrumental in the development of a healthy body. High quality fish oils are important as well. By contrast, bad oils such as trans-fats (hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils and fried foods), canola, soy, vegetable, corn, peanut, and seed oils can have a deleterious effect on epigenetics and should be avoided completely if possible. This includes any sold in a tub, even if it sounds like a healthy fat.  Bad fats alter DNA methylation and histones and change hormonal balance.

Processed foods contribute to nutrient depletion, inflammation, gut microbiome composition, hormonal imbalance, DNA damage, obesity and insulin resistance. Sugar causes inflammation, oxidative stress, DNA modifications, disruption to glucose regulation, hormonal changes, and adverse neurological effects.

This is just touching the tip of the iceberg. The good news is that we have more influence over our genetic expression than we ever thought. The next time someone says “it’s in your genes, there’s nothing you can do about it”, ignore them. You CAN change your genetic expression. You have more control than you ever thought possible!

Want to hear more from Dr. Carling? Check out our podcast. Search for VitalHealth4You on your favorite podcast listening app or go to vitalhealthcda.com/podcasts/

Dr. Holly Carling

Dr. Holly Carling

Dr. Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Dr. Carling is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Dr. Carling considers herself a “professional student” – she has attended more than 600 post-secondary education courses related to health and healing. Dr. Carling gives lectures here in the U.S. and internationally and has been noted as the “Doctor’s Doctor”. When other healthcare practitioners hit a roadblock when treating their patients nutritionally, Dr. Carling is who they call. Dr. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’ Alene clinic.

Medical/Health Disclaimer:

The information provided in this article or podcast should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this article or podcast. Readers/listeners should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the author, but readers/listeners who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.

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